Blimey! and 10TACLE Launching Free BMW M3 Challenge

BMW M3 Challenge

If you’ve been wondering what Blimey!, some of the folks behind some of your favorite PC racing sims, have been up to lately, look no further than the press release issued this morning from 10TACLE STUDIOS, publisher of GTR, GTR2, and GT Legends. It seems they’ve scored a partnership with BMW and the new game is nothing other than BMW M3 Challenge, which will offer a digital rendition of BMW’s latest iteration of the classic M3 coupe. The game will launch in parallel with the upcoming International Motor Show in Frankfurt, and will be downloadable for free after the doors close there. No word yet on details beyond the game being free and offering 16 player online multi, but given how enjoyable all the various M3 Challenge mods have been over the years, this one should be right good fun.

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Worthy Hands-On Burnout Paradise Preview from Eurogamer

Burnout Paradise

Unlike certain other outlets, it seems Eurogamer know how to write a good overview of a hands-on session with certain hotly anticipated games, like Burnout Paradise. In their coverage they talk about both graphics and the rest of the game.

Power Parking is one of the many things the new openworld Burnout lets you do. If you feel like it. When you see a pair of cars parked somewhere, it’s your choice (in my view, your duty) to use the handbrake to swing your car into the gap between them. Do it without hitting either car or smacking the kerb, and the game will recognise you for it.

That’s hardly the extent of the new, of course. The handbrake is different, for one. And the openworld city. And the wholesale rejection of all the crutches upon which all the other Burnouts swung themselves around the room – endless menus, loading screens, instant restarts, online lobbies, and all the rest of it. This is a boundless driving playground in every sense they could think of, blending the disparate styles of the other Burnouts’ varied locales into one coherent setting. So much so that if you want to race against a friend you just pull up the Easy Drive gizmo using the d-pad and fire off an invitation. “It’s sort of like texting while you drive,” says Criterion’s Matt Webster. If your friend accepts, your world and his world (I don’t know any girls) are brought together, and there you are, racing as one.

Worthless Hands-On GT5 Preview from IGN

Gran Turismo 5

The UK wing of IGN got the chance to play a little Gran Turismo 5 at the GC last week and have written up their impressions … of the graphics, which is something we don’t really need hands-on time with to evaluate, now is it?

For a time limit-enforced romp on the track, players lined up behind the bucket seats in a mixture of awe and anxiety. After waiting our turn, we fired up the ponies under a TVR Tuscan Speed 6 ’00 and then chose the jet black paint job from the 21 options. We proceeded to pull donuts in the grass, rub up against our competitors and shift with reckless abandon.

Simply put, this is one of the best looking games out there. The cars sparkle in the sun, shadows dance across the pavement, and as soon as you touch the gravel, plumes of dust start getting kicked up.

That’s about all they wrote. Click on over if you don’t believe me. Tsk tsk.

GT5: Prologue to Follow Warhawk to PSN and Retail

Gran Turismo 5

The hotly anticipated Gran Turismo 5: Prologue will follow in the footsteps of the recently released Warhawk for the PS3 according to Eurogamer, receiving both a downloadable PSN release and a full Blu-ray retail release. It will feature a car count somewhere north of 40, three tracks (Eiger Nordwand, London City, and Suzuka), and 16 player online racing. It will reportedly run at 1080p and 60fps in race mode, while replays will only hit 30 fps.

The game is currently slated to drop in Japan and Europe sometime before the end of the year, but no North American release has yet been announced. However, even if it doesn’t get picked up for release, the region-free nature of the system should make importing easy … should you be so inclined.

Sega Rally PSP Previewed

Sega Rally Revo

Sega Rally isn’t just coming to the next gen consoles; it’s also getting a birth on Sony’s PSP, where its simple gameplay and addictive challenge should shine. Eurogamer got a hands-on with the portable port and of course shared their impressions:

Indeed, in SEGA Rally, your main contest is with the road surface. There are three types of surface in the game, and three types of tyre, with one best-suited for each type of tyre. Once you’ve picked your wheels, each race is all about judging how to control your slide on the different surface types so as to take the quickest racing line. It’s all about knowing when to ease off the gas in order to control your slide, and knowing when to nudge the wheel to correct your direction. Slide too far and you’ll lose speed. Don’t slide at all and you’ll bounce round the walls of the track. Get it just right and you’ll segue satisfyingly from bend to bend.

