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February 21, 2005
Colin McRae Rally 2005 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
28/9/2004AtariCodemasters1-4, 8 GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
4115KBDolby Pro Logic IIYesNoNoneNo

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CMR2005 looks very impressive.
Youíre waiting at the line for the lights to change. You see heavy rain slanting left, meaning a heavy wind which will affect your cornering, and make the road more slippery. The light turns to green, and you speed off, hoping to get a good first section time with a clean start. Colin McRae Rally is back to take over your life, with a shiny new 2005 coat of paint, and isnít she a beauty...

First off, I think it needs to be said that this game looks just lovely. Whoever thinks that the PS2 canít produce impressive visuals anymore needs to be dragged out into the street and shot. The cars are all intricately modelled, and it pains you to tear beautiful chunks from them in-game - even though they look even better with the windows smashed out, mud on the wheel arches and up the back, with one wheel running on metal... As for the courses, they also look great although the far-off backgrounds arenít up to much, the feeling of depth and distance is better than ever before and the detail both on the road and at the roadside is a testament to how much attention to detail has been spent during the development of this title.

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Replays are quite spectacular.
The main bulk of Colin McRae Rally 2005 comes in the Career mode, which starts you off as a lowly semi-pro rally driver, and lets you work your way up the ranks. You start off with just a couple of cars to begin with, but as you win trophies and tournaments, you unlock not only new ones, but also possible upgrades for the motors youíve got, and skill points which let you compete in harder events. This method really makes you spend hours and hours slugging through every inch of the career mode in order to unlock everything, and with the new handling McRaeís got under itís bonnet, slugging has never been more fun.

The cars now handle with realistic weight, meaning you can slide the back end out with more precision than before. This also leads to a few teething problems until you get used to it - youíll be fighting to keep the carís ass on the track. Every car in the game handles differently, not just in speed and ease of turning, but in loads of other things, so it doesnít feel like youíre always driving the same body shell with a different paint job, as is the case with certain other driving games. Combine this with the devilishly challenging track design, and youíre onto a lot of fun here.

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Better turn around.
Of course you can also drive as the legendary Colin McRae himself in Championship mode, using whatever car you want, and taking on the champions. This isnít advised for beginners, as the cars are pants-wettingly fast , and your brain struggles to catch up with what itís being shown until you crash out and slow down - and you will crash, oh yes. This mode is much more about damage control, and making sure youíve got the right suspension level and tyre type to ensure victory. This modeís for the wannabe McRaeís out there, who know their pea gravels from their light gravels, but anyone else is going to find it pretty damn tough to stay in the competition.

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The car's getting dirty.
Driving through the stages and getting through the other side relatively unharmed is a very tough task, believe me. It takes all of your concentration to get the timing for slides right, as sliding a foot off line and clipping a wall or a tree can cost you vital seconds. If you miss a direction, youíll end up ploughing into a bunch of trees, or going down the completely wrong road. Colin McRae has some truly realistic looking stages with plenty of junctions that try and mislead you. Challenging as it is, I keep finding myself negotiating the frighteningly fast, wood-lined and winding stages of Norway, with about 5 metres visibility ahead due to heavy rain (and I mean heavy) constantly tying to beat my pb.

Colin McRae Rally 2005 is the best rally game Iíve played in a long time. The handling feels oh-so right, and the cars look stunning. Thereís enough to keep you busy here for a while thanks to the new career mode, and after youíve gone through the offline modes, thereís also the online mode to try out, which extends the lifespan even more. Despite a couple of flaws, including a strange lack of reset button, this game is worth selling your mother for, that is, if you didnít sell her to buy last yearís game.

Review By: Neal Murray-Walters

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version)
GRAPHICSSome of the best graphics I have seen on a PS2 game yet...
SOUNDSound quality fantastic in all areas, except for you co-pilot.
GAMEPLAYBasically the same deal as all other rally games, but better.
VALUE$99.95 is a little expensive with so many cheap games these days.
OVERALLColin McRae 2005, a fantastic game even for non car game lovers. Is there enough to warrant a purchase for owners of previous games? Probably, as long as you want to play online. Certainly worth considering.

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