SEGA Rally Reader Review
My eyes are pining. Not for the fjords but for the visual cornucopia of pleasure that is Sega Rally. For having gazed upon the hyper-real vistas of perfection that the Sega Racing Studio has created, everything else in this world is drab and tedious in comparison. I find myself driving around the M25 looking up into the sky expecting to see jet fighters leaving coloured smoke trails. I walk by the sea here in Brighton and am disappointed not to see geysers firing plumes of water high into the air. There are no gliders drifting at the periphery of my vision, majestic and serene, as I splash through a puddle on a track that consists of a clay gravel; an impossibly beautiful puddle on an impossibly beautiful gravel track. If Botticelli had painted puddles instead of women on oyster shells rising out of the sea, then surely these are the puddles he would have depicted? Sure games look great these days, but this is different. Gears of War may look the business but it�s grey and scary. Bioshock is colourful and stylish, but it is also moody and dark. The Art Director on the team must have had strict instructions about the colour palette in Sega Rally. �No this blue is not blue enough! It must be the colour of a sapphire glistening at the bottom of a tropical lagoon! This green is not right; it should be rich like the verdant jungles of the Amazon! Are you mad? These reds are not red like the blood coursing through my veins as I survey your incompetence! Back into your cubby-hole artist, bring me BEAUTY, bring me PERFECTION, I demand it!� However they achieved this, make no mistake Sega Racing have made a game that is simply stunning to look at. It is a game that looks superb and makes you feel happy. So many games elicit, fear, aggression, paranoia and tension through their art style and that�s no bad thing but Sega Rally makes you feel good about yourself and good about games. It�s like your HD TV is beaming Dopamine rays directly through your optic nerve.
This feel-good factor is part of what Sega Rally is saying about gaming, about Sega Rally as a brand. Yes, this is a rally game, but hey, first of all this is an arcade game. Sega Rally wears its arcade heritage with pride and is a beacon of pick up and play pleasure in a gaming world obsessed with options, game modes, match-making, level editors and all the rest of the bells and whistles that seem de rigueur for a modern console game. Sega Rally says you don�t need that, you don�t need narrative, don�t need Hollywood voiceovers and the ability to map your own face in a game. Sega Rally knows why you are here, you just want to have fun right? You want to race in lush environments, get excited, laugh and win! Sega Rally can help you do this. Yet it�s not all gloss without depth. The 33 Rallies contained within will offer you a challenge and it�s likely you will hit your own personal gaming wall somewhere along the game progression. This is to be expected, this is an arcade game where repeated play will reward you with success. The more you play the 16 tracks the more intimate you become with them, the better you will be. There is tangibility to the intimacy too, because these tracks are not just a collection of winding corners and hills. Every surface is different and has an effect on your car. You feel the difference from icy roads to the tarmac tunnel that is free of snow. When you drive through a deep pot hole filled with water, your car slows and accelerates out; leaving behind a set of those well documented track marks. The surface deformability of the track actually has a purpose and meaning. More than eye-candy it changes the way you drive. Moving out of the racing line to avoid getting caught in these ruts becomes a strategic choice, indeed choosing your line knowing next time around there are going to be deep tramlines in the track become a considered decision. Yet it is never that hard, or becomes a chore. Freed from the fetters of simulation this game delivers thrills and joy in a way that a more serious rally game like DIRT struggles to emulate. In fact even with the asinine whining of Travis Pastrana, Colin McRae: DIRT seems po-faced and overly serious compared to the effortless sense of fun Sega Rally provides. In between the Forza 2�s and PGR4�s, Bioshocks and Halo 3�s of recent weeks don�t let this incredible gem of gaming excellence pass you by.
9 / 10