Before I get deep into the review, I want to put some context on the situation that I am in. Racing Simulators and I do not agree with each other most of the time, and we shift to a firm dislike when the time comes for us to get close. Whether that’s the simulators actually expecting me to complete a difficult task, or myself expecting to have fun with said game, either way, the experience is mostly...ok, pretty much always discouraging. Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends makes no exception of that, but I find myself still able to actually sit down and race around without wanting to snap the controller in half. Let me explain.
Upon booting the game up, it seemed like there was something lacking, like…excitement. When you start up Forza for the first time, you hear that engine roar, followed by stunning graphics and an overall vibe that the game is going to rock. With Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends, the intro video just seemed plain, and unexciting. My expectations of this game were poor to begin with, and with the degrading intro, I didn’t see those expectations changing. When I jumped into the main menu, I did what anyone would do and start a career. You have three time periods to play in, starting way back in the classic era, right up to modern-day vehicles. Although, I should note that the only thing you drive are Ferraris. I decided to start off with the Modern era, and upon entering a race, I was given a pretty standard mission to pass all other cars and place in first, like you would expect in any type of racing simulator. For a first mission, this should be a piece of cake, but after several failed attempts and a few PG rated outbursts, I quit. My rage induced feelings on the overly aggressive racing experience only got worse when I found out Test Drive’s setting was on “easy”. The game was overly frustrating due to the fact that you needed absolutely perfect driving and the ability to control your vehicle like a master. Not only that but the opponents were very aggressive as well, and you often failed the race when your car swerves half off the track.
"Ultimately, Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends slipped underneath the radar for a reason..."
Before wanting to take the game out and use it as a coaster, I decided to give the Classic Era a try. Good thing I did too because the game was actually easier. The opponents didn’t seem as aggressive, and the experience was an enjoyable one. It even felt like I was starting to get the hang of the game. As I continued on, Legends did get progressively harder, but it didn’t feel like I was left out to starve as it did in the Modern Era. After several play-throughs on certain tracks, I was able to turn corners sharper, and overall just maneuver the car easier around obstacles such as sharp turns and other vehicles. I was actually having fun on a racing simulator, and finally began getting good at the racing simulation aspect of the game. To this day, I am still unable to perform well on most of the modern day tracks, but with time and practice, I believe I will be able to best that.
Multiplayer in this game is exactly how you would expect it; you race against friends to see who comes first. You can put A.I. bots on the track to help toughen the race, or you can search online for other players. After several failed attempts to find anyone online playing this game, I decided to race with a friend to determine who would come first. It was fun, but with only one game mode for multiplayer (which was just pure racing), the experience was short-lasting, and repetition set in rather quickly.
For being an “under-the-radar” game, I was a mildly surprised with the visuals and the way the mood was set when playing in certain eras. For example, the color was set to a sepia tone when you start playing a classic race from the 1940’s, which gave you a sense of the old times. What I didn’t like is that vehicles didn’t take any damage when crashing, and that the sounds just sounded unrealistic and fake. The audio in the game rubbed me the wrong way, and even when racing with my eyes closed, I couldn’t see myself sitting in any sort of vehicle that would make a noises like that. It sounded very cheap and studio-made.
Now even though the game is fun to play during certain parts, I sadly have to state that the game also seemed rushed in a few areas, such as the crashing. The crashes, for me at least, were the most absolutely absurd crashes I’ve seen. Even though you don’t want to crash, sometimes that can’t be avoided, and if you hit a wall or barrier with speed, you will either stop suddenly, or go flipping miles and miles in some weird direction. The game wasn’t tested to its full potential. Now, if you can avoid crashing, you will feel a nice realistic racing experience, but it just made the game feel cheaply made.
Ultimately, Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends slipped underneath the radar for a reason. Games like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport already clenched the racing simulator crown, and they deliver a top notch experience because they are properly tested by industry professionals both in gaming and motorsports, not to mention that they have the budgets to support that. Not to say Test Drive isn’t a good game though, despite some glitches, any racing fanatic (especially fans of Ferraris lineup) should enjoy a solid racing experience, even if it’s short-lived. The game overall does seem like it was made in a rush, and in a last-effort attempt to keep the Test Drive series alive, but overall, it is enjoyable if you are an avid enthusiast for racing sims.
Release date : 2012-07-19
Publisher : Atari
Developer : Slightly Mad Studios
Gameplay : Racing
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