Sega Rally Online Arcade Review (XBLA)

Game Review:  Sega Rally Online Arcade
Release: May 18th, 2011
Genre: Racing
Developer: Sega
Available Platforms: XBLA (reviewed), PSN
Players: 2-6 Online Multiplayer 1-2 Player Local
MSRP: $10
ESRB Rating: Everyone

Sega Rally Online Arcade is the latest downloadable release from Sega. The title acts as one of their first steps back into the racing genre in some time.

SROA is a traditional arcade racer that plays things incredibly straight. There are five tracks and thirteen cars, as well as six-player multiplayer. The single-player campaign consists of four modes: championship, quick race, time attack, and classic. Over in multiplayer, there’s a healthy amount of content to work your way through, including head to head three lap, dominator (score-based involving crossing checkpoints), elimination, time lag (passing the leader from second position), multiplayer classic, and a versus mode of the main campaign.

Championship is the main draw for the single player modes. You make your way through three of the five tracks, starting from the 22nd position and persistently working your way towards first. If you can make it to first before the end of the third track, you progress. Anything under top position, and it’s game over. Again, playing it rigidly straight as an arcade racer, the tracks are familiar to anyone who’s spent any time playing race games: tropical, alpine, canyon, lakeside, and desert ’95.

As far as the modern landscape of arcade racers go, SROA doesn’t really do anything new or interesting. That being said, it’s solid enough, and is the type of game you can run through if you’re looking for a 20 minute distraction. There’s something compelling in there that keeps you running the tracks, and at ten bucks, it’s a fun enough distraction.Visually, SROA is average in an almost shocking way.

While it is a downloadable title, it’s still surprising that the game doesn’t really pack any visual punch. The tracks are bland, and everything- even the cars themselves- have kind of a flat nature to them. In addition, there’s nothing really thrilling about anything you do throughout each of the races. Again, it’s a title that plays it straight to a fault.

I had some fun, and killed some time with SROA, but in today’s world of Dirt, Need for Speed, etc, just having a by-the-numbers arcade racer really isn’t enough anymore. SROA may pay reverence to past Sega rally titles, but taken on it’s own merits, it’s just kind of bland. If you can get it on sale for $5 at some point in the future, you may find enough entertainment in there to last a few hours.

-Basic return to form for the Sega Rally series.

-Good multiplayer options.

-Standard, bland tracks and presentation.

5 out of 10

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  • Anonymous

    Do you have any experience playing the classic entires in the series? It seems that they really recaptured the experience of the classic game, and the flat graphics were a very characteristic look of arcade games at that time.

    This release from Sega seems to acknowledge the failure of Sega Rally Revo, which I believed launched at budget price ($40) but was still quite poor. It blocked out many casual players due to its extremely difficult AI.  This release fixes that with a much welcomed difficulty option.

    I played the demo of this game but do not recall if the feature was included from Sega Rally Revo, but I believe SROA includes terrain deformation which prints your tire tracks into the game and gives you a handling advantage if you drive through them. Is that in this game?

    I also am surprised you did not congratulate this game for its price point. The trend over the last few years has been to price any semblance of an original XBLA title at $15. Pricing the game at $10 seems like something worth mentioning, as it does provide a full game experience (even if its not the best).