It was while playing Sega Rally Revo that I was struck with a question that I have yet to be able to answer: In this video game climate is there enough room for an old school arcade racer? It used to be that gamers were just happy to have a game that resembled what you got in the arcade, but these days it feels like every game is trying to be as deep and customizable as possible. Even games that used to be traditional arcade racers (like the Project Gotham Racing series) are starting to look more like Forza and Gran Turismo every day. Is there still room for a simple arcade racer anymore?
While not perfect, Sega Rally Revo makes a convincing argument for the return to the days of no frills racing games that were all about looking good and impressing you with their fast action. That shouldn't be too surprising, since Sega's newest racing game is actually just the next installment of their twelve year old arcade racing franchise. Sega Rally Revo is the perfect title for all of those gamers who have been turned off by the more realistic direction most racing games are going in, it's a return to the days when you didn't have to worry about upgrading your vehicle and thinking about realistic car damage. Sega Rally Revo is just a fun, balls-to-the-wall kind of arcade racer that you don't see much of anymore ... and I like it.
Sega Rally Revo is split into a few different modes, all of which are pretty standard in this kind of arcade racer. The game's main single-player mode is the Championship Mode, which we'll get to in more depth in a moment. On top of that you get the standard Quick Race (which throws you into one of the tracks and lets you race without worrying about earning points), Time Attack (where you challenge the fastest times on any given course), and Multiplayer (where you can go head to head against people online and off). Don't expect to see a lot of new modes when playing Sega Rally Revo, this isn't the kind of game that innovates on the formula.
Chances are the mode you will spend the most amount of time with is going to be the Championship Mode, which plays like a traditional single-player racing campaign. This mode is split up into several different leagues, each with their own set of cars and awards to win. You start out in the Premiere League, which consists of standard rally rides like the Subaru WRX STi and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. After you've earned enough points from racing the various tracks you will be able to move on to the Modified League (which features cars like the VW Golf GTI and Grande Punto Rally) and then the Masters League (where you race classic rally cars like the Lancia Super Delta HF Integrale and Lancia Stratos). The scoring system is simple, each race is worth a total of 10 points (assuming you come in first), the object is to come in first as many times as you can so that you can earn a total of 340 points in each league. Earn enough points and you will unlock new cars, different color schemes, and maybe even a few achievements.
Unlike most racing games where you have to figure out what car will work best against your opponents, in Sega Rally Revo most of the cars you can choose from are good enough to beat whatever is thrown at you. You'll never have to worry about upgrading the car's turbo or engine, the most you ever have to worry about is what paintjob the take and whether you want it to be better off-road or on (one gives you better control when you're off-road, the other is faster when you're on a solid surface). This is pure arcade action, and if you're the kind of gear head that likes to go in and customize your ride, then you will quickly get bored of Sega's newest racing game.
While this is nothing more than an arcade racing game, there is something of a learning curve when it comes to actually sitting down to play the game. At first the game feels completely unruly, I sat there for the first half hour with the feeling that I was never actually in control of the vehicle. I knew that I was racing on slippery surfaces, but for the first few races it just felt like I was bouncing from one wall to the next for no good reason. And then it all finally connected, and from then on I was able to get first or second in just about every race. The truth is that I should have known what to expect going in, this is the same out of control style that people either loved or hated about the first Sega Rally game on the Sega Saturn, and it makes perfect sense for Sega to keep the original game's overall feel.
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