SEGA Rally Revo

Slip Slidin' Away

SEGA Rally Revo revives the classic arcade racer while providing a racing experience unlike anything else on the PS3.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: November 4, 2007
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If there's one genre that the PlayStation 3 has a serious overabundance of... well, it's probably shooters. A close second, however, is the racer. Within the first year of release, we've seen numerous arcade attempts, a certain ultra-popular racing sim (or at least a tech demo of it), and plenty more that seem to skirt the line between simulation and slide-heavy arcade entertainment. None of them, however, do it like SEGA Rally Revo, and it's all thanks to one very simple fact: this game's controls rock.

It's not even something that's readily apparent right from the start. Revo's early races let you screw around so much that it's fairly easy to finish in first even if you spend half the track sliding around corners completely sideways and fishtailing through the straightaways, but start getting into the more challenging courses and learn the grades of the turns and you'll see just how deep SEGA's Racing Studio went with things.

The most obvious bit of tech is of course the game's terrain deformation, and yes, it's good -- better, even, than MotorStorm, at least visually -- but it's in the way these surfaces impact the car's grip and how you play around with the response that the game really starts to show its racing chops. Revo is, without a doubt, a proper homage to the arcade game that inspired it. Courses are ripped from the arcade hardware and updated, references are everywhere, from vehicles to settings, and, yes, the game is most certainly an arcade racing affair, but in a very real sense, the game stands just as strongly on its own as a racer independent of the SEGA Rally name.

What really makes it all work is the way the game relays a sense of visual feedback in how your car is handling, and then allows you to often save what could be a botched turn if you're quick on the throttle and counter-steer. The fact that it does this without any rumble (at least until we get the DualShock 3 next year) makes it all the more impressive. It just feels like the full travel of the analog stick is really used, and it makes for a slippery, high-speed scream around even the earliest tracks.

Yes, MotorStorm offered off-road thrills in the same vein, but it's suspension-heavy physics model and wide-open tracks occupy an almost sim-like end of the spectrum whereas Revo flat-out encourages you to race stylishly (kicking out the back end around corners actually keeps the speed up -- plus like the loading screen says, it looks cool in replays). The bottom line is that the game just feels great, both in burst play sessions and hours-long stretches. It's even better online -- when you can find someone (apparently I'm the only person with a copy of the game 99% of the time).

That does bring up one of the game's most glaring faults, however: it's arcade game simple. No extra modes, no bonus content to unlock (beyond new cars and paint styles for each of 'em, opened up by... wait for it... racing), and that online mode being terribly sparse. Not only would, say, a skills challenge or a set of objectives or even just a general hub to show progression have extended the game a lot more, but it would have given a sense that this is just an arcade cabinet experience brought home. The racing is an unequivocal blast, but it's also the whole of the experience from the time you pop in the disc to when you shut down your PS3.
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