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Colin Mcrae 2004


matt
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All right, I picked this up yesterday because? well because I just had to damn it! It?s damn hard to resist a new rally game for $20. Any game for that matter. I only had about 30 minutes with it though so this isn?t in depth. To many things to do around the house and to many TV shows to watch. But for that 30 minutes I was impressed. Not thoroughly impressed, but from what I could tell, you?ll definitely get your money?s worth.

 

If you?ve played ?03 than you?ll be familiar with the interface. It?s not the best out there, but it gets the job done. There are the standard options to play with, I didn?t really delve into much on them, but if anyone has any questions, I?ll check it out tonight.

 

Now I didn?t actually start a Championship last night, as I would like to get familiar with the feel of the game first. So I just ran a couple of short rallies. The nice thing about the Championship this year is that it allows you to choose your car, unlike in ?03 where you were stuck with the Ford Focus. You need to unlock many of the tracks in Championship mode before you can just go out and race them, so I was limited in the tracks I could choose. I race the first two legs of the USA track and I can?t remember the other right now. I?ll have to check when I get home later.

 

The graphics seem a bit sharper than ?03 but I?d have to do a side by side to be sure as I haven?t played it in a while. Needless to say it looked good. It also drove well. I really liked the feel of CM03 and this one follows in suit. At least so far. I?ll have to start a Championship to really get a feel for it.

 

The addition of Live scoreboards is nice. You get to see how you compare to other humans instead of your computer opponents. You get to see how much you already suck and the games only been out for 2 days. Racing head to head on live would have been nice, but it doesn?t really work with this type of game. This rally game is all about best time on a track. Without worrying about other cars. When you race head to head split screen you still don?t get to see your opponent on the track. I like it that way. There are plenty of other head to head games out there. This one is a great single play experience. And my soon to be stepson can see how long it takes him to knock a wheel off the car. For him it?s all about the damage. I didn?t crash much last night, but if the damage is anything like CM03, you won?t want to.

 

Well, that?s all for now. If I get any further anytime soon, I?ll add in a few more things. If anyone wants to know anything about the game, ask away.

Oh yeah, in my opinion, this game is definitely worth $20. :tu:

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Thanks for the impressions, I'm chomping at the bit to get this, but my local EB said that it won't be out until tomorrow!

 

As far as I'm concerned, if this game offered any improvements over CMR3 I'd be very happy. The fact that they have improved it in so many areas, AND cut the price dramatically is icing on the cake.

 

Matt, have you been able to feel a difference with the 4-point physics?

 

Do the scoreboards only work in one mode (like Time Attack) or are they available for other modes, like championship, as well?

 

How is the track design so far? I assume it's all new courses, right?

 

I can't wait to get my hands on it!!

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Well, based on what you said, I called EB and they are selling the game today! But like an idiot I didn't bring my pre-sale receipt with me, so I need to go home to get that, and then back to the store to pick it up...but if all goes well, I should be crunching doors and smashing windshields this evening!

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As far as I'm concerned, if this game offered any improvements over CMR3 I'd be very happy. The fact that they have improved it in so many areas, AND cut the price dramatically is icing on the cake.

 

That's why I couldn't resist. On Amazon there still selling CM03 for $50. :wtf:

That's just wrong.

 

Matt, have you been able to feel a difference with the 4-point physics?

 

Haven't had enough experience with it yet. I can say it feels a bit loose, but I've also played quite a bit of PGR2 lately, and the control there is vastly different. It will probably take me a good couple of hours of play to get the hang of the cars again.

 

Do the scoreboards only work in one mode (like Time Attack) or are they available for other modes, like championship, as well?

 

I really only checked out a few scores and only posted one, just to try it out. It seems like it takes your best time for the tracks you've raced and post it. I don't think it matters what mode you race the track in. But I'm not sure.

 

How is the track design so far? I assume it's all new courses, right?

 

Seems familiar, yet new. I haven't played CM03 in a while so I'm not really sure, but I believe the tracks are at least redesigned.

 

Please give us your impressions after you have a little time with it. I've only had a little bite so far, but for $20 I anticipate being very happy :green:

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I have it now (still at work), the box says no 480p - surprises me a bit since this is an Xbox-only release in the US. And obviously without progressive scan the game is going to suck ;)

 

Hopefully we can get a friendly LCVG rivalry going with this one...

 

Friendly, yeah...friendly, uh huh :lol:

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This is what I wrote about it in another forum:

 

Wow, I think the publishers found the "kneejerk buy response" price, at least for me. At $20 it's hard to pass up on a possible title.

