When it comes to the racing genre, admittedly, I am not the biggest of fans. I have one heck of a soft spot for rally driving though. The never-ending twisting tracks, the thrill of the dangerous narrow roads, and of course, the scrumptious sliding around tight corners… what’s not to like? It’s been a very long time since I’ve delved into this specific genre. The last time I played a game of this ilk actually was over 15 years ago, with Colin McRae rally on the PlayStation 1. Seriously, it has been that long since I’ve zoomed around a dusty route at high-speeds.

Sébastian Loeb Rally Evo Header

So when Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo pulled in for review, I was somewhat nervous. On the one hand, I was presented the opportunity to rediscover racing that I once adored. On the other, I would probably be rusty as all hell, and the learning curve would surely be all sorts of overwhelming.

Let’s just say I was somewhat right on both counts.

Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO_20160203152544

I won’t even bother mincing words – Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo proved to be proper difficult, for a very long time. From the very beginning, on the tutorial track as a matter of fact, I found myself careening off into the scattered cones repeatedly. My vehicle handled like a ton of bricks, even at slower speeds – not that I was driving fast or anything in the first place.

Diving into the career mode proved to be just as difficult. Gone was my little safe testing grounds, replaced instead with a daunting, linear 5km track which was the staging area for the very first amateur event.

I placed last, naturally. I made friends with countless trees, and decided to explore deep ditches multiple times. This was not by choice mind you, but because, again, handling my vehicle proved to be a task of herculean proportions.

Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO_20160203134022

Thankfully, Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo doesn’t just throw you into the deep end – not without offering a helping hand first. There is a helpful narrator at every opportune moment, and exploring the menu gave me several options to help me not only improve my driving, but also lower the difficulty of the AI.

I really did need that rookie setting turned on, at least until I got a grip on how to play a rally game once more. Having the AI difficult lowered too proved to be incredibly helpful, especially so I could nab some podium finishes, which yielded much needed cash and reputation to progress further in the career mode.

The nice thing is that if I really wanted, I could play the entirety of Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo with these helpful beginner settings enabled. There would be no fun in that though, and no challenge whatsoever. This is a proper rally simulator after all, and the most rewarding experience stems from one’s ability to navigate the tough courses with zero assistance. I decided to take the plunge after a few races, and dialled everything back to normal. There would be no more assistance – I was determined to do things the right way.

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And lo and behold, after a few hours of driving, it all began to click. Vehicles continued to feel overly heavy and non responsive, believe you me, but I was learning to handle their power far better, which resulted in improved times overall. Though, there were still many mishaps waiting to happen however. The slightest error on any track would result in flying vehicle (thanks to the nudging the shoulder of the road), or reacquainting oneself with yet another friendly tree. Remember, rally courses tend to be long. Making a mistake toward the end of a 10km track can be particularly infuriating.

To remedy this, there is a rewind feature to make use of, though it has limited uses in each race. If I ever found myself flinging my vehicle off course (much like the screenshot below), I could easily sort the problem out by rewinding a few seconds back to where I was still doing just fine. Purists will frown upon this subtle hand holding, but for idiots like me who can’t drive, it made the whole Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo experience far more enjoyable, and actually playable.

For those who enjoy unaltered, pure rally action – fear not. In the same way Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo can be tuned to suit beginners, it can be adjusted to hardcore levels for the toughest of drivers too. On top of that, each vehicle can be tuned thoroughly to suit personal taste, or in preparation for whatever track is at hand.  What’s nice is that even for amateurs like me, everything is explained in proper detail.

Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO_20160203160125
OH SHI…

Gameplay aside, Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo is a pretty big love letter to rally driving. Loading screens entail detailed information on each vehicle for example – how they came to be, and the impact they had on the rally scene.

That alone is a nice touch,  but what’s really fun to explore is the Sebastien Loeb experience. If players wish, they can choose to take a break from the career mode and dive into the history of this iconic rally driver.  This entails driving through iconic bits of his lengthy career, and has the driver himself introducing each segment in person.

These races are deviously tricky, and offer little return on investment in the bigger scheme. Completing a race will reward the player with some cash, but it’s pretty paltry when compared to what’s up for grabs in career mode. Still, the Sebastien Loeb experience is a really nice distraction, and cool feature packed into the racing package.

