Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli (PS2 Version)

John Marine | 12/16/2010 12:22:00 AM | |
Since 1993, Ferrari Challenge has been one of the most exciting racing challenges anywhere in the world. It is not a feeder series or some amateur deal- it is a racing series for those serious about racing some capable racing machines. Welcome to Ferrari Challenge! You will be behind the wheel of a 2006 Ferrari F430 Challenge car through a majority of your racing career in this game. Make the most of its 480-something horsepower V8 as you race around the world against a host of international competition. Realistic handling and intense competition means that winning races will all come down to your racing ability, rather than having a highly-tuned car to win.

Why should you care about this game? A number of reasons. For most people, just because this game features Ferrari, this is a great game. In fact, all you race are Ferraris. But what most people fail to realize is that you have to execute with the game to be any real success. Here is my own personal overview and review of this game.





--- Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli Overview ---
This is how the box for Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli for the PlayStation 2 looks:

Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli
^ from: dlgate.net - Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli (European cover).

Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli allows you the opportunity to race any available Ferrari in the game. The game box mentions 50 cars, but there are really about 22 cars (counting the F430 Challenge cars). The basic bread-and-butter car you race is the beautiful F430 Challenge Car. This car is your meal ticket to becoming a Ferrari Challenge champion. Apart from Ferrari Challenge, you can race any number of classic and modern Ferraris. Even all-time favorite Ferraris of mine are shown in lovely detail. You have three regions to choose from: North America, Europe, and Ferrari's native Italy. As many as eight cars occupy the grid for each race. You may choose between lap races or time races. You may race with any number of real Ferrari Challenge teams with real Ferrari Challenge drivers (like Bruno Senna, the son of the late, great Aryton Senna). You can even make your own Ferrari Challenge team to contend in any of the three divisions. It's recommended you do Tutorial Mode to familiarize yourself with the physics of your mid-engined Ferrari Challenge car. You race two laps around Fiorano- Ferrari's test track. Your racing can begin either with Arcade or a Season. Completing various tasks earns you Challenge Cards. These challenge cards allow you to see many more Ferraris. There's even a game you can play where you trade cards to earn new cards. Make the game as easy or as difficult as you like with options.

More on these elements will be discussed throughout this blog entry.



The Action Begins.

When the game is ready for you to press Start, you'll be humbled by E.S. Posthumus' wonderful song, Ebla. Hearing this song alone gets you in the mood to race. Then you press Start... the loud roar of a Ferrari V8 fills your ears for about three seconds. Select a profile or make a new one.


Make Your Own Team and Custom Car.
The game allows you to make your own team. Begin with stating your team name and nationality. I think you have as many as nine or ten characters to name your team and give it a nationality.

Go into the Showroom. The Showroom will allow you the opportunity to customize your car(s) with livery. You can purchase new Ferraris when they become available. Don't think this is a Gran Turismo-style game where you purchase parts or upgrades. The cars are available as they are. Customizing options begin with picking a base paint job. It continues with livery options and decals (up to eight for each sector of the car). The paint jobs can range from matte to any number of color styles. You have options like pearlescent, metallic, and things like that. Various stickers and decals can be placed to jazz up your Ferrari a bit. Personally, I think the livery could have been better executed. When you're done, save your work and move on.


Begin a Tutorial.

Before you try to show your strength in Ferrari Challenge, it is recommended you go into Tutorial Mode. Your ability to accelerate, brake, stay with the racing line, and handle properly will all be graded. Handling these cars is an exact science. And for you to succeed, you need to learn the ins and outs of your Ferrari Challenge car. You perform two laps around Fiorano. You will earn Challenge Cards for every element you've mastered in your tutorial.


Go Race!

Here are your racing options when playing Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli:
* Quick Race - set up a quick race on any of the game's tracks.
* Arcade - compete in a four-race championship. On the harder difficulties, you need to finish higher to advance to the next race.
* Challenge - compete in Ferrari Challenge in one of three different regions: Italy, Europe, and North America.
* Trophy - evaluate your progress across different races in the game.
* Time Trial - solo runs around a race track. Go for the fastest time!

