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Game Profile
FINAL SCORES
6.0
Visuals
6.0
Audio
6.0
Gameplay
6.0
Features
6.0
Replay
6.0
INFO BOX
PLATFORM:
Xbox
PUBLISHER:
TDK Mediactive
DEVELOPER:
Synetic
GENRE: Racing
PLAYERS:   1-4
RELEASE DATE:
March 21, 2003
ESRB RATING:
Everyone
 Written by Ryan Smotherman  on April 16, 2003

Full Review: Today's magic word ? dull. So get used to it.


World Racing, formally known as Mercedes-Benz Racing, is a feature-packed racing title for your Xbox that comes complete with a full blown Mercedes-Benz license, as such giving you freedom to get behind the wheel of some of the world's most popular cars and concepts. Here's the problem ? the game stinks (yeah, I'm a firm believer of getting straight to the point). Some good ideas are implemented all around in the title, but in the end the game falls apart in so many categories that it's hard to recommend the title to even the most hardcore of racing fans, and Mercedes-Benz fans for that matter.

Usually I start my reviews talking about a game's gameplay since, naturally, it's the most important aspect of the game. However, here I think I'll start with the visuals, sounds, and overall presentation, because it's a major part of why this game just isn't much fun. First, the graphics; let me give you one word ? dull (my theme here). The vehicle models are lack-luster for the most part, lacking in detail and personality ? much like the tracks you race on. While the game does take place in a wide variety of environments, the low resolution textures that make up the backdrops leave the player wanting more, and many of the things in the levels seem almost forced and just a ploy to add some kind of excitement into the game (like helicopters and UFOs flying around for example). Other effects in the title are also quite weak, such as the addition of weather (most noticeably the rain) and even the reflection effects on your vehicles, which are normally mucho impressive, fail to astonish in any conceivable way.

Let's see, for the audio I'll give you three words ? dull as hell. Well, if you like awful engine sounds and sub par music then it probably isn't dull, but that would just be you. Thankfully the developer, Synetic, did take advantage of the Xbox's custom soundtrack feature, which is a big plus on their behalf (and to be quite honest, I wouldn't have played as much as the game that I did without it). In getting back to the negative aspects, they didn't take use of the Xbox's 5.1 surround set-up, but this isn't that big a deal since the feature isn't all that useful in a racer anyways.

World Racing's overall presentation is a little tougher to put down, if simply because it's such a mess and hard to pinpoint the exact faults. It's almost as if they just expect you to know everything about the game from the jump, leaving the player confused on where to go and what to do. And in an odd twist, the music in the game goes on continuously, which I haven't decided is a good thing or bad. What I mean here is that music plays, whether is be yours or World Racing's (shiver?), through the race, through the menu, through another race, through the menu, and so on and so forth. I guess this is a good thing if you like hearing your music tracks, but a break would have been welcome. The menu itself is also? you guessed it ? dull; with no effects or excitement to speak of.

Anyway, let's take a look at the actual racing itself, which actually isn't super horrible, yet still remarkably dull. The control over your Mercedes Benz vehicles is surprisingly solid, giving you the ability to use powerslides and even the handbrake in making it around turns that you'll have to definitely take into account on certain levels that consists of curve after curve. In general the game takes a more realistic take on it's racing, meaning you'll have to make many speed changes and position yourself correctly in order to not smash into the side of a wall in making turns. Interestingly, the game uses an arrow system similar to what you'd find in a rally racing game (though without the co-driver) to navigate you around turns. This along with the map does a fantastic job of plotting your course. Another interesting feature comes in the fact that you're actually rated on your driving performance in six different categories throughout any given race ? these include placement, experience, performance, skill, fairness, and discipline. These stats are represented on a percentage scale and update as you go throughout a race. Yeah, interesting feature, but I found it to be worthless, and the rest of the game ruined me caring enough to give it any attention.

But as a mentioned, the gameplay is still dull. This comes directly from a horrible since of speed, funny physics, and dim-witted AI. It just never feels as if you're going fast, even on the straight-aways; the physics engine makes the cars do some weird things at times, and the AI? Don't get me started. As for the modes of play, you got your standard bells and whistles here ? career mode, quick race, multiplayer, etc? good luck having fun actually playing through them though.

Bottom Line
Honestly, I really wanted to enjoy the game, but there are just way too many faults that keep the game from being even decent. Sure, there are worse racing games out there, but this is certainly near the bottom of the barrel for racing games available for the Xbox. Steer clear, cause the horrible visuals, bland sounds, and boring gameplay will have you driving your Benz back down to the gaming store for a return.


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