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Sega World Rally is not what it could be

I love arcade style games and I love racing games, and more often than not the combination of the two provides a lot of fun. So when I saw that a version of Sega World Rally was hitting the arcade I was looking forward to fast and furious racing action, but unfortunately my expectations were not quite met.

Sega World Rally Arcade has nice cars at least
Sega World Rally Arcade has nice cars at least

The curse and blessing of arcade games

Arcade games can sometimes be classified as “thin” by the fact that they are often simple games that aren’t intended to provide hours of straight gaming. But don’t confuse “thin” with “depth”. Most arcade games have a lot of depth despite each gaming session being rather quick. I can roll through Outrun Online in less than five minutes and finish Trouble Witches Neo in about 15 minutes, but that’s not the point or the challenge. The goal is to score points, or in the case of racing, beat the clock. When done well, arcade will bring you back for that challenge alone and unfortunately, Sega World Rally Arcade just doesn’t bring me back.

In many ways, Sega World Rally Arcade is what you expect. You have a fun selection of cars, a few tracks and straight up arcade controls, completely with “floaty” physics and more power slides than you know what to do with. Despite hitting all the “must haves” in an arcade racer, I couldn’t help but feel that Sega World Rally cut corners on what should have otherwise been a really fun game.

Your favorite Toyota is ready to get dirty
Your favorite Toyota is ready to get dirty

I wanted Sega World Rally to be a lot of fun

I hopped in my Subaru WRX (with hood scoop) and burned rubber around three tracks, kicking up mud sliding around every corner. None of the courses were too challenging and my AI opponents weren’t much of a bother. I finished my initial play of the game in first place and uttered out loud, “that was it?” An arcade game that lets you be #1 the first time you play is not a good sign. I know that high scores will keep me playing the game over time but that shouldn’t be so clear so soon. A well designed game should make you have to study and learn before asking you to attack the leaderboard.

I look at Outrun Online and to this day I still haven’t unlocked all the achievements nor gotten to a point where I can say there’s nothing left to learn. I’m not claiming I’ve perfected Sega World Rally after playing for an hour, but you can’t help but feel that way after you play it even a few times. Sega Rally is as thin as any arcade game, but it lacks the depth any good game needs.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAwTI9_9uhc[/youtube]

Take the bad with the good

But Sega World Rally isn’t all bummers. The controls are what you expect, the collection of cars is fun and there are a few modes to keep you busy. Time Attack mode is especially nice because you can download ghost cars from the leaderboard, letting you go up against the best in the world any time you want. Online play isn’t bad either if you can find an active game. This clearly isn’t a title people are clamoring to purchase so don’t be surprised if you can’t find any open games to join, or when there’s no one joining your hosted game. There’s nothing wrong with this game in terms of how it plays or works. The problems exist in what the game offers, or more specifically, what it doesn’t offer.

Of course, the ultimate argument to all of this complaining is the price. Sega World Rally is only $10 and it’s easy to go “what do you expect for $10?” Well, I expect quite a bit these days since you can find some really good $10 games out there that deliver more challenge and depth than Sega Rally. I bought Sega World Rally because I’m an arcade fan, a racing fan and also a rally fan, but I can’t help but feel that my $10 would have been better spent on Outland or even Nin Jump.