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IndyCar Series 2005 Review

Developer: Codemasters Publisher: Codemasters
Release Date: June 22, 2004 Also On: PS2 and Xbox

IndyCar Series 2005 isn’t quite like any other racing game I have ever played. Like Gran Turismo it is extremely true to the sport but unlike Gran Turismo it is very hard to just pick up and play. But fret not, after the first hour or so the game is very enjoyable.

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When I first picked up and played the game I ran a simple time trial on the Indy track. I improved my lap time almost every lap by braking at the right time, pitting only when needed, blah blah blah… Turns out, my technique was all wrong. After taking the master classes I was able to demolish my times I had set hours earlier. The master classes explain almost every intricacy of the sport from ride height to toe-ins to camber to well, everything. Even if it’s the first time you play the game, try the master classes first, it’ll lead to a much better time.

The trick of winning in IndyCar 2005 is the tweaking of your car pre-qualifying. It is nigh impossible to have positive results without adjusting your car to your liking. This turns out to be one of the beauties of the game; your car can be tweaked to how you drive so no two cars will drive alike.

Winning is also extremely difficult when even the tiniest mistakes are made. If your car bumps into a wall and drops 30 mph you are almost guaranteed to drop 2 or 3 positions. I have found the easiest way to gain positions is to rush into the pits when the driver at the pole goes in, pass four or five cars and slam on the breaks before you’re penalized with a black flag. Sounds cheap, it is, but it works.

The graphics look like a first generation PS2 game but almost all is forgiven because the sense of speed is incredible. The only game that portrays going 200+ miles per hour is Need for Speed: Underground and even being compared to that game is a major feat unto itself. The car and track models are decent but would have looked much better with environment mapping or some extra particle effects. The only effect is minor sparking or a tire or a wing flying off the car when smashing into a wall; I wish sparks would fly when the cars bottomed out or there were explosions when there was a major accident. The sound is decent. There is a forgettable rock mix in the background and no support for custom soundtracks. The audience and car noise are done nice but after hearing the same thing for hours you’ll be craving for more.

At first I didn’t like IndyCar 2005 at all and trudged my way through so I could write the review, but the more I played the more I enjoyed it, especially after passing the master classes. But, if you’re not a fan of the IRL or racing at all it might be hard to get into. If you’re just looking for a casual racing game try TOCA 2, it’s made by the same company but is more suited to the mainstream gamer. In conclusion, my final score will be 7.0 but add 1.5 if you’re even a casual fan of the IRL. If you happen to be a major fan then add 2 points.

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 5.5
Gameplay: 7.5
Creativity: 6.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 7
Written by Chris Review Guide