Sebastien Loeb is one of the most famous rally drivers in the world, and Milestone games are one of the world’s leading developers in racing games, so on paper if they were to team up what you would get is one of the best rally games ever. Well let’s find out if Sebastien Loeb Rally EVO will be racing to the top spot or just be a car crash waiting to happen?
Sebastien Loeb Rally EVO is not an arcade affair, not by a long shot. If you’re looking for a Sega Rally style game then I’m afraid it’s not going to be for you, but if you’re looking for a realistic challenge then it’s right up your street as it brands itself as the ultimate rally simulation. From the recreation of the courses to the way the car handles, by the end of the first level you’ll know if it’s for you. The first stages sets you racing through a section of the Italian rally, with its narrow roads and sheer drops more than a test for your first outing; add to that the vehicle damage and if you cross the line with 2 tyres intact then you’re doing well.
It’s a steep difficulty curve especially if you’re not ready for it and the first few races are a brutal taste of what the game demands of you. However there is a reasonable tutorial mode which lets you learn the ropes as well as letting you get to grips with the commands your co-driver will be barking at you. My advice would be to also dial down the sim settings a bit until you’re comfortable with the controls, as replaying the same stage over and over again to finish 16th time and time again is only going to make you want to shelf the game. If you stick with it though, you will find yourself the loving owner of a really solid and enjoyable game under that almost vertical difficulty curve.
The game has a range of modes; from the career mode which see you fighting your way to the top to be Sebastien’s apprentice, where you are racing in a number of disciplines like rally cross and single stage events, to more fun focused fair like jester races and elimination. The main career is the real meat of the game as it is made up of some 200+ events so plenty to get stuck into.
As well as the main career mode there is a Loeb experience mode which sees you playing through all the milestone races in Sebastien’s career from the early days back in 1998, to his world champion winning years in 2004 to 2006 and the time he was king of the mountain at Pikes Peak. This mode is outstanding and each of the 7 milestones has a short 5 to 10min video before them where Sebastien talk about his memories of that time in his career, often quite frankly at times, and this give you a great insights into not just the racer but the man as well.
The game features over 50 different cars for 5 decades of rallying and includes key cars from Sebastien’s career such as his 208 T16 Pikes Peak monster, to the more classic fair like his C4 WRC winning car. On top of the cars the game has around 300km of track to burn up ranging from the Italian countryside to the snow-capped mountains of Sweden and the rain soaked coast line of Wales to name a few.
As for graphics all the cars in the game are lovingly recreated and are a joy to look at, the game suffers from the problem all racing games do though as every racing game looks its best when you’re going 160mph and not sitting on the start line and this is no different. It’s a lovely game to look at when you’re at speed flying through snow covered forests and tearing through sea spray along the coast.
As for the down sides of the game the overall difficulty is a sticking point a lot of people will not see past. The game also has a few framerate issues when you’re going though some of the heavy forest sectors. Finally the narrator, though perfectly serviceable, feels a bit lacking especially when you look at other rally games narrators with him falling somewhere between being on radio 2 and being a robot at times.
Overall Sebastien Loeb EVO is a good solid testing driving game which is not perfect but is well worth a look if you are a driving fan sick of track racing, or are looking for something to sink your teeth into and really test your skills as a virtual driver.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 8/10 Format: PC/PlayStation 4/XboxOne Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Stuart Cullen works as a reviewer for the Sun and was given permission to republish this article with Midlife Gamer. The title was reviewed over the course of a week. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.