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World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars REVIEW

World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars Review (Xbox 360)

World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars is a game that wants you to like it. It gets plenty about the dirt-track series right but cannot quite overcome some glaring flaws and broaden its appeal to all race fans.

Since the World of Outlaws is a dirt-track series with unique purpose-built cars, the controls will take some getting used to for most players. The controls are the basic gas, brake and steering. Newcomers should take note that sprint-cars’ brakes are set to be very strong on the left-front wheel in order to pitch the car into a slide to get around the corner -- they are not really used to slow down.

The handling model is the strong point of the game. Getting into a nice groove during a race is satisfying. Negotiating a corner three or four wide is nerve racking and get the adrenaline pumping. The game does its best to capture what it feels like trying to navigate an 800 horsepower car that barely weighs over 1,000 pounds around a mound of high-banked dirt. The game is definitely at its best where it really counts: on the track.

Unfortunately, the single-player mode is let down by its lack of difficulty. The main career mode is supposed to have you climbing up through the ranks during a season, earning upgrades and sponsors for your car, but you are able to immediately dominate for the most part. The game does seem to get harder as the career mode goes on, but it never provides much of challenge and neither does playing in the Arcade mode at full difficulty.

However, online is a different story. There you will be challenged by some serious dirt fiends who will likely lap anyone who has not mastered the game. If you can find a good number of people to play with, this might be the place to get the most out of the game. Though, it is disappointing that online is limited to eight racers.

 


Sure the graphics aren't Forza esque, but the game isn't half bad if you give it a chance.

 

The main problem with the game besides the lacking AI, is the game’s presentation. It all feels very basic and bare bones. The graphics are not impressive -- they are not ugly, but certainly are lacking in comparison to most racers on the 360. There is also almost no damage modeling, which is very disappointing in a simulation like this. (Part of the ease of the game might stem from the fact that there is no real penalty for smashing into walls or other cars.)


The tracks are all very boring looking, and there is never much to distinguish them from each other. However, the game does boast some nice dirt effects throughout. Dirt gets splattered all over the cars during the races and covers the screen, blocking your view in the process. This necessitates the use of a tear-off to clear the windshield. You have a limited number per race, which ads some strategy in the game. You do not want to use them all up and end being blind on the last lap.

There is barely any commentary before, during or after the races. There is only a PA announcer who says maybe one line before the race, only says "halfway" and "last lap" during the race, and says nothing after the checkered flag. A little bit of commentary can go a long way towards immersing a user in a game. I would have loved to hear something about my career achievements or the achievements of any of the other drivers in the game.

Game modes here are pretty standard fare: Arcade, Career and Multiplayer. Arcade just lets you jump into a quick race and gives you options for length, level of realism and whether or not the race is at day or night. Career is the meat of the game, where you go through a season earning sponsors and upgrades for your car. These upgrades also carry over to the online experience so make sure to grind through the career mode before heading online. Online you have the regular races and four other modes: tag, bomb tag, hot spot and hot spot delivery. These other modes are basically uninteresting variations on tag, capture the flag and king of the hill.

Final Thoughts

World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars has the making of a game that could develop a strong cult following. Fans of the series should definitely pick it up and, since the game is priced at just $20, I would recommend it to other racing fans who might want to try something a bit different. It is a game that is most definitely short on flash, but delivers just enough substance to keep you playing.

On the Track: The strongest part of the game, great handling model.

Graphics: Average looking at best. Plain tracks and very poor damage modeling.

Sound Design: Very lacking. Virtually no commentary and a generic rock soundtrack.

Entertainment Value: Great if you are a real fan of the World of Outlaws series. Just above average to good otherwise.

Learning Curve: Easy to get the hang of cars, too easy to dominate the computer.

Online Play: Provides a much better challenge than the AI, but the field is limited to just eight cars.

Score: 6.5 (Decent)


World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars Score
Feel of the cars.
Different racing experience.
Only $20.
Poor presentation.
No damage modeling.
Too easy.
6.5
out of 10
Member Comments
# 1 BIG CAROLINA @ 02/24/10 12:13 PM
For 20 bucks I am sure some OSers would not mind slinging some dirt online. Sad to hear about the offline difficulty though.
 
# 2 Squeezee12 @ 02/24/10 12:52 PM
ya other than the offline difficulty it has been a lot of fun.
 
# 3 TCrouch @ 02/24/10 01:19 PM
Thoughts are pretty well done--I'm surprised by the "no challenge on arcade mode with full difficulty", though.

If you can dominate Arcade on Pro, then nobody should be touching you online, either. The model is the same, the assists are off (but in career mode they're hard-coded to be enabled). I'd be curious to see the lap times, because I consider myself an above-average driver and can win my share of online races, but hardly dominate Arcade on Pro with ease.

I feel like one of "those guys" that disagrees with a score, but to each his own. The complaints are valid points--they just don't bug me personally as much as the reviewer, I think.

For example, the knock on commentary I don't get. Not many racing games do have in-race or post-race commentary--not Forza, not PGR, not a NASCAR game, etc. Most of the time you're too focused on the racing to listen to commentary. It's almost like it's viewed through a traditional sports game perspective, expecting commentary like a basketball game or football game would have. A racing game, especially a budget game like WoO, wouldn't be expected to have anything like that IMO.
 
