It's a sad fact that the flood of new games begins to dry out during the summer months and in the middle of July; I was itching for something new to play. Well, that's when I found Grand Touring Challenge Africa, a new racing game developed by Rage. My hopes were high that this all-terrain circuit racing simulation set throughout various locations in Africa would be just what the doctor ordered, to bring me out of my summer gaming blues.
GTC Africa has most of what you would expect in a racing simulation. It offers several modes of play: Championship, Single, Multiplayer and Challenge mode. Challenge mode places you in different situational driving conditions like speed/timed pursuit, downhill, hill climb and other challenges, most of which are timed. Championship mode allows you to select 1 of 6 different international racing teams with each team having a unique selection of cars. The cars are rated on three elements: acceleration, top speed and grip. It's up to you to choose the car best suited for road conditions, which range from snow and ice covered, bare pavement and twisting sand and dirt-covered tracks. Gameplay focused mainly on your ability to power slide around corners.
The game has no glaring faults and plays well, but there was just something lacking. I kept looking for one stand out feature that would raise it above the ranks of the other PS2 racing games, but it's just not there. Yes, there are some things that GTC Africa does well. Graphically, the clouds of dust rising from the rears of cars and sun glares are wonderful, but the rest of the game seems average. There are some slight twists in the game play like your team status rating, which is assessed by order of placement in the race and the amount of damage sustained by your vehicle in the race. Your team status rating affects the amount of time allowed to complete courses, so it can quickly become a downward spiral, once your rating starts to fall. The frustrating part was that I could never be sure how much damage my car was sustaining, as no car damage is visually displayed.
The bottom line is that I can't recommend this game. It might appeal to some players, but if you are satisfied with other PS2 racing games, there's not much compelling here for you to purchase another one. If you are interested, I would strongly suggest renting GTC Africa prior to buying.