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If driving all by your lonesome isn’t your cup of tea, there is a multiplayer mode up for exploration too. Unfortunately, it’s not as fleshed out as I would’ve liked it to be, or as functional, but it does certainly work.

Finding a lobby with enough drivers for example can be a bit of a headache. The first time I searched for a race, I bounced around for nearly half an hour before anything happened. Once I eventually found a game though, that lengthy wait was all but forgotten. I took part in one race, and another, and another. What I intended to be a 15 minute session stretched into an hour before my very eyes.

So yeah, while it did take long for me to search that first time, I learnt that being patient is worth the wait. I’m just unsure as to how long the overall multiplayer experience will last though, because lobbies weren’t exactly overflowing with players.

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Other than the shoddy multiplayer (the searching – not the actual racing itself), I feel that the visual and audio components of Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo needs to be criticised too.

Honestly, for a PlayStation 4 title, it’s pretty horrific looking. I can understand that making dozens of kilometres of track look good must be a monumental task. Still, it looks like little effort was put in. The same can be said for the audio. Cars don’t sound fantastic, and I found it really irritating that there was no proper music soundtrack. All I had accompanying me on each race, was the whinge of my vehicle, and the endless drone of my co-driver feeding me information about upcoming corners.

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Otherwise, Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo is a solid racing title. Its learning curve is certainly challenging, but if endured, there’s some pretty epic driving to be experienced.

 

 

Last Updated: February 4, 2016

Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo
Summary
Both pros and beginners will find enjoyment in Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo, though the latter will need to invest a lot of time into it before the driving becomes somewhat doable. Shoddy visuals, audio, and multiplayer hamper what is an otherwise solid rally package.
7.2
Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo was reviewed on PlayStation 4
71 / 100

Matthew Figueira

Defence of the Ancients? More like Defence of the cabbages! Have you seen my head? I look like a Merino Sheep on pole. NO SHANGE only SHAPPIES! :D

  • Captain JJ ‘saurus

    I read on Steam also that people weren’t all that impressed.
    I do feel like a nice rally game again though.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      You don’t look like a nice rally game. huehuehue.

    • ElimiNathan

      Get Dirt Rally. Best rally game to date for me

      • VampyreSquirrel

        This review is enough for me to buy Dirt Rally:

        “Let me discribe the 4 stages of rally mania.

        Stage 1.
        Driving home after work.
        200.
        Past the supermarket.
        50, square left.
        Don’t cut.
        Into parking to stop.

        Stage 2.
        At the supermarket.
        Straight untill dairy.
        Right 3 at the cheeses.
        Into left 3 towards dry foods.
        Hairpin right. Don’t cut.
        Past the bacons.
        200 to stop.

        Stage 3.
        Cooking dinner.
        Right 5 around cat, caution.
        Hairpin – right where my girlfriend left it.
        To fridge and left 3 bags of groceries in the car.
        Proceed to tear basilic leaves, don’t cut.
        This is becoming quite punny, to stop.

        Stage 4.
        No … enough, stop, lets cut to the chase. *drives off cliff*
        Don’t cut.

        Does my girlfriend think I’m crazy?
        Has this game impacted my life?
        Is this my final cry for help before I’m consumed by the dark deep fear of cutting?
        Perhaps.
        All I know for now is … don’t cut, or bad things will happen.”

        There’s more to it, but that’s the important part.

        • Captain JJ ‘saurus

          YES! XD

        • ElimiNathan

          Hahaha genius

        • Spathi

          Stage 3’s description is super funny!

          • VampyreSquirrel

            Dave’s such a chop!

          • Spathi

            Hahhahaha! Indeed, he needs Teamspeak!

            Lazygamer still has the real D!

      • Captain JJ ‘saurus

        That new one?
        But isn’t the MP and SP sold separately?

    • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

      I’ve been playing Dirt Rally for the last while, definitely a game I’ll recommend, I’ll probably give this a go too, once I’m done introducing Lancias to my latest friends, trees and walls, but one thing I can say about Dirt Rally, the sound…It’s unbelievable, you can hear the pebbles striking the inside of the wheel wells while moving, and that’s just one of the many things you can hear…

      • Captain JJ ‘saurus

        You had me at sound.
        That can make or break a game for me. Especially car games.
        RaceRoom also has incredible sound, but it’s just too damn expensive for me

        • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

          Yep!! I’ve started with Assetto Corsa too, the sound in that is just as good, but that game is unforgiving…

          • Captain JJ ‘saurus

            Yea. I’ve wanted it for a while, but I heard it’s a tough one…and I’m getting too old to struggle that much when playing a game. 😀

        • ElimiNathan

          Yep Dirt Rally’s sound fx are really good, most of the cars actually sound like they’re supposed to. Subaru has boxer rumble for example

          • Captain JJ ‘saurus

            Awesome

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            That Audi Quattro though…. I still get goosebumps thinking of that thing at a start line…

          • ElimiNathan

            Pikes peak with that bad boy so good, its a machine!

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            I started a hillclimb last night specifically to see what it drives like, my first practice session I didn’t finish, the second one(due to penalties, off track and spectator squishing) was 2:30 off, I managed a 1:07 difference by my fourth try and then had other responsibilities to attend to, otherwise, I’d probably still be busy with it…

          • ElimiNathan

            Haha, ya its not so easy to stay on the road with a car that powerful

  • Commander Admiral Chief

    Jis daai mini is moertoe

    • Captain JJ ‘saurus

      Good

  • Hammersteyn

    Someone forgot to ‘Loeb’ Matty’s palm for a nice review…

  • ElimiNathan

    On steam reviews people complaining left right and centre about not being able to use their G27 wheel properly with this game. It doesn’t accept any sort of wheel customization and has steering dampening. That alone will make me avoid this like the plague

    • Spathi

      Wasn’t aware of that…game is a definite no then!

    • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

      That’s odd, the G27 is almost a benchmark wheel, Think they might rather be catering for the G29?

      • ElimiNathan

        So what I’ve gathered from the comments on steam is that its more of an overall issue, the game doesn’t let you customize settings for any wheel, and the steering dampening is like a default built in setting that you cant change or get rid of. They really messed this up

        • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

          Oigh… Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon!

    • Mr H

      The steering dampening can be turned off completely. It’s set at 45% as default.
      It’s called steering vibrations in the game.
      Personally I leave it as is, as it seems to automatically adjust for each car, which makes sense.

      • ElimiNathan

        OK, so you’ve played this game. How is it ? How does it compare to Dirt Rally ?

  • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

    That’s the thing with a rally game, having an assist on takes so much away from it that you don’t enjoy it, whereas when you can see the car hopping around as you find your merry way into a field or a densely populated forest, awaiting that all so familiar sound of metal reshaping it itself into compacted steel, you reflect on that stupid bump in the road that cost you a heavily adrenaline fuelled 5 minutes on a track as daunting as a bear measuring the width of your head against the sizeable gap of his mouth… That’s rally, pure, unaltered, gut wrenching, unexpected fun.

    • Captain JJ ‘saurus

      That’s also the difference between this generation that sits and play racing games on their phone on the toilet while we stole our dad’s car or used our own 1980s/1990s cars on a farm road when we were young and pretended we knew what the hell we were doing 😀

      • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

        Hehehe, good memories, I remember travelling on a dirt road in Namib, having completely lost my sense of direction, having to turn the car around as I was heading to a mine somewhere near Karibib, as I passed over a small bump, in front of me was a steep downhill, into an open hole in the ground, I managed to turn the car around, wheels spinning the opposite direction as to what the momentum was taking me and hoping to heck that I’d be able to stop the car before it went into said hole… It was a rental…

        • Captain JJ ‘saurus

          Yoh.
          But, yea man. Good times.

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            Hehehe, the funny thing about it is that on probably a 30 km stretch of white gravel road, that was the only bump and literally behind the bump, as you come over it, there’s this plummet, luckily I can look back and laugh at it, had I been admiring the view, I wouldn’t…

          • Captain JJ ‘saurus

            Haha. Yea. Quite so man.

  • Mossel

    If there was ever a sign that I’m getting old, it is this. Sebastian Loeb rally…in my days Colin McCrae was all the rage!

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