Developed by Kylotonn and published by Bigben Interactive, V-Rally 4 is a run of the mill racing game that drifts you into the life of an international rally racer. The game starts off smooth, with a woman (your agent) going over the ropes of being a rally racer. You are then faced with what would be an options menu, allowing you to scroll between different sections of the game; like the Activity Hub and Recruitment. After going for a quick test run, you are taken step by step through each process of a racer’s life. The intro proved to be helpful, however, what came next left something to be desired.
Moving into V-Rally Mode, essentially the story, you are given a small sum of cash to buy your first vehicle. There is some good depth of starter cars to choose from in the long run, but only a few are available in the beginning; typical. I had hopes to progress smoothly through the story but found it quite difficult. V-Rally Mode really immerses the player in the life of a driver, which proved to be overbearing. As the driver you are responsible for hiring a research and mechanic crew, as well as an agent. You are allowed four slots in the research and mechanic crews and one for the agent. Each position requires a salary, which must be forked out over every (in-game time) week, which is deducted from your race winnings. Respectfully, the better the mechanic, the more they require to be paid. On top of this, the game dives very in-depth into the ins and outs of your car, from the radiator, gear box, electronics, brakes and more. While this does give a sense of realism to the game, it can be incredibly intimidating to a casual gamer who doesn’t know much of cars in general.
One of the biggest disadvantages of the game were the controls, which were very touchy and nearly impossible to master, even after heavy tweaking in the settings. Although the vehicles can be customized to your liking, they continued to feel unbalanced and almost like they acted with a mind of their own. The slightest tap of a button would send a fully upgraded Renault Alpine A310 sliding and tumbling out-of-bounds. While in V-Rally Mode, your character is given a co-pilot, who calls our turns, bumps and jumps that lay in wait for you along the track. Sadly, the vernacular of the game isn’t as easy to pick up as hoped, thus leading to confusion while driving and the lack of a mini map caused further frustration down the road.
While I may sound as if I am being unapologetically harsh, V-Rally 4’s graphics are quite impressive. The vast and colorful landscapes are almost breathtaking, ranging from the lush garden world of Japan all the way to the bone dry and hazardous deserts of Monument Valley. Since there is such an array of tracks on which to race, the amount of different style of vehicles is bountiful. From the hyper aggressive hill climbing Norma MXX RD all the way to rugged and dependable Tatum Sand Truck, you will not find a shortage of unique vehicles to choose from.
Another positive side, as spoke of earlier, is the customization that is available to your car. From color and designs all the way down to the license plate. Adding to that, is the accuracy of the sound of the engines and the landscapes. Each car brings a unique sound, which as well, can be modified to the players liking. V-Rally 4 also offers an option for split screen play, quick races and even some multiplayer action.
If I were to sum up V-Rally 4 into one word it would be, frustrating. The overall experience of the game was difficult to pick up and the lonesome and repetitive racing in V-Rally Mode made the overall enjoyment seem empty. The controls in themselves weren’t incredibly user-friendly and it made racing difficult to a point of constant restarts. As a racing game, V-Rally 4 has quite some heavy competitors like those including franchises like Need For Speed, Gran Turismo and Forza, unfortunately it doesn’t fill the same niche as they do. The story was lacking, the controls were hard to manage, complex, and the limited races quickly became tiresome.
If you are interested in V-Rally 4, I would recommend brushing up on your basic knowledge of cars and car parts, or you may find yourself at a disadvantage while playing. V-Rally 4 held a great amount of potential, however, fell short of the standard of racing games in today’s competitive environment.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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