April 25, 2022

Race Your Way to the Top - Race Condition (Steam) Review

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Race Your Way to the Top - Race Condition (Steam) Review

By Joel | April 25, 2022

Imagine Sega's Virtua Racing game zapped to the year 2022 and playable on every modern PC. Now add sleek graphics, tight controls, and a thumping soundtrack, and what you have is a tasty little game called Race Condition.

Race Condition, by indie developer Ravine AB, is where it's at if you enjoy arcade-style Formula 1 racing. Sporting over two dozen racing venues, an online leaderboard, split-screen multiplayer support, and the sensation of speed makes every detailed turn one of the game's greatest strengths.

The controls are simple and easy to learn, but they take some time to master, due in part to the title's physics engine which requires subtle balancing of the brake and acceleration. Race Condition features a variety of 21 unique tracks, each with its own twist and challenges giving a nice variety to the racing experience. Some of the tracks are more forgiving than others, but all of them are a blast to race on.

The audio is usually one area where arcade racers fall short. The major complaint most players have is that you can only hear one engine during the whole grid. Thankfully, the audio, soundtrack, and effects in Race Condition are top-notch and feature a variety of different tunes including techno, drum, bass, and even rock. The music definitely gets your heart pumping and adds to the overall excitement of the game.

Rolling Start

With numerous race modes to try out including World Tour, Quick Race, and Time Trials, there's enough at play to keep racing fiends playing for quite some time. The variable camera angles coupled with the varying degrees of challenges make this game a truly versatile one.

The differing weather effects, including sun, rain, and snow, add some visceral thrills to the races, but unfortunately, they do not impact the track conditions, which is a shame because it could have added a layer of strategy to an already fun game. Race Condition also offers three difficulty levels to test your skills which you'll need if you want to defeat the game's most infamous driver, Dickman.

Despite its shiny coating, there are several dings that prevent Race Condition from cruising into the winner's circle. First, there are not many in-game settings that can be modified; for example, you can't adjust the number of laps, the time of day, or the weather.

The second most glaring issue, to me anyway, is the fact that I'm always positioned at the back of the grid even though I've placed consistently in the Top 3. I would have preferred to be placed according to my time and position.

And last, the game's AI postures to the far left or right, meaning your opponents operate in a suspiciously predictable pattern. Race after race, the same drivers are spread out in a familiar way with Dickman taking the lead, a big clump is in the middle, and a few stragglers lagging behind. And because they don't drive aggressively, they become more like road obstacles than competitors.

And finally, for whatever reason, all the cars end up crashing once they cross the finish line. This part isn't really a complaint per se, but a question as to why this was done instead of just making the cars race right through. If you think I'm complaining, I'm not. I'm actually grinning.

Leader of the Pack

Even with the game's shortcomings, Race Condition is still ridiculously fun. You have to literally race bumper to bumper while mixing speed with finesse. Jockeying for the best position against the pack leaders after making a sharp left turn, for example, is one of the thrilling parts and places this game in front of classics like Daytona or Ridge Racer for pure arcade driving excitement.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed playing Race Condition, and you will too as long as you know what to expect from it. There is, I would surmise, a kind of silly madness involved in playing games like this, and that's apparently the appeal.

Of course, one can argue that the game isn't 'sim' enough, but to be honest, that really doesn't apply because the rowdy and frantic racing generates a track full of fun, and that's really what's important here. So, if you're looking for an arcade-style racer that will keep you on the edge of your seat, be sure to check out Race Condition. It's one race you won't want to miss.

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