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Review

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • X360

A terrible campaign structure and other problems make Ferrari Racing Legends an exercise in frustration.

Few automotive manufacturers have a legacy that's as bold and exciting as that of Ferrari. Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends has the advantage of being able to draw on that rich and thrilling history. It includes 51 cars from Ferrari's past and present, from the 1947 125 S to the 2011 150° Italia. These are incredible machines; the 1967 330 P4, the '84 Testarossa, the 2005 FXX--the sleek lines and sharp contours of these cars can quicken the pulse of most any red-blooded automotive enthusiast. Unfortunately, despite having such an exciting stable of vehicles to celebrate, Ferrari Racing Legends flounders, with a poorly designed campaign that's structured in such a way that even the privilege of driving some of the most coveted cars ever produced becomes a chore.

Why does the campaign matter so much? Because the overwhelming majority of content--most cars and tracks--are locked at the start and can be unlocked only by playing through the campaign. The campaign is divided into three eras--golden, silver, and modern--and each era includes anywhere from 53 events to over 100 for you to complete.

The problem is that each era is structured as a linear series of events; until you complete one event, you can't do the next. Additionally, many of the events are extremely difficult. The result is that you might find yourself stuck attempting the same event over and over again, not because you get any enjoyment out of attempting the same feat in the same car on the same track umpteen times, but because you want access to the content you'd unlock for completing it, as well as the opportunity to play later events in the campaign.

All the drivers buy their helmets at the same helmet shop, Helmut's Shop o' Helmets.

If you come across an event that you just can't win, you're out of luck. There's no way to skip an event and move on to later ones in the same era. All the cars and tracks that can be unlocked only by completing subsequent events in that era will remain locked to you, forever. Of course, it's nice to be rewarded for success, and the lure of unlockable content is an effective incentive to meet certain goals in any number of games. But Ferrari Racing Legends' inflexible, uncompromising campaign isn't a source of enticing rewards so much as it is a source of demoralizing punishment. Unless you have incredible patience and determination, you won't be willing to jump through the infuriating hoops this game requires you to, and most of the content will remain inaccessible.

That's a shame, because when you're not running up against these frustrating constraints, driving these cars can be a pleasure. Ferrari Racing Legends isn't one of the most visually impressive racing games on the market, but the beauty inherent in Ferrari's designs makes the cars attractive, and many of the track locations are picturesque. Of course, one Ferrari can handle very differently from another--a 1948 166 Inter that tops out at 125 miles per hour feels quite different from a 1995 F50 that can hit 202mph--but they're all extremely quick and responsive.

This is a simulation, not an arcade racer. It takes skill to guide these cars around tracks in good time, and until you learn to tame them, driving these powerful machines can be frustrating at times; it's very easy to head into turns too fast and lose control. An optional racing line can help you handle those corners, and a good assortment of views (including a cockpit view) lets you find a perspective you're comfortable with. A convincing sense of speed and the authentic whines and roars of engines can transport you to the racetrack, and there are moments when you get completely caught up in the experience of racing.

But compared to other simulation racers, the Ferrari Racing Legends experience is frustratingly uncustomizable. There are five driving assists, including steering help and braking help, but you can't turn these on or off independently. Instead, you must choose from three driving models--novice, normal and pro--each of which puts the driving assists into a preset configuration. Additionally, there's no rewind option. A single slip-up at the end of a long event can cost you victory, and your AI opponents can be maddeningly aggressive and nudge you off the road, leaving you with little choice but to restart. When things like this happen, you'll lament the absence of rewind. The objectives of campaign events vary a bit. You may need to set a certain lap time, finish in the top three in a race, or avoid falling too far behind other drivers. These events are prefaced by narrative text, but the game's attempt to craft a story within the campaign falls flat. Being told that "you received a penalty for supposedly cutting the track on your best lap" in an event that happened offscreen doesn't create drama; it just makes you feel less connected to the career you're playing through.

