Reviewed: November 20, 2010
Released: November 3, 2010
I love racing games, pretty much all types of racing games whether they are unrealistic arcade games or incredibly rich and detailed simulations. So while I was sitting here waiting for Gran Turismo 5 to eventually ship along comes this relatively obscure game called Superstars V8 Racing, also for the PS3, but offered as a $20 download through the PS Store and not as a retail release. Since I had nothing else to satiate my racing urges I decided to check it out and was pleasantly surprised and slightly disappointed at the same time.|
At first glance Superstars V8 Racing looks like a major AAA release with fantastic visuals, excellent car models, and plenty of racing action making the most of 11 official teams, 19 official drivers, 10 realistic tracks, and even a competitive 12-player online mode. Solo racers can still enjoy Quick Race, Race Weekend, Time Attack, and Championship modes.
Race Weekend proved to be an interesting mode in that it includes the various phases of a real weekend race event including practice sessions to fine-tune your car, qualifying events to set your starting position, and finally the big race to cap it off. Championship takes that premise and spreads it across an entire season of racing. And if you loved those license tests in Gran Turismo then youíll certainly want to check out the 20 tiered challenges that make up the Superstar Licenses.
The game looks great with realistic visuals, great car models, weather effects, and stunning tracks and environments. Replays look like a TV broadcast of a real event. Car handling and physics are handled with various degrees of realism that you can adjust in the settings with a series of toggles and sliders for Driving Assists and Realism Settings including tire wear and car damage.
If you love to tinker as much as drive then youíll love your options in the Pit, where you can access volumes of data recorded by your car, for speed, acceleration, braking, and suspension graphs, and all sorts of telemetry data including RPM, gears, torque, and lap times. You data is visually plotted on a track map so you know when and where it was recorded. You can use all this information to customize your own car settings or let your mechanic pick from one of the presets.
Sadly, all this realism is lost when you are forced to play with a standard gamepad. There is no wheel support and you canít even use the SIXAXIS for steering. This turns what could have been a very competent sim into just another game like TOCA or GriD. Itís still fun to play but racing purists will certainly jump ship when GT5 finally arrives.
Superstars V8 Racing look good and sound great with DTS support that really captures the engines sounds of these high-performance racing machines. There is a catchy opening video with pumping music and some nice music for the menus. I was disappointed by some excessively long load times at just about every menu and screen change; especially for a downloaded game that is residing on my hard drive.
At the end of the day, if you are looking for something to hold you over until GT5 gets here you might want to give Superstars V8 Racing a test drive. It has all the features and polish of a big-budget simulation, at least until you leave the pit area, and find yourself in a slick arcade racer with a lot of features and some aggressive computer AI. The multiplayer could be fun but I never found anyone playing online so good luck with that. Iíll give this game a cautionary wave of the yellow flag for nowÖ