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
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Sound 0
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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,

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