RalliSport Challenge 2

RalliSport Challenge 2 – Xbox Review

RalliSport Challenge 2 – XBOX Review

Microsoft's Xbox, since its release, has been blessed with a plethora of wicked racing games. One of the earlier & still outstanding titles is Digital Illusions' 2002 release RalliSport Challenge. Now, two years later, Digital Illusions' are back with version two of their adrenaline fuelled RalliSport Challenge title. You may be thinking, “the second installment is basically the same as the first with a few tweaks thrown in”. You couldn't be farther from the truth; RalliSport Challenge 2 has undergone some serious modifications. The cars handle much better; the graphics engine is completely new & looks really sweet & the sound is also a huge improvement. You got to see it to believe it. The best just got a whole load better!

RalliSport Challenge 2 pulls out all the stops with its new features such as online play through the Xbox Live service, new race modes, and even more beautifully modeled cars and tracks. Five different race types are available in the game, including traditional rally races, ice racing, rallycross,

RalliSport Challenge 2 – Xbox Review

crossover, and hill climb. RalliSport Challenge 2 combines all of the action from the world rally sports into one game. It most certainly embodies the energy and thrill of the real thing.

The controls are Childs-play. You have the accelerator on one trigger & the brake on the other. The left stick is your steering wheel and if you really need to – you can handbrake by using the A button. What makes a racing game great is “how the cars handle”; Digital Illusions' have some very stiff competition in this area but have risen to the challenge. With the likes of Colin McRae 4 already offering pure realism RalliSport Challenge 2 gives a slightly more arcade feel to the overall drive. Saying this, the cars are perfectly responsive, slide well round corners without too much skating and the different road surfaces are all represented well. When you hit the tarmac after sliding about on the gravel, it feels like your tires stick to the road like glue. Each individual car also has its individual feel with some cars performing better than others on certain road surfaces. Depending on your own personal driving style you will find some cars suit you much better than others do. I suppose at the end of the day this comes down to player preference.

Almost all Microsoft-published games these days feature Xbox Live. The Xbox Live functionality is as you would expect. Players can host their own races or simply join other hosts races. Hosts get a good standard of administrative rights; these include setting the default camera, set up of manual gear shifting or automatic, and whether or not collisions are active. Rallisport Challenge 2 also offers XSN support, this features individual and team-based seasons as well as tournaments and viewable stats via the XSN Web site.

Graphically this game is stunning. The cars look as good as they do on any other title. We have seen these kind of locations many times, although, we have never seen it looking this great! You can burn through the Australian deserts & around the streets of Monte Carlo . Ice race in Northern Canada , Hill climb in the North American mountains or even tackle the deep snow drifts of Sweden . I could go on about how nice the environments are all day but, just like life nothing is ever perfect. The draw distance for certain background objects like trees and rocks are rather short and pop-up is readily apparent on most tracks. Also, you will notice occasionally that the textures on some cars can appear to be a touch blocky, as well as a lack of splintering parts of breaking windows and for any other type of car damage. None of these issues take anything away from the game, but when you consider how fantastic the game looks as a whole, they stand out a bit more than usual. All things considered this game looks astonishing.

Sound-wise, RalliSport Challenge 2 is again very competent. Whether it is the sound of your tires screeching, your car crashing into an obstacle or your gears grinding all in-race sound is something to take your hat off to. If you are lucky enough to have a Dolby 5:1 sound system then you are in for a real treat. Musically the game is loaded with the usual stack of Rock/Electronic bands thrashing away as you fly around the courses. You will also be pleased to here you can also assign your personal soundtracks.

To wrap up, I would like to say, although this genre is one of the most washed out genres on the Xbox RalliSport Challenge 2 is like a breath of fresh air. If you have a stack of other driving titles piled up at home then you will not find much in the way of originality here. Although RalliSport Challenge 2 is likely to be head and shoulders above any of your old games. RalliSport Challenge 2 is a truly spirited attempt at constructing the perfect racing title and for now, I think it holds the crown.


9.5 out of 10


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