 

So, I picked this one up yesterday after watching some videos of it in action. You guys know I dig PGR2, and I enjoyed the original Rallisport Challenge, so I figured I'd give this one a whack.

 

First, this isn't your Daddy's rally driving game. This is tough, a lot tougher than RSC. I know it'll take getting used to, but I'm continually averaging 7th to 9th place in my stages. I'm not a terrible driver in PGR2, but I just haven't made the transition to the rally style of driving.

 

The courses are lovely and challenging. I've been driving from the in-car position -- which is a distinct difference for me in all of my previous driving games -- and the immersion is pretty amazing. The windscreen gradually gets goop on it, which the automatic wipers sometimes take a stab at, leaving a little streaky impression. You see the steering wheel whip around, pieces of body getting bent up or yanked off, and the "bumpiness" is wild.

 

The audio is probably the best example of 5.1 sound usage I've heard since that scene in The Matrix movie. From the in-car view, you hear everything in the appropriate place in the soundfield. Shakes, rattles, bumps, suspension hits, you name it. I found myself turning up the volume to get even more into it. It ties in with the excellent damage model (which is configurable, by the way, from none to realistic) as well. I was driving along poorly as usual when I started hearing this thunking sound from the left rear of the car (deep sub hits as well). The car was harder to control, really crabbing along. Later the thunking turned into a rasping, metallic scraping and the handling really went to hell. You can probably guess, but in the replay I saw that I had acquired a flat in one of my offroad forays. Later, the remains of the tire came flying off in the midst of a turn. Really snazzy. I finished 27 seconds out of first.

 

The co-driver's call is good, but perhaps not high enough in the volume mix. This is something that I believe is configurable, so it's not hopeless. With all the banging and engine noise, it was sometimes hard to pick out the numbers he was calling out.

 

The graphics are dandy. This game supports 16:9 and, in contrast to last year's release, 480p. I can't say whether it's more attractive than the original RSC, but it's a fine looking game. The environments and driving surfaces are varied and convincing. I'd go so far as to say "intimidating" in comparison with the aforementioned RSC. Rallisport's driving surfaces were, with a few exceptions, rather flat and forgiving, even on hill climbs. There was almost always a distinct "driving surface" of rather flat, car-width area to zoom across. CMR4 isn't quite as nice, even in the beginning. The paths are bumpy and sometimes don't seem to provide anywhere "friendly" to travel. Challenging.

 

Control is fine. For whatever reason my brain is currently telling me that the controller didn't rumble, but I find that hard to believe. I'll double-check later. I've been operating in "semi-auto" or whatever mode it's called, where it shifts for you but you can up- and down-shift at will. Often, when I boof a hairpin the car stays in 5th gear and I have to manually downshift to get going again. Perhaps that's by design, I don't know.

 

It has Xbox Live scoreboards, for what it's worth. Meh. They are nowhere near as integrated as PGR2's scoreboards. You really have to go out of your way to first post scores and then see scores. I don't see me looking that often.

 

Last night I got back into PGR2 after playing CMR4 and almost said to myself, "Self, this is the kind of driving you dig. Take that other pile back and get Ninja Gaiden." I then popped it back in ffor a few more races and finally started "groking" it. I'm no better of a driver, but I can appreciate the differences and the merits of the game and it will stay in my little collection for a while now, I think.

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Woohoo! CMR is back!

 

First off, the game is in prgoressive, and it shows, the environments are crisper than CMR3, the cars look better, the gamma of the graphics overall is more realistic. There is more detail overall, it now has grass, ala RSC. It's not graphically as refined as RSC, but it drives a lot better, IMO.

 

As ColdForged said, the sound is sweet. You can hear the tires scrape against different surfaces (I play in chase-cam mode), you can hear little rattles as you drive over bumpy surfaces, the engines sound more detailed than CMR3, like more layers of sound are used to build up the engine noises.

 

The 4-point physics system didn't jump out at me at first, the difference is subtle. All I can say is that it feels very comfortable, like you are a little more connected to the cars. But where it feels most different in terms of handling (compared to CMR3) is when the car is moving sideways. It feels more predictable, I'm able to recover from lateral slides more easily that I'm used to (again, based on CMR3). I've only raced 4WD so far, so it remains to be seen how it feels with 2WD or the powerful GroupB cars.

