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Game Info:

Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO
Developed By: Milestone S.r.l.
Published By: Milestone S.r.l.
Release Date: January 29, 2016
Available On: PC, PS4/Xbox One
Genre: Simulation Racer
Number of Players: 1+
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
MSRP: $27.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Milestone S.r.l. for sending us this game to review!

Sébastien Loeb is a world famous rally racing driver, who has had a very distinguished career.  He is the most successful in World Rally Championship (WRC) history, with nine world championships in a row, a world record.  This game is a collaboration with him, and also a celebration of his many accomplishments.  Given Milestone’s history making WRC and MotoGP games, it makes a lot of sense that they would work together on a game.

The result is Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO.  Like much of its competition, this game is a first or third person 3D racing simulator, where you drive through treacherous courses trying to complete the race as fast as possible.  There are three main modes of racing, and four main modes of play.

The modes of play are quick mode, career, multiplayer, and Loeb experience.  Quick mode is what it sounds like – play a quick game without having to make it count.  Career is the bulk of the game, where you race, earn credits, spend those credits on better cars, and repeat until you get good enough to win gold medals, and move on to the next racing class and repeat.  This is where a good majority of the content is, and there’s much more to do here than in DiRT Rally.

Having reviewed DiRT Rally earlier this year, it’s hard to play this game and not make comparisons between the two.  My apologies for this, but it’s somewhat natural given that they are direct competitors with each other, on both current generation consoles and Steam PC, and were released during the same year.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Good graphics; Very good road handling, on tarmac especially; good voice acting for the co-driver; interesting history of Sebastien Loeb; a nice amount of single player content with good variety
Weak Points: Wheel support limited to specific models; engine sound is weak and lacks impact; multiplayer appears dead; recovery button is buggy after a crash
Moral Warnings: None!  (you can crash though)

The Loeb experience is an interesting game mode where you go on specific races that Sébastien did, and experience them from his point of view, with commentary documenting his history of racing.  It’s actually a really neat mode, and is worthy of a game carrying Mr. Loeb’s namesake.

Outside of the Loeb Experience, you can choose to play rally, rallycross, or hill climb events.  Rally is the most common mode, where you drive start to finish, and your opponents do as well.  They are all timed, and whoever has the best time wins.  Rallycross is where you complete directly head to head against your opponents, on the same track at the same time, trying to complete all laps first.  This is closest to traditional racing in other non-rally disciplines.  Hill climb is a variant of rally racing, where you have extremely powerful cars racing up a steep mountain, most famously Pike’s Peak.  This is like a very challenging single rally race.

Multiplayer is unfortunately dead right now, so I was unable to test it, but what I can say is that you can race with your friends in a rally, or in a rallycross competition.  DiRT Rally seems to have a much more vibrant and deep multiplayer experience, while Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO seems to have a more fleshed out single player career.

Other notable differences between the two games is that Sébastien is an expert in tarmac racing in his career, so there is a much better selection of road racing surfaces than in DiRT Rally, where most of them are dirt or gravel.  The tarmac racing itself also feels better – in DiRT, it feels like your car can never really stick to the road, where in Rally EVO you don’t slide off at every opportunity like you might on gravel or dirt.  I enjoyed the road racing in this game much more as a result.  I also like how your car seems a bit heavier; in DiRT, you tend to flip over or fly through the air from the tiniest bumps.  This game does much better in that regard.  

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 78%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

In other areas, they are just different games.  There is nice track variety here, and while there are a few shared tracks, most are unique to each game.  The cars as well – some overlap, with others present in only one or the other.  There is a fair amount of vehicle tweaking, but DiRT has you manage a pit crew, where this isn’t really a thing in Sébastien Loeb.  There are no major overhauls like engine replacements.

Graphically, I would give the nod to DiRT, but Rally EVO is no slouch.  The road, car, and environmental textures all look very nice with good detail.  The only complaint is that the frame rates are inconsistent.  While is stays about 60fps most of the time, I have seen a few dips, and it was noticeable.  Nothing earth shatteringly bad with my i7 and AMD 290x video card, but that it happened at all surprised me.  The sound effects, especially the motor sounds, leave a lot to be desired in EVO though.  DiRT definitely has a leg up here.

The AI in the rally levels I found to be unconquerable, even on easy.  In rallycross, I was able to get a gold medal, but in rally I never did better than 12th place.  What I didn’t like is that between first and last place was a spread of only around thirty seconds, on easy.  On normal, the spread was even tighter.  I feel like DiRT Rally’s AI is more fair in this regard, though I never did all that well in that game, either.  (I guess rally racing isn’t in my future.  Too bad.)

I was surprised how well the gamepad controls work in this game.  While I prefer using a racing wheel and highly recommend that, the gamepad actually works really well.  I could see it being easier to win in some circumstances.  I was very disappointed that my older Logitech MOMO is not compatible with this game, and I took the opportunity to upgrade to a G27, which works great and I highly recommend it.  The H-shifter works well, though pressing the clutch to switch gears is sadly optional, though it does shift into neutral.  But, I did find a really annoying bug where the respawn button would not work as expected, or would not even show up when it is clearly needed.  There were a few cases where I was stuck between trees off of the road, but not so far off that the auto detection would reset me.  If I didn’t use the rewind feature fast enough, I had to restart the race over from scratch, or be stuck there forever.  That was not fun, especially if I was near the end of the course.

Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO is a very competent rally simulator, with really good physics, especially on tarmac, and lots of course variety.  If you are a rally racing game fan, you should really check this game out.  If I had to pick only one, I would probably choose DiRT Rally – but this game is no slouch, despite the few bugs I ran into.  If DiRT isn’t enough variety for you, or if you prefer some of the other benefits of Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO, like a more robust single player career, it is definitely worth your time – and with a free demo, it’s absolutely worth checking out!

 

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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