Race Pro – First Impressions
Race Pro was always going to be a little different from GRID. I’d heard a fair bit about it online talking to the English GRID fanatics whilst running them off the road. The developers, SimBin apparently have a really good reputation for making PC driving simulators. Yes, the S-word. Simulator. The word that Codemasters threw out when they released GRID, upsetting a few fans, but creating one of the most fun, addictive racing games ever.
So with the S-word back in the game, I was excited to get back in the drivers seat and experience racing, for real.
Choosing career mode the only option seemed to be racing Minis. Oh well, I guess it will be a long hard road before I get to drive something with a bit of grunt. But a Mini will do to get me started. Reading the on-screen instructions was a little hard – reminding me of Dead Rising where all the onscreen writing was eligible for anyone not having the dosh to splash out on a Hi-Def TV. Still, if I squinted my eyes I could read it. The other obvious pointer to the reality that my 29” old school TV wasn’t a Hi-Def flat screen was the all to obvious fact that portions of the screen were missing on both sides. I’ll have to look at the settings later, because for now I had to qualify in my Mini.
Peace of cake.
Wrong. I hit the barrier on the first corner. These cars don’t turn on a dime, and breaking hard makes you go in a straight line. It’s the S-word again. Race Pro was going to demand a lot more of my concentration than most racing games.
Moving up through the ranks and driving a few different cars, I noticed something else. This simulation really has to be played from the helmet cam view. Driving from behind and above the car, it just seems sluggish, but get inside and the driving feels a lot more natural. The car handles well, but still requires that you think about things like driving line, breaking and accelerating out of corners with care.
Race Pro is definitely not an arcade racer.
I did notice a few minor glitches with collision detection on one of the cars, and graphically it seemed a little less in the eye candy department than GRID, but nothing that affects the gameplay or you ability to immerse your self into the game.
By this time I was a little bored with my career, gamer ADHD had kicked in and I wanted to see what else this puppy could do. So I went to championships and found out that I didn’t have to unlock everything in career mode, it all seemed available from the get go. I chose the touring cars, maxed out the number of opponents and off I went.
The thing I love about touring cars above all other motor sports is that a little argy-bargy is expected. It’s exciting to watch the excitement of close racing where the swapping of paint and panel damage is almost expected. It is of course a whole different ballgame when you’re driving in the race and some plonker spins you coming out of the second corner.
I can see that Race Pro is likely to be one of those games that takes a bit more patience to get into, but is much more rewarding over time. I’ve barely scratched the surface of Race Pro. I haven’t gone into car set up or explored any other facets of the game. X Box live is yet to be discovered, so this review is really nothing more than my first impressions. I’ll be back later in the month to give a full run down on just how Race Pro handles after a couple more sessions.
– Jonathan Read