 

Oddly, however, I can't seem to figure out the best way to take hairpins, which seems to be related to the 4-point system. It seems like you lose a lot of speed compared to CMR3, where it was easier to use the throttle to whip the tail end of the car around a hairpin if you approached it right. It might be just a matter of adjusting, and unlearning the CMR3 way...not sure yet.

 

I started a championship in 'normal' mode (there's also 'advanced' and 'expert' the last of which is supposed to be extremely realistic). I went through the first rally (the USA) and won it easily (by almost a minute after 7 stages). The times in Normal mode are quite easy to beat, I'm not exactly sure, but I think that the easy mode in CMR3 was a bit tougher. Each rally has 6 stanges + 1 super special stage against one opponent.

 

After I finished in the USA, I was offered a chance to test a new part for my car in Finland (which is where the next rally takes place). Of course I accepted and was challenged to put new 'advanced dampers' through their paces by hammering on the suspension of the car. You have to achieve a certain amount of downforce on them in a segment of the track, and you have to get to the finish line under the alloted time. The track offers plenty of jumps, which when taken at speed makes you land hard on the suspension. There are 4 meters on screen that show the level of force on the suspension so you can tell if you've punished it enough to pass. I failed the first couple times because I was too slow, but eventually I finished and was awarded the new parts.

 

So far I'm in love with the course design. Codemasters as not disappointed in terms of offering challenging roadways. Some of the courses (notably sections of USA stage 5) have really nice bumpy dirt sections, lots of ruts and undulations, and even paved sections with an uneven surface.

 

The live integration is - not. You have to log in separately from the game and upload times. I've had one annoying error. After completing the USA rally I tried to upload my times but all I got was a message that said that the "database was damaged ad had to be deleted" - it didn't affect my saved game, so I guess it meant on the other end of the connection (the scoreboards). Either way it did not upload my times for the USA stages. The times I set in 'stage' mode uploaded fine...I'm firmly in the 1100-1200'th place category...got a lot of work to do ;)

 

I can't believe this game only costs $20! It is probably the best 'budget' title game I've played! I can't recommend a game more highly! Go get it now! :tu:

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Shot some video of the game. It's from USA Stage 5, first part is on pavement, then the second half is some nice rough dirt roadway. You also get to see me slam the car into a tree or two. :) The movie is kind of big (28MB) but it's 1:36 long and fairly large at 400x267 pixels (30fps).

 

The color is wonky, I didn't try to correct it, the video camera and DLP projector don't agree about color.

 

cmrstill.jpg

CMR4 movie (28MB) Quicktime MPEG 4.

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I can't believe you guys get to buy it for $20. CMR4 is generally recognised in the UK as the best rally game bar none, and certainly the demos I've played dump on RSC from a great height; the only thing that comes close in my eyes in WRC II with a wheel (note that WRC II without a PS2 force-feedback wheel isn't half the game it is with, thanks to the steering on a pad being too simplified).

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I went through the first rally (the USA) and won it easily (by almost a minute after 7 stages). The times in Normal mode are quite easy to beat

Rub it in, ass!

 

I know the answer is most likely no, but does it support custom soundtracks?

The answer is most definitely "no".

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Guest Bryan

Excellent video, Ed! I'll grab it at BB today and try to get the hang of rally racing. I don't want my first attempt to be on Live with you pros in Rallisport 2.

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Yeah?uh?.. pretty much everything Ed and CF said.

I managed to play through the first leg (USA) of the Championship last night and had a blast doing it. I started out finishing 8th place for the first three races, but then started getting the hang of things and managed to finish the round in first place (I think by about 30 seconds or so). It then took me four attempts to get the advanced dampers. The game only allows two attempts, but when I new I wouldn?t finish the second attempt in time, I just paused and restarted my xbox. It?s fun when the game tells you to put the damage on.

 

A for the Live aspect, Ed you hit that on the mark as well. It?s a nice addition, but needs better implementation on the next go around. I also had the same error you did when trying to upload after the USA circuit. I then ran a couple of random stages and they uploaded fine. Maybe race times in Championship mode won?t upload? Strange. I?ll have to run through Finland tonight and see if it?ll work. I also need a bit more practice because my closest time to yours was still 10 seconds behind you.

 

Go out and buy this boys, you won?t be disappointed. :tu:

 

P.S. Buck, one of the better aspects (IMO) about this game is the absence of a soundtrack. You have to hear the car and the way it interacts with track in order to get the full appreciation of the game. And to know if your car is running the way it should be. Also, the co-driver?s calls are very important to pay attention to unless you like flying off the track (which is fun from time to time:)), unless you have the track memorized.

