Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends: Vroom vroom

August 2, 2012

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends takes the proud history of Ferrari and places control directly into your hands, as you compete in hundreds of events spread over 36 circuits. While this is a no-brainer for the Ferrari enthusiast, the question remains if the game will overcome this niche appeal and be something for the hardcore racing players.

Ferrari Racing Legends gives you over 50 cars to play with as you unlock them in the campaign mode, which involves delving into three main eras of the Ferrari history: Golden, Silver and Modern. Each age is a linear progression of missions, consisting of multiple races and time trials, as you prove your worth to the Ferrari Company behind the wheel of their latest and greatest cars. Here lies TD:FRL’s biggest issue as a game: all other modes of gameplay (online, quick race, and time trials) are based solely on cars and tracks unlocked through the campaign progression.

Having a hard time getting past the first track of the Silver age? Too bad, because all other cars from that era will be unavailable to you until you meet the arbitrary requirement of that particular race. This becomes frustrating after a while, as you constantly battle the same circuit with the same car multiple times until you shave that last couple of seconds off your last lap to finally qualify. While it was nice to have a challenge, this bordered on repetitive torture.

The game walks a very fine line that works for the most part. TD:FRL is based around technical driving, using known circuits as a glorified Ferrari simulator. What it does to water down the experience is allow some arcade conventions in to appeal to casual gamers. Disastrous crash? You could still salvage things and pull out a win. But with no rewind function, a crash on the last lap costs you entire race.

Adding to the simulator feel of the game, each of the cars has a definitive feel to it; handling, braking, and sliding all have different balances. This causes you to almost memorize how each car drifts and reacts. Whether it’s a Formula One race or 1950s circuit, each track and car show different challenges to overcome.

The graphics of the game are hit-or-miss. Despite having some beautiful backgrounds on certain circuits, the game just doesn’t look polished. Similarly, you can tell the time that went into painstakingly reproducing the Ferraris and how they sound, but when you look closer they feel too artificial in the world of the game. Options for weather, time of day and car customization would have been a welcome addition, but were unfortunately not included.

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends is not a bad game, but it’s a fun game, and it panders to a specific group of people who are more interested in the brand than the content. If you love driving simulators and Ferraris and don’t mind a few arcade-style mechanics peppered in, you’ll find plenty to ogle over and play with.

Pros: Great car details and handling
Cons: Unlocking cars and tracks through campaign becomes frustrating, no rewind or car customization

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.