The Ferrari Challenge is an annual series based entirely around a particular model of Ferrari, which changes each year, and makes a distinction between professional racers and 'gentleman drivers'.

Ferrari Challenge has a similar dichotomy: it screams 'associated product' from the badge on the box to the track hoardings, but also has ambitions of being a comprehensive simulation within those limits.

It certainly looks the part. Although great-looking driving games are hardly uncommon on the current generation of home consoles, Ferrari Challenge's cars are very well modeled and the tracks are perfect replicas of their real-world counterparts. And there's no point in denying the vicarious thrill in bombing around in a perfectly polished Ferrari that's beyond most wallets.

The handling of the cars is equally faithful, the limits of sticking to one manufacturer's roster overcome by an almost obsessive attention to the differences in handling between the various Ferrari models. In some cases, such as tweaks between variants of the same model, it seems much of a muchness. But beyond that, the cars are distinctive enough that each race (in the Ferrari Challenge, the same cars race each other) has noticeable differences.

Tweaking the handling parameters allows the game to be played as a relatively straightforward racer or an unforgiving simulator, and the effect of certain on/off options is obvious and welcome. If the idea of a good simulator with a slew of Ferraris appeals, this might be for you - but if the thought of playing with manual gears makes you weep, and you're queasy about paying for a game full of product placement, it's perhaps better to drive on by.

Preview: Ferrari Championship


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