Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that. It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece. I strongly recommend anyone...
It's time to put on your jeans and get dirty, cuz there's a new off-road heavyweight
coming over the horizon. This new rough rider is hard on drivers and even harder
on the road. Lace up them boots, grab your chewing 'tabacci' and listen up so's
you can soak up an ear-full of this preview for 4x4 Evolution from Terminal
Reality (remember Nocturne?).
4x4 Evolution is an arcade style off-road simulation for the PC, Mac
and Sega Dreamcast. Drivers can slide behind the wheel and take control of a
real life SUV or light truck. There are a whopping 50+ vehicles for you to choose
This surplus of incredibly detailed road hogs can be raced across 16 gorgeous
environments. It's obvious right from the start that a heck of a lot of sweat
and hard work went into getting the solar effect just right. You really get
the feeling you're out on some hot desert road with the sun beating down on
you. Via a very ralistic lens flare, the sun can actually obscure your vision
if you drive directly towards it. Nice!
There's plenty of distractions to keep you busy - low flying birds, hang-gliders,
helicopters and small personal airplanes liven things up. Throw in some course-specific
traffic like construction vehicles, big 16-wheel rigs & gas tankers (not unlike
2), and you have your work cut out for you.
One of the really cool things about 4x4 Evolution is that you are not
confined to stay on the course. Again, like Motocross Madness 2, you
must make it through the checkpoints. However, how you get to each point is
purely up to you. You may want to tear through a construction site or cut across
a mountain. Remember that this is off-road driving and, boy, can you go off-road.
This game isn't all reckless driving, though. You begin with a simple, base
truck and you compete in a series of off-road races to win money. This money
can be used to upgrade and customize your vehicle with an assortment of parts
such as appropriate tires, suspension upgrades, brush guards and performance
exhausts. Take it from someone who's played the game - you're gonna need those
The single most compelling and ambitious feature in 4x4 Evolution is
its multiplayer support. The game will utilize GameSpy's "peer to peer" technology
to enable Internet multi-player support between Sega Dreamcast, Mac and PC.
This online technology allows players to compete head-to-head with one another
regardless of their platform. Can you imagine the level of competition this
could bring to the home?
PC gamers who look down on console gamers should beware. Those lowly "consolers"
might just rally together and run you clean off the road. For the first time
in the history of the consoles, players will be able to compete online with
up to four players. Slowly, Sega emerges from the dark, dank depths of split-screen
hell to offer real online competition.
The PC and Mac version will support up to eight players over the Internet or
a LAN. This is pretty standard fare, but welcomed nonetheless.
4x4 Evolution is set to be released this summer. Prepare to get to dirty...this
is definitely one to look for.