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European Street Racing Review (PC) - 225 Paris (5)

European Street Racing Review (PC)

After a positive opening boost, it soon loses speed!

Since the dawn of the fifth generation console, series such as Ridge Racer and Gran Turismo have led the way for the racing game genre; year after year releasing sequels that repeatedly shift the standard to the next gear. However, while most developers are striving to push past fifth, European Street Racing maintains a steady third in a game that will be entertaining for some, yet too simplistic for racing enthusiasts.

As soon as you get behind the wheel (or keyboard) you’ll notice that the game is less about proving your skill and more about enjoying the ride. With controls as simple as ‘stop’ and ‘go’, your slick automatic can take corners as easily as Jensen Button takes compliments. This means you are free to fully appreciate a breath-taking road trip of Europe, stopping off at seven different cities each glamorised by beautifully reconstructed landmarks, such as the London Eye and Moscow’s Kremlin.

But there’s no time to stop and stare!

When the klaxon sounds, you’ll immediately become engrossed in the action. As well as your fellow road ragers causing trouble at every turn, each track is a labyrinth of obstacles: from monuments and scaffolding to pedestrian drivers who picked the worst day for a leisurely cruise. And when that inevitable collision occurs, the stunning visual effects mean you’ll feel the impact slam through your fingers as you watch your car degrade into a mangled wreck.

But there’s no time to stop and stare!

Unfortunately, this brief spark of realism is soon extinguished due to a total disregard for the laws of physics. I’ve never been involved in a car crash myself but I’m pretty certain that, no matter how fast you are travelling, the other vehicle isn’t supposed to start bouncing; especially on to your own roof! Any impact with an obstacle seems to follow the same nonsensical string of thought, from concrete posts that are guaranteed to bow beneath your bonnet, to small shrubs that are completely indestructible. This unpredictability means that the obstacles become more of an annoyance than a challenge. In fact, I was quite shocked when an unfortunate pigeon didn’t put up more of a fight!

In addition, the visual delicacy of each city soon begins to sour as you are forced to replay the same track four or five levels in a row. The game attempts to shake things up a little by starting you at a different point each time and swapping between its three different race modes. However, as two of these race modes are essentially identical perhaps more race objectives or, at the very least, more use of the day and night feature would have saved the game from the tedious Groundhog Day effect. Nonetheless, there are a couple of features that keep the wheels rolling.

With sixteen different cars to unlock and customise, as well as the availability of network challenges, an extra element is added to the game play. In addition, you have the option of replacing the repetitive techno soundtrack with your own selection of MP3s, saving you the embarrassment of bopping around Europe like a boy racer on tour. And believe me, pumping through Paris with the Blockbusterstheme blasting through your open window gives a whole new level of excitement!

However, when viewed in its wider context, the number of vehicles and tracks is relatively poor meaning ESR will always be the Skoda to GT’s Porsche. For this reason, any keen racers are likely to feel a little short-changed by this purchase, but if you are less familiar with the genre, you’re guaranteed to get at least a couple of weeks enjoyment before you are ready to kick asphalt with the big boys!

The Good: An action-packed racer through some of the most gorgeous European cities. The visual effects are stunning.
The Bad: The science behind collisions seems to lack any sense, and the game is perhaps a little too basic when compared to the bigger titles

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Bronze Y AwardBronze Y Award
3.5 3.5 / 5

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