Despite the fact that you're driving a Ferrari, there is no option to listen to Splash Wave, Passing Breeze or Magical Sound Shower.

This disconnect is driven home by the way some events are divorced from their descriptions. In one event, for instance, the text informs you that you're hitting the track to practice a team technique called heads and tails, in which one driver--you, in this case--can stay behind the other for the first two laps and then take the lead for the final two laps. However, once you hit the track, there's no reason not to just disregard heads and tails completely and take the lead right away.

But these issues pale in comparison to the campaign's awful structure and the ruthless way in which content is doled out. You can escape the campaign by diving into the quick race option, or the phantom time trial option in which you can practice by racing against ghost cars of your own best times. However, in both of these modes, you're limited to using courses and cars you've unlocked in the campaign.

The same is true when you create a game on Xbox Live. Online races allow up to eight players to compete, and they work well, though at this stage, very few people are playing online, and you tend to see the same few cars and tracks appear again and again. Ferrari Racing Legends all but squanders its greatest asset--a vast collection of fantastic cars--by locking most of them behind campaign challenges that quickly become tiresome. Ferrari enthusiasts may squeeze some enjoyment from this game, but it's far from being the elegant, finely tuned celebration the Ferrari legacy deserves.

The Good
Great collection of cars from throughout Ferrari's history
Racing these cars can be exciting at times
The Bad
Many campaign events are maddeningly difficult
Unlocking content is an often infuriating struggle
Absence of rewind option results in frustrating restarts
5.5
Mediocre
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0 comments
DoctorRane
DoctorRane

So, wait... It's challenging, unlocking stuff is a process.. and there's no carebear rewind?

 

Those honestly seem like features that cannot justifiably be used to reduce a game's score.

Richmaester6907
Richmaester6907

A four paragraph review and a 5.5? Yeah this website is confirmed for a gong show. 

Ericthehammer76
Ericthehammer76

"absence of rewind feature..."

Silly rabbit, were you expecting this to be like forza 3-4?

Trev9421
Trev9421

I'm not a huge racing fan, but it's an alright game. I feel like being able to skip to which challenge you want within an Era would be nice, as for rewind; I feel like it should have a limited use in any racing game simply because losing a difficult challenge within 100 yards of the finish line is highly annoying. (By "limited", I mean once, maybe twice depending on difficulty.)

DavidStorm
DavidStorm

Rewinds complaint ? Really ? The game being hard to drive ??? You really need to go on a track day to see how REAL sports car behave. Also, a friendly advice, dont try looking for the rewind feature while in the car.

jpnelson82
jpnelson82

Can you actually drive Test Drive FRL with a controller or is that going to be impossible and rage quit inducing?

woodyfr
woodyfr

Completely agree with you.

It's not because Codemasters started to add flashbacks in their games than we should see that in every racing games ! If you're a newbie just play in easy mode.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

I almost never use rewind in Forza 4 but like having the safety net I guess but wouldn't see that as a deal breaker. Unfortunately I can't get the game here in the UK as yet so it will be a while before I can comment on the difficulty. Disappointing review but it is only one person's opinion! 

Caldrin
Caldrin

WOW no rewind is a negative ? I think you need to put that as a positive... if you mess up you mess up and pay for it.. simple.. and omg the game is hard... what are thigns coming to...

DethSkematik
DethSkematik

I understand it's a crap game, but seriously? No rewind was actually a deficiency against the game? Don't let this reviewer play any FPS that doesn't have regenerating health, or god forbid, it'll get a 3.0 :P

UnwantedSpam
UnwantedSpam

The name alone screams how shitty this game was going to be. I was right.

mike9876543210
mike9876543210

don't use flashbacks, i play gt5 and grid and gt5 is better in the fact that you have to be good at racing games to be good at it, with grid and dirt 3 you can rewind 5 times in a race which takes the challenge out of racing around the track trying to hit every apex perfectly, with grid you don't have to be good to win, with gt5 you do but for me gt5 isn't hard, maybe its because i'm awesome, or maybe its because it is actually easy, actually no, its because i'm awesome. if i get this game (which i probably wont) then i can judge whether its easy, but looking at that video, the reason its so hard is because your crap :|

suplax
suplax

wow , Carolyn Petit , really ?

