Phar Lap - Horse Racing Challenge Reviews

342,268 (214,860)
TA Score for this game: 1,687
Posted on 02 April 19 at 10:13
This review has 2 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Finally, we finally have a decent horse racing game for all the fans out there. For someone like myself I have suffered having to buy a PS3 in order to enjoy some horse racing fun. Is this the best and the greatest racing game, no it’s not and it has some needed improvements but I want to go over why this game is what we deserve as horse and racing fans alike. You are a young man or woman trying to reach the fame your family has had in the racing industry for years. Then a tragic accident happened and your family has turned their backs onto the racing world. Old friends have gathered together to rebuild your claim to fame and once again prove the racing world that you belong. Your goal is build your stable from the ground up proving countless people wrong that your family is washed up. The ultimate goal is to establish one of racings best farms and produce the best horses the world has seen!
The most exciting feature this game has is that it is finally on XBOX and its available in multiple regions. For far too long we have been plagued with Japan only versions for horse racing games. I understand the market is there but, we other regions need some love to. There was a time I was truly considering buying a JP console just to enjoy a good racing game. A big decision in whether or not I was going to buy this game was the price. There was not too much content put out in the way of gameplay or what it was going to look like but the thirty-dollar price tag really helped to persuade me to give it a shot and boy I am so glad I did.
I want to start off with the bad, because the lack of bad I have for this game is going to be so short it’s worth getting out of the way. Customization. If you were to compare this to GI Champion Jockey this game lacks the customization you may be used to. You can’t change leg wrap colors or for that matter even put leg wraps on. Bridles, shadow rolls, blinkers, are all the same color and the shadow rolls and blinkers are put on at random. If an update of some kind would give us the option for customization I truly think it would up the play value.
The final issue this game has is the breeding set up and retirement function. For breeding you pick two horses mate them together after a time set depending on horse level, out pops a full grown horse, there is no foal stage. You may instantly begin to race your horse to get his or her level up. You only get the choice of 5 stallions to match up with, if you want to look at other stallions you must pay 1,000 dollars or wait for the 10 min refresh period. If you choose to set one of your stallions as a stud this takes up a spot for the other randomly generated stallions. The price for the stallion depends on the level of said stallion, however if you choose to breed to your own stallion you must still pay the price for that horse’s level. Breeding to your own stallion that’s a level 6 can lead to you paying well over 100,000 coins. This gets expensive and when you don’t have the expert and master races opened up you will be spending more money then you are bringing in. I believe the prices for the breeding should be brought way down. A horses that isn’t level 10 and is only halfway to level 10 shouldn’t be costing you upwards of 100,000. This process leaves a lot to be desired.
When you have decided that you are finally finished racing your prized steed what do you do??? Send the horse to paddock? Goes on for a good retirement? Or maybe to your hall of fame?? Nothing…. The horse goes nowhere except into the great abyss. Once you are finished with a horse you simply sell and move on. There is no take backs, pass go or any way around getting this horse back. This is one feature that really should’ve been added to begin with. All great horse lovers and racing fans know remembering the ones who got use where we are is important. To have no way to commemorate or remember the ones in the past leaves a certain hole that should’ve been filled.
Now to the reasons you need to put this into your game library. The graphics. No this isn’t going to be the most visually appealing game you have ever seen in your life but they got one thing absolutely correct a proportionate horse that moves like a functional horse. For too long have we suffered looking at horses run stiffly, unnaturally and downright strangely. It’s nice to see a horse visually run smoothly while showing great texture for tendons and muscles the horse uses when running. The colors are visually well balanced, and there is broad range of colors for horses including different patterns for faces and legs.
I really enjoyed the creative way the developers made goals to reach to level up. Each goal gives the player objectives to build to. This increases the amount of time and effort you will need to put into the game. Unlike other racing games you are not able to just turn the difficulty setting down and win all your races. You actually have to train up your horses and put them in races that they will be successful in. The training in itself is simplistic and simply requires just a push of the button which I found nice. In other racing games in the past you specifically had to train the horse yourself and reach certain goals and to be quite honest I didn’t enjoy that. Sure it gave some realism but I think for the average gamer looking to get into a new genre it was a turn off. In order to train your horses to the next level you need to gain XP in order to bump their levels to reach higher training limits. To gain XP for horses it’s simple just race! You do not have to win races in order to gain XP. No matter where you place in a race you will get XP!
The racing controls are relatively easy to follow and the tutorial in the beginning give a good introduction in how to race. Racing your horse feels natural and give great box indicators for optimal positions for each racing position a horse desires. I don’t want to delve too far into the controls because I really feel like the game itself gives a good tutorial and instruction on what and how to race. Overall for the price tag and the fact that we haven’t had a decent horse game in what feels like a decade I am giving this one a solid 4 stars. If you like horses or horse racing this is worth a purchase you will end up putting hours into this without even thinking about. If you have children and want to give them a game to play the controls make it simple enough for them to enjoy themselves to! Good luck racing and if you were on the fence about it I hope this helps you out!
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