The blokes at GameSpot were lucky enough to get the opportunity to sit down with the upcoming Sega Rally Revo, the next-gen installment in the classic off-road racing franchise, due out later this year on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. By the sounds, they were quite impressed with what they saw.
It’s clear that the focus for the new Sega Rally has been on returning to the arcade roots of the series while bringing the technology firmly up to date. The game looks graphically impressive, with an engine that throws around beautiful scenery, track deformation, and incidental details with ease–even if the frame rate suffered in this pre-alpha build. The demo we saw ran on PlayStation 3 hardware at about 20 frames per second, but the team hopes to get that up to 60fps during optimisation. While that seems particularly ambitious given the level of detail, the original Sega Rally’s sense of speed was arguably more important than its visuals. Still, it’s good to see the team replicate the little touches that made the original so great, such as the helicopters that film you from above and the birds that emerge startled from the trees as you zoom by them.
While such flourishes as these certainly add to the atmosphere, it’s the track deformation that’s lining up to be Sega Rally’s unique selling point. While it’s not totally unique in the racing genre, thanks to fellow British title MotorStorm, it’s the first time that anything of this level has been seen in a rally game. In fact, it’s so impressive that it was the first thing that Sega decided to show us using the in-game engine. Tyres compact the top layers of sun-baked mud by passing over them at 80mph on the first lap, giving way to damp mud that can impair progress on the second lap. MotorStorm players will already be familiar with this concept, but Sega Rally has one more trick up its sleeve: It also throws water into the mix. The tropical track in the demo was particularly water-logged, and as we saw the Subaru Impreza pulling donuts in the mud, the water began spreading to fill up the crevices. With all of this taking place on a next-generation console, the water also begins to wash your car clean, leaving you to appreciate the two-toned paintwork once again.
The devs are promising online play on both platforms, full car deformation, and the same classic arcade-style feel that is the series trademark.