It would seem that racing games get an unfair advantage in terms of review time. I downloaded the Live For Speed Alpha Demo yesterday, and already it is played and soon to be reviewed. I have quite a lineup of other games, and they’re still waiting.
‘Live For Speed‘ calls itself an ‘online racing simulator’. This begs the question, what does the online mean?
It would appear to be that it is called this because of its focus. They claim to have a strong online community, and the game can be purchased and downloaded from online. I like this attitude, but I don’t know that it makes the game an ‘online racing simulator.’
They make all the normal claims in terms of racing games, e.g. tracks, cars etc etc. The demo comes with three cars (well, actually two, one of them has a turbo version) and one track. Pretty limited in terms of other games I’ve reviewed.
So what makes this game different from the rest?
Like Evolution GT, the makers have tried to make an authentic racing game. I have to say, compared to this, Evolution GT are well behind. Maybe.
Live For Speed is certainly hard, but is it too hard? Are cars really this hard to get around a track?
In my mind there are three sorts of racing games. Ones where you don’t have to take your foot/finger off the accelerator, those that require you to take your foot/finger off the accelerator and those that require you to use your brake.
That last category requires you to use your brake, but usually fairly sparsely. This game requires you to almost come to a complete stop at every corner. Without using the brake it is almost impossible to even get around a corner, despite crashing into walls.
I found myself wishing I could be driving my 91 Corolla. “Oh come on, I could get around the corner easier in my Corolla.”
As with all challenging things, there is an attraction in the feeling of achievement of mastering it, but it’s not exactly fun. I think a game has to be enjoyable to get you to start it, once you’re playing, the challenge can keep you playing. The only reason I started the game was to take a screenshot for this post, so perhaps that says something.
Ultimately, the graphics were mixed at best. The out-of-car scenery looked good, but the in car graphics were pretty crap. The setup for my Xbox 360 Controller was pretty easy and worked well. There were also options for advanced features like having your clutch on an axis. What this means is that you could have your left axis button (button 11 for me) set to clutch, and you could operate the clutch like in real life.
All the menus looked pretty unprofessional, but that wasn’t a big problem.
A license to open up the demo into the full game (sounds easy) and to access all the additional content costs £24. This is US$42.89 and NZ$67.71. So it’s pretty reasonable.
Your viewpoint on this game would probably hinge on what you want from a car racing game. It seems realistic (I’ve never been on a racetrack) and it would seem that there’s lots of extra content (and more being created all the time). The price is also reasonable.
However, it’s not a game I would buy. 7/10.