Eutechnyx is back with the Ferrari challenge series. After its decent debut in 2008 we now welcome the successor in the shape of a 15 PSN download, a seemingly bargain. At first I found it hard to determine its value though. A quick glance at the feature list learned that new features were hard to find. Sure it has a few new tracks and cars, and a whole new career mode but that’s about it. So in the end was it really worth it?
Upon entering I was offered a nice budget to buy my first car. With the credits I was able to buy anything up to the F430 challenge, a very nice car indeed. I went with the 360 Modena, one of my favorite Ferraris of all time. Great speeders like the FXX, Enzo or F458 weren’t obtainable but just a few hours of racing away.
Ferrari challenge the race experience features virtually every Ferrari ever released. From old classics like the GTO to exceptional fast racing cars like the 599XX. A great library of cars but if you want other brands your out of luck. The standard cars can be personalized by a livery-editing mode. It adds to the excitement of winning an online race and being able to show off your designs.
Ferrari Challenge the race experience has the same modes we’ve seen in the original. This includes the arcade mode, an awful mode that requires you to overtake all cars in an impossible short time, annoyingly without the ability to save your progress in between races. Luckily better racing is available in the shape of the typical time trial, quick race or career modes.
Career mode is completely renewed and now closely matches Supercar Challenge’s interpretation. Users can choose between 3 championships in different regions in the world. And depending on the region only a few cars are accepted to enter.
Arguably the most important part of a driving game is the racing, and Ferrari challenge does decently. The racing is very close and exciting. It’s especially fun to push and see the gaps between cars fluctuate.
Because the AI cars aren’t easy targets, they do take defensive lines and make mistakes (maybe a bit too much). But they tend to be a bit too aggressive. It felt like driving online but without the rammers. The computer was really fast at the hardest difficulty and it will take buyers some time to get up to pace.
Some basic adjustments are allowed to the set-up of the car, but it’s no more than the absolute basic. Suspension for example knows two settings: soft and hard. Arguably road cars offer far less adjustments than its racing counterpart, so it’s not a big issue.
More disappointing is the lack of dynamic weather, tyre wear, fuel and pit stops. These are the elements that can really mix up a race, but none of it is available in Ferrari Challenge.
Even though the racing is great I can’t help feel the lack of proper rules and winning satisfaction. There’s no engineer and the cars are all identical. So no Ferrari 599 vs 612 races possible. Penalties apply a temporarily RPM limit, which is annoying but fair. And when you win you get a couple of points and that’s it. Where are the cheers?
This has always been Eutechnyx’s strong suit. The physics were absolutely fantastic in previous games like Supercar Challenge and it’s great in this one too. Ferrari Challenge the race experience features an updated handling model and it shows. Using my G27 I felt the car’s weight shift sides and the different characteristics between the cars were very apparent. Some cars suffer from oversteer whilst others are unstable under braking. The subtle differences make the cars feel really genuine.
Sim racers will be happy to know that the Force Feedback is very strong. The car’s balance transfers perfectly to the steering wheel, as do bumps and curbs, albeit a bit weak.
With every aid off Ferrari Challenge becomes one of the hardest simulators around. These cars are very nervous creatures. A touch too hard on the throttle and the car oversteers like crazy, a touch on the grass and the car swaps ends. The perfect ingredients for true racers, casual gamers stay away!
This is where things go bad; Ferrari Challenge the race experience doesn’t look good. The circuits suffer badly from popping textures like trees, an example of very poor viewing distance on the PS3. And the cars are poorly modeled compared to the likes of Gran Turismo or Need for Speed Shift. The image overall was tinted slightly brownish and leaves much to be desired.
On the flip side it does look slightly better than the original Ferrari Challenge and looks equal to Eutechnyx’s Supercar challenge game. And when it rains the game can match the best.
Sounds wise I’m satisfied. Every car has a unique sound and the crowd cheers when you approach the main straight. Though I wonder whether the drivers actually hear that bit.
Ferrari Challenge the racing experience is a great simulator. The cars are difficult to drive and the AI cars are both challenging and lively. But the graphics leave much to be desired and the game has some issues. For owners of Supercar challenge or Ferrari challenge it’s hard to justify the purchase. But if you’re new to the series this is a true bargain.