Developer: Digital Illusions
Release Date: May 4, 2004
Pre-order 'RALLISPORT CHALLENGE 2': Xbox
Back when Xbox was in it's early days, gamers were looking for the next big title to hit Microsoft's new console and fill the post launch void. Thats when developer Digital Illusions CE stepped up to the plate and released Rallisport Challenge. RSC was one of the first Xbox titles that really showed off what the new system could really do. Graphically it was amazing and easily the best looking racing game on anything at the time and even to this day the graphics hold up extremely well when compared to other titles. But even more impressive then it's graphics was it's incredibly fast, fluid game play and depth. RSC was packed with tracks, modes of play and a in depth career mode all rounded out with some incredibly tight controls. In the end, the final result was one of the best, most complete rally racers of all time that offered cutting edge graphics while retouching on the game play of classic rally racers like Sega Rally.
Fast forwarding 2 years, Digital Illusions is about to release the much anticipated sequel to one of the best racers of all time. Digital Illusions has spent a great deal of time on the sequel as the development started shortly after the release of the first one and has been on going for nearly 2 years. This long development time has really allowed DI to add support for lots of new features and help ensure that Rallisport Challenge 2 wont be some small update over the original. And from everything we have seen so far this seems to be the case.
Despite how good the fist one looked, DI has built a totally new engine for RSC 2 and boy does it show. The lighting system has really been improved over the first one and looks simply stunning. New weather effects have been added as well as night driving. The car's them selfs now take even more damage then the first one and the new damage model looks great!. Other nice touches include the car's getting lots of dirt and mud caked on them turning a race. The track side detail in RSC 2 has really been upped over the first one, and is one of the more noticeable differences.
The environments are much more lush this time around and are full of trees, bushes and tall grass that sways and blows in the wind. Unlike the first one, this time when you drive over the bushes and small trees your car will actually knock them over instead of "magically" going through them with out doing any harm to them. Speaking of tracks, there will be around 90 of them in RSC 2 which is almost double the number of tracks of the first one. The tracks are also interactive now and things like falling rocks will keep you on the look out.
As far as the game play goes, RSC 2 feels a lot like the first one, which is a good thing in many ways. The controls are just as tight and the handling of the cars feels great. One of the few problems in the first one was the floaty/light feeling the cars had. Hitting any small rock or track side object sent your car into orbit, and while neat to see, it was pretty unrealistic. This time around the physics have been tweaked and the cars don't seem quite as light as they were in the first one. There are still plenty of big crashes to be hand in this game though, and thanks to a new crash cam, you will get to see them from the best angle possible as they happen, making them look all the more intense. The AI has also been improved and is even more realistic now. The AI drivers react much better this time around and are fully aware of you and will do what ever they can to keep you behind them. But they are not perfect and you will see them make mistakes too.
The biggest new feature of all though is the added support for Xbox Live play. Along with full XSN Sports support, RSC 2 features 16 player on-line racing over XBL. This really takes RSC 2 to the next level and gives it a almost limitless amount of repayable. And of course you can set up leagues and tournaments on XSNSports.com as well as track all your stats!
If you have been waiting for the next, great racing game after PGR 2, I can safely say the wait is almost over. Due to ship some time in May, RSC 2 offers everything the first one did and much much much more. No racing fans should miss out on this game. With the large number of tracks, impressive graphics and 16 player on-line play, RSC 2 is going to be the next must have racing title for Xbox!
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