Title: Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo
Where To Buy: PSN Store, Xbox Store, Steam, Local Retailer
Racing games are a particular breed that competes within their own echo chamber to come out on top as the most authentic and fun experience possible for a gamer to have. Over the years, games like Project Gotham Racing, Forza, and Gran Turismo have led the pack of driving simulators, and Mario Kart, Burnout, and Need For Speed have tried to battle for the most fun.
But in between these two categories is a section of racing games that aim to capture a specific audience interested in rally racing. Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo aims to satisfy this group.
Brought to the current generation of consoles by the same developer who made the Ride series, as well as the World Rally Championship (WRC) games on the previous generation, Sebastien Loeb is a competitive racing simulator specifically focusing on the category of rallycross racing, a real driving tournament that is immensely popular in Europe.
The game puts you behind the wheel of a rally car and sends you off into a variety of different terrains, from asphalt to dirt trails. Each track genuinely feels like what I imagine driving on those particular terrains feels like: skidding all over the place when driving on dirt or snow, and actually feeling like I have a sense of control when on a real road.
Unfortunately, the game isn’t exactly forgiving when it comes to this fact. On numerous different occasions, maybe even the majority of the time, I found myself getting increasingly frustrated as I slid into a barrier, or one of my tires would slide off the road and I would become trapped and have to use the rewind function.
If it weren’t for the rewind function, I genuinely don’t know how much of the game I would have accomplished. Instead of the game easing you in and making you feel like you’re improving, it employs more of a trial by fire approach where the only way to get to the next stage is to master the uncomfortable controls and overly sensitive techniques that the game gives you.
Unlike other racing games, such as a Forza, Sebastien Loeb forces the player to ease into the gas and breaks or suffer the consequences of kicking the car’s engine into the red, causing it to go nowhere, or send it careening into a wall or off the road. While this is probably to push for an even more developed sense of realism, it takes any of the fun I could have had out of the game, since I’m not an actual rallycross driver.
The game does give you a chance to start out with a tutorial, but even this wasn’t exactly an informative process of how to drive a rallycross car. Instead, the game assumes you already know how to do that from their previous games and tosses you into a dirt test track without any tips to be a better driver.
Fortunately, there were a few positives that made the experiences I had not a complete disappointment. The first thing you get to do is customize your player, team, and designs. From the names of your drivers to the colors your team will sport throughout the career, you do feel like you’re starting up from within your own company.
There’s also the most important aspect of a racing simulator, which is car customization. You gain access to over 50 car models, each of which can be changed to best suit whatever race you’re about to take part in. Allowing the player to tweak and adjust specific parts of the car helps feel like your successes and failures are largely dependent on your choices in the garage.
Also, there’s an enormous amount of things to do within the game. Over 75 different events are available within the career mode, giving people who are dedicated to finishing the game in its entirety a vast amount of different things to do. There’s also a “Loeb Experience” mode that lets you run through Sebastien Loeb’s career, something I’m sure people who are fans of the sport would find to be an interesting addition to the game.
Overall, Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo aims to make an extremely realistic simulator for fans of rallycross but makes the experience extraordinarily difficult to approach by anyone who has never played a rally racing game before. As much as I wanted to get better at the game and feel like I was making progress, too much of my journey was spent battling with finicky controls and hitting the rewind button.
- Gameplay: Frustrating, Tough to Approach
- Graphics: Solid, but Nothing Miraculous
- Sound: Great Sound FX
- Presentation: Realistic Version of Rallycross, Difficult to Get a Feel For
- Realistic aim for both terrain and controls
- Excellent sound and audio effects
- Numerous customization options
- Extremely difficult for newcomers
- Lack of feedback for improvement
- Confusing, difficult to handle controls