I'm rarely disappointed with racing games, unless they truly, absolutely suck. I can't say that about Rally Fusion, but I came very, very close. Unlike most of the rally games I've seen recently, it doesn't try to live up to the 'realism' factor of rally racing, paying only lip service to the driving techniques I've learned over my time as a gamer.
Starting out on the first rung of rally racing, if you're participating in the Race of Champions, you get the lowest rung of rally cars with which to qualify. Manage to get through them, and you'll find your way into the soft seats and excellent performance of the class B and A cars, although you'll need to slog through endless races in sub-quality cars to get there. If you're frustrated, the quick race mode always lets you get back to racing on one of the different game types, without forcing you to jump through any hoops.
It's obvious that there's a great deal of arcade styling to this Activision title, and while that isn't a bad thing, I do think that it hurts the game, at times. The physics aren't strongly realistic, and it's exceedingly easy to fail to slide, or to flip your car, not to mention that getting the car into a slide in the first place is a pain in the ass. Once you start taking hard corners, you'll see what I mean, as the car has a tendency to slide as if on ice, once it starts skidding. For a game based on a sport that requires powersliding, it leaves me thinking, 'What were they thinking
It's hard to argue with the visuals though, as Rally Fusion sports multiple graphics effects, from weather effects to lens flare, and does them all with beauty, with frame rates to spare. Each of the cars, while not performing to spec for their real world counter parts (balance seems an issue), does seem to be realistically detailed, although you can drive with your hood popped up, blocking the driver's vision. On the ears, Rally Fusion is a bit tough, especially since learning to control your car involves listening to a string of epithets from your navigator, who feels it necessary to remind you of every bump and damage done to the car, as well as calling you an idiot, telling you that you're going to get them both killed, and finally, in the like of the game, 'We blew it!' While my displeasure is only minor, it makes me wonder if they weren't talking about the game, and not the race.