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November 3, 2005
V8 Supercars 2 - Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
1/9/2005AtariCodemastersSumo Digital
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

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There's nothing like a HSV.
I know what you are thinking... not another PSP racing game. Well yes it is, but this is V8 Supercars 2: : Ultimate Racing Simulator (to give the game it's full name), so there's none of that Burnout styled arcade racing Ė these babies handle like panzers and grunt like pigs. If you are anything like me, and Burnout Legends has been welded into the PSP, then this game will be a shock. In Burnout Legends hooning around a corner, wiping out a car, and roaring off is rewarded with a turbo boost. In V8 Supercars 2, the reward is a missing wheel and last place. I initially found migrating to V8 Supercars a very frustrating experience, but slowly the gameplay becomes slightly easier as you start to learn, or re-learn your driving skills. You know, the real ones Ė not Burnout physics.

The main aspect of the game is the career mode. Assuming the identity of a rookie driver, players are required to work their way through the ranks and up through the circuits, racing in many different classes Ė from Rally, Supertrucks, GT, Street Racing and of course, the V8 Supercars. This mode is pretty linear, you simply complete each car type as you progress through the game. Your game status is shown as a percentage as you complete the various race meets. You have an Obi-Wan type figure guiding you through the game and whom also provides commentary through your intercom during races. There are also a few cut scenes between races to kick the game along a bit more, highlighting your success, or lack of.

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Note the PS2 advertising!
Players migrating from console versions should have no problem picking this up and adapting to the 15 different car classes. Newcomers to the series such as myself may take a while to get used to it. Frankly this is a pretty challenging game and, for me at least, most of the challenge related to the handling of the cars. Novices will need quite a bit of practice first - I must admit I found the learning curb to adequately control the Formula Ford was particularly infuriating.

As well as the career mode Codemasters have included a Simulator Run which is like a free drive, as well as a Time Trial. Your progress through the trial run is tracked. Wireless multiplayer is in full support, with up to 12 users. Unfortunately, I couldnít even find one other person with this game, let alone eleven more. But you never know, the next door neighbor might get this game at some stage.

In the options menu, as with most racing games, you can customise the game to your liking including the ability to toggle display settings, analog nub sensitivity (which makes using it a bit easier) and make the car noises go a bit louder. Unfortunately there is no option for bonus grid girls.

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Is that a Skyline?
V8 Supercars 2 is not a game that you can pick up and play if you only have a few minutes to spare. Apart from the load times, which to be fair arenít painfully long, but long enough to be mildly annoying, coupled with the fact that courses simply take too long considering this is a handheld system. Even the simulator run takes too long to get into. Players will want to avoid the analog nub for steering, itís simply too imprecise. As mentioned, this can be modified in the options menu, but even then itís probably going to be a struggle to use.

This is one good looking game. Having briefly played V8 Supercars 2 PS2, I can safely say that this doesnít look too far off. The frame rate remains steady; I have yet to fault it. Car models look appropriately good, albeit a bit scarcely detailed. Vehicle damage is rendered quite nicely, frequently a wheel would snap off or the windshield would shatter, much like what happens when I head out to the shop. Game play physics arenít very realistic, but having not driven a V8, or even possessing a full licence, I donít think I am the most appropriate person to talk about what they should actually look like. Of note are the cut scenes which are animated very well, and look extremely realistic.

If I had one complaint, it would be that in-game texturing isnít quite as good as they could have been Ė roads should look smoother and more detailed than they are here, but this is nit-picking stuff.

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Classic cars...
Not being required to do much more than make assorted car noises, V8 Supercars sounds more than adequate. Featuring no in game soundtrack, there is a feature that allows users to download a small program from Codemasters web site to the memory stick to facilitate custom soundtracks Ė an indication that this was added late in the development. This is a PSP first, and a welcome addition, but ideally it would be custom out of the box.

V8 Supercar fans Ė and you know who you are Ė this game is for you. If you donít like the handling of previous console and PC versions, then the PSP port of V8 Supercars 2 isnít at all going to change your opinion, even with the analogue sliding stick. But for fans of the series; buy it now, I donít think that you will be disappointed.

Review By: Ben Gourlay

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GRAPHICSA very faithful port of the PS2 version Ė no mean feat.
SOUNDServiceable, but nothing mindblowing. Custom music is a nice touch.
GAMEPLAYNot the kind of game you can play if you only have 5 minutes to kill, this game rewards putting a lot of time and effort into.
VALUEI will safely say that there is quite a lot of re-playability here.
OVERALLIf you are a racing fan and donít have this game yet, donít walk - run to the shops and pick this up, you won't be disappointed.

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