Music Racer: Ultimate (XSX) Review and stream
The neon visuals are kind of neato
Using a car to drive over notes is a different concept for a music game
Default volume level will make you deaf and there is no option to change it
Music goes through headset by default with no option to change
Dips and bend in the track doesn’t give player enough time to react to incoming notes
With the recent release of Beat Souls, it seems that music rhythm games are making a bit of a resurgence since the fad died from the overcrowded Guitar Hero and Rock Band days. Music Racer: Ultimate takes a slightly different approach by tasking players by driving over notes with a car but the end result is a frustrating experience through no fault or skill of the player.
I understand this is a music game but not having an option to adjust the volume from the option screen is a drastic short coming due to the insanely high “we want to make you deaf” levels of volume. Making matters worse, the music defaulted to my mono headset during my stream (so I can use the mic during the stream) and was shocking loud. When I unplugged my headset, the game actually gave me a warning to not unplug the headset during play and restarted to the main menu. Clearly there is an emphasis placed on the soundtrack so having lacking options and a harm-causing default volume level is mind boggling.
Like Guitar Hero or Rock Band before it, the player needs to navigate on-rails lanes to hit notes. The biggest difference is the player drives a car over three lanes instead of flicking plastic instruments to five lanes. This gives the weak impression of driving but the player is really only moving laterally instead of focusing on accelerating or breaking. This lame attempt to demonstrate control or a sense of speed might have been overlooked if it wasn’t for the abysmal roller coaster lanes. Since the lanes dip, curve, and bend at random, trying to give the feeling of a real road I suppose, it is impossible to see incoming notes. By the time the track levels out and you can see into the distance, it will already be too late as several notes will have been missed. Making matters worse, notes will often jump from lane one to lane three in an instant and there just isn’t enough time to flick the analog stick with that kind of speed. This is on the easy difficulty too.
On any given play through, do not be surprised if you miss approximately half the notes, resulting in a one-star rating. It is frustrating to say the least. If the lanes didn’t dip and bend like a roller coast, then at least the player could see what is coming next. Songs are also long, some taking a few minutes and easily composed of hundreds of notes. If you even have the tenacity to make it through to the end, you will never achieve a passable grade.
Sure, this game has a cool neon visual presentation and a robust soundtrack but it doesn’t mean anything but the gameplay if unplayable, the audio levels are so loud they hurt, and even the menu system is confusing. This seems like a game that was never play tested as every goes against the player, a phrase that I hate to say, because I am a fan of Sometime You titles, but this is one music title that crashes and burns.
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By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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