If you ever wanted to race R/C cars but never had the money for it, or if you happened to live far from a track, then Big Scale Racing should be something for you. Most people think R/C cars are just tiny battery driven cars, popular mainly with kids. However, more serious drivers use gasoline cars that are a fifth the size of actual cars; hence Big Scale Racing. In the game you will be driving in six different tracks, but what’s cool is that all of them actually exist in the Netherlands. Most look like miniature racing tracks, but they also included one that originally is a speed cycling track. A R/C fan should be pretty excited by this.
The developers made a custom engine for this game that’s called 4Space, which handles graphics, sounds, dynamics, multiplayer etc. It handles the graphics fairly well actually, sporting visually slick tracks with very little fuzziness. The textures are generally very crisp and life-like, which is easy to see just by looking at the screenshots. The tracks themselves also look great, even though they’re not perfect. The environment has trees, houses and everything we would expect. Some of the more interesting effects are evident when playing in rain, when water is splashing. However, the spectators are very disappointing. Their textures are excellent, but they don’t move at all, and to top it off; there are quite few of them, so you will see the same woman several places along a map.
Sounds / Music:
The sound department of Big Scale Racing happens to be the least important one. When driving you never actually need to listen for the annoying hum of the engines. As stated in an interview with the developers, most of the engine sounds are real, while some are synthetic. Actually, several people commented on how annoying this game sounds, and I can’t disagree with them. The musical score consists of three tracks that are entitled Rock, 50s Surf and Dance. They are played at a very low volume by default, so they shouldn’t disturb you when playing. They are more pleasant to listen to than the engine sounds, but instead I suggest that you mute the game and play music you like – you’re not missing out on anything.
Controlling the cars is as easy as most other racing games, and is done using the arrow-keys for navigation, along with R for rescue and F to flip the car. However, like in real-life all the cars aren’t identical. Some of the cars use front wheel drive, some use back wheel drive, while some use something in between; so you’re likely to drive cars that have for instance 75% front wheel drive. All the cars have different handling, so if you manage to win a race with one car doesn’t mean you will be able to do the same with a different car. Also, the tempo is very high when driving, and if you screw up really bad when driving you’re very likely to loose. Several times I was the leader of the pack, when an opponent drove into me, sending me into oblivion. So, if you want to be good then practice might be needed. The problem with practice in Big Scale Racing is that it gets incredibly boring, incredibly fast. When playing the Championship, which is the main single player feature, you start in the easiest league. There you get to drive in the six different tracks, and if you get a high enough score then you continue onto the next, slightly harder league. When you start a new league you also get a slightly better car, but besides that there’s basically nothing new. After you have finished the first half of the championships you continue onto the Hopper class, where the cars are lighter and more powerful. Still boring? Yes. After you’ve completed the six tracks you’ve seen most of what the game has to offer, at least in terms of single player gaming.
After a few hours of playing this game I had come to the stage when I was desperately trying things that could raise the fun-factor slightly. The only thing I found was that the various cameras you can choose between are slightly interesting. Also, in one of the tracks the developers have hidden a small skateboard park, so if you manage to attract people to play with you through multiplayer then you could experiment a little with the strange cameras, and maybe laugh a little.
Basic functionality has been included; meaning you can choose between playing on a LAN and by split-screen. Both work very well and are very simple to set up.
The only people I would think this would be of interest to is a team of R/C fans. There are so many great multiplayer games out these days that I seriously doubt a “regular” gamer would be excited by this. But still, it’s of course a plus that multiplayer is supported.
It is clear that this is a simulator, a game that tries to fully replicate the real-life feeling of driving R/C cars. You can forget about driving on coffee tables and using nifty power-ups, instead you’re left with six life-like tracks to play around on. A fan of these little cars should fall in love with the atmosphere and extremely realistic physics engine, but those who prefer fun should search the bargain-bin for ReVolt.
Big Scale Racing’s one major problem lies in its depth. After you have completed the six tracks you could basically just stop playing it, because you’ve seen most of it. Granted, some of the later vehicles are mildly interesting, but it doesn’t make this a good game. Instead, Big Scale Racing falls into the pit of mediocrity, where only fans of the real thing should be interested.