I find the range of variables and styles of racing in this game excellent. I play using an xbox360 controller without driving aids (except for automatic gearbox) which means slamming the pedals gives you extreme results which requires a lot of finesse. If you drive with all the driving aids turned on it turns the game into a solid pure arcade racer where all you have to do decide how fast to go without having to worry about the wheels spinning or locking up because you are stepping on the gas and brake pedals.
The AI is quite friendly and will for the most part avoid you, even if it means they have to pick a poor lane to avoid you, the psychotic player. I say they act like this for the most part, because sometimes they do nudge you in tight bends which can be very frustrating. Even worse, in almost every race there is an accident of some kind, some of them occuring naturally but other times they seem a little bit forced and scripted. Too many times I've been screwed over because the cars in front of me suddenly blow a tire or spins out blocking my path.
The game has a nice range of different styles of racing as I said earlier. The proper race tracks are quite easy and I'd say they are great for casual racers. The street races on the other hand can be brutal with narrow sections and tight turns. The AI is especially prone to crashing out on these races clogging up the track. Another "problem" with the street races is that they are visually very busy. Lots of clutter, lots of varying light levels and often claustrophobic feeling sections. Compare this to actual race tracks that are very open and perfectly sunlit with clear contrast between track, grass and sand traps.
There is also a demolition race mode that may seem casual but it is actually very difficult because of how the car handles and because of how aggressive or uncaring the AI is in this game mode.
Finally, I would like to add that this game is about the thrill of intense racing. It is not a game for car enthusiasts or people looking for full simulation as the crash physics in particular are not very convincing, there is no car tuning and there are no practice or qualifying heats before race day. At the same time, it is not a game made just to look and sound good, it is quite a challange to win races if you go above normal difficulty. If you just want to get into a fast car and have a 3-5 minute long race, this game is very accessible and you can switch from straight up video game racing to semi-simulation as you like. I find this to be one of the more open and relaxed racing games I have ever played. The progression is very wide as you have three different regions to race in with a good mix of different types of racing in each. You are never forced to go through some boring stuff just to get to the exact kind of race you want.
Post edited August 10, 2014 by Sufyan