Total Immersion Racing

Total Immersion Racing

A treat for race nerds, Total Immersion Racng is based on car racing like they do it at Le Mans, or in the American Le Mans Series: three different classes of cars compete at once on hairy, turn-infested courses. For our money, it rivals NASCAR or F1 for unadulterated excitement, so it’s actually quite cool to see a game based on the sport.

Career mode starts you in a GT. As you advance, you get offers to test for better rides. Perform well enough, and you’ll get a seat for the next season. The A.I. is very good; the cars are driven as real humans would, and the game tracks the emotions of each of them. Knock someone off the track and he’ll hold a grudge—possibly returning the favor several races later.

Control is solid—you basically need to find the “edge” of your breaking/grip envelope and stay there at all times—and all the cars and classes handle quite differently. Gearheads can fiddle with most of the cars’ settings as well.

Unfortunately, there are only a few tracks (eight, with four variations) to race on; while fans will appreciate the faithful renditions of classic Euro circuits such as Silverstone, Hockenheim, and Monza, having more to choose from, as always, would have been better. The graphics are nice, as you’d expect on Xbox, but not spectacular, and there’s also no damage modeling. Sound leaves a lot to be desired, too; for a while we thought you didn’t leave skid marks (you do), because there is no aural clue when you lose grip.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in Xbox Nation.