G1 Jockey 4 - PS2 Review
“Horse racing simulator”. It’s not exactly the most popular of genres. But with almost everything, from car racing simulators, to pet simulators through to actual life simulators being turned into games nowadays, why not? In fact, G1 Jockey 4 is, as the title would suggest, the fourth title in the series. So is it the Gran Turismo of horse racing? Want to find out? Then read on…
|An entertaining replays.|
Let’s start out with something that I personally find quite amazing. There is a story mode. And not just any story mode, but an incredibly deep story mode, which rivals even some RPG games in length. We’ve read reports of finishing the game in less than 50 hours, but frankly, any average player is going to take well over that to get through this massive career of horse racing.
Basically, while long, the story is quite simple, at least to start off with. You were once a young child (shock! Horror!) who saw a jockey win a big race. Since that day it’s been your life-long dream to be a jockey. After a very uninspiring ‘cut-scene’ (for lack of a better term – more on that later), players will pick up for their character at the end of their graduation at ‘jockey school’ (now there’s an interesting resumé note!).
|There's plenty of text...|
G1 Jockey 4 picks up fairly quickly, with many optional tutorial levels. From there, players are pushed right into 4 mock races to complete their graduation, before picking a stable to be affiliated with and officially kicking off their racing career.
While we’ve read that the game may actually ship with an optional specialized joystick, we cannot confirm this and as our review copy came without one, we will say this much; the controls scheme is ridiculously complicated, sometimes needing up to 5 buttons to be pressed at the same time. The PS2 controllers simply weren’t built for this! Basic horse movement uses the two analogue sticks and is almost entirely about timing, but players will no doubt find themselves losing the majority of their races until they work out the game. The control scheme, coupled with the games incredibly unforgiving nature makes this, truly, one of the most difficult games we have ever reviewed here at futuregamez.net. To this day, we cannot work out how to win races each and every time. This game is definitely only for the die-hard horse racing fanatics.
Difficulty aside, G1 Jockey 4 has few flaws really, apart from these horrid cut-scenes, which rather than be animated, are simple anime-cutout style people who talk without voices… and with the amount of dialogue in this game that is a hell of a lot of text to wade through. However, if you can get you’re head into it and read it all and take it all in, you will be rewarded with what seems to us a very nice attempt at digitalizing the horse racing world.
|...as well as stats pages.|
Speaking of digitalizing the horse, these horses look exceptional, and are only a few steps away from looking real. The horse and jockey animation is also superb and while the levels are repetitive and bland, they ARE horse-racing tracks – there isn’t exactly a lot that can be done with them. Graphically this game is an A+ if you exclude the cut-scenes.
Contrasting the superb graphics, the sound in G1 Jockey 4 is very sparse, and what is there isn’t that great. A lack of in-game music, few in-game sounds and very annoying menu music (think a hotel lobby or lift) means that players will want to have some music going while playing this. That said; I’m not entirely sure just how much sound could be added into the game without ruining the feel of it some.
|Actual in-game racing screen.|
So how do we grade a game like this? Basically this is a reviewer’s nightmare – it’s perfect for the people who want it. But for about 98% of the gaming market, G1 Jockey 4 is going to be a horrible addition to the collection. It’s incredibly difficult and technically half-hearted, but if you happen to be a horse-racing fanatic then this just might be your dreams come true.
Review By: Michael Hutchesson
Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version).
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|GRAPHICS||Very nice indeed. Almost real horses and amazing animation for both horses and jockeys. Fitting environments but horrible cut-scenes.||78%|
|SOUND||The little music there is - nothing short of psychotically annoying. ||43%|
|GAMEPLAY||Amazingly difficult. Not at all intuitive control scheme. Feels a bit slow-paced for racing too.||64%|
|VALUE||The game is massive. Definitely a good buy if you’re into it.||84%|
|OVERALL||As a horse racing sim – beautiful, amazing, wondrous. But does that make it a good game? Up to you really.||65%|