Monday, 10 September 2018 14:59

REVIEW: V-Rally 4 (Xbox One)

Written by Melekharn
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I remember when I was growing up, my parents ran a night club with a family friend. I’d spend countless weekends at the club during the day while they cleaned the place from the night before, getting ready for another night of whatever it was people got up to in nightclubs during the mid 90’s. I distinctly remember two arcade systems tucked away in a corner. The original Mortal Kombat, and Sega Rally Championship.

When I was given a copy of V-Rally 4 by Kylotonn, the memories came flooding back.

From the outside, V-Rally 4 has all the markings of an awesome racing game. The trailers were amazing, showcasing cars speeding along the track kicking up clouds of dust, pumping music and spectacular weather effects, it seemed like I was about to play an awesome rally simulator. On the inside, it’s a game that could have been released on an arcade system and put in a corner at your Local Time Zone alongside other racing games.

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Career mode is a mess of randomly generated events and budget balancing with four sub menus sharing a single screen. Navigating these menus can be quite frustrating as you scroll through them, thinking you’re about to enter a race but you’re actually loading up the dealership to buy a new car. Another point of frustration is that the game randomly generates events that you can’t enter. Career mode does not offer any form of direction other than “Make Bank,” money that you’ll be spending on upgrading or buying new cars, hiring and paying your team members and entering events that pay you a little more than standard. As a bonus source of income, there will be the occasional opportunity to earn dealer sponsorships – goals you will need to work towards for a respectable one off payout.

The menus bring me to the game’s sound tracks, or lack there-of. While perusing the menus you’ll be treated to a single track, repeating over and over and over and over and over. Yes. It really was that frustrating, and yes, this is also the only time you’ll hear any music within the game.

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Voice acting seems to have been kept to a minimum, from what I played of the game it was restricted to the tutorial you’re subjected to when you first open career and the monotonous drone and obvious recording of your co-driver when you’re running a point to point event. Vehicles don’t fare much better, with engines sounds all being incredibly similar with only minor differences in tone.

The vehicles in V-Rally 4 are limited, with only a few cars available per class and no distinct difference in performance or handling. The game throws up the typical graph displaying the vehicles strengths and weaknesses, but just like the older arcade games it doesn’t make an ounce of difference. Cars are twitchy, jumping all over the track and wanting to slide across the track instead of gripping. I found even at lower speeds, the best way I can describe the cars is “lightweight and floaty,” the smallest bump would send the car from one side of the track to the other like an over excited pinball, small steering mistakes would have the back end kicking out and nearly impossible to correct. Overall, game play wasn’t a particularly enjoyable experience and I found myself wanting to put the game down for good. But I have a job to do.

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When it comes to graphics, V-Rally 4 is a bag of mixed lollies. From a clearance store.

They look close enough to the big brands and occasionally you’ll find one that tastes half decent, but deep down, you know it’s not the same. While vehicle models are nice and crisp, finer details were left out completely, while colours and textures were left quite flat. The same can be said for the actual tracks. Once again, textures have been left out and simplified in a very arcade like manner. Clouds of dust will burst forth from your own vehicle and quickly disperse, while the trails left by your opponents barely escapes the rear wheel before vanishing. You’d expect water to wash over your car and splash behind you in a spectacular fashion, only to be disappointed by what appears to be the same smoky effect as when you spin your tires on bitumen.

Overall, I found V-Rally 4 to be a little disappointing. It’s been 16 years since V-Rally 3 was released and games have progressed in leaps and bounds. In a world where games like Forza and Gran Turismo exist, where you have mountains of highly detailed cars to choose from, V-Rally 4 is left in the proverbial dust. Outdated graphics, a minimal and incredibly repetitive sound track, combined with overly responsive arcade-like controls would be better suited sitting in Time Zone than on the powerhouse computers and current generation games consoles available.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 2.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX ONE, Nintendo Switch
  • Developer: Kylotonn
  • Publisher: Bigben Interactive
  • Genre: Racing