Superstars V8 Racing Review

Superstars V8 Racing

2010 has been a solid year for racers, bringing gamers titles like Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit, Blur, and Gran Turismo 5. So where does Superstars V8 Racing fit into all this? It tries to differentiate itself by utilizing the official license of the Superstars Series racing league, meaning you’ll be traveling in excess of 400 mph often. Unfortunately, that distinction doesn’t add much to the game, resulting in a by-the-numbers racer with a lack of meaningful content. But as a XBLA title for $20 it proves to be a decent alternative for those wanting something a bit more affordable.

Perhaps the most important aspect of any racer is the actual driving; everything needs to feel right. Superstars V8 Racing succeeds in this regard. You may be traveling at lightning-fast speeds, but your car never feels out of control. Braking is relatively easy, meaning turns aren’t a problem… unless you find yourself in a group of cars. The AI is overly aggressive during turns, trying their best to knock you off the track. A challenge is always welcome, but this ends up being pretty frustrating. It’s a shame the AI wasn’t more realistically developed considering the actual driving mechanics are very well done.

In terms of game modes, Superstars V8 Racing features the standard options you’d find in most racing games. There’s a training mode where you can get a feel for the game, Quick Race for those who want to just jump in and play, Race Weekend, which includes a couple of practice runs and a qualifying session prior to the race, and Championship mode, which is essentially multiple Race Weekends. Where Superstars V8 Racing starts to deviate a bit is in the Superstars Licenses portion of the game. This mode features various challenges across four different categories. They run from learning fundamentals like drafting to playing a race under tougher conditions such as with worn tires. These end up being pretty fun and offer a nice change of pace. There is also a rudimentary multiplayer mode where up to 12 players can race online with various settings being adjustable.

Aside from the Superstars Licenses the rest of the game modes aren’t very deep. While there is certainly a lot of content included, most of it is shallow and doesn’t hold your attention as long as some other big racers. Adding to the problem is a lack of customization. You can switch from arcade to simulation options which significantly increases the difficulty, and there are plenty of tuning options for those who like to tweak their vehicles, but there is no way to upgrade to new parts or change the appearance of your vehicle, making each race that much less satisfying by the time you finish. That carrot at the end of a stick approach you find in many quality racers is missing and the game suffers for it. On the plus side there are a lot of achievements to obtain, so that’s a nice touch.

In the audio/visual department, Superstars V8 Racing does little to draw you in. That’s not to say the game looks or sounds bad. The rev of the engine sounds appropriate and visually the game looks good, especially the lighting and weather effects. But overall there’s a lack of personality, from the menus to the actual racing. The music is generic, the tracks don’t look that great, and the crowds are poorly rendered. But considering this is a downloadable game it’s a bit easier to forgive these missteps.

Superstars V8 Racing is a hard sell. On the one hand everything about the game is solid; the game controls well and there is quite a bit of content included for $20. But most of that content isn’t very deep and what you’re left with is a bare-bones racing game that does little to separate itself from the crowd. Anyone looking for a cheap racing game on the 360 may want to consider it, but the truth is that there are better racers currently available on the platform.


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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