IndyCar Series 2005 Review

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Graphics: 7.5
Sound : 4.0
Gameplay : 5.0
Multiplayer : 4.0
Overall : 6.0
Review by Scott Lawrence

Finally there is a game for all of those fans who love to race cars in a circle, watch tire damage, and endure 50 laps of a remedial race course, and if you can imagine it's not even NASCAR. It's IndyCar Series 2005. And it's here to um, well, bore. The level of realism in this car game will most likely turn off most gamers and appeal to only a rare niche of the gaming market. If you love to drive a hard line, cut off a car on the inside turn, and blow him away on the straight away, then this game will be about as exciting as watching your grandma knit. However, if you have ever brought your camper to a NASCAR or Indy Race, have a mullet, or get chills just thinking about calipers then you will probably be pleasantly surprised.

IndyCar left something to be wanted in the graphics department. Although the graphics weren't bad, they weren't necessarily all that great either. With Next-Gen racing games like Gran Turismo 4 and RallySport Challenge, I suppose I have come to expect a certain level of detail and realism from the games. The cars were what you would expect them to look like, although they had no visible lighting features or crash damage or anything that would add that icing on the cake. The scenery and tracks are the same way (although if you spent much time looking you could crash faster than you could blink). Like I said, it is not really bad per say, but it wasn't anything that make me take notice. In the game's defense, the different camera angles were a creative idea. Players will have the options between the three standard far third-person, close third-person, and first-person views. The angle I liked best was the in-car first person. You can see the steering wheel, speedometer, hands of the driver, and massive Indy car wheels. This is just another feature that adds to the simulation element of this game.

Sound was horrible. The constant buzz of the car's engines was enough to drive one mad. How have other racing games overcome this problem? Well, just add in a sweet soundtrack to down out the buzz, right? Wrong. No real recognizable music, just a cheesy soundtrack that almost made you want to listen to just the buzz. At least Xbox lets to play custom sound tracks from your hard drive, right? Wrong again. The only reason this game gets any points for sound is because of the pit crew voice over. Each time you pass someone, a voice tells you what position you are in and which player is in front or behind you and by how much time. This is another feature that adds to the realism of the game.

So call me ignorant, but I found IndyCar Series 2005 for Xbox to be duller than a rice cracker with aerosol cooking spray as a topper. Perhaps it is the short attention span in me, or perhaps it is just that Indy Car racing is an acquired taste like fine cigars. Whatever the case, I found it very difficult to enjoy fifty laps of the same track over and over again. A track that is only 35 seconds long to begin with. Then after I finished a race, I would unlock a new track that would have nearly no moderation accept for sharper or wider left turns. Almost every track is a giant circle of some sort.
In this game will either make or break it for gamers. I personally found myself having a field day by smashing the other cars into the wall and seeing them slip about 5 times before they smashed into another car (although there's no damage, it is still fun). However, on more occasions than one, I almost lost it when after I had spent nearly 20 laps gaining a mere 5 positions, and my car would spin out for no apparent reason at all dropping me to last place. It didn't really line up that I could bump tires with other cars and come off spot free, but turning a corner 2 degrees sharper than usual would cause a total meltdown.

Multiplayer was a huge disappointment. As I stated, random spinouts and over easy crashes make the game almost un-enjoyable at times. After playing four Xbox live games, I gave up. After each player would crash they would give up and leave the game. Because of the picky spin outs, almost every race will have at least one crash per player. After four attempts to finish a game without everyone getting fed up and quitting, I quit the multiplayer for good. I suppose you can't hold the game at fault for quitters, or maybe you can.