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1 Reviews

Test Drive: Ferrari

These are horses that bolted

Were it any other manufacturer, a single-make racing game would seem largely pointless when stacked up against the virtual showrooms of a Forza or a Need For Speed. But with 60 years of the company's sports cars to choose from, both road and track flavours, when you boot up Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends you'll be spoilt for choice. Particularly if your favourite colour is red.

There's a remarkable selection of vehicles to play with, from ancient coupes that are barely recognisable as Ferraris to last year's Formula One charger, which was narrowly robbed of the world championship. Thanks to the divisively technical handling model last seen in the original Need For Speed: Shift, they're all a relatively dramatic ride and the more powerful race-bred machines are a joy to hustle. The F333 prototype, for example, turns every lap into a juddering rollercoaster, and prepare to develop a new-found respect for '80s Grand Prix drivers as you try to keep the front and rear wings on the F1 car that's tantalisingly unlocked from the beginning.

Zoom

It's not just the cars that get the historically accurate treatment, either. There's a huge complement of real circuits and many of them have archaic variations - typically faster, more dangerous, more sweeping approximations of the layout you know. Classics like Silverstone, Monaco and Monza make an appearance, all tracks where Ferrari has enjoyed success, and it's only traditional stomping ground Le Mans - Ferrari won there 14 times - that car bore historians will find notable by its absence.

The upshot of a game that's bulging at the seams with content, though, is that the presentation struggles to be anything more than functional. There are more than two-hundred challenges, divided into three eras, and unlocks are seeded throughout. But because of the sheer number of events, progress is more Sinclair C5 than Ferrari F50. Features like night racing and the advanced helmet cam from last year's Shift 2 haven't made the cut, making this feel like Slightly Mad Studios on a budget.

Still, if you're prepared to put in the hours unlocking it all, there are a vast number of vehicles and circuits, and the diversity of the line-up makes this worth a look for racing fans with a sim inclination. Even with EA's Need For Speed-branded gloss stripped away and replaced by rudimentary menus, there's still a satisfying, if bare-bones, driving game beneath.

The verdict

Not quite thoroughbred but hardly a nag either

  • Tons of cars
  • Loads of well-known circuits
  • Spans 60 years
  • Structurally simplistic
  • Graphically unspectacular
7
Format
Xbox 360
Developer
Slightly Mad Studios
Publisher
Namco Bandai
Genre
Racing / Driving

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