Barely 6 months after the prequel and we see V8 Superstars Next Challenge racing its way to a games shop near you. It's surprising just how soon this has come about, but it indicates the rush into getting V8 out before titles such as Forza 3 and Shift. Of course, this means some stuff had to be left out, but it also bares considering just how expensive it is to produce a technically competitive modern racing experience.
Superstars V8 Next Challenge features a decent range of courses, besides 19 car races while adding both in-car view and improved online options.
First off, any player is best directed to the licenses, and in Next Challenge these range from basic up to the tougher Superstars license, with good performances here allowing you to unlock additional tracks and cars. The racing is smooth enough, with the AI appearing decent in my brief experience, though more running time will be needed to verify this, while tuning options will also require further investigation.
Unfortunately, handling with the wheel in this early version is not at all realistic or comfortabl – with 45 degrees being max lock, you probably won't turn more than 15 degrees in either direction, and to date I have found no option to resolve this! Finding this option will be vital to serious racing fans: if these turn out to be the only default steering options, it might be worth sticking with the pad. We'll hold judgement here till we've had a decent bash on the final version, though.
Visually, it's a step forward, but is still lagging behind the standard we'd expect from a modern game, and at only 30fps we could have hoped for more. I'll be quizzing the developers in the coming weeks and one issue that concerns me with Milestone developments is the frame rate issue, with many of their previous developments suffering in this department.
An undoubted improvement then, but we'll go into far more detail when we cover our full review in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can see my early impressions on the video below.