If you live anywhere near a city or motorway, odds are you’re a big racing game fan. After spending hours in yet another painfully predictable snarl up on the M25/M6/M62 (delete as applicable), when you finally arrive home (hopefully the same day you left) there’s a simple and perfect road rage therapy. And that’s to fire up your PC or console and bomb around a virtual race track, cackling away at the trees and scenery whizzing past you.
However, if a therapeutic drive is your aim, SimBin’s reputation for producing rather demanding simulations could be off-putting. The original GTR was damn tough to drive well, although the developer lessened the learning curve for the sequel, and Race 07 takes its cues from here.
It’s realistic but not over the top, and there’s a good selection of driving aids. Turn them all on and the game’s a far more forgiving arcade-style ride that should help banish those rush hour blues. Car set-up is still a pretty complex issue, with everything from springs to camber settings to tweak, but decent base set-ups are provided for every track (in the wet and dry), and these are more than adequate to get you started.
Race 07 is nothing if not thorough in terms of options. Players can race the official 2006 or 2007 WTCC (World Touring Car Championship), or design their own custom seasons featuring other vehicles. Whereas the touring cars provide a slightly slower and more tactical style of racing, you can also plump for the likes of the swift and retro-looking Caterhams, or fully-fledged Formula 3000 beasts which pelt around the course. Or indeed into the advertising hoardings in a shower of nuts, bolts and axles.
The diversity of the different cars and their respective handling grants Race 07 an impressively varied flavour. The numerous tracks are well realised, too, with twisting and turning street circuits like Macau and Pau (in France), alongside more open and traditional race tracks such as Valencia and Brands Hatch. These are all smartly rendered and detailed environments, and they run smoothly on an average PC.
Some well balanced AI rounds off the core of the game. The computer drivers aren’t perfect race-line following robots – they make mistakes and spin out or collide with one another, just like their human counterparts. This adds to Race 07′s strongly realistic atmosphere.
However, should you yearn for some truly human competition (and the recklessness that generally accompanies it), the game features a multiplayer mode, and there are plenty of servers out there catering for both novice and pro skill levels.