Is drifting your preferred driving style? Do you have Tokyo Xtreme Racer and wished that another game like it would come out? Wait no longer. Auto Modellista is the answer to your prayers. Though the cel-shading looks a little unusual at first, you get to liking it real quick-like. Especially considering the fact that you can paint the car however you please and design your own emblems and decals.
What helps Auto Modellista out even more is the fact that all of the cars are licensed and the tracks are actual, existing race tracks. Hell, you can even pretend you're re-enacting scenes from Initial D on some of the hill courses. Additionally, the cars are fully customizable and can be tuned pretty much from the ground up. Don't think that you have to win a bunch of races and save an unrealistic amount of money to tune your car though. There's no money system in place. All you have to do is win races and you are rewarded with the opportunity to unlock either cars, parts or decals with which to populate your garage.
Leave it up to Capcom to create a truly fantastic game. It has some of the trimmings of a hardcore sim, but leaves out the hard stuff so you can enjoy the game on the level of an arcade racer. Needless to say, the game has its difficult spots in the "Garage Life" mode, wherein you have to beat your way through multiple races in order to place first overall. Though the cars get classed together (for instance, you wouldn't really see a JZA80 Supra racing an AE86 Trueno), the lower classes can be pretty challenging.
I told you to go out and buy yourselves Network Adapters and if you haven't done so already for the sake of playing SOCOM online, then you need to get it for Auto Modellista. It's definitely more challenging than playing against your friend at home and it's a lot more fun if you're antisocial or living in a shack somewhere in the Appalachians.
When I tell you that the game utilizes cel-shading, you may think it makes the game look cartoon-esque and cheesy. Let me assure you it does not. The cel-shading makes it so the game doesn't drop frames and allows for some cool effects to be implemented. For instance, when you brake, you can actually see air movement attenuating your deceleration. When you're going really fast, some blur effects come into action and give a better sense of speed. The soundtrack is nothing special and far from obnoxious. It seems that sound effects and music were somewhat of an afterthought. It doesn't matter much though, because you hardly notice it. The controls are easy to learn but can be tough to master. Given that aspect of game play, I wholeheartedly recommend Auto Modellista as a must-have for PS2 owners.
Publisher: CapcomPlatform: PS2