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Mikkow's STCC - The Game review

Discussion in 'RACE 07 - Official WTCC Game' started by Mikkow, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. Got it today on DVD, installed online steam version (how exciting!). Have a G25, 24" iiyama 16:10 monitor and decently deep knowledge of motorsports/racing etc.

    I have limited knowledge of the STCC series, despite being a Swede, and I'm moderately interested (So far, WTCC and WRC/F1 interested me a bit more until very recently due to this expansion). I don't know how the tracks are really like though I heard they are smaller and crazier than the FIA famous ones. I played some WTCC in race 07 before and I liked it a lot.

    Here are some initial impressions after about 1½ hours of playing around:

    - The AI seems more confrontational and aggressive. In the original, they were perfect gentlemen, always giving room, to a fault (almost impossible to be overtaken by the AI unless going off). I had some serious bumping on the Knutstorp track in a test race, which felt very new to the sim.

    - The force feedback model is overhauled. I'm noticing less extreme 'tugging' when cornering on and beyond the limit when in open wheelers for example. The 'weave a bit' effect when driving straight is much more random and not just a smooth wavy motion to the left and right. It's much more to my liking.

    - The sound effects, though not including engines, have been overhauled. The bottoming out sound, the crash sound, tire squeel etc is all new as far as I can tell, and it sounds a whole lot better (I remember these sounds from TV sometimes). They are much more meaty and sound like 'serious business', tire squeel excluded. The crash sound is incredibly loud and long and took me off guard - "HOLY ****!". All in all, seems like a serious improvement over Race 07.

    - Grip seriously seems a little bit different. When going slower especially, I get the sensation that the cars have a little wee bit more mechanical grip. As a result, it feels a little bit harder to drive (more responsiveness = more twitchyness). Who knows how much is placebo effect or actual difference. :) Leaning towards the latter.

    - There are bugs. When doing championship with 23 cars (btw, I think you can now have up to 31 AI cars instead of 24 from race 07), even though there's enough drivers in the STCC to fill up the field, there's 5 duplicate drivers. Freaky! Also, alt-tabbing out of the game means I'll never get back in. It will crash on me, and this bothers me the most as I often have to alt-tab.

    - Everything new in english. But in the pit stops and while racing on swedish tracks, there's new announcer sounds (just a sampled loop), in Swedish, which sound very realistic, and you can make out the words. Nice atmosphere there.

    - The Camaro Cup car is a BEAST. Feels incredibly unresponsive, meaty and powerful compared to the touring cars. I'm sure this one will be quite popular online. I quite like it. Hard to drive though due to the immense torque and power.

    - Only tried one Swedish track so far - Knutstorp. Didn't think much of it until I now finally know how it's like. It's a kind of mickey mouse (shorter, more turns and elevation changes) track, but it's amazingly fun for the cars which aren't on the higher end of the HP spectrum (touring cars, radicals, FBMW, and ohmygod Caterhams!). It's already a new favourite of mine. I always liked these type of tracks before, so no surprise. I hope the other tracks can compare to it.

    - UI changes. The cars are now shown as a 3d preview you can move around with the mouse when you are selecting drivers/cars. Some other stuff, not important.

    - New music seems nice. Though I often replace sim music with Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge music and so forth.

    - A "Pit Menu". Along with the 'options' 'car setup' 'drive' 'timings' etc - called Pit Stop Menu or something like that. You can set up exactly what you want them to do for a pitstop, then save each plan individually (and name them), much like a car setup. Pretty neat.

    It appears clear they haven't quite finished and polished it yet. But I'm sure that'll all be dealt with in shortly arriving patches. I'm glad to have it, and I'm blown away by how fun it is (I had no idea the STCC format was so much more suitable for touring cars (and many others)).

    I'm sure non-swedes will highly appreciate this iteration of Race 07 and have tons of fun racing the new tracks and classes (which are not very suitable for FIA GT cars - horray for diversity in tracks and cars).

    EDIT: An update on the STCC bugs section: The Alt-Tab crash & inability to return to the game after an alt-tab was fixed by going into the steam program, and then: View > Settings > In-game > then disabling "Enable Steam-community in-game".

    Presumably the offline installation of STCC doesn't suffer from the problem as a result.

    EDIT 2: Update on the E90 BMW transmissions/cars: They did in fact include the sequential BMW's! I just realized the west coast racing had 6 gears, and I was driving it in manual H-shifter mode thinking it was the 5 speed H-pattern.

    The conclusion is thus that the info-text for the BMW's are wrong - it doesn't state the transmission type correctly for some of them. Yay!
  2. So you've installed you took it for a spin and you've provided no screenshots.

    Your fired ....
  3. A few of the improvements were already in Evo. I'm looking forward to the new tracks & the Volvo.

