I remember seeing AUTO MODELLISTA for the first time a little under a year ago at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Capcom was touting it as the best online game you could possibly hope to own, and with the graphical style, most of the journalists who saw it walked away pretty impressed. I had several other opportunities to play it and the growing concern in my mind was not the amount of customization to the vehicles or the impressive style, but the gameplay itself. It seems that even after the final release, this is a major concern.
I could bore you with all of the details of different modes of gameplay offered by AUTO MODELLISTA, but I won't. Suffice to say, the gameplay modes are typical, and not really that extensive. The biggest part of the game is sitting in the garage, making modifications from important parts down to non-essential stuff. Building a killer car is crucial for the later levels, or you won't stand a chance.
Don't believe me? You won't make it through the later races with a normal car... or jump into the broadband-only online gameplay and race with one of the cars provided by the game. You'll get schooled. The key to this game, more so than most other arcade racers is the customization and modification of your car. This is the sole reason to own the game if you really enjoy those aspects, because the racing elements just aren't that good.
The biggest problem I found was control. Nag all you want about the AI, its not that big a deal. But I hardly ever felt like I was in true control of the car that I was driving. You will be sliding all over the place in these cars, bouncing off of walls, and generally irritating any gamer that is used to the refined control and gameplay aspects of GRAN TURISMO 3 A-SPEC. The control is the single-biggest turnoff in the game, and dictates that you must rent it before risking a purchase.
The online multiplay is fun, but it doesn't really compare to other online experiences available. Ultimately, it's still up to you navigate the course, and while the human AI will be much better than the computer's, it's still a rather dull affair that didn't really do much for me. Still, if you have a network adapter and broadband, it's worth checking out.
The graphics are one of the biggest selling points for AUTO MODELLISTA as
The sound is well done too, typical racing game music, but it's not bad, and definitely bearable. Decent set of sound effects round out the package, although I will admit that I'm ready to kill the announcer after spending some time with the game.
AUTO MODELLISTA is a game that demands a lot of time for tweaking and modification of vehicles. The control holds it back a lot, and you should probably rent first, despite how cool it does actually look.