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Ferrari Challenge - Trofeo Pirelli Review

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Burn some (really expensive) rubber...

★★★★★

The ironic thing about hardcore driving sim Ferrari Challenge is that it was developed by Newcastle’s Eutechnyx, a company better known for bog-standard arcade racers such as Big Mutha Truckers 2: Truck Me Harder, MTV’s Pimp My Ride and Street Racing Syndicate. But while the coders’ speedsters to date have been decidedly no frills affairs, what their latest effort cruelly lacks is thrills…

In simulation terms the game can hold its own against big names such as Gran Turismo and Forza, with robust and authentic vehicle handling that captures the feeling of driving a powerful supercar, satisfaction coming from mastering the brakes to navigate impossible bends, or tinkering with the traction control and ABS to make sure your motor handles exactly the way you want it to.

However, while the developers have clearly been seduced by the shiny Ferraris the game is based on, their deeply technical approach makes for a crushingly dull game: mastering the brakes can take many hours of soul-destroying mistakes, and only the most hardcore Ferrari fan will be arsed to put in the time required to nail the controls; the damage your car takes during races is purely cosmetic, making the game feel too respectful of its licence and unwilling to allows players to cut loose and have fun; and the intelligence of your rivals is just on the wrong side of dumb, the AI-controlled drivers showing little in the way of competitive spirit or aggression, even when the finish line is in sight.

An undercooked online mode and occasionally choppy visuals also stop Ferrari Challenge from trumping recent speed fests such as Race Driver: GRID – but if it’s an anally realistic Ferrari simulation you’re after, packed with the most expensive rides on the planet, this is still a decent weekend rental.

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