Review by SphericalFriend

Reviewed: 10/05/02 | Updated: 10/05/02

A fun if somewhat arcadey romp into touring car racing

Please note - this review is based on the Australian version of TOCA Race Driver, known as V8 Supercars

The TOCA racing series from Codemasters has been out for some time now, and offered an alternative to sealed track purists rather than power sliding over gravel, mud and snow which is offered by the fantastic Colin McRae series. People first complained about the sensitivity of the cars in the first two versions as they took the corner and ended up in locking wheels, which became common amoung the uninitiated. Nevertheless it still was a near obsession to get that perfect racing line.

The third game in the series, TOCA World Touring Cars relaxed the physics system and also added a swag of new cars and also international tracks whereas the first two versions only focused on the British championship, hence the name. The also added a nice new feature when racing for teams. The driver may have to score a certain number of wins, points or podium finishes to make the cut to the next level to drive the faster, more powerful cars. This was a refreshing change compared to the other racing games out there where nothing really happened after winning a championship.

Then comes TOCA Race Driver, or V8 Supercars in my neck of the woods (Australia). The game itself has several names depending in what territory you live in. The changes are only minor and subtle. For example V8 Supercars have all of the Australian tracks open right away. The tracks and cars which may be available to you first off will depend on where you live in the world.

Essentially the game plays the same (Quoting 'If a rose were called by any other name it would smell just as sweet' - Romeo and Juliet).

Graphics
If you have just played Gran Turismo 3 before popping TOCA into your PS2, it may seem to remind you of a high quality first generation game but the game have a good, smooth frame rate, only really slowing down when there is a lot happening on the track. With that said this game supports FOURTEEN cars on the track at the same time, but these instances of slowdown are few and far in-between. The damage model in this game is nothing less the amazing. Hit a barrier or another car you may shatter a window, lose your wiper blades or even the doors. I was laughing as I saw my door swinging about while taking a turn after been hit by the AI.

Sound
Pretty standard fare here. You can tell the difference if you are driving a 4 cylinder turbo WRX and V8 supercharged Holden Commodore. There is some nice music in the menu not nothing that will stick on your mind when at school or work. You have your pit chief over the radio updating you about details about what is happening on the track and compliments you every so often.

Gameplay
This adds to the already existing formula to the previous incarnation. Essentially you get offered a test drive, drive that car, achieve you team objective and move on to the next championship. If you gain enough points you'll move on the the higher level and eventually the World Championship. The game has some nice FMV centering around your character Ryan McKane who seems to have a big chip on his shoulder after his father died on the track and being stuck in his older brother's shadow. This add a little depth to the game but I don't believe the story goes anywhere. It would be nice to see some character development but then again I'm not playing Final Fantasy. There are 42 cars available which I know is less than GT3 but there are 38 official tracks and it is nice to see some of my favorite tracks (Adelaide, Bathurst and Vancouver) available again.

If you love your racing I strongly recommend giving this a rental at least. But warning it can get very addictive.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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