The Xbox has been home to a number of driving games, and really all have been done and dusted so for a new publisher to take a crack at the genre almost seems a bit silly. However these guys have pedigree with one of the best racing games on the system, Racing Evoluzione and for their second game have taken the innovation stakes even further by adding RPG elements to a racing game. This may not seem that new but the way they have implemented it works very well and makes SCAR one of the better racers on the Xbox.
SCAR offers a few typical game modes such as time attack and race but it is in the Dynasty mode where it all happens. It is here you unlock more cars, more tracks, more gear and experience points to make yourself a better driver and able to tackle high speed cars. The game progresses in a way which is always challenging the player, but does not get super hard at any time to the point where you feel helpless and just can't get past it.
That's not to say SCAR is an easy game because that couldn't be further from the truth. The fact is when you first start playing you will crash and crash again but those who stick with the game will be rewarded, much like you are when playing Forza on the highest simulation level. Depending on where you place determines the experience points you gain and once you reach a certain tally you gain a level and more skill points to spend, just like a traditional RPG.
The levels are important as this is where the game challenges you. While you're driving at level 5, you will be racing against level 6 so you have to prove your mustard before being given the option to move on. The great thing about SCAR is though that eventually everyone will progress. Every place offers experience points its just quicker if you get a podium spot.
Once you do get the points you can spend points on things such as heart (how much intimidation you can take from the AI), endurance, intimidation, steering accelerating and much more. How you spend the points does drastically affect how you can drive in the race. For instance when your heart meter reaches zero, the screen will go blurry indicating a high level of stress and you are much more likely to lose control of a high speed vehicle. Another special move is the tiger move which allows you to rewind time to just before you span off or crashed. This is gained by driving well.
The other great thing about SCAR is the AI. These guys take no prisoners and you can forget about anything you've seen in games such as NFS and Forza. They don't brake for you, they don't give you room they race like real drivers and the whole time you feel under pressure which is what makes the game so good to play. If you want a relaxing game SCAR is not it, if you want to feel the real pressure of racing at high speeds then SCAR fits the bill.
The visuals of the game are incredibly well done as well despite the fact they do have a feeling of reused Racing Evoluzione textures. The cars are unfortunately Alfa Romeos, but the game is fully licensed and does include damage. The damage model is extremely well done and does affect how the car handles. This becomes important in the latter endurance races where you have to keep your car healthy for quite a number of laps while avoiding accidents.
SCAR is a game that unfortunately is restricted to only one make of car but adds so much to the racing genre that it is hard to ignore. If they are to do a sequel then a wider variety of cars could make this the premiere racing game in terms of simulation and longevity
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