DTM Race Driver 3 Challenge
With DTM Race Driver 3 Challenge makes its second appearance on the PSP. Next to a couple of minor and larger improvements you’ll have to look for the biggest change in the World Challenge Mode but more on that later. Whether Codemasters and developer Sumo Digital succeeded to transfer the subtle experiences of the big brothers to the handheld is the question we answer below.
That they’ve done all they can is without a doubt. You can put the screen upside down to use the stick as analogue throttle and brakes, you can choose between several points of view, including inside the car, and there’s a custom soundtrack, a replay-mode and several multiplayer options including one that only needs one game.
As said, the Challenge Mode is completely new and you get very varying missions to improve your piloting skills for the real work later on. Think of things like following the right line, learning to break, finishing races without damage, getting a minimum average speed and navigating between cones. The difficulty degree isn’t too hard when not considering the “don’t get any damage”-missions, but those who want an extra challenge can always go for the gold medals and accompanying unlocks.
These missions are quite enjoyable eventhough there are a couple that disappoint. The drawing distance is too short to really know when and where to brake in the “stop and go”-missions and the parts where you need to follow the ideal line are quite unnecessary difficult to learn how to correctly race. Another disadvantage is that you need to get through this if you want to unlock other tracks and cars, something that lovers of single races will disappoint. These, however, are details that never bring down the bigger picture and that’s largely thanks to the extensive and good driving model.
The controls need getting used to, certainly seeing the less than ideal buttons and analogue stick of the PSP compared to home consoles, but never frustrating. Do expect gameplay that leans more to simulation instead of arcade, something that’s welcome seen the realistic and believable tracks. It’s a matter of playing carefully with the throttle and steering in and out curves in the right way.
Other consequences of this are that you get a real damage model, eventhough you have to really be reckless to truly face the consequences of this. Just like in older GT’s you can handily make use of pushing and pulling to win positions in corners. The AI also reflects this and the opponents will never win or loose in a “magical way”. The nicely try to follow the ideal line and try to make more speed than you that way.
The selection of tracks isn’t just extensive but also interesting with amongst others Hockenheim, Silverstone, Laguna Seca and the Nurnburgring. The car park got a similar treatment with variations of a Renault Clio Cup to wannabe F1-cars.
Graphically, the game makes a big impression during the first moments. Beautifully worked out menus and animations, impressively detailed car models seen the amount you get to see at any one time and quite enjoyable surroundings and tracks. Unfortunately the framerate drops all too often and this is especially annoying in the curves as you’ll be less able to precisely steer your car.
Thanks to the game-sharing options you can play with up to four people with only one UMD, and if you’ve got a couple of friends with the game you can even go up to 12 players. Definitely fun if you’ve got a couple of hours to spare on the train or so, but due to the gameplay that falls between hardcore simulation and arcade this will have less of an impact than we want to believe.
DTM Race Driver 3 Challenge has become a beautiful package. Graphically great, detailed and nicely filled with content, even in multiplayer, it will certainly know how to appeal to the racing fans amongst us. Do take into consideration the semi-realistic driving, the PSP buttons and some framedrops when thinking about purchasing this game.