Xpand Rally
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 7

Awesome graphics if you have the hardware to run it and some challenging gameplay makes this one a winner if you are a rally fan. While Colin McRae still beats it when it comes to pure entertainment but if you are a rally purist then get this.

Gameplay: Good but not for the easily bored.
Graphics: Great looking cars and tracks.
Sound: Average

Summary 7.3 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Xpand Rally

Developer: Techland | Publisher: Deep Silver |Release Date: 2004 | Genre: Racing |Website: n/a | Format: CD / Digital Download

While I can’t say I’m too familiar with Techland, one thing is clear; these guys must love their rallying. Xpand Rally is a racing game that will certainly please fans of the genre and although it doesn’t seem to have any kind of official license, it’s still well worth checking out if you like the genre.

Graphics

Graphically, Xpand Rally is really stunning with awesome effects and crystal clear visuals. All this eye candy comes at a hefty price though, and those without the latest hardware can forget about seeing this game in all its glory. Even on the medium settings the game still looks good with dust billowing behind your car as it blasts through the dusty desert or skids through a dense forest.

The racing takes place in a variety of locations with variable weather and different times of the day all contributing to a unique racing experience. Small touches like seeing spectators run for cover as you approach them or the local wildlife bouncing across the track really sets the game apart. All the cars also have realistic damage effects and can get dirty after a few kilometers in the dust.

Audio & Controls
The audio was a bit low-key with little in the way of any good tunes and a navigator that gets the job done, but hardly sounds exciting. Likewise, the sound effects were functional but not really outstanding. Controls were responsive enough and there’s a wide range of settings that can be tweaked to get the most out of your vehicle.

Gameplay

If there are any bad points, it’s probably that the game is aimed more at the hardcore rally fans than casual racers. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does make the game a bit less fun than something like Colin McRea 2.0. Playing in championship mode means you’ll start with a crappy car and have to upgrade and repair it after each race, which soon becomes a chore if you are constantly eating your competitors’ dust.

It takes time and patience to finish the races first and you’ll be seeing the same tracks over and over, which can become repetitive. Playing the single and multiplayer races is fun, but you are limited to the tracks that you’ve unlocked in Championship mode which, as I’ve said, takes a lot of determination. If you’re not willing to tweak default settings and spend time configuring your car for the type of race that lays ahead, you can forget about getting anywhere, so this game is definitely not for those that just want to pick it up and play.

Conclusion
While I had fun playing Xpand Rally at first and was really impressed by the visuals, it just became a chore after a while and that’s when I stopped playing. There is a heap of different races and you can even create your own tracks with the supplied editor so if this game hooks you, you can kiss a lot of your free time goodbye. How much you’ll like this game, will probably depend on how much you like the real sport.

System Requirements

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP,

P III/AMD Athlon processor with 1.3 GHz, 256 MB RAM,

Video card with, 64 MB, DX 8.0 compatible (GeForce 3 or ATI Radeon 9200),

Sound card DX 8.0 compatible,

1 GB of free space on hard drive,

DirectX 9.0c,

Windows 98/ME/2000/XP,

P III/AMD Athlon processor with 1.3 GHz, 256 MB RAM,

Video card with, 64 MB, DX 8.0 compatible (GeForce 3 or ATI Radeon 9200),

Sound card DX 8.0 compatible,

1 GB of free space on hard drive,

DirectX 9.0c,

Related posts

DoDonPachi Resurrection

DoDonPachi Resurrection

Not everyone enjoys navigating a hail of bullets with pinpoint precision while retaliating with excessive firepower, but if bullet hell shooters are your thing then you can’t go wrong with DoDonPachi Resurrection. The story will probably be lost on most players and the game can be very daunting at first, but it packs a wealth of modes and options. The action is relentless and chasing highscores is undeniably addictive. This Steam version does suffer from a couple of minor issues, but overall it is a great example of the genre and one that all shooter fans will want to add to their collection. Gameplay: The action is relentless, but very addictive. Graphics: Good, but the playing area is rather small and mostly filled with bullets. Sound: The soundtrack is fast paced and upbeat while the sound effects deserves to be cranked up high.

STAR WARS™ – The Force Unleashed™ Ultimate Sith Edition

STAR WARS™ - The Force Unleashed™ Ultimate Sith Edition

With so much potential and clearly a lot of work put into the audio and visuals, its hard not to be disappointed by the lackluster level designs and imprecise controls. This Ultimate Sith Edition includes all downloadable content from the console versions plus an extra level set on Hoth, but the rather large download size (30GB) and host of annoyances makes this one for the die-hard Star Wars fans only. Gameplay: Ultimately could have been so much better. Still playable, but not living up to the standards of the Jedi Knight series. Graphics: Excellent art style and some visually stunning locations. Sound: Decent voice acting and stellar audio.

Heart Work: Symphony Of Destruction

Heart Work: Symphony Of Destruction

Heart Works isn't a very long game, but offers more choices than most titles in the genre and these actually lead to different scenarios and endings. It is however quite heavy on the sex and violence so don't expect a very meaningful plot. Gameplay: The story is short but can end in multiple ways. Graphics: Not bad for the genre and completely uncensored. Sound: Features voice acting and pretty decent music.

Whispering Willows

Whispering Willows

Whispering Willows is not a game that is going to keep you on the edge of your seat from excitement, but the slower pace and interesting story make for an engrossing experience. Unraveling the mysteries of Willows Mansion and communicating with the lost souls that dwell there is a unique experience and one that kept me hooked from start to finish. If you demand quick reflexes or mind bending puzzles to be entertained the game will probably feel boring to you, but if you can appreciate a slower paced, engrossing experience this is a great title to add to your collection. Gameplay: Slow paced, but very engrossing. Graphics: Beautiful artwork for the characters and backgrounds. Sound: The soundtrack is very atmospheric and the sound effects excellent.

Pinball FX2 – Star Wars™ Pinball: Heroes Within Pack

Pinball FX2 - Star Wars™ Pinball: Heroes Within Pack

These are not the first Star Wars themed tables by Zen Studios, but they are certainly some of the best. This time you get four tables instead of the usual three and each one of these offers hours of gameplay. With so much variety and great table themes in the set, it is hard to pick a favorite and I found myself bouncing back and forth between tables all the time. If you are a fan of pinball and love Star Wars then this is an essential purchase. Gameplay: Four Star Wars themed tables with great layouts. Graphics: Another excellent use of the license. Sound: Some of the speech snippets sound a bit "off," but overall it is a great effort.

Fate Tectonics

Fate Tectonics

Fate Tectonics challenges you to assemble a thriving world, one tile at a time, but with a whole pantheon of angry fates breathing down your neck. Fail to appease them all and you might see all your hard work undone, but if you manage the juggling act your world will thrive. With its charming pixel art visuals and epic 16-bit soundtrack, Fate Tectonics is a game not to be missed. It is accessible enough to start playing in minutes, but making progress requires some real strategic thinking. Graphics: The pixel art visuals look great and are friendly towards players with color blindness. Sound: The dynamic 16-bit soundtrack is a great match for the visual style of the game. Gameplay: Easy to pick up and play, but very addictive and tricky to master, Fate Tectonics can keep you hooked for ages.

Leave a comment

12 + nine =