It certainly stands to reason that a racing game built around one of the most timeless domestic racing machines would be a great idea. Watch a Corvette roll down a busy street, and you'll see a lot of heads turn to follow it. The tight handling, powerful engine, and delicate precision in its design are all hallmarks of its long racing lineage. Corvette, which was originally brought out on the Xbox by TDK, is now available on the PS2 as well. However, the game once again falls flat in just about every way a Corvette or racing fan enthusiast could hope it would succeed.
Corvette features a number of modes for you to play in, ranging from career mode to arcade mode, with multiplayer, quick race, and special event races mixed in. In career mode, you compete in a number of races in a linear fashion, starting with the first generation of Corvette and eventually ending in the last. Most of these races are held as wheel-to-wheel competitions of speed with five other hopefuls on a closed track. However, the last race for each generation is a one-on-one race held on the open road, along with regular road traffic and police enforcement. As you progress, you'll receive minor upgrades for your car, but for the most part, these don't make your car particularly distinguishable from its stock form. In the arcade mode, you'll go through the same progression of track and road races, this time being rewarded with cars and tracks that are unlocked for use in the game's quick race mode. The special events mode will allow you to compete in time trials, or endurance races, which are just longer versions of the races you already competed in.
Repetitive gameplay aside, what holds Corvette back the farthest from its goals is its control. With every car there is a noticeable lag between when you input a steering command in the controller and when the actual steering takes place in the car. This lag is enough to make accurate handling a problem in the Generation 5 Corvettes and gets progressively worse the older the car is. Controlling the traction of the car, even on regular pavement, is a very delicate balancing act: Either you have it or you don't, and there is very little leeway between having a planted feeling on the ground and spinning wildly out of control. With the PlayStation 2's controller, the accuracy of the handling is hindered even further. Coming through a corner at full throttle will almost always result in spinning your car, and dialing in just the right amount of gas with the controller's short-throw analog buttons proves challenging. Collisions with both fixed objects and other cars are frustrating, and colliding with other cars happens frequently, since the computer-controlled cars pay little regard to your being in their chosen path. To top it off, the game has a poorly conceived sense of speed, making it very difficult to judge just how much to slow down for an upcoming corner.
The game's graphics are probably its best feature, though in comparison with what you can see in other racing games for the platform, they're not that good. Textures are rough and repetitive, and the environments are very blocky. The game tries to soften its presentation with heavy use of a hazy filter, similar to the one used in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. But oftentimes this proves to be too much for the hardware, and the frame rate will often hitch up when the action moves too fast. Surprisingly, the frame rate stays consistent in the two-player split-screen mode, though this is managed by locking both players into the first-person view, which removes the car models from the polygon count. The audio palette is limited to the screeching of tires, the roar of the engine, and the sounds of collisions, but when you get right down to it, there's only a small selection of sounds to represent each. Every crash sounds the same, every tire squeal sounds the same, and although each generation of Corvette sounds unique, the sound is more reminiscent of a heavy propeller-driven aircraft than of a highly tuned sports car.
There are seemingly a lot of options in Corvette, but since it all comes down to racing your Corvette against other Corvettes, the action is pretty repetitive. The game's poor control make the action more frustrating than rewarding. All in all, Corvette is an overly simplistic racer with too many problems, and it's difficult to recommend it to even the most devout Corvette enthusiasts.