Updated Tue, Feb 11, 2014 by Lewis B
When it comes to the racing and the presentation of the game, World of Speed sits somewhere between the arcade approach of Blur or Metropolis Street Racer (it really does remind of the game) but has visuals attempting to be hyper realistic, that fall just short of Forza or Gran Turismo. That might sound like a criticism, but I don’t see either as a huge problem. The game still looks fantastic and thankfully runs great even during this stage of development, most importantly of all however is the fact it has a brilliant sense of speed. Admittedly at times a little too fast considering the tiny confines of the London track we raced on and there’s still a long way to go when it comes to the braking (which seemed to do nothing).
For the most part it seemed my colleagues did nothing but hug the barriers and crash straight into everything - luckily for me I learned quickly to brake, handbrake and let go of the accelerator. No one should have to do this in a racing game, but it is early days and Slightly Mad Studios seem keen to iron this out (though a little worrisome development has got this far without one of the team noticing the distinct lack of break functionality).
There’s still lots that we obviously didn’t get to see or experience during this very brief hands on. Seeing Territory Wars in action (this is where your club and you control the race tracks), the airfield (which looked like a giant skate park) or the clubhouse where I’m presuming you’ll be able to exit your car and actually socialise (ala Sims).
Although Slightly Mad Studios were tight lipped on many topics, I think it’s fair to say that as a free to play game their revenue stream is going to come from cosmetic items and play time reductions. They stated throughout the day that you couldn’t buy your way to victory but that you could make life a little more comfortable or progression that little bit quicker if you were to open your wallet. Combined with the social elements of the clubhouse and the intention to bring a multitude of additional game modes post-launch (which will cost money, I’m sure) there’s a lot we’ll find out as we head towards the spring beta.
Overall then, I’m pretty impressed with World of Speed. This hands-on might be a little harsh in places, but that’s because Slightly Mad Studios are seeking feedback. World of Speed shows huge signs of promise and has all the framework in place to be the front runner when it comes to online racing games. Considering the competition on PC is...well, nothing, they’ve really not got a too difficult task on their hands. All that said, they have to ensure that the racing is tighter than it currently is and if they get that right, everything else should fall into place.
I’ll be watching World of Speed very closely over the next few months as it has every chance of being something special.