Backlog Burndown #6 – Victory Volvos?

Volvo - The Game

Greetings Backloggers! A confession: I love free stuff. Free t-shirts? Got to get one. Free taco day? I’m there. Free donuts? I’m there a lot faster. Free games? Obviously. What, it’s not like I have a giant backlog or something.

This week I tackled one of the freebies sitting in my backlog: Volvo – The Game, which came via GamersGate.com for creating an account and buying… something. The Windows port of Skulls of the Shogun, apparently. Built by SimBin (now Sector3) in partnership with Volvo, Volvo – The Game is two tracks pulled from one of Sector3’s regular racing games, plus a bunch of Volvo race cars. The Volvo S60 is the star, with three different flavors making appearances. Other cars are the S40, 850 wagon, 240, and C30 hatchback.

Volve - The Game

A pack of screaming, front-wheel drive banshees coming around the corner

It’s difficult to define what “complete” means for a game like this. There’s no career mode, and no achievements; only race mode, time attack, and multiplayer. Multiplayer never worked for me, either. In the interest of Backlog completion, I defined “done” as winning a race on both tracks, driving all the cars, and doing at least one lap in Time Attack. Since I was doing this from my Playseat rig using my wheel and pedal setup, I cranked the difficulty up to “Pro” since that was the only setting that turned all the driver’s aids off.

On the track, the game showcases decent graphics on the maximum settings, and competent AI. I ran the AI opponents at 80% difficulty, tough enough that mistakes on my part caused me to lose races, but flawless laps saw me gradually reeling in my opponents. The driving physics felt good, as expected from a game built on Sector3’s existing technology. All but one of the Volvo cars in the game are powerful front wheel drive vehicles, which makes for a much different driving dynamic that the rear-wheel drive cars usually found in racing games.

Lack of multiplayer is probably not a big loss. Not being able to connect for online Ghost times in Time Attack, however, really diminishes that mode.

Volvo - The Game

Volv S60 racing concept and car list

Backlog Verdict: Unless you really enjoy racing games, and want a free demo of some of Sector3’s older generation game engine tech, this is probably a pass. There’s very little replay value, minimal game, and what’s there can be completed in under a half-hour if you run short races and easy mode. On my higher difficulty it took me an hour and a half to get a feel for the track and cars and get my wins in, but that’s really just a personal preference.

Previous Backlog Count: 1,115
Current Backlog Count: 1,136. Black Friday happened. I rebought the Sega Genesis Classics collection for a different, easier to stream platform than PS3, and this bundle had a few more games than the previous version.

Next Time: On the plus side, some of these classic Sega Genesis games are supposed to be pretty short. So we’ll see if I can’t pop one or two of them off the stack next week.

Aaron is proof that while you can take a developer out of the game industry, it’s much harder to take the game industry out of a developer. When not at his day job, Aaron enjoys teaching Axis & Allies to his kids, writing sci-fi stories, playing classic space sims on Twitch, and riding around the American Midwest on his Harley.

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