Auto Modellista (2002, Cel-Shaded Racer, PS2) – 6/10 game review

Cast / crew

Auto Modellista (2002)

6/10

When it’s not being super-easy, this arcade-style racer offers eye-catching graphics, skilful presentation, extensive and gratifying customization. Though the racing is quite thrilling due to the smooth speed of the game, this is also the area it falls down in. The AI is simplistic and the handling characteristics uninvolving. Best thing about the game is being able to put trophies you win exactly where you like in your garage.

Classified 3+ by PEGI. The game is only suitable for persons who have reached the age of 3 or over.

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>> POSITIVES

+ Striking cell-shaded graphics give this racing game a unique look. Unfortunately, the limitations of the PS2 (absent anti-aliasing and resolution) undermine them. Several years later, running this in PCSX2 at 1080p looks absolutely wonderful.

+ You can choose the items and wall decorations of your garage

+ Terrific level of customisation for car with all sorts of performances and cosmetic enhancements

+ Semi-automatic gears: when gears are set to automatic you can manually change down to give yourself that extra bit of power when the auto-change isn’t quite in the right gear.

+ Slick, clear, stylish and fast presentation of all the myriad of options (text entry aside).

+ Winning all items in a championship gives you a little cup which you can display anywhere in your garage. This is brilliant.

+ Unique replay edit "video mix" system which can be used to produce some terrific results but you do have to be prepared to put the time and effort in to learn how to get the best out of it. The more talent you have, the better your edited replays will be.

+ Highly exaggerated slipstream effect (this is also listed under negative comments)

+ Race announcer commends good performance ("You passed a car!") and castigates bad ("Why are you so bad?") throughout the race. Though you might find this irritating.

+ Post-race replays allow you to change the car you are looking at, the view and, most unusually, smoothly rewind and pause the replay.

+ Computer cars do not always finish in the same order. This is terrific because it means that it is worth continuing a championship event even if you only finished second or third. With most driving games the same car always wins if you don’t and so a single second or third place means you can’t win the championship.

+ You get a prize for everything, including just competing not winning (until there are no more prizes).

>> NEGATIVES

- Absolutely no challenge if you don’t want it because you can just pick a monster car and upgrade and whup the competition from start to finish.

- Game has no feeling that you are taking a car to its limits, in fact, it feels more like you are moving a camera rather than driving a car.

- Cars have bizarre mega-brakes and super-mega-grip and highly exagerrated slipstream effects (slipstream is also listed under positive comments).

- Standard replays should look amazing but are blandly directed and don’t make your driving look wonderful.

- Computer cars not affected (either at all or to a far lesser extent) by grass and gravel traps.

- Computer cars have little idea of your car and will try and drive through it if you are on their line. Their AI is so bad that they will also do this to other computer cars. As another example of miraculous AI there is the case where a computer car is on your right, stuck on your car. You slam him into a wall… and he overtakes you on the left!

- Car and garage cosmetic customisation is more fun and fulfilling than the racing.

- Confusing text entry system.

- No ingame lighting effects. Headlight glare implementation is underwhelming.

- No widescreen option.

- When you go the race select menu you have to wait for the announcer to say "Let’s play the game" before you can select a level, even though the visuals indicate otherwise.

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