Saturday, 27 June 2009

PC Game Review - New Star Grand Prix

If you have fond memories of Super Sprint – or in fact any 2D racing game – then New Star Grand Prix is definitely a game to interest you. At its heart is a simple but supremely playable racing game with extra bits thrown on to make it a more interesting gaming experience.

The heart of the game is the Formula One World Championship, comprised of 17 authentic race tracks from across the globe. At the start of the game you choose your team and which driver you’re going to replace – naturally the team you select will have a bearing on how well your car will perform. I’ve currently got 2 games going, one in normal mode with team Brown (the team names are those of the real-life teams with a letter or two changed – same for drivers), and the other in easy mode with Form Indie (the worst team as far as I can see). With the first game I’m doing relatively well but only have 2 race wins halfway through the season, the second I’ve won or virtually every race. The cars do genuinely handle differently, with the superior acceleration and higher top speed of the Brown car very obvious. There are two difficulty levels above Normal, so even if you master the lower levels quite quickly, you should still have some challenge from the game.

The graphics are relatively simple but are stylishly done – in fact the whole game from race interface and game menus to aesthetics have a simple elegance about them. There is also a nice level of attention to detail which isn’t necessarily obvious immediately, such as the visible slipstream behind your car. The engine noises sound okay, they can get a bit monotonous but then they can in any racing game. The effect of several cars revving up at the same time is pretty realistic, and the music is very good.

The races do require a certain amount of strategy despite the simple control system. Pit-stop strategy, overtaking techniques and weather conditions all play a role in the game and however good a driver you are otherwise, if you ignore these aspects your success will be very limited – even in Easy mode to a large extent. You may also find that skipping every practice session may be a bad idea!

It’s not all about the driving however – you also have to keep your boss, friends, pit crew and fans happy. There are various ways of doing this, and obviously your performances on the track have a lot to do with it. Race wins or good positions will make your boss and fans happy. Going to the casino with pit crew or friends cheers them up. Conversely, damaging your car tends to upset the pit crew, while lousy performances will upset your fans – and probably your boss, too. Apart from the little star ratings for your boss, fans, pit crew and friends, there might be other benefits that come up later in the game because of having good ratings – for example I got a $100,000 contract due to my popularity. Money can be used to buy fancy cars or properties.

All in all there’s a surprising amount of depth to New Star Grand Prix, which ably backs up the instantly accessible game play. There’s a certain amount of retro feeling to this game – which to me is a good thing – it harks back to the days where a game could keep you playing for months without you having had to read a detailed manual or play a lengthy tutorial first. There’s a track editor with the game too. Oh, and as if that’s not enough, there are online leaderboards as well – just in case you feel that your times can challenge the best in the world. Sadly I don’t think mine would get close... Mods and tracks are already being (and have been) developed for NSGP, so the game’s possibilities will continue to expand. With that in mind and considering how good the game is already, I’m rating it 9/10. At just $9.99 / £7.49 / 7.99 euros, this game represents superb value for money.

To get your trial version or buy the game, Click Here.
To see what’s going on in the official NSGP forum, Click Here.

CaptainD - PC Gaming Blog


r4 nintendo ds said...

I am quite impressed with your level of customer service. I can’t tell you how happy I am with pc games. If everyone could be as customer focused as you, life would be so much easier.

game review said...

Good review,i'll try to play it

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