IndyCar Series 2005 Xbox Review

June 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox, Xbox

Who’d think that going round in circles for 100 laps could induce a bucket worth of salty sweat on your brow? Certainly not us, but Codemasters’ provide us with proof that just because it sounds like a picnic it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be 85 miles ahead of the pack in a 100-mile race with not a single worry in the world. IndyCar Series 2005 is ideal evidence that those simple looking ovals can often be intimidating as well as dauntingly demanding.

Thank god there’s a tutorial mode, (with step-by-step guidance by driver Dan Wheldon) but even this goes so deep that you can easily get lost. All that said the tutorial (known as the Masterclass here) is genuinely helpful and a must to really get the most out of the sometimes painfully realistic simulation aspects. If you’d rather avoid the more demanding difficulty, then you can always race without the damage or at least strip it down a little within the different difficulty levels. The game can be easily transformed from a serious hardcore simulation to a less harsh arcade-like experience, leaving behind the tyre wear and fuel consumption in the process. All this said the cars have a stubborn tendency of refusing to turn corners at times. We appreciate that the game is far from lightweight in design, although the strenuous difficulty is a little too steep for our liking.

With all the above said we find the gruelling task of a full championship rather intimidating to say the least, though it’s a commendable attempt for those who smell strong petrol fumes in every single waking hour and are feverish about the sport (not quite as many fans here in Europe we would think). You can play without inflicting damage in this mode as well, although again those “feverish fans” will most probably want it as authentic as possible even if that means crashing out and damaging major components resulting in an early retirement on the very first corner. The race distance can also be lowered if you don’t feel like the time consuming situation of driving around in circles for 200+ laps, thankfully this can be lowered to as little as 10 laps, assuring that non-fans and casuals are satisfied.

Championship aside, the game can also be played with up to four people, which is always a good thing for those with competitive streaks and even without. Xbox Live play is also available for up to 12 players, although those who like to monitor their own standings in the rankings will be disappointed as only lap times are displayed, meaning you could quite literally be scrolling and seeking your overall position out for ages (don’t be so down about it, remember it’s only a game!). There is also an annoying and off-putting pause when people join game lobbies, although we’re sure Codemasters’ are working on it and will have a patch solution eventually. Problems aside the game works very well online with next to no lag and makes things a tad more interesting when every car in the field are veering into and wrapping themselves around barriers, witnessing this made us feel a little better and at least we didn’t feel alone in our total lack of skill anymore.

IndyCar Series 2005 isn’t a bad game and fans will most probably lap it all up. We found it a little too technical, requiring far too much time and dedication that we aren’t willing to give to such a game, simply because we soon started losing interest in going around in circles and crashing out in each exhausting race. We found that races without incident were rare and also were involved in these many incidents ourselves. We don’t particularly like the sport therefore we couldn’t really get anything out of the game, not a disastrous racing title but certainly a plainly average one that lacks a great deal of spirit.