Reviewed: December 20, 2009
Released: September 26, 2009
Racing is a national past time for countries all over the world. Be it Rally, BAJA, NASCAR, Formula 1. When it comes to racing, Iím a big fan of off-road racing like BAJA, but one of the most interesting racing spectacles is that of the WTCC and the STCC. Both of these motor events feature some of the best drivers and fastest cars in the world.
SimBin, makers of GTR Evolution and Race Pro, bring us the next installment in their racing simulation franchise this year with Race On for PC. SimBin is known for recreating the WTCC and STCC in brilliant detail. This year they continue to carry that tradition once again and they brought friends this time. Included in Race On we get access to the International Formula Masters as well the Camaro Cup Challenge.
Race On, as most know, is a race simulator in the style of Gran Turismo and Forza and is the only official game of both the WTCC and STCC - World Touring Car Championship and the Swedish Touring Car Championship respectively. This new addition to the series features the complete FIA WTCC í08 season as well as the í07 season. Players can also compete in the 2008 STCC season as well.
To say that Race On is just another racer would be a gross mistake. Race On is a very deep title and offers hours of quality fun for those seeking to tackle it. There are various modes of play to choose from each with their own challenges. You can choose to compete in full race events such as the Imola 08 using the WTCC í08 class racing as Robert Huff for instance or shake things up and do the same course with Kasper Anderson driving a Formula Master car.
The real meat and potatoes of Race On however is the Championship mode. In this mode players can take on a WTCC í08 or í07 championship or the STCC í08 championship. Each of these championships features a total of 11 to 12 racing events. Once you start you must see your championship run to the end. Luckily you donít have to do this in a single sitting as it saves your progress. Players receive points based on their finishing position. The player with the highest points total wins.
There are various other modes such as time Attack and Practice mode as well as a Multiplayer mode based on the version that you install. Race On comes with two version of the core game in this 2 DVD package. You can choose to either install the offline version (no activation required) or the online version which requires Steam to install as well as the included activation code.
Regardless of which version you install, Race On comes bundled with full versions of Race í07 and STCC: The Game. Thatís a lot of racing to be had and one hell of a deal considering Race On retails for around $30 bucks. Race On really isnít a new game but Race í07 with new cars and the WTCC í08 season added. To me this isnít really a bad thing as players can experience every bit of detail that Swedish developer SimBin has put into making the Race franchise as realistic as possible to the sport that it is capturing.
Race On features several control options to choose from such as a standard keyboard and mouse to an Xbox 360 Controller to the Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo Wheel. While I am primarily a keyboard and mouse kind of guy there are certain PC titles where a keyboard can be not as responsive as Iíd like. For instance no matter what PC racing title I play my finger can be pressing all the way down on the accelerator and yet my car still manages to decelerate regardless.
For these types of titles, I turn to a racing wheel or a gamepad. For this review I choose to use a wired Xbox 360 controller and had no issues controlling my car. The only downside is that even when using a controller I still have to select menu options with a mouse which is a small inconvenience.
Race On and the included bonus games are all exquisitely done. As my fellow staff reviewers have said racing games are best played on the PC as the level of detail is time and time again better than any console racer. Sure console racing games like Forza 3 are getting amazingly detailed in the graphics department but one look at a racing title on a powerful rig and youíll see what racing titles can really look like.
The detail of the cars and especially the interiors with the graphics set to max are nicely detailed and feature working lights above the steering wheel. The reflections on the hood are not as advanced as some recent titles but I donít think youíre really going to have time to pay attention to your hood unless you drive in hood cam mode.
The environments are also worth mentioning as well as each real world track is beautifully recreated by the people at SimBin. As most North Americans, like myself will never actually get to see these magnificent tracks shy of seeing them on TV, this is the closest well ever get to seeing the real thing.
As with all racing titles, sound is very important. The music throughout the title consists of various race commentaries from real races mixed with small bits of instrumental music. The cars are the real centerpiece as far the sound of Race On is concerned as it should be. Each car sounds really good as you rev the engine or shift gears. Each car has its own distinctive sound and you can tell SimBin took the time to make their cars sound as believable as their real-life counterparts.
As I mentioned above Race On had a lot to offer for the $30 dollar price tag. You basically get three games for the price of one, each with plenty of modes to keep you busy. Race On features 39 unique cars ranging from classic touring cars to American muscle cars to the deadly fast formula cars. There are a whopping 450 different car variations across 17 classes for players to choose and tune their ideal racing machine from. You can literally spend a half and hour or better tuning your car before you even start a race. Players that install the online version can also test their skills and their cars against 24 people via the Multiplayer and see where the stand on the global boards when the checkered flag drops.
Race On is a title that takes patience and dedication to master. It is not a title for the casual racer. I am a far cry from calling myself a hard-core racer when it comes to these types of racing titles but I welcome the challenge. The only way to get better is to keep at it. For those that seek a challenge or fans of the series, I highly recommend Race On.