Преглед на симулатор "S.C.A.R. - Squadra Corse Alfa Romeo"


Жанр: Автомобили

Година: 2005

Издател: Milestone Studios

Линкове за сваляне: zamunda.net

Трейлър: youtube.com

Коментари: forum.listovkite.com

This is what Blackbean Publishing has to say about S.C.A.R: "SCAR, Squadra Corse Alfa Romeo", is a stunning racing simulation which combines both realistic car physics, and vibrant graphics together with classic Role Playing Game elements to become the first 'CARPG' ever developed.” And to a certain extent what they say is true. It is not a pure racing sim in the mould of GTR - F.I.A. Racing, it is more like Gran Turismo in its look & feel. However, where the 'CARPG' comes into it is that as you progress you accumulate points that allow you to develop your driver’s skills & abilities. More on that later though.

Installing the game was a breeze, and for those interested it was installed on a hi spec pc & a Logitech force feedback steering wheel & pedals were used. Once the game is installed you can alter the graphics setting to your desired screen resolution size & then you enter the game. Once inside the game you cannot alter the resolution, which I found to be a minor annoyance. Next you create a driver profile and then you can start the racing for real. There are basically 2 modes to begin with: Instant Action & Dynasty Mode. Instant Action is exactly what it says on the tin, whereby you enter a race with only one track available to begin with & there is no detrimental vehicle damage, so if you do crash it’ll be cosmetic damage only. The object is to simply win the event for which you will be awarded credits and this mode of play is pure arcade stylee. It’s actually very good for learning how the cars handle and gives you a relatively easy introduction to the game. There are also multiplayer & online options.

You can of course jump straight into Dynasty Mode, which is really a career style of play. Here you can enter events & time trials for which, again, you race for credits and to progress your career; winning or placing in an event here will allow you to enter further events & unlock new skills & abilities. Anybody familiar with Gran Turismo will be very much at home with this style of play, die hard racing sim fans may not be so happy. In Dynasty Mode car damage is possible. You start with 100% and every time you go off course, crash or hit another car you will do damage to your own vehicle depending on the severity of the off. As you get towards zero your car starts to look very shabby & smoke will billow from under the bonnet, when you hit zero your car breaks down & you are automatically retired from the race.

I really liked this feature as it adds an extra bit of realism to the game & ensures that you can’t go charging round the circuits like a hooligan, barging all & sundry off the road & having massive impacts yet carry on driving as though nothing had happened. This really encourages you to perfect the tracks, and treat other drivers with respect as you would in reality. Better than using the backside of the other cars as braking assistance into corners..... because this doesn't work everytime! Another plus point is the AI of the game & other racers; under pressure they can actually lose it front of you. Now this can be a good thing (for track position), or a bad thing, (they take you with them). This is a 'crucial' natural racing event, which is less well thought out on some other big gun driving games. I hadn't experienced this in quite the same way before & really should be applauded. Once you’ve learnt a course and mastered your basic driving skills you really get a buzz when you string a few bends & chicanes together to produce a good race position & lap time. And this is where the game really excels as it doesn’t take too much effort to start producing results & it sucks you in very quickly. This isn’t a game that will put the inexperienced off as other racing games might & yet there is sufficiently realistic AI & physics to keep the more seasoned professional entertained for a while.

'CARPG' – Blackbean make a lot about this feature of the game as it’s supposed to differentiate it from other racing games. Using points awarded in races you can buy attributes such as Heart, Endurance & Handling. In total there are nine of these skills all of which allow you to customise your driver & increase his in race abilities such as intimidating other drivers to make mistakes or recover quicker from crashes & mistakes. You can also buy equipment such as gloves or racing suit which also again add to the driver’s skill level. Another in game feature is the “Tiger Effect”, what it does is basically rewind time a bit, the idea being is that if it’s activated at the right point you can avoid impending doom. I obviously didn’t master that one, and to me, it’s more like cheating. Certain skill attributes will increase the Tiger Effect and thus give you more time escape out of a hairy situation. Does CARPG work? Well yes it does to a certain extent, increasing your driver’s attributes really does make a difference in game but I still see it more of a distraction or gimmick rather than an integral part of the game because it takes away from the purity of the driving experience.

Ok so I‘ve talked about how it plays but how does it look? Well graphically the cars are fairly well rendered and the circuits look really good with detailed backgrounds which unfortunately you don’t get too much time to look at. Audio-wise S.C.A.R. is perfectly acceptable in that, speaking from personal experience, the road-based cars sound realistic which is a good thing, as anybody who’s driven an Alfa Romeo will tell you. There’s no sound quite like an Alfa flat four boxer engine or Alfa V6 at full chat.

Talking of sounds, this leads me neatly into a few things that I didn’t like. As part of the “CARPG” experience, when you’re in danger of being overtaken the game goes into it’s intimidation mode & the car’s cabin goes quiet of engine noise & practically all you can hear is your driver’s heartbeat thumping away. Initially I thought this was great as it really adds to the excitement & sense of impending danger. Then it happened to me as I was approaching a corner & I found I couldn’t hear the engine revs or noise so it made it difficult to judge my entry speed as I didn’t have time to look at the clocks. I’m sure I could modify the game’s audio settings to counter this & it certainly is a neat & useful trick but it’s just slightly overdone so it’s more of a hindrance than help.

Other points that I didn’t like were that for some reason the car felt slightly divorced from the driver, i.e. it didn’t feel really responsive to driver inputs/commands. Now this might be because it’s not a true sim or just something to do with the game engine itself or just due to the type of car I was in. Either way, it’s only a small niggle & didn’t really detract from the overall experience. The menu system employed by the game is slightly long winded, you have to go from one screen to next to eventually get to where you want to be. I would also point out that I experienced a number of crashes with the game & that my Logitech pedals didn’t work until I had created a S.C.A.R. profile in the Logitech software & assigned them a keystroke, which meant I had no progressive control of accelerator or brake. I would put this down to being sent a review code version of the game and I would fully expect these types of bugs to be ironed out in the retail release.

"S.C.A.R manages to draw you into the game experience very quickly without intimidating newcomers."

So to wrap up then, this game feels very similar to Gran Turismo & that’s no bad thing if that’s your cup of tea. The 'CARPG' is a nice idea and actually works quite well except for a few gripes; at least it adds a new twist to the racing sim game. S.C.A.R manages to draw you into the game experience very quickly without intimidating newcomers. However, die hard racing sim fans who think GTR - F.I.A. is the greatest thing since sliced bread may be left cold by it but for me, overall, it was a very enjoyable experience. At the end of the day I can now race some of my all time favourite Alfas, including classic ones such as the Alfa Sud & Guilia and for that I will be eternally grateful to Blackbean.