Review: "Now it's ok to get your car dirty!"
Driving video games have been around for awhile and they are as popular as ever, especially the ones about illegal street racing (i.e. Need for Speed Underground), eh? Sure, driving down a flat city street in an over priced muscle car sounds like a lot of fun, but sometimes that just isn't enough to satisfy your racing thrills. Maybe you are one of those people that dreams about getting down and dirty and go driving on the unpredictable off road trails? Colin McRae Rally 2005 could be the game you're looking for. The Colin McRae franchise is back and this 2005 edition not only comes at a discounted price ($29.99 US) but it also has a few new graphics and special features as well.
Xbox owners are no strangers to these off road racers. We already have the incredible games Rallisport Challenge 1 and 2, and even some boring ones like Rally Fusion too. Rallisport Challenge 2 is the real bread winner thanks to its easy to learn controls and arcade-like game play for instant gratification. The game was so good it remains one of the highest rated racing games you can find on the system.
CMR '05 is almost the direct opposite of Rallisport though; this game is a pure simulation. Cars have to be customized just right before a race because most of the tracks have different degrees of weather, mud, and gravel that can greatly affect your controls. The game play also heavily requires you to stay on the narrow track to place well in the game, so the difficulty is quite high. There are various modes like the standard Time Trials and Quick Runs to help brush up your skills and learn the tracks. If you feel good enough, you can compete in other challenges like Championship and Career modes for some more long term value.
CMR '05 not only has realistic game play, but the game also has the graphics to back it up. I really liked the little things this game does to add a sense of realism - like how you can destroy many of those annoying road blocks and do actual car damage. This version of CMR now includes several weather effects like snow, and there are more detailed shadows to make the cars look even better then before. Some of the game's background visuals have disappointed me with low polygon counts in certain areas, but everything else is amazing.
There isn't much to say about this game's sound though. Since this is a Rally game there are guys always warning you about a turn up ahead, but I guess the developers wanted to avoid any interference because there isn't any in-game background music and there is no Custom Soundtrack support either. Sure, the sound effects and voices are great, but it just sounds so boring without any music there.