This expansion for race 07 boasts plenty of gorgeous new car models, but its core game experience lies in providing the cars, teams, drivers and tracks for both the 2008 World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) and the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC). The trouble is, racing a single championship season is rather unfulfilling.
There's no sense of working towards a greater goal. It's the whole risk vs reward element that's the problem here. As a player you're never adequately reimbursed for your many dangerous heroics over the course of a brief wheel-banging campaign.
The experience, while undeniably exhilarating, doesn't deliver anything above and beyond what we've already seen - and that's our main beef with this expansion.
A career mode would have been perfect additional content Starting as a rookie in the BTCC or STCC Championship, the player could work their way through the ranks with the WTCC title as the ultimate prize. It would be a compelling diversion from the short-lived nature of the other modes and would help RACE On feel like a game rather than just an additional track and vehicle directory.
The biggest diversion is, of course, the multiplayer mode where groups and leagues welcome you to the server. As this is a grown-up's game, people tend to be respectful and race fair, which is a pleasant change from console servers.
If you do make it back to the singleplayer mode, it won't take you long to discover the game's most stunning attribute: AI drivers. Your opponents readjust their line and throttle all the time - just like human drivers. Most pleasing of all is that they recognise when they've been overtaken and won't bulldoze their way back onto the racing line, taking you off the circuit in the process. RACE On's AI makes drivers in Forza Horizon 3 and Need for Speed: Shift look like Vauxhall Nova boy racers. It's this kind of thing that makes SimBin's games so playable.
Visually RACE On is behind current standards. Some of the environment textures lack detail and replacing the cardboard cut-out crowds is something we've been shouting about for years.
What? No Pretty?
The car models are perfectly adequate and get bashed up nicely, but a build-up of dust, oil and general grime wouldn't have gone amiss. On the plus side, flies squish against your windscreen in cockpit mode, bits of debris and puffs of smoke regularly permeate the air. On the subject of cockpits, it's worth mentioning that the interior views are perfectly drivable. The Caterham 320 is particularly enjoyable, which, due to its open cockpit captures that summer Sunday afternoon classic car vibe beautifully. But then every vehicle in this package is an absolute dream to drive. They all feel so right - especially when using a force feedback steering wheel. There is simply no other driving game that comes remotely close to emulating the sensation of gripping the steering wheel of a real race car and going hell for leather in a blur of unblinking laps.
You have to wonder whether SimBin's dedication to the hardcore fan's lust for the most realistically handling cars and accurate tracks is stunting the evolution of the series in other areas - like the career mode. Still, it would be churlish to criticise the greatest racing simulation developer of this tech generation for not pandering to the casual gamer.
Download Race On
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP