By Adam Ames
Nemesys Games throws their hat into the PC racing ring with a new title, Ignite. The game introduces some interesting gameplay mechanics all the while looking pretty doing so. Ignite will not win any hardcore racers away from their simulators, but fans of a more laid back style of arcade racing will feel right at home.
Breakouts and Breakdowns
Ignite offers the standard fair in terms of game modes: Campaign, Free Race and Multiplayer. Finishing in 1st place during Campaign Mode will unlock new tracks and cars. The cars are allocated to three different classes: race, street and muscle. Within these classes, each level of car offers different bonuses and configurations. For example, a Level 5 Street Racer has maxed out handling and acceleration while offering various bonuses added to your score at the end of the race. The scoring system used in Ignite is what sets itself apart from other racing titles. You gain points by drifting, hitting objects such as construction barrels, and drafting. Once you attain 1,000 points, you can use your nitrous boost, but doing so will drain those points. On the flip side, if you hit a barrier or wall, you will lose points. Your bonuses depend on the car you choose will range from 150% object hit bonus to a 200% drift bonus. Each bonus is added to your score at the end of each race. The winner is decided by the number of points earned with the exception of Knock Out.
Campaign Mode consists of Knock Out, Run Out and Race. The Knock Out race is fun, but as Drew Carey famously said during the opening of Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, “The points don’t matter.” There may be a time when you drop below 1,000 and therefore cannot use your nitro boost, but this rarely happens. Run Out is where you have a set amount of points which is slowly drained unless you gain them back by drifting, hitting or drafting. Race Mode is the normal run-of-the-mill racing game.
When you introduce new features to the racing genre that have never been done before, you will usually end up with problems. This is made clear when gaining points at such a rapid pace will almost guarantee you a win regardless of your finishing position. For example, using the Level 3 Street Racer with a 30% object hit bonus allowed for a win even though a 3rd place finish was the actual result. This takes away any sense of drama one may have during the race because the finish is no longer up for grabs.
The way in which the cars handle does not become apparent until you get into the Level 5 models. Until then, there really is not much difference in a car that has level two handling and one that has level three or even four. The overall handling of the vehicles is floaty at best. There is never a real sense of being confident going into sharp turns.
Looking Good, Sounding Meh
Ignite looks pretty good considering Nemesys Games is a relatively small studio. Car models are nicely detailed as are the tracks and surrounding environment. The only real downside to the graphical presentation is poor visual damage. Instead of true dings and dents in the car’s body, you only see what looks like a car that has been hit a few times with a baseball bat by an angry elderly person. In terms of graphical options, Ignite does a great job of providing widescreen resolutions, proper FOV, and aspect ratios along with AA settings.
The audio presentation is a bit on the dull side. Among the three available classes, the engines sound too similar to be distinctive which can alter the immersion factor. The sound of the cars banging into walls and other cars are done well enough. The music in Ignite is decent and does not become annoying to the point where you are forced to turn it off.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
Ignite is a difficult title to review. It is by no means a terrible game, but at the same time, it is not in the same league as Burnout Paradise, or even the now five-year old FlatOut 2. Ignite has too many moments where one can feel wins are simply handed on a silver platter, and for some, that can be a deal breaker. The price of $19.99 may be a hard sell for some racing fans. However, if you are interested in the racing genre and want a good “pick-up-and-play” title, without the need for tweaking or tricking our your car, this one is for you. The good thing here is you can try Ignite out for yourself with the demo.
Ignite Technical Summary:
- Time Played – 5 Hours
- Widescreen – Yes
- 5.1 Audio – Yes
- Bugs – None
- Control Scheme – Gamepad or Keyboard
- Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
- Demo – Yes
- Availability – Steam
- System Specs – 3Ghz Core Duo 2, 4GB RAM, 1GB 460 GTX
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