Race Pro is an easy game to make up an opinion about. This racer carries its leaning towards realism out of the box, through the menus to of course the track itself. 360-owners that are fed up with Forza 2 will have to do their best to get the hang of the realistically modelled driving behaviour.
Luckily not only veterans of the iron horse will have fun with this. The makers did their best to seduce also newcomers with amongst other things some help options, like a suggested driving line which however isn’t dynamic. You can also adjust tons of options to make the driving feel more arcade or sim, even up to a certain height within the different difficulty degrees. If you choose everything as is then you can confidently push the gas and go forward without thinking. Refuse all help and you get a nice tight driving behaviour on your plate than isn’t only challenging and satisfying but also shows clear differences between all the cars and series. Each vehicle you enter is a totally new experience that way. On top of that there are endless adjustments possible and if you’re a gearhead you can change just about anything that’s in, on or around your car.
There are plenty of vehicles present. There’s the WTCC Championships, Formula BMW and GT Racing cars, but also Mini Coopers, Vipers and Formula 3000. Refreshing enough to not go to work with the typical classes and cars, something that gets heightened by the selection of tracks (closed or city tracks), some having rarely been added in games, which are a lot of fun to drive on. No lack of variation in that area!
The only downpoint that you can’t neglect is that everything looks a bit dull and mediocre. We don’t complain but after games like GRID we’re used to something else. If you want beauty you’ll feel a bit disappointed. Luckily the cockpit view is quite ok and that’s where you spend most of your time, no? Immersion assured! Forget the need for shiny colors and polygones and enjoy the excellent sound (which can be set to your liking) and the fantastic steering behaviour and physics. You can also adjust the controls and for example diminish or enlarge dead zones; there’s a damage model that has impact on the driving behaviour and the opponent AI is about the best I’ve seen in a game, with maybe only the human nature of Forza missing. Need it be said that this is a game for the fans?
Just like a real racing car this game (unfortunately) was stripped for some luxury options. Menus are very… boring and dry and not even always clear, and a soundtrack isn’t necessary when you want to listen to your engine the developers thought. What you do get are handy and deep tips on how to take certain corners or how you best think about a strategy to overtake someone at te end of the long straight line.
Luckily there are fewer savings on gameplay options. There a very nice Career mode that was well worked out. You need to sign contract for which you pay with earnt money or you can do a test drive and get a reduction on your contract. That way, and thanks to the previously mentioned flexible difficulty degrees, you can keep making progress and the challenge never becomes a frustration. Next to that the rest works as we’re used to: the more difficult your settings, the more money you earn and the faster you unlock or can purchase new cars. Perfect!
Once finished with that part you can have fun in the championships, time trials, training or seperate races equipped with the necessary leaderboards to prove your skills and this all spiced up with some Achievements. Multiplayer is also quite enjoyable with Xbox Live games that can have up to 12 players and more than enough options to ensure long-going variation. Too bad that not more lessons were learnt (or ideas stolen) from the brilliant option from Forza 2 and PGR4. Original is the Hot Seat mode that can’t make you forget the lack of split-screen but does offer the possibility to take turns on a track and compete that way.
Race Pro is a game that offers an incredibly good and extensive gameplay for veterans and newcomers, eventhough the first will feel a bit more at home. Next to that basic experience the presentation is too limited and spartan to make an impression. Graphicaly the game falls short compared to other current day racers and you shouldn’t count on a lot of extras. For people who prefer to have a stripped Clio V6 instead an Audi A4 TDi with xenon lights and fat wheels.