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PS2 Reviews: Colin McRae Rally 3

 

Colin McRae Rally 3 screenshots



 

The Final Say!

Gameplay
8.9
Graphics
8.9
Sound
8.0
Value
8.9

Colin McRae Rally 3 
reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 28 November 2002
Review Score 8.9/10
Distributed By: GameNation

The king of the dirt track is back in the latest incarnation of Colin McRae Rally 3 on Playstation 2. The original title was the game that started my love of rally games and then number two went the extra mile in terms of realism and graphical advances. Now we are up to number three and I am extremely pleased to say that this game rules!

Colin McRae Rally 3 Features

  • Players: 1-2
  • Genre: Rally Racing
  • Analogue Control Compatible
  • Vibration Control
  • Rating: G

The first thing you will notice after the very cool intro is that the front menu has changed. In fact, it has been dumbed down considerably and is now a sleek and easy to navigate interface. There are two main areas only that players need worry about and they are Championship and Stages.

Championship allows you to drive as Colin himself through the main season in with the Ford Focus team and is truly the nuts and bolts of this gaming experience. As always, Colin's trusted navigator Nicky Grist is onboard to assist you with vital information about what perils lie ahead for the Focus team.

Controls are sensational with two different styles catered for. There is the standard control option of accelerating using the X button and steering using the left stick, or you can also accelerate, brake and reverse using the right stick which was actually my preferred method. It takes a fraction longer to account for the sensitivity of the controls but the pay off is immense and will see you exhibiting a greater level of control than you would have thought possible.

The level design is inspired to say that least and as you can see from these screenshots, the game looks magnificent with all sorts of lighting and and other effects being used to make this one of the most realistic rally titles that I have played in quite some time. A nice thing about this game is the fact that even the invisible window that surrounds the track in these sorts of games is fairly decent, allowing you to go off the track a little way before setting you straight.

There has been a solid effort to make everything three dimensional this time and it certainly improves the overall appearance and feeling I got when playing the game. Even the trees to the sides of the track look real and when you careen off the track into them, it's nice to see that they don't "follow" you when you turn around which is common when trees and bushes have been rendered in 2D..

Another amazing feature is the level of damage that you can finally do to the cars. In one stage, I manage to rip the bonnet off, lose the rear spoiler, lose side panels, smash every window and all lights! It looks great when the damage occurs and to see the bonnet lift off the car and fly over the roof toward you is awesome. This might have been sheer enthusiasm on my part, but it also seemed that the car dragged to one side when my rear spoiler was hanging semi detached into the dirt, creating a need to constantly correct the vehicle and almost pray that it would fall off altogether.

Once all the windows were smashed, another great touch is that your driver and co-driver are fully animated and it was in this view I watched a very animated Colin and Nicky swaying in the car as it moved along the track and Colin reaching over in a very smooth animation and changing gears. There is also an in car view that you can see this also, but it was very impressive and showed that Codemasters have really left nothing to chance.

As far as audio goes, CMR3 sounds great however I would have liked a bit more music when driving. Engine sounds and environmental sounds are well recorded and add to the realism of the title.

As the rally progresses you will find yourself racing on all sorts of surfaces and the games physics certainly allows for this so some clever driving skills indeed are needed to take on the environment itself. The game takes you to Japan, Spain, USA, Sweden, Finland, Greece, Australia and the UK, taking on all that those countries have to offer in the way of sideways racing.

For those of you who are not fans of the Ford team, rest assured that you have a variety of other vehicles to choose from including Citroen Saxo Kit Car,Citroen 2CV Sahara, Citroen Xsara Kit Car, Fiat Punto Rally Car, Lancia 037, Ford Focus RS WRC 2002, Puma Rally Car, 1986 RS200, MG ZR Rally Car, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7, Subaru Impreza WRX (44S), Subaru Impreza 22B Sti. My personal favourite when not hurtling around the stages as Colin was the Subaru Impreza WRX. It's just a nice car to handle on all surfaces and certainly has the pick up to go the distance.

In summary, there really is no option but to go and buy this game immediately if you are a fan of rally driving. It is in-depth, has an easy to pick up the control system (remember I recommend using both sticks) and is an absolute blast to play with your mates. Not to mention looks drop dead awesome. Highly recommended.

- Tory Favro

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