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The Wii is not known for its grown up racing games. Ferrari Challenge breaks the mould with its attention to racing detail and commitment to delivering a real Gran Turismo style challenge. This is real racing, pure and simple.
This is the first 'proper' racing game I have tested for the Wii. Previous encounters with trying to use the Wii controller as a steering wheel were disappointing so I began this game with a fairly low expectation.
As the game loaded I was pleasantly surprised by the way it made me feel. I guess years of Formula One watching and the associated atmosphere of the Ferrari brand set the scene before I had even got to the menu screen.
To begin with I did experiment with the Wii controller in the hands free steering wheel configuration but to be honest, being used to the precision of my high spec Driving Seat and G25 Wheel, it was pretty poor and unpredictable. I soon discarded this approach for the more traditional buttons and stick method - plugging in a Nun-chuck. I guess with the improvements in controller's the 'floating steering wheel' idea will get better, possible a MotionPlus enabled driving experience would be better although it will still lack the beautifully informative force feedback of high spec wheels. For now though the accuracy this game requires is simply not achievable in floaty mode.
After a couple of laps of the Monza circuit the game started to make a lot more sense. This was a proper racer's racing game. This is a game where accuracy and correct lines are rewarded. It is a game that will appeal to those of us who get moaned at for watching ITV4 all day when the Touring Cars are on and who find Formula One interesting. Yep that's me.
After a couple of laps of the Monza circuit the game started to make a lot more sense. This was a proper racer's racing game.
The graphics are a little dated by today's high definition standards and I often found myself relying on the track guide simply because I couldn't make out where the track went. Maybe this was down to by Standard Definition TV and composite output that would certainly benfit from a component cable and High Definition screen, but realistically not many people will have their Wii on this kind of tech. Either way, I didn't find this detracted from the overall enjoyment enough to complain about really.
Progress through the game takes time and commitment with long races and tracks which take prolonged and intense concentration to get right. It is definitely the kind of game that will have you staying up late to complete. In this respect it matches the big boys of racing for the amount of investment you need to progress.
This all makes it really quite addictive and reminds me very much of the original Gran Turismo series in feel and its ability to have you playing for hours to complete the various levels.
This all makes it really quite addictive and reminds me very much of the original Gran Turismo series in feel and its ability to have you playing for hours to complete the various levels. Not something I had expected to be saying here about a Wii game.
Usefully it also has an arcade mode for quick switch on and play fun. Slightly disappointing to find it is only one player. Two player ability would have been a real bonus. But certainly this opens the game up for more casual or practice play.
There is lots to do and achieve with multiple levels and tutorials to boot. There are extensive different Ferrari models to unlock and drive together with a strong link to the actual F430 challenge series that the game is based on. One little bonus for me was the familiar sound of Tiff Needell who is ready and waiting to help you in the tutorial section of the game.
This is race car purity in its finest form, which is of course embodied perfectly in the unmistakable shape of Ferrari.
It's not very often nowadays that you get a proper racing game that doesn't allow itself to be diluted by the pressure of attracting the masses. This is a real treat for us hardcore race lovers. I had to squeeze every ounce of my real world experience of racing lines, race tactics, slip streaming and pit timing.
Admittedly, it is just Ferraris racing on many well known circuits. But I like the commitment to their cause here. There are no American V8s thrown in for popularity or 'Fast and Furious' style nonsense to distract you too much. This is race car purity in its finest form, which is of course embodied perfectly in the unmistakable shape of Ferrari.
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