Superstars V8 Racing: Next Challenge Review

Sequels are often long-awaited and highly anticipated, though more often than not they improve on their predecessors. Superstars V8 Racing: Next Challenge is only the latter of these, releasing within a matter of months after its forerunner: Superstars V8 Racing and this latest instalment wasn’t exactly the most wanted game of 2010…

Superstars V8 Racing: Next Challenge is a licensed title based on V8 Superstars, a touring car racing motorsport which is one of the most popular of its kind in Australia and New Zealand. Whilst it isn’t well-known on this side of the world, the game is your typical track-racing title, easily comparable to the likes of Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo in terms of gameplay. However, many aspects of this budget title fail to live up to the high standards these titles have previously set.

The single player game modes consist of the traditional modes you would expect from a title of this genre, including: Quick Race (allowing players to select a driver, a track and settings for a race); Time Attack (requiring players to set times on each of the game’s twelve tracks); Championship (the game’s main game mode, requiring players to participate in a number of race weekends in which players qualify for their starting position and earn points); Race Weekend (a small portion of what Championship mode portrays) and Superstars License (arguably the game’s strongest game mode, consisting of a series of challenges players are graded on). Whilst the game modes featured aren’t particularly poor, they don’t offer much in terms of replayability – with the majority of the game modes proving very repetitive and lacking in content.

The Quick Race, Championship and Time Attack game modes are also available on Xbox Live Multiplayer. Despite the players available within one race over the Xbox Live service increasing from 12 players to 16, there is still a severe lack of them supporting the game’s online play, which isn’t promising considering support for the more popular racing titles is still going strong, even months after release.

Superstars V8 Racing: Next Challenge offers a decent array of drivers from which to choose from, each of which proving more beneficial in one of the three areas: Max Speed, Acceleration and Handling. In the predecessor, the choice of driver didn’t particularly affect the handling of the cars, though the choice proves much more crucial in the sequel, possibly playing a significant part of the race’s outcome. Furthermore, the game offers twelve tracks, each of which is brilliantly and accurately re-created from their real life counterpart. Whereas only a few of them are instantly recognisable from the race tracks we’ve seen and heard about within Europe, the unfamiliar tracks still provide the same exhilaration as players fly through the corners and bends.

As well as the usual achievements, the game offers an extra incentive in terms of prizes, earned through a series of challenges. The challenges consist of completing certain aspects of the game, as well as completing a number of objectives. Upon completion, players are rewarded with cups, diplomas and household items for the player’s relaxation corner, neither of which is particularly impressive. The feature is a nice touch, persuading gamers to continue updating their collection via playing the title; however, it isn’t essentially something that will encourage most people, due to the sheer repetitiveness throughout each game mode.

Graphically, Superstars V8 Racing: Next Challenge contains no improvements over its predecessor with the title looking pretty much identical as it did first time around. In saying that, it still looks fairly impressive, especially the car damage which is surprisingly quite realistic. Disappointingly, even the game’s familiar, slightly bland menus and layouts have proved consistent. Similarly, the game’s audio still consists of a looping track that will quickly drive people mad… (excuse the pun). Nevertheless, the game’s sound effects are as effective as they were in the original.

Another issue the game suffers from is the over-exaggeration of the weather conditions. The only two evident are rain and sun, with the rain regularly leaving players with an overly-slippery track to race on, often proving the cause of a lot of frustration after the car goes spinning out of control.

Overall, Superstars V8 Racing: Next Challenge is a step in the right direction for the series. The improvements over its predecessor ensure the title is a worthy sequel, though there are still a number of problems evident. With an extra push, Superstars V8 Racing could become a contender against the likes of Forza Motorsport. This is definitely one to consider.

David Wriglesworth

David Wriglesworth is a Northern lad with a passion for gaming, who graduated from the University of Lincoln with a BA (Hons) Journalism degree. If you can drag him away from the consoles, you can probably find him Tweeting or watching Coronation Street.

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