STAFF REVIEW of R: Racing Evolution (Xbox)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003.
by Tony Ingrassia

R: Racing Evolution Box art One part Sega GT, one part Project Gotham Racing, and one part Rally Sport Challenge, the makers of Ridge Racer bring you Namco?s R Racing Evolution, a cornucopia of vehicles, tracks, city?s and options. Think you have what it takes to heat up the asphalt? R Racing Evolution will put you to the test to see if you got the ?STUFF?. Not your basic racing game, RRE puts you in a variety of races and situation, not to mention an actuial storyline were you need to earn your pay, stay on top or die trying. Does R Racing Evolution have the "stuff"? Read on and judge for yourself.

R Racing Evolution is broken into 5 modes of play:

The ?Racing Life?, where you are Rena a female ambulance driver given an opportunity to become a championship racer for G.I.V after showing her ?Skills? rushing an injured driver to the hospital. In this story mode you start as any rookie would, prove yourself by showing your skills on a test run, then work your way through 14 chapters, each offering up a new challenge, a new vehicle and a new venue, and of course with every race, earn your valuable Racing Points.

?Event Challenge? Pay your entry fee to challenge the best of the best on various tracks and in different vehicle classes, keep the pedal to the metal and take home the prize. In this mode new vehicles can be bought and upgraded to your hearts content.

In the Arcade mode you jump right into the heat of the action, pick a car pick a track, music and you?re on your way. Time Attack is pretty self explanatory, and versus mode is always a great way to grind your best friends into stains in the asphalt.

Regardless of the mode your in, each race earns you Racing Points and vehicles, all determined not only by your race results but how well you drove, how well you hit your cornering lines, the top speed you achieve and avoiding the occasional fender bender if possible also raises the purse; At any point in the game you can also take a trip to your Garage were you can view any replays that you may have saved, unlocked in game movies, demos, and the vehicles you have acquired throughout your career. R Racing Evolution puts you in Master GT, Rally, and Drag races in the premier racing circuits. Achieve your objectives by staying on top; use those hard earned Racing Points to purchase, upgrade, and pick out the next dream car for your private collection. All the races in R Racing Evolution give you the option of the racing class as well as the difficulty of the competition. Each race also offers a nice mixture of scenery and track configurations to keep even the most avid race fan happy and wanting more.

R Racing Evolution also utilizes a ?Dialogue? with the AI and pit crew depending on the race. Your pit crew will keep you advised of your current situation and give ?Constructive? criticism along the way. During Rally races you?ll be informed of upcoming twists, turns, and jumps along the way. During some races you will also be entertained by the banter of your competition, and a little ?Love/Hate? meter showing how the particular driver feels about you. Racers with ?RED? meters will try and put you in the guard rails so make friends if you can. Add to this your standard control configuration with pretty impressive response, a nice selection of tunes you can choose for each race and the ability to save your sweetest runs to show off to your friends later and this game is a nice little package.

R Racing Evolution has a lot to offer gamers with a need for speed, the mixture of racing styles is a nice touch, and the Fine ?tuning of the vehicles will appeal to die hard of the genre. R Racing Evolution may not dethrone some of our favorites, but it definitely deserves some respect.

Graphically RRE actually delivers an above average experience, nicely detailed locations, realistic physics on the vehicles, although a little sloppy at times. The vehicle designs and renderings are nicely done, and all those ?little? things were also added?dust on rally tracks, skid marks on asphalt, etc?The Cut scenes are awesome, Namco has a knack for producing some visually pleasing eye candy in this department, and I?m happy to report RRE is no different. Some interesting camera angles on replays and the addition of over head chopper views adds to the realism of the game, they got the chopper ?Shake? down pat. Not too shabby.

Dolby Digital caps off the experience giving the game a more realistic feel. The addition of multiple soundtracks to choose from was a nice touch, although custom would have been better. The sounds of the crowds and the ambient effects are all well represented, but RRE does have the usual ?Japan? feel to it, not that it?s a bad thing. The voice acting in story mode along with the AI banter is cool, but the banter gets repetitive real fast.

I think Namco delivered a solid game, my additions would be the custom soundtrack feature and XBL capabilites.

Overall: 7.8 / 10
Gameplay: 7.8 / 10
Visuals: 7.6 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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