It's not something we make a habit of, but if we had to liken driving games to characters from one of Aesop's fables, then Simbin's previous title GTR2 would be the hare, while newcomer RACE would be the tortoise. While GTR2 was all about being faster, a little more out of control and a bit sexier (OK, so we may be pushing the hare analogy here), RACE is a slower and more sedate affair.
It's all about keeping up momentum, and you're far more likely to make it to the finish line. With lesser-powered cars than those of its spiritual big brother, RACE is a great place for any newcomers to start off at the simulation end of the market.
The driving itself is pretty solid, though owners of Simbin's previous titles may find it a bit weird to go from their fire-breathing 600bhp exotic supercars to the equivalent of a slightly souped-up family saloon. The mainly front-wheel-drive cars put much more of an emphasis on racing lines and smooth driving, and the enjoyable pack-racing features heavily. However, the racing itself is fairly easy, and dare we say it, even a little tedious.
Visually, RACE doesn't have the same lushness as GTR 2. Although the tracks and cars are modelled well, the textures don't appear to be hi-res and everything can feel a little flat. If they'd had a bit more time with some wax and a chamois, Simbin could have made RACE look great, but instead it just seems a bit unpolished.
The engine noises sound flat and samey, although much of this is down to the fact that you're literally driving half the car that you were in GTR2. In fact, we'd say that much of RACE suffers from coming after its sibling, with the lack of power and lesser graphics often combining to make it feel like much less of a product.
While there's still a decent driving model underneath, it's hard to see RACE appealing to fans who've driven Simbin's other titles, and so, this time at least, the hare comes out on top.
Just off the racing line
- Decent driving model
- Accurately recreated tracks and cars
- Good entry point for sim-racing newcomers
- Graphics lack sparkle
- Not as fun to play as its predecessor