Destruction Derby Raw
|Editor Rating:||8/10, based on 1 review|
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No doubt this series has fallen on tough times recently. Thankfully developer Studio 33 has stepped in to impart their racing expertise, and I'm happy to report they've done an excellent job. The three most impressive things about Destruction Derby Raw are the driving physics, the damage models and the gnarly sensation of speed. Running a close fourth are the smartly designed tracks. When I say driving physics I'm referring to the intuitive control. These pups handle like champs (a lot like the vehicles in Driver, if not more aggressive). They react to every bump and dip in the road like they should. But mostly it's their massive power-sliding abilities that won me over. Oh yeah, doing 180-degree reverse pullouts is awesome as well--all without losing any forward momentum. It's a gearhead's dream come true. Taking and inflicting damage is as advanced as I've seen in this genre. Each car has multiple zones of damage, and they all get really messed up as the battle rages on. It's not all random either--it takes careful hits to perform the desired effects. Spinning, flipping and barrel-rolling your opponents earn the big points. Essentially you can't win unless you master both the racing and smashing. Multiplayer is decent--beyond the regular one-on-one smash-'em-up, a game called Pass the Bomb is pretty entertaining. Aside from a hint of slowdown, DDR is firing on all eight cylinders.
True to the DD series' roots, this game only gives you two things to worry about--racin' and smashin'. But while this new installment may not look as pretty as the past games (car damage doesn't appear as realistic as in the Reflections-developed DD titles). Raw's control is the tightest in the series. You get plenty of play modes, too, including four-player smash-a-thons (which are nothing special--your view is too limited; I prefer four-player bomb tag). Some tracks are too dinky, while others sprawl and get confusing, but you get so many courses--and, of course, the classic bowl-shaped arena--that you're bound to find a few you really like.
Once you get past the novelty of beating on other cars to gain points, there's not a whole lot to get excited about here. The collection of tracks range from inspired to downright boring, and the control is just too arcadey for my tastes. The cars don't even feel like they're making contact with the road, they float all over the place. It's very hard to have any real control over your car at any speed. The multiplayer aspect is pretty cool, though it usually comes down to two players squinting at a quarter of a screen trying to find one another, while the other two competitors wait for the match to be over. All in all, I can't recommend DDR as more than a rental.