Posted by: Mick on 2011-03-16 14:04:54
I recently earned the platinum trophy for Superstars V8 Racing, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on the game. It's a racing title available on the PSN for $10 in North America, although I believe it was released much earlier as a retail title in Europe. According to its website it's available on the PC and Xbox as well. I feel it rests comfortably on the sim side of the realism spectrum. However, even with all the assists on you'll still need to navigate the track with restraint.
The game is supposedly based on an Italian series that I've never really heard of. I have seen a few races from an Australian "Superstars" series, which I assume is similar. In the game you take on the role of one of the series' actual drivers and take the wheel of their car. Most of the cars are actual models, but it seems the publishers couldn't get a license for all of the makes (e.g. Mercedes seems to be "Scorpio" and Chrysler "Barricade"). I'm no expert on these models, so I can't say how accurately they handle, but they do feel different in ways that make sense. You'll notice the difference between driving an AWD audi and a RWD BMW. The Audi RS4s and BMW M5s occupy the top of the field and will probably be what you drive the most unless you're looking for a particular challenge.
Speaking of challenge, you're unlikely to find it in this game. There are four difficulty levels and as long as you possess a basic driver's license you should be able to breeze through all of them, but "Legend" without issue. Even in legend difficulty the AI is only fast, but not particularly aggressive. As long as you've taken time to learn the track you shouldn't have much trouble winning if you keep on a good line. The only track where I hade trouble was Valencia.
The circuit selection was one of the strong points of the game. They're all real tracks as far as I know and all of the major Italian circuits seem to be represented, including Monza. The tracks are presented in both wet and dry states. The wet track does seem to decrease traction and it seems to make it difficult to post competitive qualifying times. Sometime I wondered if the AI was even slowing down in the rain.
The worst aspect of this game are the menus. There's a lot of them and each time you make a selection you're presented with multiple successive loading screens. If that wasn't frustrating enough most of the loading screens have a Star Trek door like animation and sound effect. So, when you're ready to start a race you hear *swoosh* *clank* Loading... *swoosh* *clank* Loading *swoosh* *clank* Loading...
Overall I say this is a decent racing sim and worth the $10. However, there's nothing exceptional here that you couldn't get in GT5. Basically, the decision to buy will come down to three criteria: are you a fan of the series (unlikely for North Americans), do you want really want to race on the Italian tracks (e.g. Vallelunga, Misano, etc...) or do you want a cheap and easy platinum (definitely possible in 10 hours). If you want one of those things then go ahead and get it, otherwise just stick with GT5.