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Ferrari Challenge (PS3)

Ferrari Challenge (PS3)

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Ferrari Challenge puts you in control of some of the world’s sexiest Italian cars. Historians amongst you may remember SEGA’s F355 Challenge from 1999 … can System 3 capture the excitement and adrenaline rush of Yu Suzuki’s original classic?

Let’s make things abundantly clear, this game is ALL about the Ferrari heritage and you can choose from 32 cars from the F340 to the 1957 Le Man winning Testa Rossa. Yum.

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Many people may find this rather limiting when we are inundated with racing games encompassing all varieties of vehicle, however Ferrari purists are going to love the singular focus of this title. Every vehicle in this game is lovingly recreated as closely as possible, all the engine sounds are depicted perfectly and the modelling is as accurate as the accompanying hardware will allow.

The single player game revolves around the F340 Ferrari Challenge, a globetrotting journey across 14 of the world’s finest races. This is an excellent rendition of a popular event and there are a further two unlockable races available. The courses are very varied, with the challenge split across European and American tours and quite a few are new to the digital medium. Interestingly there are some licensing limitations, for example Canada’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is now named Redwood Park. Some personal favourites are Silverstone, Misano and Monza. Misano is a go Kart style track with many tricky apexs to cause some confusion, unless you know the track. It are these courses that separate this game from the masses as they are incredibly well designed and play exceptionally well.

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The race weekends incorporate a qualifying session and two 15 minute endurance races and this is extremely accurate to the real life environment. This however may prove rather cumbersome for people wanting to jump into a quick 5 minute race as they will always be forced into this methodology.

Arcade mode incorporates four racing events which span a number of unlockable difficulty levels, however without the option to save between events it becomes rather more indepth than it should be. Points are rewarded after participating in races and you can use these points to unlock cars in the Ferrari Showroom.
Surprisingly there is a decal system in place which seems rather similar to a cut down version of the same mechanic used in Forza 2. You also lack the ability to share your creations with other users which is a rather glaring omission on the developer’s behalf.

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One of the key talking points of this title was the inclusion of a damage model, however it ends up a rather disappointing experience. I am sure Ferrari had a say in this as assuredly they didn’t want Joe Public driving around with the doors hanging off their F340. Driving into walls at 100mph+ for example doesn’t destroy the car, it merely will damage a bumper or mark the paintwork.

Minor points aside, the track racing is superlative. The handling is less arcade like than GRID and more like Gran Turismo and is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. The system caters for all experience levels with the use of driving aids, and after some trial and error it is possible to achieve some great driving manevours. The game’s handling is actually the strongest point of the title, which is something I don’t often say! It demands attention and quick reflexes but rewards with realistic on screen action. After playing this game, GRID ended up looking extremely arcade like. I actually don’t feel there is a game on the Playstation 3 which comes close to the racing action that Ferrari Challenge delivers, especially when you take into consideration the excellent artificial intelligence system which analyses how you are playing to make sure the game stays consistently challenging. The drivers even show signs of personality and I found myself being blocked by specific AI controlled drivers when I found a weakness with others.

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Graphically Ferrari Challenge is a great game with close attention to detail on the car models as well as some killer weather effects. Rain streams down the windows, and the damp track looks striking thanks to the Playstation 3’s graphical prowess. The game runs perfectly at a solid 30 frames per second and I did not experience any hitches or slow downs, which is another bonus. Some of the roadside textures are lower resolution but generally it is not noticeable in the heat of the action. Overall I find the visuals extremely impressive.

There is no split screen mode and the only multiplayer options are online with 16 races available. System 3 have stated that they will be offering a wealth of downloadable content with three tracks apparently in the offing as well as more cars at the time of publication. If these come to light, it will certainly enhance an already strong package.

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Ferrari Challenge clearly is not being marketed as a racing game for the casual Playstation 3 gamer. This is a hardcore racing simulation which will appease many people disappointed with the handling in GRID. Ferrari Challenge is a game that has been created with much love and passion and it shows in all aspects of the production. The handling is in a class of its own and the graphics are polished and never suffer from any frame rate issues. The end result is a game with much charisma, a strong personality and it will appeal to people looking for a racer which is deeper and infinitely more rewarding. Highly recommended.

Superb handling which leads to many hours of enjoyment.
Polished with only occasional texture issues. Frame rate is always smooth.
Great engine sounds, but that is really all I can remember.
With much promised downloadable content, this game looks like it will last a long time
(Not an Average)
A superb racing game, perhaps not for the mass market, but one of the best on the PS3.

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About Author

Stuart Davidson

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