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Originally posted by matt@Mar 5 2004, 11:49 AM

P.S. Buck, one of the better aspects (IMO) about this game is the absence of a soundtrack. You have to hear the car and the way it interacts with track in order to get the full appreciation of the game. And to know if your car is running the way it should be.

I know, but I'm one of those that seems to drive better with some good tunes playing, gets me in a rhythm. It's by no means a deal breaker for me as I loved CM3 and I'm sure I can live with it :D

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Originally posted by ColdForged@Mar 5 2004, 05:39 AM

Rub it in, ass!

 

Hey, where's the smiley :D

 

I have the advantage of playing CMR3 to death, so starting up in CMR4 was no big shock. Oh, and you are making the game harder by playing in-car. I just can't bring myself to play in that view, it's so confining.

 

But I'll revise my statement a bit after running through Finland. It's a more demanding rally because of the speeds and slippery gravel.

 

Some other general observations:

 

The repair system has been tweaked a bit. Just like in CMR3 repairs are allowed after every 2 stages. You have 60 minutes to 'spend' on repairs, each repair takes a certain amount of time to complete (some take 2 minutes, some take 15), in CMR3 you could not exceed the allotted 60 minutes, so if it would take 10 minutes to repair the gearbox and you have 8 minutes left, you were SOL. In CMR4 they let you exceed the repair time, but you take a time penalty for the rally. I did this in Finland, I took a 37 second penalty...but it cost me a victory, I ended up 5 seconds back and in 3rd.

 

In the service area (where repairs are done) you can get a preview of the next two stages, nothing new here, but the previews have been enhanced nicely. It not only gives you an overview of each stage telling you the surface mixture (i.e. 20% wet gravel, 30% fine gravel, 50% asphalt), and an overall difficulty rating (on a scale of 1 to 5), but you can zoom into each quadrant of the stage, and get the same information about that quadrant only! You can skip through each quadrant to get the detail view and a breakdown of the difficulty and surfaces in that section...nice.

 

No offense Brian, but I find Derek Ringer's Scottish accent to be harder to understand than Nicky Grist's English one. Most of the time it's fine, but if the engine is loud or I'm concentrating on not crashing, I often miss some of his words. I might need to adjust the engine volume down to accomodate...but I'll probably just get used to it. :D

 

With the exception of the dust clouds which dissipate too quickly, that looks photo-realistic.

 

Exactly my thoughts. The environments are good enough that the blocky particle cloud stands out.

 

The movie helps a bit because it shrinks all the textures down, there are still occasionally questionable textures (mostly if they are close-up), but overall the resolution has increased and the game is quite beautiful.

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Hey, where's the smiley :D

Yeah, it was certainly implied. Anytime I use "ass" instead of some other more extreme epithet, you can assume I'm kidding. But damn that was a harsh dose of "eh, these tracks are fuggin' cake, and the only people who will have difficulty are infants and the severely retarded... those without the use of their hands will be at a slight disadvantage, but will probably still finish in the top 3" ;) ;).

 

Did you see that one unlockable difficulty level yet? In the manual they talk about it and in addition to the very realistic damage model, you are also stuck in the in-car view :twisted:.

 

but you can zoom into each quadrant of the stage, and get the same information about that quadrant only! You can skip through each quadrant to get the detail view and a breakdown of the difficulty and surfaces in that section...nice.

Hey! I didn't know that, that's sweet!

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Control is fine. For whatever reason my brain is currently telling me that the controller didn't rumble, but I find that hard to believe. I'll double-check later.

 

It does rumble but it's conservative about it, only rumbling over particularly rough terrain...

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The game only allows two attempts, but when I new I wouldn?t finish the second attempt in time, I just paused and restarted my xbox. It?s fun when the game tells you to put the damage on.

 

BTW, you can just exit championship mode and re-enter it and it lets you go for the dampers again.

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For anyone still on the fence, another movie (this one is much smaller at 9MB, 24fps) :P

 

This one is from Australia, it starts with a fairly normal dirt track, that after a while enters a heavily treed area. The track narrows down to just over a car's width and snakes through a dark forest...the video gets quite dark during this part but the scenery is as gorgeous as it is treacherous! Trees everywhere begging to be smashed into.

 

cmr4-2.jpg

CMR4 movie #2 (9MB) Quicktime MPEG 4.

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