Race 07 Review

Racing games have really come a long way the past few decades. The early racers such as Pole Position and Sega Rally didn’t have graphics anywhere near the realism of today’s games, but one thing was evident about these old racers: they were fun.

Now, we have the likes of Grand Turismo, Project Gotham Racing, Forza Motorsport, Ridge Racer, WipeOut and others to satisfy our need for speed. Some are arcade versions of racing, while others are sims, and as they say the twain shall never meet.

SimBin and Viva Media are trying to change this by releasing their newest racer, Race 07. It’s a sim-based racer but offers many features that the casual crowd and non-hardcore racing fan can enjoy such as a simplified method of setting up cars, the ability to get into a race immediately with a minimum of hassle and the ability to mix different classes of cars within selected races.

The game is based upon the WTCC (World Tour Car Championship) and offers a wide range of tracks and car classes. (Both the 2006 and 2007 seasons are included.) If you’re a hardcore racing fan, you’ll drool over the amount of things that you can customize for your car. Setup menus offer everything from suspension adjustments to the fine tuning of gear ratios and everything in between.

If you’re a novice and couldn’t tell the camber of a tire from a toe out adjustment, help is provided by a quick login to your Race 07 community which will most likely have the answers you seek. But if you want to skip the tweaking, you can be up and running and in your first race in a couple of minutes; a few entries to adjust the number of laps, set the type of weather you want, the number of opponents, the AI efficiency, which race and track you want to play and you’re good to go.

I started my race with the Monza track in Italy. I revved my engine, the "Christmas tree" lights counted down and I was off and running. After a short straightway, I came up on a tight "S" curve and found myself knee deep in Radical Supersport SR3 cars as we all tried to maneuver through the hairpin turns. I followed the pack until I saw a pile up just ahead of me — two cars had bumped each other and spun out. I gingerly squeezed past the unfortunate drivers and hit the pedal to the metal. After my third lap of a nine lap race, I was beginning to feel that I was actually in a real live event.


Race 07


Unlike arcade racers, where you can take tight curves going at 200mph with your hair on fire, in this racer you have to know the limitations of your car and which curves you can navigate through at high speeds and which ones you have to brake heavily on in order to get through properly. This took a little while to get used to, but the whole idea of this game is to make reality come to life. Arcade racing fans may take the longest time to adjust to this new environment.

The guys who did the physics for this game really did a good job. You can almost feel the weight and physical condition of the car and this illusion is passed onto the handling very realistically. In one race, my tires were starting to wear out and I could "feel" the traction break from the rear of the car when I was too aggressive in the turns. Real damage can also be dialed into the game. No longer will you go Scott free by intentionally hitting your opponents to get ahead. Instead, you’ll be treated to some serious damage to your suspension or other primary components until you can’t even rev up to racing speed — so racing a clean race is essential to the performance of your car.

The neat part of this game comes in trying out all the different classes of cars. You’ll find F3000 cars, Formula BMWs, old-school looking Caterhams, Hondas, Chevys, Minis and a bunch of others. Each car handles according to its real world counterparts and this gives you a varied racing experience each time you switch, not to mention the 32 tracks you can race on from around the world.

Multiplayer games are a curse and a blessing. Most online games will be set to real world parameters to mimic the racing events of the WTCC. That means some long practice laps, a qualifying session, and finally, the races. You can burn up a lot of time in just getting to the race portion, and non-fans of the racing logistics may not have the patience to go through this. If you’re lucky, you might be able to join a game just as it’s finished its practice laps and save yourself some time, but it’s a rare event.

Championship mode follows a similar strict racing policy and unless you’re hardcore, this single player series may really wear you down even before you start your first race. Serious fans of WTCC racing only need apply.

Race 07 can be played with practically any interface you want. If you want to race from your keyboard, that’s as easy as selecting keyboard from the long list of different devices. Of course using a racing wheel is the way to go, and you’ll find no lack of selection here. Gamepads, Xbox controllers, you name it — no matter which way you go, you’ll be able to play with the interface that suits you best.


Race 07

Graphics are pretty good as the race track and cars are true to life. The developers had to skimp on a few things in order to put more power into gameplay and evidence of this is the spectators along the grandstands and courses; they’re nothing more than 2D cutouts. You can choose from a selection of camera views, but the one that really gives you the most realistic experience is the inside-the-helmet view.

You’ll see the car bounce and jitter as you race along the course, and the limited vision available inside the helmet makes you appreciate what real racecar drivers have to do to navigate a course without crashing or spinning out. Sound effects mimic the sounds of your tires losing traction and the engine sounds of cars whizzing by you are effective in giving you that in-the-game feeling. There’s even an onboard radio that you can turn on, but I found that just adding my own tracks of classic electronica worked best for me.

There are a few bugs and design features in the game which sort of grind on your nerves, such as the inability of skipping beginning cutscenes while using a gamepad, spotty rule violation calls, lengthy load times, and being able to switch to different graphics modes without crashing the game. These issues, most likely, will be addressed in the next edition.

The hardcore sim-racing fan will like this title. SimBin’s attempt to reach the regular gamer on the street who isn’t a racing fan scores points for making a sim racer easier to get into, but the lengthy process of getting ready for a real race may be too much for the novice.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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