Platform: Windows PC
ESRB: E for Everyone
Developer: Slightly Mad Studios
Publisher: Atari Inc.
Released: December 10th, 2012
Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends is the eleventh installment of the Test Drive series and a follow up to the hit-and-miss Test Drive: Unlimited 2, abandoning the open world environments for set circuit races. While the attempt at professional racing is formidable, Ferrari Racing Legends is a game that punishes the player for its own indiscretions. What should be a contest of skill is mostly a struggle to subdue a wobbly physics system and make it work to the player’s favor.
Let’s start with the basics. The campaign mode of Ferrari Racing Legends is segmented into chronological order: Golden Era, Silver Era and Modern Era. While all three eras are immediately playable, progression is accomplished on a level by level basis. By completing each mini-series of races within an era, the player is able to unlock new tracks and vehicles, which makes them usable in different modes of gameplay like time trial.
While the glossy paint jobs and beautiful models of Test Drive’s Ferraris do well to breathe life into the aesthetics of the famous brand, the gameplay falls short of such glory. Its volatile physics system will see your car rag-dolled across the track for the slightest urge to counter-steer before enabling the player to corner properly. The main problem with Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends is that cars automatically correct themselves when coming out of corners, so steering to adjust your car instead leads to it frantically swinging left and right before inevitably spinning out. Changing the driving mode to “pro” only shortens the margin of how much the game corrects your car.
Even after you get the hang of the physics system, Ferrari Racing Legends is a game that constantly commands discipline and attention. Throttle control, brake pressure and smooth transitions between both can often times lead to a more cooperative car. However, even when you adhere to the delicacies of precision driving, every corner is like walking a tight rope without a harness. The slightest imbalance in each turn can send your car spinning out, and if you even so much as brush against a wall then an almost magnetic attraction forces you to ride against it. The severity of both alternatives will likely put you too far behind to successfully continue the race.
It’s minor flaws like these that make you appreciate the game’s lack of variety. Tracks offer no night time option and your weather selection is narrowed down to ‘sunny’ and ‘cloudy.’ Many of the circuits are generic grasslands and dull, open environments that have little scenic value and fail to bring out the full potential of the game’s presentation. The damage physics in Test Drive aren’t readily apparent, either. The only thing that truly warrants damaged bodywork is a blatant crash that’ll likely draw you to restart the race.
One of the few laudable things about Ferrari Racing Legends’ crazy physics system is watching how AIs cope. Driving close to rival computers will trigger their hilarious, scrambling attempts to weave around your car while others will go as far as to swing onto the shoulder of the road to get away from you. Tapping their cars and playing a little game of bumper hockey draws comically nonsensical results, such as your car being thrown into a dramatic spin or your adversary tumbling across the street into a series of rolls that barely even crumple the ever resilient bodywork of their car.
While I would review the multiplayer, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find anyone online on Ferrari Racing Legends, and I can’t say I blame the absentees. What’s a decent sense of speed when your car is liable to handle the upcoming corner in the most illogical way possible? The physics of the game pique frustrations on smaller tracks that draw light to the catch 22 that is Test Drive’s demand for technique –requiring tighter handling through an unforgiving system that barely even allows cornering on an open track.
God help you if your car shows even the slightest signs of losing control, because being forced to rely on the game to automatically correct it can often times result in a one way trip across the side of the road (which the game penalizes you for). While a lot of Test Drive’s grievances against sloppy driving make sense, the inane physics system invalidates its brutal critique. In essence, the player is reprimanded for the developmental flaws of the game and how it plays.
For all of its fluorescent daytime beauty and roaring engine sounds, Ferrari Racing Legends falls short in the area it prides itself on most: Racing.
- Over 50 licensed Ferraris to drive from various eras.
- Moderately challenging
- Beautiful graphics and powerful engine sounds.
- Ridiculous physics engine
- Generic tracks and lack of weather options
- No customization or tuning
- Repetitive in every sense of the word.
6 out of 10.
Article from Gamersyndrome.com