What a horrible review , you must be taking classes with Kevin....

So, basically you want a game that is EASY to play , EASY to unlock things and still want to rewind.... gosh, really ?

Apparently you want a game that play itself ? 

I can't imagine Carolyn Petit playing Dark Souls for instance , lol.

Iridescent406
Iridescent406

"Absence of rewind option results in frustrating restarts." Because GOD FORBID there be any consequences for messing up too much in a race.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

Oh gee, I'm so surprised.  What manufacturer-centric game has EVER been good?

zato_number_one
zato_number_one

Soul-crushingly frustrating game... I had such high hopes and faith in Slightly Mad Studios. Now I just want my money back.

ise1880
ise1880

It just proves the devs didn't care about this project considering its the same guys who made Need for Speed Shift. Slightly Mad Studios. Also dev credit is given to the wrong studio where it says Evolved Games.

ShockSplicer
ShockSplicer

Seems about right. Looks to be some of the most mediocre gaming I've seen in some time...

tightwad34
tightwad34

This has to be one of the biggest mehs I have ever mehed, even without the review.

mike9876543210
mike9876543210

 @Voice_of_Wisdom No, i haven't even played forza 4 and i know its better than this, more cars, more tracks, customization, need i say more? yes, better graphics and forza 3 was amazing in terms of physics and damage then forza will be even better

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

 @suplax Ha! I love Dark Souls. And I love a good challenge. Poorly designed, incredibly difficult challenges that you have to try over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again to unlock one piece of content and the right to try the next grueling challenge that you will then have to try numerous times is not a satisfying, well-designed challenge. It's just punishing. Plenty of simulation racers benefit from the presence of a rewind option--it's an OPTION, not something you're ever forced to use--and when you're nearing the end of a really difficult and rather long challenge that you've already attempted numerous times and then an AI driver nudges you off the track and costs you that shot at a successful performance as well as the past several minutes of work, the absence of a rewind option starts to seem unfortunate.

woodyfr
woodyfr

 @jinzo9988 Ferrari Challenge was good. Not easy but with nice cars and the graphics were correct.

winsord
winsord

 @carolynmichelle I'm genuinely interested, are you a fan of racing sims in general? It's not that I don't see the use of having a perspective from someone looking from the outside-in on this kind of game, but I feel like GT5 also received a lot of negative reviews with one of the big complaints being difficulty. The hand-holding nature of a game doesn't really matter as much for this kind of game because it's not going to get a lot of people interested in a genre, so they instead focus their limited resources on the actual game and making it fun for their pre-existing audience.

 

Complaining about things like the lack of a rewind feature makes me feel like you're probably not really a fan of the genre, but it has a big impact on perspective for the quality of the game. Is the game infuriatingly difficult because because of bad or broken game design in some fashion, or is it just that it's made for that hardcore simulation crowd who want to have a race lost for even a moderate screw up? It's just that perception of difficulty in this kind of case can really affect the validity of a recommendation for or against a game depending on who the audience is.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

 @ferrarimanf355 Fair enough.  We're digging pretty far back into history though, that's a 12 year old game.  I think even movie licensed games have a better 'hit rate' than these kinds of games do.

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends More Info

  • First Released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends is a driving experience for fans of the Ferrari brand.
    6.6
    Average User RatingOut of 68 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends
    Developed by:
    Slightly Mad Studios, Atari
    Published by:
    Evolved Games, Rombax Games
    Genres:
    Arcade, Driving/Racing
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    No Descriptors