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Racing Team Manager (PC) artwork

Racing Team Manager (PC) review


"Racing Team Manager is probably the most counter-intuitive and frustratingly illogical game I've ever played. There are no tutorials or help buttons, which is a bad idea anyway, but when all of the option screens seem to rely on bizarre icons or abbreviations for everything, it's simply absurd. It took me about fifteen minutes to work out why it wouldn't enter my car for the first race. It turned out it didn't have an engine in it. I only worked this out by clicking, then double-clicking, then clicking and pressing 'automatic' (which seems to sometimes set up a bit of your car by itself) in a desperate attempt for something to happen. Management games should involve careful, strategic planning and fine-tuning. This felt like playing Myst."



I'm going to try to get this review written as quickly as possible, so that I can go sit in the corner and cry.

It's a Formula 1 management game, which should give you an idea straight away. There aren't many of these about, and it's a shame RTL Sports didn't consider just why this is the case before commissioning one. This is a game about watching other people drive around a track without overtaking each other. Let's face it: unless you're an enthusiast, it's dull on the telly, let alone rendered on a computer. At least in real life the crashes keep it interesting. Here, noticing one of your little squares on the top-down 2D track has stopped is as exciting as it gets.

There is a 3D engine of sorts at play here, but it's limited to one corner of the screen, and it looks like it runs on decade-old technology. Actually, that's a lie - you can make it full-screen if you want, but then you canít see any of your essential management options, so there wasn't much point in that design decision. It doesn't matter anyway - as far as I can tell, you canít change the camera angles, or even which driver youíre focused on. It just seems to skip at random, every few seconds, through the whole lineup.

I might be wrong. There could be a button somewhere that allows for all sorts of manipulation of the cameras, but if itís there I can't find it. Racing Team Manager is probably the most counter-intuitive and frustratingly illogical game I've ever played. There are no tutorials or help buttons, which is a bad idea anyway, but when all of the option screens seem to rely on bizarre icons or abbreviations for everything, it's simply absurd. It took me about fifteen minutes to work out why it wouldn't enter my car for the first race. It turned out it didn't have an engine in it. I only worked this out by clicking, then double-clicking, then clicking and pressing 'automatic' (which seems to sometimes set up a bit of your car by itself) in a desperate attempt for something to happen. Management games should involve careful, strategic planning and fine-tuning. This felt like playing Myst.

I'll treat you to a staggering example of the ridiculous nature of this game. I let the computer tune the cars to begin with. I won. Then I won again. And again the next time. Finally, I decided to do a little research into what makes cars go faster and stuff, and tried to apply this theory as carefully as I could to my car by pressing random buttons. I came fourth, and the driver kept shouting at me "The right rear wing doesnít feel right!" A Formula 1 engineer would need more information than this. How am I supposed to fix it? Guesswork?

What happened to my other car? It crashed within the first six laps, every single time, despite being identically modelled and tuned to its far more successful clone, and driven by a person of apparently identical quality.

It was at this point, I admit, that I became too depressed to continue. For the sake of this review, I had a quick look around the menu options. You can create your own team from scratch instead of joining one, but I tried this briefly, had no idea where to even start, and gave up. You can play in multiplayer, but you won't want to. You can exit to Windows from the main menu, which is a welcome addition, but you will have to manually return the game to the shop.

To add insult to horrific injury, Racing Team Manager has no official license, meaning all the content is simply made up. The only genuine companies referenced are through disheartening product placement in the otherwise pointless sponsorship options. It's not even a real Formula 1 game. It's a game about watching made-up people drive around in circles, where everything you do seems to make them drive a little bit more erratically than before. It's beyond words. I never want to see it again.

Rating: 2/10

Lewis's avatar
Freelance review by Lewis Denby (August 02, 2008)

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