Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo has been out in Europe for a couple months now but has only recently hit American shores, and it’s about time I shared my thoughts on the racing game.
I’m not very good at simulation games and I very much appreciate it when a simulation makes it easier for newcomers to join in the fray, and Rally Evo doesn’t do a great job in achieving that. Milestone may be best known for their simulators though which tend to lean on the side of hardcore and well, I can’t complain about that as it’s set out and managed to create a realistic driving experience which rally fans should fall in love with. Fans of Sébastien Loeb himself will be pleased too as you can play through his impressive and defining career, featuring interviews with the man himself but if you don’t wish to play as Loeb, then you can play career mode which revolves around you making a name for yourself. Of course, you can play single races and such outside of the career modes, alongside the games online multiplayer.
Rally Evo is heavy on content and although I’m unfamiliar with Sébastien Loeb, his career and rally racing in general, it’s cool to see the effort Milestone has put in to create an authentic experience for fans, and it helps to involve newcomers. I’m not sue if I’ve been spoiled by the likes of DriveClub, but I didn’t have a lot of fun with Rally Evo although it’s easy to appreciate, so this makes for a pretty difficult review. It doesn’t feel as if Milestone are very familiar with PS4 yet due to the less than stellar visuals and I found the controls to feel light and not as responsive as I’d expect. I understand it’s easy to lose control of a car and not to play this like it’s Need for Speed, but go a couple MPH too fast or hit the handbrake ever so briefly and you’ll be sent flying out of control like a bouncy ball. Changing from acceleration to reverse has a delay between it too and although I don’t drive and understand that this could be realistic, it’s not something I’ve found to be an issue in Milestone’s other titles and it proved to be a nuisance.
If you’ve played a racing game then the controls won’t have you stumped in Rally Evo. I’m disappointed at the lack of ability to change the button layout as I’d rather use R1 and L1 as opposed to R2 and L2 to accelerate and reverse respectively, with circle being assigned to the handbrake. These are the basic controls and you have the option to change a variety of settings including AI difficulty, and things such as braking and handling assistance. Milestone had the right idea when developing Rally Evo, but I don’t like how it feels and although I’m far from the biggest racing simulation fan or the games that Milestone puts out, I feel that this is a far cry from the quality that fans have come to expect from them.
Visually it doesn’t hold up very well either and whilst it’s far from an ugly game, it’s inconsistent and gives you very little to look at despite the weather and locale changes. Milestone games have moments where they look excellent but this tends to not hold up the longer you play with blurry visuals becoming more apparent across the vehicles and environments and whilst there were some moments I thought, ‘wow, this looks really good’, I can’t say it’s one of the best looking games on PS4 by a long shot. The live-action cutscenes are in crisp and clear HD and the menu interface is easy to navigate although there are some odd design choices when choosing which event to play in career mode, but it’s nothing gamebreaking.
There’s a notable lack of music, not that this is unexpected due to being a realistic racing simulation, but I missed its omission regardless. There’s little dialogue which is mostly in the form of tutorials and advice or a commentator talking about your progress during a race. Sound effects do their job and show Milestone’s efforts in creating an authentic and atmospheric atmosphere, complete with crowds of people coming out to watch you show off your skills.
Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo isn’t a game catered to me, like close to none of the Milestone games are, but whilst I found fun in most of their games in the past, I struggled to enjoy this due to how loose it felt to me and it fails to stand out against other racing titles on PS4. Being able to play through a famed racers career is a cool addition that will do a lot to please fans, and I like how Milestone were able to interview Sébastien himself, but overall my experience with the game isn’t a good one although hardcore rally fans may find more to enjoy here.