XBox: Colin McRae Rally 2005

Until recently I had 2004 and found it very hard to go anywhere with it. Cracking the Championship was tough and required repeated attempts, and it turned into frustration and long sessions, something I am finding less and less time for nowadays.

So I’m glad to see that with 2005 the Championship seems somewhat easier, although I haven’t progressed through the first yet, I did finish fourth on my first attempt. I have no fear that my next attempt will yield a podium.

Something that immediately hit me was how much easier it seemed to understand the changes I needed to make to the car for the next stage. I remember with the previous version it would take a little bit of time, but here it’s very quick to get you back out racing. I like that.

Instead of the Championship, what I have been doing instead is racing time trials on single stages, just to complete them all and get the feel. This is proving excellent fun, the car slides even more than it did, and touching the surface you’re not geared up for can spell disaster. However, consequently it’s much easier to drift, and much more fun.

Playing, as always, with the in car view, you don’t tend to have much time for the visuals, but catching the blinding sun through some trees, or having snow or rain obscure your view adds bucket loads to the realism factor. Watching the replays is probably the best visual part of the game, I just wish we had some of those effects in game.

What struck me, as I turned on XBox live for the first time, is when you complete a stage. At closing you see your time and your stationary car, then select continue to see the list of world positions. It starts at number one and you can scroll through. Where’s the button to leap to where I am on the list? Better yet, why doesn’t it default there? I’ve totally given up on that list, it’s a useless waste of time. I can’t be arsed scrolling through to find out where I am on a list of over 300 entries thank you very much.

Actually, looking at the whole XBox live menu and layout it’s not that well implemented. In fact it seems that everything outwith the racing isn’t that well done. Just watch the intro to see what I mean. I honestly thought my XBox or the copy of the game was broken. Someone spent a while minute designing that.

In game though, it is a different story, and I really do love the way the car handles, especially on snow. I’ll be reporting back again once I’m through a few Championships races.

Colin McRae 2005 review on Eurogamer

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