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Superstars V8 Racing (PSN) Review

Superstars V8 Racing
Published by: O-Games
Developed by: Milestone
Genre: Racing

ESRB Rating:

Reviewed by: Steve Metcalf

My first thought after starting up Milestone’s latest racer, Superstars V8 Racing, was very simple and to the point.

Wow.

Released by publisher O-Games on the PlayStation network for the affordable price of $19.99, Superstars plays more like a retail release than a digital download.  In fact, there are only a couple things holding this game back from being a full-blown $60 title.  But we’ll get to those later.

The graphics and sound effects are phenomenal.  The soundtrack is well-suited for a racing game.  And the menus are easy to navigate.  But where Superstars V8 Racing really shines is in the customization. The game caters to either Arcade (my mode of choice) or Simulation.  For those of you who prefer to customize the features that separate those two (traction control, anti-lock braking, electronic stability control and transmission) you certainly can.

But the customization doesn’t end there.  Nearly every feature of the car and its handling can be adjusted from whether or not the car takes damage to regulating the ratio of every single gear in your transmission.  Admittedly, I gravitate towards the arcade style racers so I was blown away by the sheer amount of customizable aspects.  One of the nice parts of Superstars, for a novice like myself, is that you can tweak your car and then take it onto the track to see how it handles.  Not only that, but the game will give you telemetry data to allow you to analyze your changes, your driving style, and tricky parts of a specific track to look out for.

Superstars V8 Racing is deep, with 10 tracks, 11 official teams, 19 different racers and 12 player online support. The game also features myriad game modes from the single player Quick Race to the Superstars Licenses which lays out 20 different specific challenges to be met and overcome. Players will enjoy both the ‘grab a controller and play’ style gameplay as well as the ‘I want to change the angle of my spoiler’ style gameplay.  Milestone has pulled them both off quite well.

I mentioned that there were a few things holding this game back.

  1. Having to hold the R1 button to keep the transmission in reverse.  Yes, I know, you shouldn’t be driving in reverse.  But, it’s my job to drive like a lunatic.
  2. No in-game music.  Again, this is, at its heart, a simulation game.  You are meant to hear the rev or your engine, the squeal of your tires, and the rumble of the cars trying to pass you.  That being said, I’m always in favor of a funky beat or some nasty guitars playing in the background of a racing game.  Maybe its just my arcade roots talking, but it would have added some adrenaline.
  3. No career mode.  Yes, it’s true that Superstars contains the Championship Mode which simulates a season, and has a pretty creative scoring system to allow for a season-ending champion.  But I think it was Sega’s Super Monaco GP for the Genesis that handled this well.  You started off on a relatively entry-level team, with an average car.  If you started winning races, and winning points, you were invited to join a better team.  And so on up the ladder.  Something like this would have worked well in Superstars.

Superstars V8 Racing also does a few things quite well.

  1. All the cars, tracks, teams and drivers are officially licensed from the Superstars Series.
  2. The sheer level of customization to your car’s features lets you make the game as easy or challenging as you’d like.
  3. On screen corner cues were a fantastic help while driving around new tracks.  The corner cues are also color-coded, turning a deep red if you’re going into the corner too hot.

Recap:

If you’re a fan of racing, a fan of the Superstars Series or a fan of BMWs, Audis, Jaguars and their ilk, pick up this game.  For only $19.99, you’ll get quite a bit of replay out of this title.

Rating: Top Notch

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