by: Finn Orfano
; edited by: J. F. Amprimoz
; updated: 4/17/2012
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Volvo are looking for innovative ways to promote their brand. What better way to beat the square and stodgy image than sponsor a free racing game full of Volvo cars!
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Some time ago Volvo were advertising themselves around the idea of how important life is. But even without all those advertisements, this is the car that guarantees highest safety for its driver and passengers if an accident occurs. Volvo is also the inventor of the safety belt with three-point locking system – used for the first time in 1957 and becoming a standard two years later.
I even had a Volvo, which is why I'm so enthusiastic about this so called racer. It is a pleasure to play with the company's new models which I watched with passion at the Expo. Not to mention it's also a pleasure to play with the old brands – 840 and 240, classics!
However, many people still don't like Volvo and that's mostly because of the somewhat coarse design they have had for most of their existence.
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Gameplay and Features
Now days, Volvo is a leading brand which offers the highest security combined with great looks. The game is as dynamic as the cars are. There are various small features which really contribute to the whole feeling – turning on the window cleaners, lights, manual and automatic transmission. You can also take control of various statistics on your screen, maps and others.
There are numerous cars to pick from including the new S60, all Volvo's, but even the vintage models look very sharp in full racing trim. There are only two tracks, but one stands out - The Gothenburg Eco Arena, which hosts an STCC event yearly in real life.
Of course as in any other game there are lots of cons – you can't damage your car for example. Would be nice if they added some nice breaking the car feature (complete with airbags to show you how safe the Volvo is -Ed.). The loading time before the missions is too long. We have to remember that this is a free game with advertising purpose, not a racing game you dropped cash on.
Volvo has three modes of play - Quck Race, Competition and Time Attack. The names explain themself perfectly, however, Quick Race is about casual racing or a fast sneak peak of the game. Competition is the real game mode, call it a career if you want. Time Attack is for the players who seek the challenge in the game - setting records and chasing time.
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Graphics and Sound
The graphics certainly draw the players attention and it is obvious that Volvo wants this game to show off its cars with good visuals. It's far from perfect, but incredible for a free title.
If I switch it off for a while, I have to say that the textures used for the car models, tracks and the supporting effects are really at a high level for such what is technically an interactive commercial. You can freely compare it to any racing release in the past year. There is also a solid dose of realism: the car modelling was obviously a priority. Even the cars from the previous eras look very good. Of course the designers put the most effort in the new S60 concept.
When it comes to sound, they are also very realistic. The designers claim that they've even recorded the engine sounds by pushing real cars to the limit, and we don't doubt it. The goal was to make everything Volvo-related very realistic and the sound and graphics do the trick.
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I'm yet not convinced that this is a game in every sense, as it is an advertisement, though a very good one. If looked at as a full-featured racing game many critiques will follow, but I don't think Volvo - The Game deserves them, considering that it is free. If advertisers want to release free games of this calibre, we'd love to see the trend expand. The main dissapointment is only having two tracks. Hopefully Vovlo - The Game will draw enough attention that, now that they have a whole racing game with only two tracks, Volvo -The Innovative Advertisers, will stick with it, adding cars they want to publicize, and, to keep us interested, new tracks.
Minimal System Requirements:
OS: Microsoft Windows XP Home/Pro, Windows Vista
CPU: 2.4 GHz Intel Pentium 4 or 100% compatible
Memory: 1GB RAM
Hard Drive: 1 GB free space
Video: DirectX 9 compatible graphics card with 128 MB memory