Better buckle up, you're in one heck of a ride!
In terms of racing games, this one has it all. Don't be put off by the fact that the only cars featured in this game are Porsches. There are 80 cars in this game and each one is realistically modelled and has it's own distinctive feel. I've never driven a real Porsche so I don't know exactly how accurate the controls are, but this isn't meant to be a perfect simulation, it's meant to be fun and it delivers beautifully. Power slides, controlled skids, and 360's are made easy. It is also easy to completely lose control of your car if you're not careful making for some very exciting racing action. I don't remember the last time I got such a rush playing a computer game.
This game also delivers with depth of play. There are 3 race modes: Evolution, Factory Driver, and Quick Race. The Evolution mode takes you through the entire history of Porsche cars starting you in the year 1950 of the Classic Era. By winning tournaments and collecting prize money you are given the opportunity to buy new cars to race in the next event. You can also buy special parts for your cars to enhance their performance. The Factory Driver mode lets you play the role of one of the elite Porsche test-drivers. You will be presented with a series of challenges from running a simple obstacle course on the skid pad to getting your boss to the train station on time while weaving in and out of traffic. Quick Race is a good mode if all you want to do is burn some rubber and test the limits of these speed machines. The game also includes the Porsche Chronicles, an encyclopedia on the history of the various models, and 9 European road courses along with 5 closed track courses.
The thing that struck me the most the moment I started the game was the graphics. They are stunning. As you race through the valleys of Normandy you will be able to see the sun creeping out from behind the hills, and the hill's shadows cast down across the track. Mist rises from cascading waterfalls as you zoom by. You will see farmers sweeping the porches of their sleeping village homes and dock works carrying crates through the industrial zone. You have to see it to believe it. Replays are excellent.
Did I get it all? No, I forgot to mention the spectacular physics modelling and the incredible 3D models of the cars (even the interior of the car is modelled!). I could go on and on, but I think it's better if you see for yourself.
About the only real complaint I have about this game is that not all the tracks are available to you right away. You have to unlock them by completing the eras in Evolution mode. This is a typical feature in a race game but I find it very annoying.
I also found the road courses to be rather short. In one of the faster modern cars they can usually be completed in 2-3 minutes. It would have been nice if they had included some kind endurance track.
If you are adamantly, militantly anti-Porsche and hate everything so much as related to the company you might not like this game.
The Bottom Line
Most of us will never have the money to afford a real Porsche; this is the next best thing.