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I'm done. I quit. I can't take it anymore.
Pure Racing is the worst game mode I've ever played in any game, EVER. Spent two hours restarting Monaco over, and over, and over just so I could finish 4th. Despite the fact that it's IMPOSSIBLE to finish 1st in this gamemode unless you started first, somehow the AI that had won previous races also won again at Monaco and I ended up 2nd in the series. All that work, just to get my best possible finish of never-higher-than-fourth and the ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ AI wins, AGAIN.
Once you strip this game down of all its mario kart clone mechanics, there is literally nothing left -- this game accomplishes absolutely nothing. I had already grown weary of these ridiculous physics at this point. You can't make any corner because you just drift back and forth across the track, sometimes completely unpredictably. If any of the moronic AI get within an inch of you, which they seem incapable of NOT doing, they will trigger an absolutely unforgivable knockback effect that COMPLETELY stops all of your momentum. Naturally, it affects the AI less than it does the player so navigating through the clusterf*ck of garbage AI seems perfectly legit.
This is quite possibly the worst AI I've ever raced against in any game, at least in recent memory. Maybe it's just emphasized by the ridiculous physics which are, I suppose, designed to discourage less than optimal racing. Trying to retain a faint connection to real F1 racing, they make it abundantly clear that COLLISIONS ARE BAD, MMKAY. Be a respectful driver.. and wreck them with power-ups like a good boy/girl.
However, optimal racing is an impossibility, especially when comparing a play to an AI. All of these problems are almost mute when a part of this merely acceptable Mario Kart clone. Then, strip the game down to "Pure Racing" and you just get slapped in the face with its ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥.
Unbelievibly, despite the AI never taking an optimal race line or hitting any of the apexes of any corner, they are still consistantly as fast as if not faster than the player, unless you rely on the ridiculous draft system. If you brake into a corner properly, you WILL get rammed from behind and your race ruined. If you try to carfully overtake an AI through a corner on the outside and miraculously don't get hit from behind or have an AI slow to a crawl right in front of you, then the car on the inside WILL turn into your line and ruin your race.
So to recap, the AI never brake in corners and overtake you with easy, an often ram into you from behind. Yet, often times when entering a corner they will brake unpredictably and cause you to ram into them, even though they never brake. Despite the fact that the AI never take an optimal race line around the track, they make perfect time around corners, never missing boosts, while the player is in a constant struggle not to drift out of bounds while somehow managing to brake in a way to not get hit, enter corners in a way you can't be surprised by AI braking, or allowing any AI an opportunity to try and pass you on the side or enter your racing line.
Honestly, even though this game is a Mario Kart clone I expected it to have a stronger more realistic racing feel than it does. Furthermore, the amount of control I actually feel like I have over the car feels about comparable to ice tracks in Mario Kart, but not quite that extreme.
The power-ups lack any originality.
Oh, and the pit stops, oh my god the put stops. I could rage about them forever, about how AI will go into the pits on the last stretch and still win or even pass me, how if I go into the pits I will get passed by 3 other cars, all this mostly due to the fact that some pits are LONG AF and waste so much time while others might even be faster than the main race line.. seems legit. Ultimately, this inconsistancy leads to times where the standard of not pitting on the last stretch ends up with you losing the race. So, just keep in mind that whichever decision you make is probably the wrong one.
I would die for some online matchmaking to this game so that I don't have to deal with these AI, but I have yet to see a single person any of the times I've looked for a match.
Perfectly decent party game -- it's exactly what you'd expect. I'm not disappointed with my purchase, as these types of games are fun just to mess around on. I'd recommend this game to anyone who is into this type of game, despite the fact that they are probably better off just continuing to play their kart racer of choice. Jimmy Johnson's Anything With an Engine, right?
Edit: Just spent the last couple days playing Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed and it blows this game out of the water. It really made me realize how all the parts of F1 Race Stars work against each other, making it an incredibly unfluid and irritating experience. I'm not sure if on top of everything else that the tracks or poorly designed, or if it's just the terrible gameplay and uncontrollable cars that make it feel that way.
In the end, I could only recommend this game if you already know you want it. If not for the ridiculous collision effects, this game would still be passable. Truly one of the worst mechanics I've had to struggle against in any racing game.