RC de GO! is the definition of a sleeper - a marvelous little racer that deserves a little more limelight than it has received so far. In truth, the game excels on all fronts, providing a deep sim-based RC experience, with an intuitive control scheme accessible enough for anyone to pick up.
Comparisons to the classic RC Pro-Am for the NES are unavoidable: The cars and tracks are similar in scale, and both games share the same hectic pace. RC de GO! is more grounded in its simulation aspects, however, whereas RC Pro-Am contains more arcade-like elements.
In fact, for those willing to delve so far, RC de GO! provides a rather deep customization element. The game's championship mode lets you customize your car between races, which means you can configure a racer to fit your style. Taking a cue from some of the most in-depth examples found in the racing genre, RC de GO! lets you tinker with every one of your racer's components, from its engine, brakes, and suspension, right down to its chassis. Each change tangibly affects your racer, and the act of gathering funds, and subsequently enhancing the racer's systems, does much to make the game experience seem worthwhile.
RC de GO!'s most valuable asset, however, is its unshakable playability. The game's control scheme - which successfully mimics the design of an actual R/C transmitter - is easy to pick up and genuinely fun to use. The scheme uses both analog sticks on the Dual Shock controller: One stick lets you accelerate and brake while the other lets you steer. Dual-stick schemes have proven intuitive in the past, and such is the case with RC de GO!. While the act of maneuvering a testy RC car is challenging, the game's functional control scheme aids you in smoothly managing the relatively steep learning curve. Truth is, you'll be well up to speed after just a few races, and the game's shifting camera perspectives will become second nature.
At first, though, the game's camera proves most daunting. As the tracks are sectioned off into a series of segments, RC de GO! manages to capture the transitions between them by offering a series of fixed camera angles for each. As you traverse the tracks, the camera's perspective will change, and you'll only be able to view the expanse of track that you currently occupy. The main flaw with the camera system is the inconsistencies between the different camera angles. One view, for example, will be zoomed out fairly far back, letting you properly gauge your progress, while the next will offer a drastically different perspective, zoomed in to a different degree, which can throw you off rather easily. Some races seem to be more tightly focused, while others seem roomier and thus more manageable. Once proficiency with the control scheme is achieved, compensating for the camera-born inconsistencies won't be so big an issue.
Throughout all these changing perspectives, though, RC de GO! manages to maintain a high level of graphical polish. The car models are painstakingly yet modestly rendered, and everything moves at a beautifully brisk pace. Perhaps due to the tight perspectives the game is built around, there is seldom a break from the game's speedy pace. All elements on the tracks animate smoothly, and they remain structurally tight throughout. Graphical flourishes abound, from the skyscraper track's dim lighting, to the Japanese garden's raining cherry blossoms, sealing the treat that is RC de GO!'s visual package.
Perhaps the game's biggest flaw is its lack of a two-player mode. Though its absence is understandable, given the obvious technical difficulty of effectively rendering the game's tracks on a split-screen interface, you can't help but crave a multiplayer experience. Given that multiplayer modes tend to add much to a racing game's shelf life, RC de GO!'s lack can't go unnoted.
RC de GO! is easily worth its $20 price tag. Fans of RC racers will surely find the game to be the most legitimate interpretation of the hobby on a console system to date, not to mention the most fun.