When you do a Quick Race, you select a track. You then set how long you want the race to last. You can race anywhere from three laps to seven laps. You can select whether you want to race in the dry or in the wet. You finally choose if you want to race against a full grid of cars (8 to a track including yours), a half grid of cars, or a one-on-one race.

You can pause the game and set options for assists, game options, sound options, restart the race, and retire from the race. Racing with fewer assists yields you more credits to use. You can make racing as easy or as challenging as you like.


The Cars: Ferrari Challenge.

The primary cars you use in this game are based on real Ferrari Challenge teams and teammates. You'll know which car is for which series when you see the sunscreen visors. Ferrari Challenge Italy cars have the white windshield visors with "Kimbo" in red letters. Ferrari Challenge Europe cars have a Black and Decker sunscreen visor. Ferrari Challenge North America cars feature a Motorola sunscreen visor. I'm disappointed that Ferrari of Houston isn't there, as a Houston native. FAIL!

If you want to learn more about each racer featured in this game, click on their names to visit their official websites. No Facebook fan pages or anything will be offered. Consider this a bonus from me to you if you're reading and enjoying my blog. Links may be added or changed in the future to reflect other changes.

--- Ferrari Challenge: Italy Cars ---
* Vito Postiglione - Motor/Malucelli
* Nicola Cadei - Rossocorsa
* Lorenzo Bontempelli - Rossocorsa
* Gianluca Giraudi - Motor/Malucelli
* Philipp Baron - Baron Service
* Andrea Belluzzi - Motor
* Nicola Gianniberti - Motor/Sauro
* Giorgio Sernagiotto - Motor

--- Ferrari Challenge: Europe Cars ---
* Bruno Senna - Ferrari GB Dealer Team (the feature car in this game)
* Max Blancardi - Motor/Malucelli
* Michael Cullen - Rossocorsa
* Henri Moser - Kessel Racing
* Bjorn Grossmann - Autohaus Gohm
* Nathan Kinch - Ferrari GB Dealer Team
* Alexey Vasilyev - HP-Exclusiv
* Ange Barde - Stradale Automobile
* Paddy Shovlin - Rossocorsa

--- Ferrari Challenge: North America ---
* Mike Zoi - Shelton Ferrari
* Lawrence Stroll - Ferrari of Quebec
* John Horejsi - Ferrari of Beverly Hills
* Skip Bennett - Ferrari of Washington
* Roberto Fata - Ferrari of Long Island
* Joe Lewis - Ferrari of Beverly Hills
* Scott Tucker - Boardwalk Ferrari
* John Farano - Ferrari of Ontario


The Cars: Other Ferraris.

Apart from the Ferrari F430 Challenge cars, there are a handful of other Ferraris you can purchase. There are about 21 different Ferraris to collect and race. The best thing about this game is that you don't have to own the car to go race. You can simply rent Ferraris to compete in Ferrari championships. I haven't rented a Ferrari in this game, but I think you will be unable to paint up any Ferraris you rent in this game. The credits you use are for purchasing Ferraris. This is not a Gran Turismo-style game where you buy and tune cars. Instead, you buy Ferraris just to own them and take them racing. Therefore, your ability to win races depends on your ability to race hard.


The Tracks.

There are tracks for which to you to contest racing on. All can be raced under dry or wet conditions. Each course is a permanent road course. So, you will not be racing any ovals or street courses or anything like that.

