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Tycho / on Mon, Sep 10 2007 at 12:00 am

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An Embarrassment Of Kittens

Going deeper into the Console War than ever before we discovered hidden camps, and were inexorably drawn to their strange rhythms and makeshift jungle podiums hot with rhetoric.  It grieves me to announce that we may have lost Gabriel to their potent lure

Also: kittens.     

I neglected to mention it, because there were many things going on at PAX, and most of them were spiritual in nature.  But if we can dial it back to the crude physical universe for a moment, what we played of Sega Rally Revo was pretty great.  I can’t speak to the entirety of its racing campaign, but from their crisp interface to the new driving model it really stood out.   

I never quite knew what to make of the comments from the head Sega Racing regarding rumble.  Most developers don’t go out of their way to tuck in a nasty comment about one of the systems they’re delivering on, and they’re launching the title on fully two Sony platforms.  In essence, he believes that tilt controls are "rubbish" and that rumble is the superior option.  This is all old news, but I was never in a position to comment with any validity before.  The rumble/tilt thing has been one axis of this Goddamned idiotic, incessant argument since the beginning, and there’s no method by which a victor can even be determined.  But for Sega Rally Revo, there’s no question.  Rumble is core to the experience.     

Revo is sweet, slippery rally-style racing refined down to a rich syrup.  It’ll be fun anywhere you play it.  It has a couple tricks that it pulls, but the main one (which you’ve almost certainly read about) is that each car cuts the track surface with each pass, creating a continually refined groove as each lap proceeds.  There’s no question that you can simply read this off the screen and garner its speed and traction benefits.  But that is a very different matter from having these ruts communicated fully via the use of a tiny motor in your gamepad. 

Typically in a racer, your rumble cues are like "wump wump wump" when you’re off the track, and some variations for surfaces.  I like this, and I am not denigrating it.  But to have each nudge of the analog (or presumably wheel) reveal this crazy relief map of surface data in a way that doesn’t need to be explained and can be grasped instantly, well, I guess this is why he was mad.  They’re using rumble not to provide context and immersion for onscreen activity, but as another band of data - a band that is currently a platform exclusive.


(CW)TB out. 


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