When the Xbox first came on the market, the only game you ever heard about was Halo. One game though that many people thought should have gotten a lot more praise then it did, was Rallisport Challenge. Since then there hasn’t been another decent rally game to hit the Xbox. Well this has all changed now that Codemasters has just released their latest rally racer, Colin McRae Rally 3 a game that gives Rallisport Challenge its first run for its money.
The Colin McRae Rally series has been around since the Playstation when the first game of the series was released it was immediately known as a solid racing simulation title that should not be passed up. Now finally the Collin McRae Rally series has made it to the Xbox with the same addicting gameplay as the two previous games.
This is not a game that hosts a ton of gameplay modes but a few that are much deeper then the typical modes. The modes include a Stages mode where you can either race by yourself or against up to four other friends. Then there is a Championship mode (the heart and soul of the game) where you play as Colin McRae with a three-year contract with the Ford Rally Sport Team.
It’s true that the "stages" mode is a mode that you just plainly race to try to get a better time, either against yourself or against your friends. This much is true, but what I found surprising is how addicting it gets when playing with a group of friends trying to get a top time. Although this is a pretty cut and dry mode it is still a lot of fun.
Like I mentioned earlier the Championship mode is the heart and soul of the game. Let’s just get one thing straight before talk anymore about the championship mode, this is not an easy game, this is a pure simulation that is going to need to take some skill and patience to be successful in this game. So if you like the challenge then here is what you are in for. In the Championship mode you will play in a total of three seasons. You start with a basic Ford Focus that has some customizable parts that you can mess with, as well as parts that you can unlock by completing races. These parts will be needed to give you an advantage over the rest of the pack in future races. If you do end up winning the championship race then you will be rewarded with the option of higher the difficulty level. Once you raise that difficulty level up a notch, you will notice the game gets considerably more difficult. Overall there really isn’t much special about the Championship mode and it lacks anything new and overwhelming that will really make you impressed.
What the Colin McRae series is all about is how well the game represents an actual rally race. Well to start with you will notice that there is a passenger in your rally car. He is like a guide who will tell you what type of turns are ahead; I like to call him your second pair of eyes who can really help you at times of need.
The gameplay (considering it’s a simulation) is quite impressive. I was very impressed with how realistic the game actually is. This is most noticeable when you crash into things while you are racing. If you aren’t great at racing titles, then you will find doors flying, windows breaking, and one beat up car.
The controls of Colin McRae Rally 3 are not difficult to learn, but are extremely hard to master. I say this because the controls are very similar to other racing titles, but learning the feeling of your car (all cars have a different feel to them) is just another story.
When Rallisport Challenge hit the market, it was one of Xbox’s best looking title. It had superbly detailed graphics, with very interactive environments, that really showed the potential of the console. So now after the Xbox is over a year old, we would hope for a better-looking Rallisport Challenge. Well Colin McRae Rally 3 in some ways is a better looking title then Rallisport, but in others it falls short of being anything but average.
To start with the best looking portion of the game has to be how much detail has been placed in the car designs. They are very precise and realistic portrayals how the cars actually appear. So the cars look great when you start the race, but as you crash into those annoying trees that seem to pop right in front of you during the race, your car won’t look as good. Codemasters did a nice job with the collision effects, which look exactly how you would expect your car would appear after ramming into several trees and fences.
There are several countries in which you will race in. Each country has different terrains in which you will be riding on, which all have different feels to them. They all appear to be pretty solid. There are several weather effects that are worth noting because they are used very effectively. For example when it rains, it pours, and sometimes you will even find some thunder in the background.
Overall though the game’s graphics are what we wish all games on any console would look like. But since that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, this makes Colin McRae Rally 3 a top looking game on the Xbox.
Like all of the games in the series the game doesn’t host any music throughout the races. Instead of listening to music you will be listening to your partner in crime giving you directions, as well as the sound of your roaring engine. The sound effects themselves are very impressive; there are some extremely nice sound effects that you don’t normally find.
Do you like racing simulations, if you answered yes, then you will most likely enjoy this racing title. The game does a very nice job of making this one of the most realistic rally car games on the console market. The championship mode isn’t the most customizable mode ever, nor the longest, but it does get the job done. I found that Codemasters should have put some more emphasis on the multiplayer modes, maybe added Live or System Link support in order to really keep the replay value and fun factor up.
Overall Colin McRae Rally 3 is a game that does a lot of things right, but lacks anything spectacular, and lacks game modes. If you are on the prowl for a rally racing simulation game, or just have had enough of Rallisport Challenge and ready for another racing title. Then Colin McRae Rally 3 should definitely be a game that you look for. If you are just a casual gamer then I would just recommend renting this one and then figuring out if you want to buy it.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.