    Do you have a button you can push to get the Yeehaw sound :) I loved that button.
  4. Who cares about screens - you saw that on previews/websites anyway. :)

    I'd like to note that I'm incredibly un-patriotic and don't even really see myself as a 'swedish' person. More like a person of the world. This to reassure the readers that there's no nationalistic bias in favour of the game (if anything, it'd be against, many things I don't like about Swedish culture).
  5. Even Swedish women?
  6. The GF is asian! :pound:
  7. So, which store listed on the game's web page ships to the U.S.?
  8. oooooo, so it'll be almost with us on steam then... :becky:
    i just love moar cars and moar tracks... keep em coming!
  9. Gaz

    Xbox: CrazyGaz76 Premium Member

    Wrong post d'oh
  10. I just suck with the BMW E90 on knutstorp. I don't remember it ever being this difficult to drive the WTCC version on the international tracks (not even Puebla, though that's a flat track compared to this). God damned.

    Also, got damage from smaller things than WTCC, like sliding off the track without hitting anything and I got a suspension problem.

    - There's a new menu btw, along with the 'options' 'car setup' 'drive' 'timings' etc - and it's called Pit Stop Menu or something like that. You can set up exactly what you want them to do for a pitstop, then save each plan individually (and name them), much like a car setup. Pretty neat.
  11. Bram

    Roaring Pipes Maniacs | #27 Staff Premium Member

    Thanks for the review Mikkow! :thumb:
  12. That really sounded good Mikkow. I am going to get this game!
  13. Can you post an onboard lap at Sturup?
  14. I can't and won't record laps - I'll leave that to someone else (toooo much of a hassle).

    I wonder if the qualifying bug is gone. My hands ache too much to find out today :( I heard people saying that it was gone, as well as not gone, from GTR Evolution. Even if they didn't do anything special to tweak qualifying vs race times, if the AI is just more aggressive in general, it might post higher laptimes (closer to it's qualifying times). We'll see.

    I saw Rustad's Volvo C30 go off repeatedly, alternating on the left and the right side of the road (like an oscillation) about 3 times during practice. Amusing :)

    The Volvo C30 has a slight 'vacuum cleaner' effect to it's engine, probably stemming to two samples playing at the same time, trying to be at exactly the same pitch. If one is a little bit off, there's a vacuum cleaner effect. Can get it even if they are synced if they sound a bit different. Maybe the exhaust note together with the in-car engine sound? It's just very minor anyway.

    The Honda sounds really nice, begging you to rev it high. The BMW's sound exactly as the WTCC ones as far as I can tell. The Peugeot sounds very mild mannered when revved. Maybe it's a diesel?

    Interesting how the cockpit layouts are different. The BMW's seem to have a different LCD + steering wheel than the WTCC versions. I think the Honda has the gear indicator and the rev-meter on the top of it's steering wheel bar! Very unusual. The Peugeot's gear indicator is on the dash and so incredibly small it's beyond me how the driver can see it.

    There are some issues with the placement of LCD and steering wheel. No matter how the camera is moved, you can never see the rev meter, gear indicator as well as speed and other stuff at the same time in the cockpit in some cars. Is that really how they are laid out? I guess the driver can move his head, but it seems illogical never the less.

    Some sequential cars seem to have no gear indicator at all. I think the Volvo and SEAT was two of them. Quite an experience trying to remember what gear one is in when using a sequential.

    A negative on the realism scale is that all BMW's are manual 5 speed H-pattern transmissions. In real life, some are sequential, some are manual.

    I'm blown away by the driving experience though. WTCC was never this awesome. Maybe it's a combination of adjusted physics, adjusted Force Feedback effects, adjusted AI, adjusted sound effects and the awesomeness of the track itself. Will investigate later by driving the STCC series on the WTCC tracks.
  15. Shame that they haven't done the 6 speed BMW as I was hoping they would include it.

    I can't wait for the game to arrive in my post.

    I don't have the game yet, but I do have conversions of Knutstorp, Falkenberg and Gellerasen which I race with the WTCC cars in GTR Evo and the twistyness/ smaller tracks of the Swedish and British touring car championships always provides more interesting races to be in than the long and sterile WTCC tracks in the game. Apart from Macau the odd race around Estoril, or Brands Hatch or Magny Couers I mostly use add on tracks over the actual WTCC tracks. I am really looking forward to playing this game thanks for your great review Mikkow :)
  16. My Honda in RACE07 has rev bar and gear indicator on the top of the wheel already.

    I thought the sequencial BMW E90's were to make it in, may be took them out since the 2 cars in the real STCC that were sequencial have gone back to the H-Box.
  17. Wait a second? I'm downloading the demo right from Steam and some people already have it? What's the release date on Steam? It says September 18 but I assume that's for the demo.

    Thanks for the comprehensive review. I'm going to try out the demo shortly.
  18. It appears that some places in Sweden have already put the game on sale in the past few days, or have posted it to customers and it has arrived Thursday :)
  19. Twisty tracks! Sounds good! Have to buy it right away. Thanks for very good review Mikkow!!
  20. Very interesting review Mikkow!!!:thumb: