Supercar Challenge it is a brave product, without any doubt. He is brave because he agrees to compete with the likes of DIRT 2, Need for Speed: SHIFT and the eternally awaited Gran Turismo 5, which have rewritten the terms of evaluation regarding graphics in racing games. He is brave because he challenges the players
to compete from the very first moments with racing cars that, despite traction control, ABS and all the electronics in the world, offer a rougher driving experience than sandpaper. It is courageous because it builds its appeal on a learning curve so steep that it seems vertical, with opponents who take a sganassoni and sow us at the first uncertainty, and this already from the "beginner" level. Would you like it if we analyze these elements one at a time? After all, the article has just begun and space abounds.
Fasten your seat belts
It took some time, but today we are in the midst of a technical revolution that has taken the racing game genre to completely new levels of visual realism. GT5 will run at a fixed 60 fps in 1080p, at least on paper, and its competitors must adapt and argue in some way, or resign themselves to defeat. In the specific case of Supercar Challenge, there is an overall unjustified ostentation (see start screen, seasoned with the epic background of "O Fortuna" set to music by Carl Orff) of polygonal models which, while faithfully reproducing the cars, appear flat and unconvincing. The game offers a car trading system that encourages us to get the best possible results in the races to earn money. The forty-four custom-built models available can be tested (upon payment of
a few hundred credits) before purchase, and once inserted in the garage you can customize the livery thanks to a combination of paints and adhesives. The developers have added the beauty of seven views, insisting in particular on the internal ones (there are four), which appear more "raised" than usual and therefore allow us to look at the road and its surroundings in a very similar way to how it happens in reality. The car interiors are well made and equipped with a decent level of detail. The game is equipped with a damage system that acts both on the aesthetic and on the practical level, even if the cars appear much more resistant than one would expect: we had to throw ourselves several times against the protections, at very high speed, to obtain the detachment of body parts. Taking bumps results in various types of malfunctions, but in fact it is almost impossible to finish the race prematurely because you are unable to continue. With the opponents it is often and willingly done at the doors, but it is rare that a spectacular accident occurs. The technical sector, in its entirety, appears discreet but unable to compete at high levels. There are twenty-two real circuits on which to run, far from a few, and for their realization satellite footage was used that can provide not only a faithful picture of the hairpin bends and straights, but also a reproduction of the dips to make driving even more realistic. Once on the track, you will certainly notice the care taken in the design of the track and its immediate boundaries, but just look a few meters further on to realize that the outline is certainly not that of great occasions: stands full of colored balls, none person or vehicle beyond the fences, vegetation often dull and poorly defined, clouds that "distort" when the view moves, lighting system that does not scream a miracle, atmospheric effects in the average. If all this moved at 60 frames per second it would be one thing, but the graphics engine never exceeds thirty frames per second and, moreover, often accuses very visible drops. The roar of the engine changes from car to car and feels good, but there's little else to back up the audio of the System 3 title.
The long and frequent uploads that separate one screen from the other perhaps anticipate a message: Supercar Challenge he asks us to be patient, and he does so because of the three cars initially available (the Ferrari Enzo, the Pagani Zonda F and the Aston Martin DBR9) only one seems to have a minimum of road holding and does not force us to stop before tackling the curves. The speech extends to all the custom-built cars in the game, and in general the rule applies according to which a less powerful vehicle is more easily manageable than a monster with almost a thousand horsepower. Which could also be there, were it not for the fact that in this way facing a race and completing it successfully turns into an absurdly complicated undertaking. Of course, there are tons of adjustments that we can change before leaving (car height, suspension stiffness or even camber)
of the tires) to avoid finishing long at each bend, and there are also the very important electronic aids (also adjustable and possibly deactivated), but when you always qualify last and it is impossible to reach the opponents in the first positions, then it is evident that something went wrong while balancing the game's difficulty. There are two pieces of evidence to support this thesis: one is the just mentioned difficulty in controlling the car, especially when cornering and even when the clear indication of the ideal trajectory appears on the track; the other is the infallibility of competing pilots, who despite having a poor AI (if you place yourself in front of them covering the ideal trajectory they do not understand that it would be enough to turn to overtake you) never make mistakes and therefore make any comeback impossible. it does not start from crazy management of braking distances (almost impossible to implement, given the problems in road holding). The control system is highly customizable and allows us to steer with the left analog stick or the d-pad, while the acceleration can be managed in three different ways: using the secondary backbones, using the X and Square buttons or by moving the stick. right analog forward and reverse. The possibility of changing gears not only with the primary backbones but also with the aforementioned right stick is very nice. Unfortunately, the left stick suffers from the usual low sensitivity, which in this specific case makes it very difficult to keep the car on the ideal trajectory when cornering. Furthermore, if you want to be picky, the response to the stresses of the pad is not as immediate as it should be.
PlayStation 3 Trophies
Thirty-seven trophies made available by Supercar Challenge. The twenty-two bronze trophies are unlocked by completing the most varied tasks: winning the first offline and online races, completing a perfect race, demolishing a car, not touching the brake for at least fifteen seconds, etc. The nine silver trophies focus on similar issues, but are generally more difficult to unlock: you have to complete stages in career mode, win a wet race without taking damage, come back from last to first place in a race, etc. The five gold trophies imply the completion of the individual modes, while finally the platinum trophy unlocks when we have achieved everything there was to obtain in the game.
Last but not least
We understand that Supercar Challenge is a racing game that is selective by nature and decidedly atypical, which immediately puts us at the helm of racing cars that in other titles we usually see only after having done the apprenticeship on everyday cars and sedans. On the front of the available modes, however, the System 3 product has a classic and quite substantial approach, able to please everyone a little, even if with the necessary reservations. The "challenge mode", the richest and most demanding, sees us face five
levels consisting of an increasing number of races and set in various parts of the world. Each time we will have to try our hand at a quick qualifying lap, and then compete with the other drivers in search of the best possible placement. The goodness of the results obtained at the end of each event will translate into a variable number of credits, to be spent on the purchase of new cars. In addition to the usual "quick race", "timed challenge" and "tutorial" modes, we find a "tournament" mode that in the case of Supercar Challenge has been set up as a series of challenges that are unlocked as they progress and require the achievement of certain objectives to be overcome. Then there is the "arcade competition", a series of competitions that vary according to the level of difficulty (beginner, intermediate, expert, legend) and organized like small tournaments. The multiplayer mode crowns it all, available both locally via LAN and online, which allows us to create or participate in games for up to sixteen players. The search function includes a graphical evaluation of the ping, so we can select the host based on the goodness of the connection, even if we then noticed some lag even in perfect conditions on paper. There remains the usual problem of the many people without headsets, practically the majority, and it is a shame because the voice chat is handled well by the game and works automatically, without requiring the press of a button.
Supercar Challenge is a rough, difficult racing game that rarely compromises and therefore requires a particular approach. It is possible to file the driving experience up to a certain point, thanks to the numerous adjustments available, but then it is up to us to prove that we have enough talent and precision to finish the races with a podium. The AI of the opponents is not helping, unfortunately. Graphics and sound are discreet but cannot compete with what we have been seeing in recent times, while the figures tend to reward the System 3 product, particularly as regards the number of tracks. After the discreet Ferrari Challenge: Trofeo Pirelli, System 3 therefore plays the card of diversification and tries to carve out a space where there is now very little space. The result is a product for purists only, which requires a commitment well above the average and which in return offers less than what was reasonable to expect.
- If you are looking for the challenge, there is plenty of it here
- Good number of modes, cars and tracks
- Many customization possibilities
- Technically just ok
- Extraordinarily difficult
- The opponents are infallible