And speaking of being in the wrong gear, this game isn’t the easiest to master. Scrolling through the cars in free roam mode, you’ll come to realize that the cars you start out with aren’t the best to drive, and certainly aren’t the fastest. A trip through some slaloms will reveal that the Porsche 911—renamed for legal purposes, as are all of the other cars—is clearly inferior to any four-wheel-drive rally monster Lancia has to offer. It will also become clear that, well, rallying in this game isn’t supposed to be easy.
It’s especially hard when you don’t have a controller, which I personally did not. I decided to purchase one for the sake of my own sanity, and it was definitely worth it. This game demands minor adjustments and tuning the car to your liking, so don’t think you can depend on the on-off nature of a keyboard to get it right. I tried it, and it makes the game about 100 percent worse.
But it’s the small details, in combination with the game’s pleasant aesthetics, that really complete the picture for me. Crowds of giddy rectangular spectators line the tracks, some dipping onto the course itself, just like in those infamous Group B rally videos. Yes, they do get out of the way, but it’s also possible to hit them. I have likely killed hundreds of these spectators, although they are a resilient bunch and tend to just slide back into the crowd after being struck.
Other interesting details include the map’s scenery, which distracted me just enough to crash several times. There’s helicopters, castles, people camping, you get the sense that much of the scenery would be a little world you want to explore. Other nice details include the diverse flora and fauna, which never end up blocking your view of the car due to a clever little window that forms as soon as your vision is obstructed.