Sega Rally Revo for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 brought the years-old Sega Rally franchise into the current generation of consoles, crafting a fun, though sometimes overly challenging arcade rally racer around the series' trademark powerslide-happy gameplay. Revo was also released for the PSP, and it attempts to do the same thing as the console games, albeit with far less enjoyable results. In a sense, Revo on the PSP suffers from opposite issues of its console counterparts. Whereas the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions featured overly tough computer opponents that you couldn't bump off their racing lines to save your life, in the PSP game the opponents are total pushovers. There is next to no challenge in this game, and what little there is has more to do with the off-kilter controls than anything else.
Your first impression of Sega Rally Revo is likely to be the one you'll keep all throughout your time with the game because for as much as things change in the game, they ultimately stay the same. The second you get on a track, you'll know that this is pure arcade driving. Cars are incapable of going off track, with invisible barriers causing vehicles to bounce off everything from trees to minor shrubs. Powerslides are the name of the game, no matter the surface on which you might be driving. And there is a wide variety of surfaces on display. From mud-bogged jungles and sandy beaches to the icy, snowy mountains, you'll encounter all manner of terrain as you drive.
Maintaining tight, accurate powerslides on the PSP, however, is something of an exercise in futility. Whether you try to use the D pad or the analog stick, cars have an innate tendency to slide out and spin you too far in whatever direction you're turning. The amount of precision needed to make accurate powerslides just isn't there with this control setup, and you'll find yourself sliding every which way far more than you'd prefer. It's not impossible to keep a handle on the controls, but it requires more babysitting than it should to do so.
Granted, no matter how much you slide around like butter on a skillet, you'll probably still end up winning most of your races. The opponent drivers in Sega Rally Revo don't have much interest in keeping you from victory. Oh, sure, they'll try to cut you off when you steer around them, but that's not much of an issue because you can just bowl right into them and send their cars flying. All the cars in this game feel like tin cans on plastic wheels. A simple rear bumper tap will send the bumped car flying into the air for a second, and most times, the rear section of an opponent's car will fall down on your car. Simple taps from the side will send cars spinning like crazy. Granted, such wrecks will often lead to you losing some control of your car as well, but usually, you can get by without any other cars sneaking up and passing you.
Sega Rally Revo offers a few different modes of play. Apart from the standard quick race mode, there is a time trial mode, as well as a championship mode. There are three championship tiers, each tied to the three car classes in the game. You start out with the premier league, which consists of standard rally rides, such as the Subaru WRX STi and Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. Then you move on to the modified league, with such cars as the VW Golf GTI and Grande Punto Rally. Then finally, you hit the masters league and drive rally classics, such as the Lancia Super Delta HF Integrale and Lancia Stratos. Each league also has several unlockable cars, many of which are often much faster than the default rides (though at the same time, often more challenging to handle). With such a limited number of tracks, you end up repeating a lot of them again and again as you progress through each championship, though with the differences in speed between car classes, each step upward often results in a race that feels somewhat different.
Finally, there is multiplayer. Up to four players can play wirelessly via both ad hoc and infrastructure. The online play is functional, though we hardly ever found anyone playing. There is also a game sharing option, though only two cars and three tracks are available.
Graphically, Sega Rally Revo looks pretty solid, though it is a bit on the grainy side. This version of the game does have the dynamic track deformation that the console versions did, though not to quite the same degree. You do tear up the tracks as you go, but it doesn't really seem to have any effect on how you drive one way or the other, so it's more of just a visual trinket in this version--and not all that great of one either. Car models look great, and as each race goes on, you can cake them up with dirt or mud pretty nicely. In terms of performance, the frame rate holds steady, though the load times are pretty lengthy.
There are elements of Sega Rally Revo that provide some enjoyable moments, but too many irritations and issues get in the way of those moments. It might look good, as well as offer up a number of ways to play, but the suspect controls and relative ease of the gameplay prevent this from being a particularly captivating racer. When you factor in how many better and more interesting driving games there are on the PSP, you're ultimately better off skipping this one.