Yu Suzuki has brought some incredible games out over the years. Working with Sega's arcade department, he brought out a racing game where gamers could drive ONE car. But the physics and attributes of the game were absolutely perfect. FERRARI F355 challenge is the true Ferrari simulator, but it definitely loses something in the translation when it's brought home.
If you've ever seen the arcade machine, you know what I speak of. The game has three monitors, so peripheral vision has an effect. It's like driving the real thing. You do have to brake, you do have to follow a line, you do have to pay attention to your traction control. While the arcade game is fun a few times, you have to play a lot to get good.
With that in mind, you can now pick up a copy of the game for your PlayStation 2. The problem is that unless you picked up a pricey Logitech wheel back when you bought GRAN TURISMO 3 A-SPEC, you probably won't get much of the true Ferrari experience. Playing with a controller is a severe damper on the game being a true simulation.
That said, the gameplay mechanics still fall into the realm of simulation. Heck, this game makes GRAN TURISMO 3 look like a kart-racer. It's THAT difficult. Things that gamers have learned you don't usually have to do in racing games, like braking, are paramount to FERRARI F355 CHALLENGE. I think I've spun out more in one race during this game than I did playing any other game.
And therein lies the problem. While the game is going to be a blast for fans of sims, or Ferrari in general. The general public just won't be able to get past things like the insane difficulty level. Sure, there are things you can do to aid the driver. But by turning these on, the game becomes so easy that a monkey could sit there and play.
This alone makes this game extremely difficult, if not impossible for me to recommend. Its extreme difficulty and attention to detail is cool, but not really that fun. GRAN TURISMO 3 A-SPEC does a much better job of keeping the game fun and entertaining while still being realistic.
The graphics are decent actually. The game is a pretty good port of the arcade version and the visuals are realistic (much like the rest of the game), and would be a pleasure to look at if the graphics weren't as dated and you weren't always struggling just to keep your car on the road.
The sound is all totally authentic, but it's a little bland after you get past just the sound effects. There music is mediocre at best, and as a whole the sound gets old very quick.
I like the idea of a simulation driving game but I just don't think it's feasible. Confining it to one car hurts the game's replay value. It's not a bad game, however, only the staunchest Ferrari and Simulation fans, or anyone who has a decent racing wheel for their PS2 should give this game a rental.