So, with Sony bowing out of the rally field and Microsoft's RalliSport nowhere to be found; only Codemasters' Colin McRae and Sega's Sega Rally remain. While there are, quite possibly, a few rally titles in development right now, few will probably live up to the caliber of gaming that these two namesakes will be soon putting out. But unlike DIRT: Colin McRae, Sega Rally's focus will be more arcade-like, but still feature some simulation aspects. And worst of all, rally games don't seem to be appearing on the PSP at all, until now that is. While the Sega Rally franchise has been more about exaggerated arcade physics than realism, you should still consider Sega Rally when it debuts on the PSP.
You may or may not know, but it hasn't been that long since we saw a Sega Rally game last. Last year, at the very start of 2006, Sega released Sega Rally 2006 on the PS2, and the reception was lukewarm. So if you know about Sega Rally 2006 and it's mediocrity, forget about it -- there's a reason why it never arrived in the States, and that's because it wasn't that good. But, Sega Rally Revo looks much more promising, and in fact, the anticipation for this one is quite high for me.
Visually, the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are going to feature that classic Sega Rally color palette, full of vibrancy, exuberance and richness. Expect to see that same caliber of vibrancy, but downsized to fit in the palm of your hands. As is customary, Sega Rally's aesthetics will feature lush greens greens and stand-out paint on the cars. The port will be handled by BugBear, and thankfully, they are no strangers to racing, or even rally racing games. Considering how tight knit both the PS3 and PSP versions of Virtua Tennis 3 were, expect Sega to make sure that Sega Rally Revo delivers that eye-candy experience, that the series has always been so know for, on both of Sony's platforms. Just like DIRT: Colin McRae, even on the PSP Sega Rally will feature real-time track deformation, which isn't limited to just ripping apart the muddy, dirty and rocky surface, but also the objects of the environment.
In regards to gameplay features, we've already established that Revo will be a mixture of arcade and simulation gameplay. Actually, in Sega's own words, Revo will feature "[arcade-like] accessibility with simulation depth." You'll have the ability to choose between 4WD, 2WD and Classic vehicles that can be raced across a number of different surface types. Speaking of surfaces, we know that there will be 8 tracks to choose from on the PS3 version, so for now, we expect to see that same number for the PSP game. All of the tracks are based on various exotic locations around the world, so there'll certainly be quite a deal of diversity.
When you're racing, Sega promises superb artificial intelligence opponents worthy of being your opponents and giving you a decent challenge. You should notice the aggressiveness of the A.I., as Sega Rally's not going to feature extremely open tracks. On the other hand, tracks will be standard width and so there'll be quite a lot of bumping and shoving between you and your opponents as you fight for pole position. To further add to the competition, Sega has confirmed offline and online multiplayer venues for the PSP - so get your friends together at home or around the country with Revo.
"The original SEGA Rally is heralded as one of the all time great arcade games and this new installment on the PSP system is a great example of updating a classic perfectly for today's machines," said Guy Wilday, Studio Director, SEGA Racing Studio. "With the addition of multiplayer wireless and online multiplayer, there's scope for players to show off their skills against their friends, whilst the excellent PSP system screen exudes all the visual qualities expected of SEGA Rally Revo."
Sega Rally Revo is still a bit off from release, as Sega doesn't plan on shipping it until Fall 2007. So having said that, we expect more information to trickle our way about the game. Keep an eye out for updates and especially more screenshots. In the meantime, Sega Rally fans have something quite promising to look forward to this Fall -- hopefully Sega delivers.
6/28/2007 Arnold Katayev