Developer: Milestone S.r.l.
Publisher: Milestone S.r.l.
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Tested on: Xbox One
Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO – Review
To put it harshly, it was only a matter of time before another rally driver would have his name smeared over a new games IP after the untimely passing of Colin McRae. As it has been a while since a Colin McRae game was released, we had rather high hopes for this one, especially seeing that Sébastien Loeb is a rather experienced driver himself. While for the most part this game provides the basics, we were still not fully convinced of what was thrown in front of us. Nonetheless, we were happy to see another rally game hit the shelves.
As expected, this game has no real story value, which is no real issue. Nonetheless, it would have been nice if the career mode had a little bit more to it, rather than selecting the different modes, earn credits and be on your way. The developers did an effort to implement Sébastien into the game however, by using short interview clips (which are sadly horribly dubbed) about his past achievements. This little touch makes the game a bit more personal.
Graphically Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO is underwhelming at best. Even though the game has a few nice sceneries for you to enjoy, the cars miss a lot of details and are rather rigid and simply look dated, compared to games such as Forza 6. You’ll be treated to cockpit views that are close to the era of the first Xbox, which makes the game feel even cheaper. While the backdrops are often rather enjoyable, snowy levels have rather ‘blocky’ snow, trees tend to suffer from severe ‘popping’ and mountain courses tend to copy paste the same obstacles over and over. Add an audience that never actually looks at the track with the facial expressions of a mannequin to the equation, and you’ll have yourself a very barebones build of a game. A fun touch however are the actual video clips that are being implemented, to tell you a bit more about Sébastien Loeb’s achievements.
Whilst the game does not look like what this generation is truly capable of, it never looks appalling either. Sadly, there are a few bugs as well, like weird rendered patches on your front hood, choppy black stripes on your frame, glitching motions when you hit an obstacle and damage that can only be seen in certain viewing points. Overall it seems that the textures of many things were just extremely cheaply done.
One thing that is truly poorly done are the cockpit views of the different cars. While it’s a fun touch to see your co-pilot’s clipboard next to you, the dashboards of all the different cars are pretty much all the same, as they have a nearly blank dashboard, with about two gauges and that’s it. With a bit more effort, this could have been a redeeming factor.
Sound wise Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO is rather qualitative and it brings a nice touch to the genre by using very upbeat and heavier tunes in the menus, in order to get yourself ready for the coming races. Of course, during the races themselves the music is turned off and you’ll be able to enjoy the roaring of the different types of engines and the dry voice of your co-pilot, who tells you what’s waiting for you around the corner.
A sad overlooked issue however is perhaps a function to turn on music during the disciplines where your co-pilot is not accompanying you. While this is only a minor remark, it would have been nice nonetheless.
Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO is a (rally) racing game, which offers you the basics of the genre, where you’ll be able to compete in the basic disciplines such as rally, rallycross and pikes peak, which all have their different settings, car requirements and themes. From the beginning the standard items will prove to be straightforward, while the tuning options might take some time getting used to. A fun touch for rally enthusiasts are the events that surround Loeb’s career.
In your career mode you’ll be able to choose between many different sub-disciplines, which will slowly start to unlock when your garage starts to expand. To qualify for certain competitions you’ll have to own specific types of cars, but credits don’t come that easily, especially if you play on the normal difficulty settings. The game itself proves to be rather hard for newcomers, even on the easier modes things tend to get tricky.
Even though the game is a rally game, it’s still a shame that the available cars are very limited. You’ll be treated to roughly 70 cars (with a lot of re-skins), which is sufficient to occupy yourself with for some time, if you wish to purchase them all, but if you’d rather rent cars and try out different models, you’ll be left wanting more. Also, for some reason, you’ll only be able to rent a handful of cars from the purchasable ones, which is a very odd implementation on the developers’ side.
Truth be told, even with the above not sounding all too positive, the overall feeling and handling of the game is actually quite good, which blows many of the previous arguments out of the window, to a certain extent. Sadly, there are no real in-depth tutorials about tuning your car, to get an ideal setup for each occasion.
While the overall mechanics are decent, the loading times are unbearable, making things seem a lot slower than you’d want them to be. Not only the loading times are annoying, the rewind function is very lacking for those who aren’t that skilled in the rally genre yet. If you get stuck, and you try to break free on your own, it’s possible you can’t rewind to a point where you were still driving safely on the road. While this is something many racing games have, the timeframe is a lot shorter in this one.
Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO is a very barebones experience when it comes to appearance and diversity, but is does offer a fun and solid base to mess around with. You’ll be treated to responsive controls and an authentic rally experience for newcomers, veterans and those who follow Sébastien Loeb’s career. Sadly, the extremely long loading times and the dodgy visuals take away a lot of what this game could have been.