Release Date : May 6, 2003
I managed to snag a preview copy of Indy Car Series for the Playstation 2. As this is a Codemasters product, I had high expectations about having a gaming experience that I wouldn’t soon forget. Let’s find out if Codemasters’ racing excellence continues to reign ….
I booted up this baby and immediately wanted to get into this game. When I arrived at the main menu I checked out all of my options. Being a person who really isn’t into the whole Indy car racing events, I was hoping that I could be give some sagely advice from a tutorial, and I was not disappointed. Codemasters packed one of the most comprehensive tutorial systems to assist novice drivers, combining teaching elements as well as hands-on experience. I would work through the basics and learn how to take a turn, at which point I would have to execute what I had learned, or else the tutorial would not allow me to move onto the next subject. Once I had completed most of the tutorial, it was off to the races!
You have quite a few racing options to consider: playing the entire Indy Car Series from start to finish, having a quick race if you just want to get to the action ASAP, or competing in the granddaddy of all races, the Indianapolis 500. Whichever option you select, you are given the option to further customize your experience. Want to have the pole position or bend the rules of reality? Not a problem. The AI has a difficulty setting as well so you won’t have to knock yourself out trying to keep up.
ICS’s gameplay is on par with most of the current racing titles. The controls are responsive and simple to master. The AI does an excellent job of offering you a challenge. It is smart and can be aggressive at times, often colliding with my rear bumper during turns, causing me to spin out and lose my position in the race. If you choose to enable it, ICS’s gameplay also offers a damage system that will keep you from racing recklessly.
To me, one of the most important aspects of racing sims is the damage system, yet another category in which ICS does not disappoint. From engine damage to tire wear, you can do it all. I love ICS’s damage system not only for the amount of damage your car can take, but the sheer fact that you can get your car airborne, allowing you to recreate some of outrageous crashes seen on TV. One thing I always do in a racing game is to turn around and haul butt going the wrong way in order to slam into the other cars and see the destruction.
Being able to accurately represent the cars’ damage is left up to the graphics. ICS’s graphics are so sweet that the car models are just about carbon copies of the real life Indy cars. Many games that allow the car models to take damage have a certain fake cheesy look to them, but this is not the case in ICS. Even when your car is broken, it still looks bad ass. Even at high speeds, the textures that make up the cars’ paint, decals, and the surrounding race track are crisp and quite clear. Each racetrack has the standard look, and while some people might hold that against a game, but when you are going 200+ miles per hour, it’s nothing but a blur to me.
The audio portion in the game was somewhat dysfunctional. The sound and music kept cutting out, and I would often be racing in silence, but as always, this is a beta and lacks the final touches. As far as I could tell, all of the audio was there but had a tendency to stay at a low volume despite my efforts to raise it. I have no doubt that the end product will be killer, and you audiophiles will be happy.
To sum it up, Indy Car Series looks to be another great game developed by Codemasters. It possesses all of the qualities one could expect from a racing sim. I am in no way an expert on the topic of Indy Car Racing so I don’t know who’s who, but there was a full roster of racers to choose from, which I assume is an updated list. Racing fans should definitely check out this title when it is released; I had fun with it, and I am sure you will too.
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