And, as mentioned above, they’ve totally nailed the handling. Whether you’re hitting the brow of a hill and sailing through the air before switching into a perfect powerslide, or careening round a long easy right after cruising past your closest competitor on the inside, the feeling is one of utter exhilaration. You won’t have had this much fun in a driving game since any of the OutRun 2 games.

Stuntman Ignition Reviewed by GameSpot

Stuntman Ignition

Alas, those hoping for a repetition-free experience in this rebirth of Stuntman may be a bit disappointed to read this review from GameSpot. It highlights the improvements made since the last time we tried our hand at being a movie wheelman, but makes it abundantly clear you’ll still need a lot of patience to get the most out of this one:

The original Stuntman was a polarizing game when it crash-landed on the PlayStation 2 more than five years ago. The notion of playing the part of a Hollywood stunt driver seemed universally appealing, but the game’s exceedingly low threshold for missteps meant you had to play through lengthy stunt sequences repeatedly before you got them right and could advance to the next sequence. The game’s winking take on Hollywood blockbusters and the satisfaction of really nailing a stunt sequence made it all worthwhile for some folks, but others found it supremely frustrating. Paradigm has taken over development duties on the new sequel, and Stuntman: Ignition is definitely a more dynamic, more approachable game than its predecessor. It’s still Stuntman, though, and you’ll still need a certain tolerance for trial and error.

ProStreet Hits the Strip

Need for Speed: ProStreet

Voodoo Extreme has a set of (heavily retouched, we fear) pictures showing off the drag mode in the upcoming Need for Speed: ProStreet release. The graphics look fantastic and the nose-up launch of that Hemi ‘Cuda certainly looks authentic, and we’re hoping that the overall experience will be slightly more exciting than that seen in other drag games, which tend to be more like reflex tests than anything to do with driving …

MotoGP’07 Reviewed by Eurogamer

MotoGP 07

Eurogamer has had their fun with MotoGP’07, the follow up to last year’s Xbox 360 debut for the franchise, and have posted up the final review. By the sounds the game is subtly improved over last year’s entry but not a major leap forward ultimately making it a somewhat passable experience.

The number one question in the mind of fans is “Have they addressed the visual flaws from last year?” and the answer is “Yes, they have. Thanks for asking. Help yourself to some peanuts”. The frame rate on corners in MotoGP 06 was cause for concern, bringing with it some ugly v-sync tearing, but that seems to be a thing of the past. There’s still the occasional stumble, but nothing to compare with what came before. The bike handling, meanwhile, is much as it ever was, and newcomers will still need to practice on the numerous track challenges before they can start clocking up clean laps. The addition of visual cues, such as juddering wheels, are actually of more benefit to those familiar with the series and its control. To a novice, it’s just a wobbly wheel. To someone more steeped in MotoGP lore, it’s an obvious indicator that your speed and trajectory need tweaking.

GT5 Interview – Professional Physics and New AI

Gran Turismo 5

Any cynical fan of the Gran Turismo franchise is probably sick of hearing about “rebuilt” opponent AI in the game, because every single iteration of the game has promised just that, with none really delivering anything but the same ‘ol freight-train bumper-cars action. However, that’s exactly with series producer Kaz Yamauchi is promising for Gran Turismo 5 according to an interview with Kotaku. Kaz’s reasoning is that with 16 cars on track some updates were needed to prevent that bumper-car action … which apparently was acceptable with 8 cars on track.

Also mentioned is an in-game TV channel that may include footage of real racing, and a new “Professional” physics model meant to appease those looking for something a little more hardcore than the earlier releases … color us interested.