IGN Review of Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli
Since the dawn of videogames, developers have been putting players in the driving seat for racing simulations. It's hard to stand out in this crowded genre and Ferrari Challenge is a little too average to set itself apart from the pack. Most importantly, it doesn't give the player a sense of speed. These are Ferraris going 100+ miles an hour, for Pete's sake. It should be more exciting than this.
The most interesting part of the game is the tutorial, actually. Here, the driver is scored points on different aspects of their performance such as following a racing line on the ground, braking on time for corners, or overtaking your opponents. You are also deducted points for being overtaken, collisions, or driving off-track. Points are awarded or deducted on the fly so you get immediate feedback on your performance. It's a very engaging mechanic that provides more incentive than just coming in first place. Unfortunately, it's only available in the tutorial and the rest of the game is just straight forward, ho-hum racing.
You are awarded with cards for winning races, to be used in Challenge Card mode. This is a very shallow game of war where you compare cards that feature different Ferraris and their stats. For each round you select a stat and then check it against your opponent's. If your stat is higher, you win. It's a pretty pointless addition that does little to extend your experience.
The car models look ok, as do the environments. Strangely, the tracks don't curve smoothly. At a turn, the road will bend with jagged lines. The collision detection is wonky, so when you're in a pack of cars you don't get a real sense that you are bumping into them. There also isn't any damage in the game. You race on the top screen while your speedometer and map are on the bottom. This makes it inconvenient to glance down and get a lay of the land. There is also a lot of wasted real estate on the bottom screen. If they had to put the map down there, they could have made it bigger. There is no reason the speedometer needs to be this big.
Ferrari Challenge does sound good. If you ignore the cheesy videogame metal of the menus, you'll find some impressive sound design during races. As a car approaches behind you you'll hear its engine fade in realistically. The game does positional sound pretty well so engines and tire screeches will pan across your DS as cars drift from one side of the road to the other.
Single-card multiplayer is available to race against up to four friends and AI opponents. It's a welcome feature since Ferrari Challenge isn't exactly a high-profile title and your friends might not have their own copies.
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