August 26, 2008

This is one game made for the Ferrari enthusiasts out there. Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli is an in depth racing simulation game that you can experience in the comfort of your own living room.

Based heavily upon the real world Ferrari Challenge single-marque motor sport championship, this Ferrari simulation attempts to give you all the experiences of actually driving a Ferrari on these famous world tracks without having to go through the effort of actually acquiring a Ferrari.

All of the 3D car modeling has been overseen and approved by Ferrari, and they look gorgeous.

To place emphasis and prove the amount of detail placed in these cars, the entire menu system within the game is a full 360 dramatic viewing of a select Ferrari’s surface from all angles. All this is while navigating a small horizontal bar 1/8 the size of the screen for play options. This menu truly is designed for the Ferrari fans that can not go a second without being in the presence of these famous cars.

With so much effort placed on the cars, it makes sense that there was slight design problem that was a bothersome confusion when using the Wii remote to navigate. The onscreen button layout differs from the actual remote. The 1 button is to the right of the 2 button on screen, when on the remote it is opposite. I found myself canceling actions when trying to select. This is not a big of a problem, but just a slight annoyance.

You can find Ferrari Challenge for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Wii home consoles. This version developed for the Nintendo Wii has the benefit of the Wii remote’s motion sensing for simulation steering instead of online racing offering in the PS3 version. There is no option to drive with a friend in the same room either. Driving your Ferrari here will be a solo affair, and that hurts the game.

Moreover, after the initial wow factor wears off, you will encounter the first major problems with this game. The loading times are horrendous. Having so much work placed in these cars has become a double edged sword to this game. The long loading times between just selecting which Ferrari to drive, I found myself giving up and using which ever default Ferrari was given when starting a race.

There is a lot of decent content, however, and unlike other simulation games like Gran Turismo, you have the ability to jump straight into races and tournaments. There is no requirement to have to get a license forcing you through many tutorial levels. You get to start driving your Ferrari right away.

There is the option of using the Wii remote and nunchuck control scheme or just the remote’s motion sensing steering. Either control scheme works very well. With the real world tracks to race on, the majority of this game is spent on understanding your car — learning how your Ferrari handles, how long it takes for brakes, understanding the ins and outs is what it is all about. Remember, this is a simulation, not an arcade game.

Any mistakes you make driving can be unforgiving. On the easy difficulty tracks, if I got off road once I found it very difficult to make it to the front of the race. That is why there is so much emphasis on all the practice races. The game gives you a visible recommended racing line indicating points of accelerations and braking which are very helpful on your road to Ferrari driving perfection. After a while of driving you start getting an understanding for each Ferrari and can feel the improvement on your driving thanks to the racing line itself.

The game does give you accomplishments to help move you forward on objectives that can be achieved to further your game play. You can buy cars and customize your Ferrari with decals but without online racing to show off your car, it seems like a left over feature from the PS3 version.

There is another side mode called Challenge Cards. It involves a deck of cards with images of a type of Ferrari with info of year model, top speed, weight, engine size and value. You basically pick a statistic on the card about the Ferrari that you think is better than the unknown Ferrari card the computer has. When you win, you get the opponents card. The game continues until one has collected all the cards. It makes a nice distraction from the racing but only just serves as perfecting your knowledge of Ferrari cars.

If you own a PS3, I would recommend the PS3 version because of the benefit of being able to race other people. Otherwise, if you are heavy into racing simulations would I recommend this game for Wii

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