The makers of Lotus Challenge would like you to think that this is one of the
most innovative and greatest racing games of all time. And it would be, if I had
never played Gran Turismo, Project Gotham Racing, Burnout, Need For Speed, Ridge Racer, RalliSport
Challenge, V-Rally, and some of the better racing franchises of our time. As it stands
with the current oferings, Lotus Challenge is far from a memorable racing experience.
It doesn't matter how much thought you put into making the controls tougher than they
should be or how redundant you make your challenges, because no Xbox owner is really
going to care about this game, let alone play it. Yet I did.
There's not a lot going for this game. For one, it's a racing game that only
sticks with one auto maker. Now, it's not like this hasn't been done before, EA did this with
the release of Need For Speed : Porsche Unleashed back in 2000, and the later OutRun 2
stuck with all Ferarris. But seeing how it's been years since a Lotus automobile
has been sold in the United States (if ever), is anyone really going to care about the
Lotus license, let alone it's history. Another thing against Lotus Challenge is
the fact that it is all around unimpresive. The challenge mode seemed promising by
mixing race challenges with stunt challenges, but the stunt challenges are so demanding,
flawed and complicated that you just don't want to deal with it. Plus, it seems
almost uneccessary to go through the challenge mode to unlock cars and tracks if
you can do that in the championship mode, and THAT itself is boring and redundant. The
controls are playable, but sketchy. On it's normal setting, the cars turn decently,
but there was some noticeable twitchiness when straightening out the car on turns.
The "innovative" control scheme was too complicated to understand, and wasn't really
a necessary component to make the game better. I can understand that a developer would want to
try and re-create the feel of a steering wheel on an analog stick, but why not just
use a steering wheel accessory instead if you want the steering-wheel experience?
The visuals and audio are not that great, and that's almost a given seeing this
game is published by a company who is relatively unknown. The visuals are about
of average quality, with car models ranging from simple to just "okay", and the textures
that actually seem pixelated is some states. The framerate does stay pretty smooth
most of the time, but that shouldn't be so hard given the hardware the game is on.
The sound effects are awful, the music is acceptable but repetitive and the voice overs
is something I could live without. Why is there no custom soundtrack function, though?
Lotus Challenge is at the low-end of the racing spectrum. While it's not a
god-awful racing experience, it's far from a great one. You can pretty much unlock
everything within five or so hours, and you really won't want to go back and play
the game again. So, if you wanted to give this game a try, just rent the damn thing.
Lotus Challenge isn't a game really worth hunting E-Bay for, and really won't make you
feel all the more enlightened for playing it.