Game Reviews

CSR Classics

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| CSR Classics
CSR Classics
| CSR Classics

CSR Racing took the mobile racing world by storm last year, and I too got swept up in 2012's frenzy of car-modding.

NaturalMotion and Boss Alien have dropped the flag on CSR Classics, which is available now in the App Store.

Should you race on over to iTunes and start playing? Or has CSR Classics stalled at the starting line? And just how many more of these over-used racing puns can I get away with writing?

All will be revealed as I take the game out for a spin over the next week and tell you whether it's worthy of a podium finish.

First impressions

I'd forgotten just how impressive the technology running the CSR games is: Classics looks fantastic, sounds brilliant, and runs smoothly.

Presentation may not be your highest priority when deciding whether or not to purchase a game, but here the visual splendour and the atmosphere created by the audio is crucial.

Each officially licensed car in the game looks like the real deal, and when you grab an unloved model and begin to restore it to its former glory, watching the transformation from rust bucket to classic car is really gratifying.

Tying in with the car caper storyline, the soundtrack is suitably '70s car chase movie - all creeping bass and slowly strummed guitar chords with plenty of wah wah, punctuated by the throaty roar of highly tuned engines.

When you race past the line with your suped-up speed machine, and the victory fanfare bursts into life, it's an invigorating experience.

If only the same could be said of the gameplay.

It's not bad by any means - it's just that, so far, it's no different from what was delivered in last year's racing package. You rev your engines to try and hit a sweet spot that gives you a perfect launch from the starting line, then shift gear at the right moment for the very best time possible with your current car.

When you're done racing, you head to the garage for an upgrade and slowly but surely improve your chances against increasingly quick opponents.

I've had this experience before, so I'm hoping for something new in the next couple of days.

Day 3: Junkyard junkie

If free-to-play games are an addiction then I'm well and truly hooked as I hit day three of my time with Classics.

The structure has remained fairly similar, but a few newly unlocked race types have provided a little more variety. For example, regulation races only allow you to enter once you've met certain conditions, such as having a nitrous system installed.

Daily Battles, too, are a great source of racing spice, as they give you temporary access to new car models in one-off races. Not only do you win a hefty bounty for completing them, but you also get to test drive a few of the more exotic models on offer.

There's a fuel system in play here, and though some may be irked by the limitations it imposes I've found so far that it gives you just enough time to play and achieve a few goals, such as affording a new upgrade.

I'm still chipping away at upgrading my second car, checking in every few hours for another play session, and gradually uncovering the story of the five racing syndicates and their mysterious leaders.

Day 7: Sebastian Vettel

It's impressive how well NaturalMotion and Boss Alien have managed to reproduce the thrill and addictiveness of CSR Racing, but the second lap with the CSR series throws some of its seedier elements into sharp relief.

Particularly frustrating are the final races with the gang leaders. Once you've beaten these characters and unlocked the next Tier of racing, you're given the opportunity to race them again. This race is for keeps, so if you beat them you'll be given their special car, but if you lose you'll give them 20 Coins.

However, without purchasing a special Super Nitrous boost, you've really no chance of winning at all, even with a fully specced car from that Tier. Coins take a long time to accumulate, so throwing 20 of them away on a race you couldn't possibly hope to win is a kick in the teeth.

Equally, there's not a lot of skill involved in the game, so beyond strategically upgrading your ride and hitting a couple of buttons at the right time there's little you can do to influence the outcome of a race.

And if you're hoping for more types of content in this spin-off you're out of luck. Car-specific events that unlock in Tier 3 could hold the interest of serious drivers, but, again, you'll need to plonk down some serious cash to compete in these, as cars aren't cheap.

If you're okay with playing a game that's very like CSR Racing then CSR Classics is a must-have. It's still a very well-produced, very moreish title that you'll want to check in on regularly, but a paucity of truly fresh content holds it back from achieving true greatness.

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CSR Classics

It may be more of the same, but that's alright by us. CSR Classics is another quality round of car collecting, upgrading, and drag racing