So, with Sony bowing out of the rally field and Microsoft's RalliSport nowhere to be found; only Codemasters' Colin McRae and Sega's Sega Rally remain. While there are, quite possibly, a few rally titles in development right now, few will probably live up to the caliber of gaming that these two namesakes will be soon putting out. But unlike DIRT: Colin McRae, Sega Rally's focus will be more arcade-like, but still feature some simulation aspects. Still, typically the Sega Rally franchise has been more about exaggerated arcade physics than realism, so if you're looking for a full-fledged rally sim out of Sega Rally, consider Colin McRae.
You may or may not know, but it hasn't been that long since we saw a Sega Rally game last. Last year, at the very start of 2006, Sega released Sega Rally 2006 on the PS2, and the reception was lukewarm. So if you know about Sega Rally 2006 and it's mediocrity, forget about it — there's a reason why it never arrived in the States, and that's because it wasn't that good. But, Sega Rally Revo looks much more promising, and in fact, the anticipation for this one is quite high for me.
Visually, you can already tell Revo is going to feature that classic Sega Rally color palette, full of vibrancy, exuberance and richness. The greens are lush, and the paint on the cars stands out. Sega Racing is doing a fantastic job at making sure that Sega Rally Revo delivers that eye-candy experience that the series has always been so know for. Car detail looks splendid, and the environments are well textured. Speaking of which, just like DIRT: Colin McRae, Sega Rally will also feature real-time track deformation, which isn't limited to just ripping apart the muddy, dirty and rocky surface, but also the objects of the environment. We know that Colin McRae is going to make extensive use of track deformation, so it's up in the air as far as how robust it'll be in Sega Rally. But one thing's for sure, if these screens are indeed a worthy indication of the visuals, then I'm quite content.
In regards to gameplay features, we've already established that Revo will be a mixture of arcade and simulation gameplay. Actually, in Sega's own words, Revo will feature "[arcade-like] accessibility with simulation depth." You'll have the ability to choose between 4WD, 2WD and Classic vehicles that can be raced across a number of different surface types. Speaking of surfaces, there will be 8 tracks to choose from, all of which are based on various exotic locations around the world. When you're racing, Sega promises superb artificial intelligence opponents worthy of being your opponents and giving you a decent challenge. You should notice the aggressiveness of the A.I., as Sega Rally's not going to feature extremely open tracks. On the other hand, tracks will be standard width and so there'll be quite a lot of bumping and shoving between you and your opponents as you fight for pole position. To further add to the competition, Sega has confirmed offline and online multiplayer venues – so get your friends together at home or around the country with Revo.
Sega Rally Revo is still a bit off from release, as Sega doesn't plan on shipping it until Fall 2007. So having said that, we expect more information to trickle our way about the game. Keep an eye out for updates and especially more screenshots. In the meantime, Sega Rally fans have something quite promising to look forward to this Fall — hopefully Sega delivers.