DTM Experience Review (PC)
If you’re a fan of the racing genre on the PC, than anytime you hear the phrase “developed by Simbin” you at least have your curiosity piqued. Simbin was a small modding group that eventually became a full development team based out of Sweden and is known for creating some of the best racing sims available on the PC today.
So when DTM:Experience was announced with very little fanfare , it took the PC racing community a bit by surprise. The DTM racing league, also known the Deutsceh Tourenwagen Masters, is a German touring car racing series that is extremely popular not only in Germany, but all over Europe. The cars in the series are built for speed, but also have the ability to absorb a bit of damage, which makes for some very entertaining races in real life.
With Simbin’s reputation for building racing games that adhere to real life physics and incredible handling, many could not wait to get their hands on this title. Now the big question is, should you?
Over the years, Simbin has consistently produced and turned out fun racing games, with great driving models. DTM: Experience is no different. From the moment you hit the track you can feel the true sense of speed when blazing down a straight away, are the necessity of accuracy when taking a hairpin turn at one of the circuits many locations included in the game.
The problems start to arise when one starts to dig deeper into the game itself. While the driving model may be a lot of fun, the depth or lack thereof, is where the game starts to lose air out of its tires.
For one, there are no true set ups are adjustments that can be applied to your car. That’s right, in a title that is supposed to replicate the authenticity of the DTM series, one cannot adjust the set ups of their cars. Want to change brake bias? Not going to happen. Want to add tire pressure? Not going to happen. Want to make to make a mid-race adjustment to your car during a pit stop? Not going to happen -- there are no pit stops. There are no pit stops in a single race or championship mode, and although there are rumors that they may patch it in, nothing has been confirmed as of now.
We do need to mention though that in the options, whether in a single race or championship mode, you can set the race set up to have car damage, engine failure, tire wear, and the option to turn penalty flags on or off is there. Although we suggest not turning them on for the simple fact that they are incredibly sensitive and somewhat unfair. Meaning that if you’re bumped off the track by an opponent, it results in a warning, if you cut the corner even the slightest, even if to avoid another car, it’s a warning and most likely a drive through penalty through the pits. You know, the same pits that don’t allow you to enter during the race to make any adjustments.
Instead of going with the standard percentage of difficulty for the AI that most sim racers are known for, Simbin has implemented a new system called Adaptive Racing Intelligence, or ARI. This system is supposed to allow the in-game AI drivers to adapt to your racing style and ability, I struggled to see it actually do what Simbin claims it would do. Regardless if I was racing on novice or hard, the system rarely ever seemed to adjust to anything other than what it was pre-programmed to do.
Along with single player, track test, and leader board competitions, DTM:Experience also offers the a championship mode where a driver is able to pick his favorite driver on the circuit and take him through a season and battle for DTM supremacy. While this mode does offer the top drivers, the top paint schemes, and the correct schedule and locales, that is about it.
There is no real championship presentation through your run, in fact, there isn’t much of anything. Once I fired up this mode, I was taken to a screen that told me I was in championship mode, but other than that, it felt no different than doing single races. After I finished the first race, it ushered me off to the next race almost instantly, and the same after the second and third. Sure it shows a generic podium splash screen with the top three finishers, and another small screen showing the championship standings, but that was it. No cut scenes, no immersion, no anything. I could have easily set this mode up myself in single race mode and kept track of the standings with pencil and paper. This entire mode felt tacked on and useless, and that’s a shame as I was looking forward to this mode the most (other than the missing multi-player, of course).
Rushed is the best way I can describe the DTM:Experience, and in almost every aspect. It is easily the most disappointing title released from Simbin, at least in my honest opinion it is. We must mention that if you do purchase the 2013 version, you will get free and full access to DTM:Experience release in 2014, which Simbin has promised to include multi-player. Because of from the lack of options, the tacked on championship mode, and overall inability to capture the true excitement of the DTM series, it is hard for us to recommend this title. Don’t get us wrong, the driving model is a lot fun, the sense of speed on the track is top notch, but true PC racing fans expect and deserve a lot more from an “authentic” licensed racing simulator.
Learning Curve – Whether you are using a wheel or controller, if you’re even a bit familiar with PC racing titles, you will pick up how to race these cars rather easily.
Visuals – While they are not earth shattering, the cars look great and the locations look just as nice – assuming you have a PC that can max out the settings.
Audio – The cars sounds very nice, the tire scraping is great, but the crowd is pretty much non-existent.
Value – Even with the inclusion of access(when released)to the 2014 version, we struggle to find the true value in this title, unless you are a single race type of guy, or just a huge DTM fan. Even then, there are better options out there.
Score: 6 (Above Average)
Scoring Note: A six, or above average, signifies a game has good selling points but falls short in many areas. The game is still very much playable (and can be enjoyed) by fans of the sport, but the serious flaws make it something which is probably not worth the full price of entry for most.