Developed by Milestone S.r.l., Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo is an ambitious racing game with enough content to keep fans of the genre satisfied, but with some really sad flaws that prevent it from shinning.
Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo
Developed by: Milestone S.r.l.
Published by: Milestone S.r.l, Square Enix
Available on: PlayStation 4 (tested), Xbox One, PC
For those who are unaware, Sébastien Loeb is a French professional rally and racing driver. He competed for the Citroën World Rally Team in the World Rally Championship (WRC) and is the most successful driver in WRC history, having won the world championship a record nine times in a row.
Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo features two and very distinct core modes that fans of the sport will appreciate. The first is Career Mode, and it is focused on the progress of an unknown driver. You must pick a name, team members, your colors, and you are ready to go with your very first Peugeot 107. The goal is simple: compete and win for both reputation and credits. The more you win, the more resources you have to acquire new vehicles to compete in different categories. Aiming to reach the top of the charts is the main loop of this mode. The second mode, is the Loeb Experience. This one allows gamers to try and replicate the career of, yes you guessed it, Sebastien Loeb.
One thing worth of mention is that the Career Mode is extensive and massive in content, at least for a racing game. You start as a Rookie earning your very first races, and if you end up in a decent position, you earn credits, reputation, and a medal if you end up first, second or third. Winning gold medals is kind of a checklist in this game. You are required to win in order to earn enough resources to buy cars that are allowed to compete in, for instance, the Classic events. Unfortunately, this feels kind of a grind: if you don’t win, you don’t earn. Without resources, you can’t buy or rent cars, and without those, you can’t progress or race with the vehicle you want. I understand the Carrot on a Stick element, but it doesn’t deliver. Before any race, you have access to some basic info: if the track will be wet, with snow, dry, etc. This will give you some hint on how to tune your vehicle, which you can do up to some degree.
A cool feature about the Loeb Experience is that Sebastien himself was involved in the creation of it. The final experience provides players with videos featuring the driver, packed with context about the upcoming challenges and how to deal with it. Players will need to race and compete to earn 27 very specific achievements, and the mode manages to be both interesting and exciting.
If you are not an expert in the genre, worry not. The title features plenty of tutorials and settings to adjust pretty much anything. Tutorials will quickly explain the basic elements of the sport, like drifting, how to take turns and the co-pilot signal section with the pacenotes. Take into account that the title is still a simulation-driven experience, and as such will be very punishing with even minor mistakes. You are able to rewind and fix some mistakes on the fly, but this is not an arcade title. It is focused and determined to deliver a realistic experience of the sport, and you will be required to understand both the essence and mechanics.
You also have more than fifty cars, and more to come with DLCs, each with a very different and unique handling model, especially in different types of surface. But while the learning curve is worth the effort, nothing will prevent you from enabling all the assists and play it almost like an arcade game. Just remember that you will earn less resources by using specific assists like the rewind function, that will allow to, yes you guessed it, to rewind a few seconds to quickly fix your mistake.
Unfortunately, the game fails to deliver the kind of graphics and presentation that the current gen is capable of, which is important to mention when you are competing with other strong titles like the recent Forza 6. The environments and vehicles don’t look bad, but they fail to impress. And even with that, there are still really long loading times and framerate drops.
Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo offers enough content to keep fans of the genre engaged for a long time, featuring a hard to control and even harder to master type of gameplay that many gamers will appreciate.