# 4 jrp1918 @ 02/24/10 03:03 PM
Well, I tend to view licensed racing games like this and NASCAR titles as sports simulations, not just racing-sims. Since they are on TV and have personalitiesm I think they should have commentary and presentation like their NBA/NFL counterparts. But that's just my POV.

As for the difficulty, Arcade mode doesn't have smarter or faster drivers, the cars are just harder to handle because the assists are off. As for laptimes, I have the lap record at a few tracks and am usually close to it.
For example at Velusia my best is 14.16 and that's usually about a full second faster than the next fastest.

Online, I don't know why but I don't seem to win.
 
# 5 TCrouch @ 02/24/10 03:15 PM
Right, but are you simulating driving it or watching it on TV? I guess the same argument could be made for almost any sport, but having it as a major knock in a genre that's lacking it across the board doesn't seem natural to me. Different strokes. Most guys that are into racing games have a different mindset than the presentation guys in an NFL game, for example.

Reasoning is pretty simple--in a typical sports broadcast, there's a single focal point of action. In basketball, it's where the ball is. Same with football. In a racing sim, you have 43 cars (in NASCAR), or 24 in an A feature in WoO. You can't have traditional commentary because nobody's going to care if somebody goes for a pass 17 places behind you, which is what a typical TV broadcast does--hop from hot spot to hot spot. The alternative is to give commentary on the player's actions, and then it's no longer like a broadcast but something else entirely. There's no simple fix.

I agree it would be cool to have your career stats or achievements touted in some sort of in-game presentation, but no game on the market does that that I can recall--let alone a $20 title.

The track record in the game is probably a full second or more slower than most guys run online, and on Volusia I'm at 13.46, so it makes sense as far as online victories.

I still don't know how you don't get slide jobbed every corner by the cars on Pro in arcade, though. I can nail a line perfectly and the AI will still dive under you and try to take the corner away, and if you burn the slightest bit of speed spinning the tires, you'll get eaten alive on the exit on the larger tracks. The smaller bullrings are easier to just plow forward and stay there, but it's bizarre to me.

Are you using setups or anything to help the car? I didn't touch any setup options since you can't use any of them online, which makes the cars a lot more squirrely than in career mode.
 
# 6 jrp1918 @ 02/24/10 08:54 PM
I don't know man, I don't touch the setups because all I ever do is make the car worse, but I really don't have any problem beating the AI in Arcade mode on Pro. I don't what to tell you.
 
# 7 Squeezee12 @ 02/24/10 10:16 PM
Ya i dont mess with the setups because every time i have it made the car a lot worse than i started with...
 
# 8 Jeffrey99 @ 02/28/10 03:40 AM
Have to agree with the difficulty. I haven't raced online yet, so can't comment there. But out of the 10 or so races I've ran offline, 5 career & 5 in arcade hardest difficulty,I've won all but 1 with ease. Talking lapping most of the field. The only one I didn't win was due to the unrealistic yellows and me spinning out twice.

I use default setups and have tried using both my career car, with a few upgrades and a actual WoO car.

The game is a blast when you get into a pack of lap cars or spin out and trying to work your way back up. But you shouldn't have to do that to have fun.

As for the commentary, I agree with TCrouch. I want my games to simulate what it's like to drive a car, not watch the sport on tv. So I have no problem with the lack of commentary.

Honestly, I think the score is just a tad low. I think it's a easy 7+ game. It's nothing that will blow you away but I think you have to factor in that it's $40 cheaper then every other 360 game out there and I think that should bump the score up a full point by it's self.
 
# 9 Sprints410 @ 05/19/10 08:25 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by goh
I gave it a rent today as it was pretty much the only game on the shelf I haven't played.

I have the opposite problem. I tried an arcade race to start off,put it on rookie since I haven't played such a game before,lapped them 3 times over. Go into career there's no difficulty option or options at all for that matter and I'm finding it wwwwwwaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too difficult. On top of that I finish first in the time trial but have to start in 4th,what?

Anyway I finished 3rd in a 8 person race (got into first for about half a second a few times and was immediately passed by the person that was just in 3rd and shortly after the person that was just in 2nd) then 10th in a 10 person race and 18th in a 24 person race so it's been nothing but a really awful expierence after the first arcade race with even more awful game design to not have any career mode options to make it better.
Goh
You start in 4th becasue they invert the 4 fastest car from qualifying times. It puts the faster guys toward the back. In an actual outlaw race they would have 4 heats with 8 cars. So if you wanted to start on the pole you need to qualify 4th, 8th, 12th...so on. the fastest 2 from the heats plus the to fastest qualifiers goto the dash which sets the start for 1 through 10th place. hope this explains a little.

Anyways the game just came out on PS3 and i love the physics! they are dead on as well as the tracks! They started the AI very simple so newbies wouldnt get frustrated and quit. It gets much harder as the game goes on. As far as setups, if you are lose turning into a corner add RR spring raise the front of the car to 4" with the rear at 3" and set your RR spacing higher. Loose coming out, take out stagger and take wing back. The game has way to much stagger as default not to mention air pressure. Real sprints run 8lbs or so. which makes the car handle much better. Torsion bars should all be set to the highest except for LF. I've worked on sprints for years and have drove them. The game is a DARN good sim!!!!!! It is lacking on some features but i can deal with it.
 

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