Review: Test Drive Ferrari Legends
Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends ditches the open world environment of the previous titles and instead gives you a more focused on track experience featuring some of the most amazing cars from one of racing’s greatest pedigrees, Ferrari. The gameplay however isn’t as focused as you would expect it to be and instead creates a game that is lost in limbo essentially, somewhere between being a Ferrari sim cart and just another arcade racer. While the cars look absolutely stunning as you would expect from a Test Drive title the controls are equivalent to those you find while driving the on rails World Grand Prix cars at Disneyland while 10 year olds giggle and slam into the back of your car as you slow down for corners.
The game never seems to find its identity both in terms of gameplay and control. On the surface the game appears to be a Ferrari fan’s dream come true offering the potential to be a great sim racer giving you the ability to get behind the wheel of some of the greatest cars in the world. With its amazing car models and graphics you might believe this to be the case but the game lacks the depth needed to truly offer up a real sim experience. The physics are an abomination to centuries of scientific research of how things react to high speed, gravity, and lateral forces. There is no finesse to driving any of the cars in the game. At first I wrote it off as this is how a Ferrari in 1940 might have handled but when you get the behind the wheel of the F40 only to have it drive essentially the same the realization sets in that despite its amazing attention to details in the visual department this game delivers a rather shallow experience behind the wheel.
There are a variety of different events in the game, but they all leave you constantly wanting more since none of them have any real depth to them. Each event is precluded with a short story told through text to set the scene for what you are about to do on the track. A good majority of the events will see you racing completely alone on rather short tracks for reasons such as setting a new lap time, or gaining a few positions with only a few laps left of a race, or well to be honest I have no idea as I lost interest in reading the cheesy stories explaining to me why I was doing anything but actually RACING in an event from beginning to end.
This is where the game starts to lose itself even more, these events will leave you constantly wanting more since almost all of them involve you doing things alone on a track for one or two laps, you will constantly be wanting to get to the big race and see you how do against other drivers. Actual racing events do come but they are so few and far between and mundane in their delivery that eventually you feel like you are just going through the paces playing the game. That is until the difficulty level goes from fun to WTF hard. This huge jump in difficulty happens about half way through the first of three campaigns and comes on suddenly without warning.
I was having such an easy time with the game that I was ready to change the difficulty setting to a more difficult one until I realized that there was just no way I was ever going to make it past the particular event I was on. At first I thought maybe I had already changed the difficulty without realizing it so I was shocked to see that I hadn’t. It’s not that the game put me into a “race” that I couldn’t win; no instead it put me into one of its many “scenarios” that I couldn’t win. This particular one required me to make it from last place to 4th or better while coming out of the pit on lap 89 of 95 on the game’s hardest track because of something the other team driver had done if memory serves me correct. If that sounds confusing it’s because it is, but such is the nature of this game’s many “scenarios”. I spent almost 2 hours on this one event and never could I even come close to making 4th place, 5th place sure no problem but I never got a glimpse at what the 4th place car even looked like before finishing lap 95. Any fun that I was having with the game was instantly sucked out of the game by this huge jump in difficulty. Since you can’t skip around the events without finishing the previous ones I had to write off finishing the vintage years campaign and instead started to work on the other two campaigns only to find the same problems plagued those too.
When not dealing with trying to overcome seemingly impossible and albeit pointless objectives you are forced to deal with a brutal AI. Much like the huge spike in difficulty the AI seems rather easy to deal with at first then without warning becomes impossible to deal with. The AI cars in this game are capable of ignoring physics and will gladly smash into as you slow for corners sending you flying off course and losing any hope of keeping your spot. Should you try to return the favor by ever bumping an AI car the game will punish you by sending you flying out of control while the AI more often than not makes a full recovery as you are still spinning around in circles. After trying out a few more scenarios from the other campaign offerings and finding much of the same I lost interest in the game and decided for the wellness of the controller in my hand it was best to put it down and quite before eventually throwing against the wall in anger.
Summary: On the surface Test Drive Ferrari Racing Legends looks amazing with its great graphics and amazing list of cars to drive however the incredibly horrible controls create a truly lack luster and shallow racing experience. Somewhere between being a Ferrari Sim Racing title and an arcade racer the game lacks enough polish in either direction to fully commit to one or the other. Coupled with the insane spike in difficulty even on easy the game boarders on the edge of being unplayable. After spending 2 hours trying to beat one seemingly impossible “scenario” event I simply lost all interest. Slightly Mad Studios and Atari both have offered much better racing titles than this.