Group S Challenge Updated Impressions

We take Capcom's upcoming Xbox racer for a spin.

Group S Challenge is an upcoming racer for the Xbox that's currently in development at Capcom. The game is an attempt to blend arcade and sim racing elements into an accessible package. We recently took a new version of the game for a spin to see how it's coming together.

You'll find two main modes in the game, arcade and circuit. Each mode has its own unique assortment of gameplay types that skew toward either the arcade style of play or the sim style of play. The arcade mode offers four types of races: single, two player, time attack, and one make. While the single, two player, and time attack modes are self-explanatory, the one make races are a little different. While you'll be able to choose from any available cars in the other modes, the one make races put all competitors in the same make of car. The level playing field turns the races into a challenging test of skill.

The sim-style circuit mode offers three types of challenge races: championship, line line, and duel. Championship challenges you to participate in a series of races and work your way up to the highest level of competition, the "Group S" mentioned in the game title. Line line is a race that challenges you to collect green orbs arranged on a track for points. As a bonus, the line line races give you a good feel for the best racing lines on a track. Finally, the duel races let you win new cars by defeating opponents in a race. In addition to racing, the circuit mode will let you use the points you earn to buy cars from more than 20 manufacturers, as well as parts to tune them up with.

You'll likely find that Group S Challenge's control takes some getting used to. At the moment, the cars aren't as responsive as we'd like, although a bit of tuning remedies that somewhat. The cars are pretty manageable after some practice, but hopefully the handling in the game will get some more polish as development progresses.

The graphics in the game are coming together pretty well. The cars feature quite a bit of detail, with little flourishes such as reflection mapping and specular highlights thrown in for good measure. The environments are looking a bit flat when compared with the richly detailed cars, but they manage to look respectable.

Group S Challenge is currently slated for release around the end of August. We'll bring you more on the game soon.

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