Show Your Vintage Driving In Motorama
I readily admit that car games are not my most favorite genre, probably mostly because I tend to suck badly at them. I used to find them mildly interesting in the heyday of NFS and have given quite a few of them a try but then got rather bored from the repetitiveness. Drive fast, build the car better, drive even faster. Rinse and repeat.
Despite not being the most complex and polished game out there, Motorama comes with one mechanic, which succeeds well enough in making things a bit more interesting and dynamic. It rewards not only the fast and reckless driving but also the overall style.
Much like skating classics such as Tony Hawk, the developers of 251Games have made it so that drifting, brushing other cars in neat maneuvers, following the ideal curve while stirring, etc., provides bonus points and also fills up the speed boost of your car.
Given that the speed of the classic cars featuring in the game is somewhat slower than this of their modern counterparts one really doesn’t feel like flying through the streets insanely fast. This allows for a more focused approach, with emphasis on style rather than sheer speed. As nice as this mechanic is, it hardly suffices in making Motorama that great a game. Yes, it has decent graphics and it is challenging enough, but the overall feeling of the game is quite poorly.
For one, the default controls cannot be changed; being designed for a console, not mouse and keyboard, this is a significant lack. The menus are rather poor and so are the options for improving your vehicle.
Yes, it can be modified but the pack is pretty standard and pretty stunted. Tweak the engine, boost the speed, change the paint, or buy a new car. Same old, with plenty of options which have proven to be efficient and fun in numerous other titles being absent from Motorama.
On the plus side, the game manages to convey the atmosphere of the 1950s at rather satisfactory levels with both cars and settings looking appropriately drawn but there are some things that are truly bothersome. For example, the cars, however pretty they are, are entirely fictional because the developers were not licensed to recreate actual models from that time.
Probably the biggest issue is that the cars one competes against can pass through the other members of the traffic as if they are not even present. This is not only aesthetically unpleasing but it also is a broken mechanic right there. It limits the possibilities to outwit and outmaneuver the opposition by quite some margin, especially when the other racers block the view ahead making it much easier for the player to actually hit an incoming car that would miraculously pass through the car you chase.
Motorama feels like a game with very decent potential, which fell way short of being fully realized. And this is just sad because it suggests that the studio were either in a hurry or simply sloppy. Either way, they didn’t respect their own creation enough to really make it worth the investment.
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