Published on May 22nd, 2011 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
SEGA Rally Online Arcade Review
Release Date: May 18, 2011
Price: 800 MS Points
Platform: Xbox 360
Rally racing is a very undervalued sport. Spectators wait lengthy periods of time before a souped-up mud missile come flying around the corner-with the possibility of taking out the very legs they’re standing on. The arcade versions of SEGA Rally were the closest things players got to jumping into the driver’s seat without doing the real thing. Get ready to relive those arcade glory days and jump right back into the drivers seat with SEGA Rally Online Arcade.
Players will find familiarity in this arcade style racer. Drifting, down shifting, and some of the familiar names in racing are very well represented. It is great to pick up and play, or jump online for some quick multiplayer matches, all the while still holding that same quality in manual shift cars that you would find in other hardcore racing titles.
Tropical, Canyon, and Alpine are the first three levels that are available. These are also the most common that you will find during matchmaking. Others become available as you race through the Championship and beat out the AI in the one-on-one Lakeside race.
Players will find that the elements in each level are represented well. Sharp U-turns are blanketed in snow that allow for some slippery drifts, while kicking up mud in the countryside leaves it sticking to the bumper of your car. Other noticeable aesthetics, such as puddled reflections on the road, make the game shine even brighter and give it a quality finish.
The controls of the game are not fully customizable, but they do offer alternate button layouts. While the initial layout is decent, the most comfort was found in the second button option. The support for the Xbox 360 wheel is also a plus for racing fanatics.
While there are not an abundance of levels, they do offer some great arcade play. The glory of rally racing is that it can span various grizzly attacks from Mother Nature. Weathered desert terrain and sandy beaches containing shallow puddles are well implemented in this title.
Mashing through these terrains becomes a strategized effort with the available cars. Not only are there a handful to choose from upon first play-through, there are plenty to unlock and utilize during timed trials and Classic Rally Car play. Highlighting these cars on the screen will also display the distance driven with each car. Looking for a swift, yet powerful rally rocket? Check out the Skoda or the Ford Focus Rally Car. Online matches become challenges when pitting these against other strictly off-road vehicles like the dune buggy.
The online interactions are very fulfilling. With matches grouping up to six players, it was easy to either find a match, or host one of your own. However, the available options for play are pretty slim. Players are only limited to the simplified races and tracks. If you were looking for racing a marathon or looking for a larger circuit, you might be a little disappointed. Having the Championship mode available for online matches would have appeased a portion of these wants.
One thing that players might not like about the game is its brevity. Most of the replay value comes from unlocking new cars, beating your time or that of the leaderboards, or joining online matches. While the title is SEGA Rally Online Arcade, the Championship and multiplayer offer about the same line up of tracks and options. Car customizations would have given the game a little more substance and made it a little more inviting or middle of the road, not so hardcore, not so casual-players.
SEGA Rally Online Arcade is a pretty straight forward racer. It is also a steal for 800 points. The game offers some pretty impressive graphics for an online arcade title. Weather effects really gave this rally-racer a great feel. Online modes are simple and ready to join. The game doesn’t provide as much depth as other rally racing games and the AI only sees two ends of the spectrum. During the regular Championship mode, some players might have preferred grueling AI during races, rather than a difficult, sometimes frustrating last race. If you are a fan of the series and liked titles like SEGA Rally 3, or would simply like an arcade style racer that is fun to pick up and play online, then this should be a breeze in blowing those Microsoft points.
[xrr label=”Rating: 7.5/10″ rating=7.5/10]
+/– Online Match Profile
+/– Available Tracks