XBox racing fans rejoice. “Rallisport Challenge 2” has arrived
and it laps the competition.

The first installment combined stellar graphics and gameplay
with countless customizable cars to create one of the best racing
games on the market. Every aspect of the original “Rallisport” has
been upgraded in this sequel, most notably the addition of XBox
live accessibility.

Graphically “Rallisport 2” is nearly flawless. The environments
are beautifully rendered, mimicking real life cities and
landscapes. Almost 90 tracks are available to unlock and the
terrain affects the racing accordingly. The cars are all licensed
from actual manufacturers and the developers recreated the models
in painstaking detail. Weather and dirt also dramatically alter the
look of the vehicle. Most satisfying of all though is the new
collision animations, which vividly depict the ongoing damage that
occurs during a race.

The damage doesn’t solely alter the physical appearance of the
vehicle, but also affects the car’s abilities. This impacts the
already superb racing mechanics, which enables gamers to drive
through these off-road courses with a little practice. The game is
by no means easy though, offering multiple difficulty levels,
racing options and a career mode that unlocks vehicles and courses.
The new race types: hill climb, ice racing and cross over, offer
enough to warrant a look, but the bulk of the gameplay is still to
be found in the classic Rallisport style.

But what good is a racing game without strong multiplayer
features? “Rallisport 2” delivers these in spades. All of the
game’s tracks, vehicles and race types are available for four
player split-screen competition. However, it’s the online
functionality that separates “Rallisport 2” from other racers. In
addition to simple head-to-head races, XBox live enables users to
create their own leagues, record fastest times and even download
other players’ best races in order to play against their “ghost.”
No other racing game even comes close to having this many online
options.

“Rallisport Challenge 2” caters to all types of racing fans. It
offers the thrills and speed of an arcade racer, the customization
and realism of a racing simulation, and enough crashes and damage
to please demolition derby enthusiasts. “Rallisport Challenge 2” is
the rare sequel that fully realizes the shortcomings of its
predecessor and builds towards what its fans anticipated.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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