With exciting action, a strong career mode, and attractive graphics, V-Rally 3 is an impressive rally racing game.
It sure is a great time to be a rally racing fan and an Xbox owner. We've already been treated to games like Rallisport Challenge and, more recently, Colin McRae Rally 3, both great games that re-create the thrills of rally racing in their own ways. With V-Rally 3, developer Eden Studios has added another impressive rally game to that mix, one that boasts exciting action, a strong career mode, and attractive graphics.
Unlike Rallisport Challenge, with its fictional racing modes, V-Rally 3 keeps a generally realistic focus. Just like real rally racing, all the game modes pit you against time and the terrain; you won't be racing directly against other cars here. In V-Rally 3, you'll find two different types of quick races: one featuring single rally stages and the other featuring groups of multiple stages. Either mode can be played alone or with up to four players, where you try to beat your friends' times. While most tracks are initially locked, you'll still find a good number of them open for racing immediately, so you'll be roaring across colorful landscapes in Finland, France, England, Sweden, Germany, and Africa right from the start. Regardless of the locale, the racing stages tend to be unrealistically short, usually lasting about two to four minutes each, though they typically don't feel too short in practice.
You'll find the heart of V-Rally 3 in its relatively deep career mode. Unlike in Colin McRae Rally 3, which focused on its namesake driver and his Ford Focus, you'll have broader options here. First, you'll get to name your driver and choose his nationality and appearance. Then, from an office you visit between races, you'll get to check e-mail on your computer to learn of offers to join different teams--provided you can prove you have the right stuff. As your career progresses from season to season, you'll get the opportunity to drive all sorts of 1.6-liter front-wheel-drive cars and 2.0-liter four-wheel-drive cars for different teams. The cars are based on real ones, so you'll blast down straights and whip through turns in a Subaru Impreza, Ford Focus RS, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII, and other well-known vehicles.
What's nice about the career mode is the many choices it offers you as you proceed. When you start out, you'll receive offers to try out for a few different teams, each rated for morale, reliability, and budget, all of which affect how well your car will perform and how thoroughly it can be repaired between race stages. It's easy to ink a contract with a weak team mired in the bottom of the standings, and the season goals they set for you will be relatively easy. The teams with more money and skill at repairing and maintaining cars will be harder to join and will require more of you if you want to remain in their good graces. Either way, the better you perform over the course of a season, the better your team will become, which in turn makes winning easier.
Winning is always a challenge in V-Rally 3 since your competition will post some really impressive times. If you want to beat them, you'll need to drive superbly. That's no easy task when you're zooming across the countryside in a downpour on a narrow, muddy road lined with menacing trees and boulders. V-Rally 3 offers a thrilling sense of speed, and when you couple that with the treacherous rural terrain and frequently nasty weather, it means you'll need to maintain laserlike focus if you want to succeed. The slightest slipups cost you valuable time at best. At worst, you'll end up with your car upside down in a ditch or flying off a cliff into the abyss. If nothing else, V-Rally 3 really gets your adrenaline surging.