Indycar Series 2005
A true American sport it is but I do not know if the European market is up to this, after all we also like soccer better than football. Let us suppose you like to drive in circles for 200 laps at a speed of 200 miles an hour or more then another question rises: “A new Indycar has been released, but is it really that new?”.
I do not notice much difference for what concerns graphics compared with the previous edition. Everything is still quite ugly except for the sky, that is of course a plus if you prefer looking at the clouds in stead of focusing on the road. The in-car camera shows your hands at the wheel but they do not look like your hands. With those green gloves it seems that you are racing with an alien. Probably the most nasty thing are the crowds: they appear to be squares filled with triangles and ovals in different colours.
The music in this game is good. All exciting rock songs that makes the war of attrition a little easier to bear. Also contributing to that fact are the messages from the radio in the pit but if you have the moral to drive for 100 laps, everything begins to do more harm than good. I can assure you that happy fans can not make you any less jumpy when you’re finally able to pass a car after forty laps of trying.
Catching up with other cars is far from easy even if you play on the lowest difficulty setting. Losing your position however, has never been more simple. The only thing you have to do is stroke a wall for one brief second and at least three cars fly by and disappear towards the horizon. This game has a select target group because only real adepts of the sport with some technical knowledge will find this amusing. Setting up your car is really important but if you are not skilled to do so, this is quite boring and far too difficult to get right. The simulation aspect also has its effect on the race itself as you always have to follow the right line and no exception is tolerated, especially not in a race with only twenty laps. Of course this is all realistic but if it is really fun I strongly doubt.
As I said this game is only accessible for true Indycar lovers which is quite obvious when you look at the tracks: they are all the same. If they would have added some, perhaps fictional, or a track editor this game might have also been a little more available to a wider selection of gamers. An arcade mode or a mode where it is possible to race without having to know the profession’s dictionary would have helped too.
If there is one thing good about the gameplay it is the tension. Not for one moment in this race you will be able to take a rest because everything is so fast and unforgiving that you will always have to worry about staying in the right lane to get trough a bend at top speed. If you slow down to prevent from crashing into the wall, you might as well forget it. Letting go of the gas is not imaginable. Because you can choose to handle the gears manually, turn off traction control and a lot of other things this makes it a really good experience if you are into the sport.
One can play over the net too which is really a big advantage but, as I found out, this ps2 version is exclusively sold in Europe which leaves out a huge market in the United States (only an Xbox version there). This might not seem important to you but if you want some online competition I guess you will have to make arrangements on forums otherwise you won’t find much of online competition.
If you are looking for an Indycar simulation, this is the one to get as there has never been any game that came closer. If you just want to have fun racing or you are not gifted with knowledge of racing tactics and car set-ups do not touch this game because you will find yourself completely bored or frustrated as setting everything on easy is only a guarantee to end perhaps 24th out of 26 racers. Graphics have not improved or at least not much compared with the previous edition. Sound is quite good, although a better Dolby surround effect for a car overtaking yours would have added some value to its so treasured realism.