V8 Supercars 3 Shootout ReviewCain Dornan
The V8 Supercars series of games have sold quite well in Australia, with each new title managing to scream to the top of software sales charts and maintain the lead for weeks following their release. It comes as little surprise, though, when considering our love for our very own V8 racing sport, coupled by the fact that a surprising number of Australian homes have a PS2. Regardless, its good to see an Australian sport (although the series is also available elsewhere in the world under the name TOCA Race Driver) finally being fully realized in video game form, and I dont mean in the very poor likes of the AFL games.
Although loosely based on last years console release, the portable version has received quite a few changes in order to make it more portable friendly. You wont find extensive, long-winded career modes where you must fight your way to the top. Instead, these have been replaced with a series of mini-game like series of races where you must prove your worth and skill through a series of different tests within each World Challenge championship, before reaching a final set of races where you must go head-to-head against 21 other racers. While some may tire of these practice-like mini games quickly, the change to these does offer better on-the-go gaming than what have otherwise been offered if the full console version gameplay set was ported over.
There are 5 different championships in total to take part in, all of which have been spread throughout the world, including the UK, Australia, America and wider Europe. Each championship requires you to progress through a series of training tests, which pose to test your driving skills before you enter the actual championship. Such tests include Steering Control, where you must guide your car around the track within the cones, and Braking Test, which aims to check your ability to judge your braking, requiring you to brake within several marked areas around the track. Theres also Drive the Line, where you must travel around the entire track keeping your vehicle stuck to the marked racing line. Veering from this line will lose you points; lose too many and you fail the test.
Based on your performance in each of these test, you are awarded bronze, silver or gold trophies. For those who strive to get 100% in every game, heres something thatll likely keep you busy and challenged for quite some time. Big-time fans of the sport should also be kept busy with the lineup of 40 licensed cars and 50 tracks from around the world, helping to keep the game varied.
Outside of the World Challenge mode, theres the standard Quick Start, Time Trial and Free Race modes. A multiplayer offering is also on offer, where you can take on up to 12 friends through the PSPs wireless networking. Alternatively, if you havent got any mates with a copy of the game, full Game Sharing ability has been included, allowing you to compete against 3 friends using a single copy of the game. While not outstanding, the multiplayer offering is solid and enjoyable to play.
Given that there are up to 21 cars on the track at any one time, the game manages to hold up surprisingly well in terms of its graphical feat. The cars offer solid detail and animation, particularly in the level of damage that they can sustain. While understandably not quite as advanced as its console brothers, the game offers some solid vehicular damage where every knock and scrape will cause damage to your vehicle. Careen into a barrier or another vehicle, and youll likely end up with some destroyed panels and damage suspension or steering, for example. It works well, helping to add some tactic to the gameplay as youll need to make it to the top position without repeatedly slamming into your competitors.
While not the best racer available on the PSP, V8 Supercars 3: Shootout offers a solid round of racing action that should please any V8 racing fan. Evidently designed for portable gaming, the game offers up some solid gameplay, pleasing visuals and reasonable gameplay life, making it worth a look for those interested in the sport. Its not a must-buy, and some gamers will likely tire of its offering quickly if youre expecting the same level of expansive offerings as its console brothers of a similar name. Be sure to check around or give it a rent before diving in with your hard-earned cash.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.