* Autodromo Nazional Monza - Italy's high-speed road course with only a few technical corners.
* Autodromo Internazionale Mugello - a technical and speedy Italian road course.
* Misano World Circuit - a somewhat short Italian race course with tricky depths. 2.523
* Vallelunga Circuit - situated a mile north of Italy's capital city of Rome, Valleunga is both tricky and fast.
* Silverstone Circuit - Britain's premier Grand Prix motor racing circuit is a speedy battle ground with tricky corners.
* Spa-Francorchamps - the longest track in the game at 4.316 miles in length, it is Belgium's premier Grand Prix motor racing track.
* Hockenheim - the watered-down German high-speed track still retains its high-speed character even since its redesign.
* Circuit Paul Ricard - this French track is fairly tough and is almost all asphalt with colored runoff areas.
* Homestead - a technical and compact American road course configuration around South Florida's premier oval. It is the shortest track in the game at 2.210 miles in length.
* Infineon - a very intense American road course with undulations and tricky corners in Sonoma, California, USA.
* Virginia Raceway - a rhythm-based American road course with many challenging corners and tough sections.
* Redwood Park - a high-speed Canadian road course with some decisive corners. This is actually Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, but the developers didn't licensing rights to use "Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve."
* Mont-Tremblant - in my view, the most beautiful race track in Canada. It is also an immensely technical course.
* California - the high-speed oval at California Superspeedway boasts a tricky and challenging road course configuration.


Challenge Cards.

You can earn challenge cards by performing certain tasks in the game. Check out the Accomplishments section in the game's main menu to keep track of all collected trophies and all tasks. Select a certain Challenge Card to find out what tasks you have to clear and how to win those Challenge Cards or Trophies. When you check the Accomplishments, pay attention to the lines that connect to different Challenge Cards. Some cards are connected to much tougher tasks. Only advice- KEEP ON RACING!

If you want to test your knowledge of Ferrari cars, try the Challenge Card game. In this game, you earn cards based on getting certain stats right. Try to guess which category the card has a better statistic for. Here are the categories (question to think about is in parentheses):
* Year - the year of the car (which car came first?)
* Top Speed - speed of the car (which car has a higher top speed?)
* Weight - curb weight of the car (which car is lighter?)
* Engine Size - displacement of the car in cubic centimeters (which car's engine boasts greater displacement?)
* Brake Horsepower - bhp of the car (which car has more horsepower?)
* Value - price of the car (which car costs more?)

Each time you guess the correct category, you win a Challenge Card. Guess the wrong category of the opponent's card, and you will lose a Challenge Card. The game continues until one's challenge cards have been exhausted.



--- Review of Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli (PS2 Version) ---
Here is a piece-by-piece analysis of this game.

Gameplay.

The racing dynamics are very good. You actually seem like you are fighting with the car on each track. The AI is responsive and doesn't play bumper cars very often. The cars even have pretty nice damage models.

Sound and Music.

The sounds are very good, if a bit flat. The best sound highlight to me is hearing "Ebla" by E.S. Posthumus. That's the song you hear in the main menu screen. When you start the game, you hear the beautiful roar of a Ferrari come to life. Most of the engine sounds are pretty flat despite the careful attention to detail to Ferraris in this game.

Graphics.

The first major flaw of the game is that the screenshots on the back are from the PlayStion 3 version. You make it so that this PS2 game features PS3-beautiful graphics. That's not the case here. The frame rate is not very good. Despite this, run very smoothly. The game features environmental aspects like leaves on the ground and birds flying in the air. The graphics really lack sharpness and richness in the environments. However, it isn't an eyesore to see everything as they unfold in this game.

Multiplayer/Online.

Forget about multiplayer. It's purely a one-player game. No multiplayer or online options are offered.


Overall...

This is still a great game to play and enjoy racing Ferraris. The handling and racing action will really test your racing ability unlike any other game. On-the-side details like graphics and sound are the real letdowns. Then too, there still leaves more to be desired. Considering the kind of international person, I do wish there could be more venues to race on in this game. I was probably thinking that everything in this title was primarily to meet with actual Ferrari Challenge races and racing venues. Some stops in Latin America, Asia (not necessarily Japan), and maybe Australia would make for a true World Championship of racing in this game. I also wouldn't minded seeing photo galleries and videos of Ferrari Challenge racing. Some of the real bare essentials of racing games just appear missing in this game. Otherwise, it's worth your money to go race in this PS2 game.


Want to go racing with Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli? Go get this game on Amazon! Click on the graphic below and order on Amazon. This game is also available for the PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS:







I am considering doing a second blog post regarding Ferrari Challenge in general. For now, though... thanks for reading!

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