Helpful control assists
Customizable race options
So you think you are a good racer? Think you have what it takes to take the new BMW M3 Coupe out for a spin on the race track? Competing with many other drivers to perhaps be crowned the champion of the world? Well that is the general idea of this racing title. Try out the new BMW M3 Coupe car on the Nurburgring GP-track to see how fast you can navigate those turns, beat your opponents and hopefully come out of the whole experience unscathed. Even if you do not wish to compete online, there are plenty of offline racing that can also be done as you challenge the computer and navigate the track with the same goal in mind - to get the fastest time at the fastest possible speed as well.
When you load up the game, you will be treated to a new introductory video showing a racer taking out the BMW onto the track in real time and soon you will see the main title screen. You will then be presented with some different modes of play, open practice, where you can test your BMW on the track and see how the car handles. You can also try out race weekend where you can participate in the three stages of preparing for the grand prix race - the practice run, the qualifying run that will determine where your car will start on the starting grid depending on how fast your time around the track is. Finally, the actual race itself as you challenge the computer opponents for top place in the race. The last mode of play you can try is the time trials mode, where again you race for the fastest time, and after that you can race against a ghost racer that mimics your fastest run.
There are a fair amount of controls to remember in this game, not all of them are necessary for each race, but there are different options available, from changing the camera on the fly, to specific buttons for when you are changing gears, to even a seat adjustor set of buttons. Yes you read that right, a seat adjustor button. Talk about niftiness! So familiarize yourself with some of the controls and tweak around the options area before you start.
BMW M3 Challenge is definitely more into the simulation type of handling for the races, instead of an arcade handling which is looser and easier to use. When you get your car up to the high speeds, don't ignore your brake or handbrake, or you will end up in the sand or against the wall or somewhere unpleasant. It can definitely be frustrating at first, but practice a few rounds and soon you will be a pro at driving these BMWs.
Graphically, BMW M3 Challenge looks quite good. From the track itself, to the different cars that are racing, ane even all around the cars that shine from the sun and glimmer in the nighttime. If you have a somewhat high-end capable system, you will notice the effects right away, and it looks very pretty. In addition, such little cosmetic touches as the ability to change the rims of your tires, to the damage you will receive if you hit other cars or hit harder more solid objects. It all looks just as good, and almost how you might imagine it would look in real life.
Another great feature about this game is the very helpful driver assists that you can toggle on and off via the options menu or in game. These driver assists help in such ways as turning off damage for your car, or making your gearbox change automatically in case you do not like the ability to have to change the gears yourself during a race. You canalso even traction control to stop your wheels from spinning when you break suddenly, and a few others. It really can help the more inexperienced drivers to get a better control of the cars and make the experience a lot easier too. It also helps keyboard players, for the control of these cars on a keyboard is not as smooth as having a game pad or a steering wheel.
What is also great about this game is just the amount of customization that can be done before a race can begin. From such standards as picking how many computer opponents you can race against (up to fifteen) to simply picking what time of day you wish to race at, how hard your opponents are, how many laps there are in the race, to the other customization options in regards to your car and to the different camera angles that are available. Now many of these options are standard in many games, but generally on commercial titles especially. In the freeware realm, you don't usually get so many options, so it is great to see all these options are available from the start.
What makes BMW M3 Challenge such a great all around racing experience is just the vast amount that you can do, whether it is online playing with your friends or opponents, to the offline mode where you can race in many different modes from the high intensity challenge of a race, to simply the no pressure avenue of a practice race or time trial race. Although there is technically only one track in the game, with a slight variation to it, there is still quite a bit to see and do on that track, and it is no easy track to breeze by. Even with the somewhat tough control scheme at first, but it does make the game challenging, and luckily with the driver assists to help you out, it makes the game even more playable.
Therefore, if you are looking for a racing game to play offline or online, maybe are also a fan of BMW cars, check out BMW M3 Challenge and see it in action for yourself. It was a great initiative by BMW to have this game made and definite props should be given to the developers for making such an enjoyable game. Plus to top it all off, release this as freeware, as I shall say, most excellent.
Note: In order to play online and submit your times to the server, you have to register at the homepage or in game if you wish. Once you do, you will be ready to compete against the others who will all be striving to be number one.
Review by: DeathDude
Safe for all ages
Windows XP or Vista
1.8 GHz Pentium IV
512 MB RAM
500 MB free HD space
64 MB Graphics card
Keyboard and Mouse
DirectX Version 9.0c