SSTG is something I've been looking forward to for quite some time. Around March-April this year was when i first heard about it through the magic of youtube recommended videos. Basically as soon as i saw it, i was intrigued! "A game with actually good car customization in 2018? Maybe this could be the next Midnight Club!!" i excitedly thought to my self. As the months rolled on i got more and more skeptical until we got a 6 second long teaser trailer...
It wasn't much but, it kept me hopeful. However, the racing game being the toxic community it is, ALREADY started making harsh judgments such as "IT HAVE BRAKE TO DRIFT" and "IT MOBILE GAM LOL ECKSDEEEE". Fast forward a few months, with more trailers/gameplay, delays and hate from the racing game community, SSTG is finally here! Is it all it set out to be? Is it "le arcad tresh and big flop" like the community said it would be?
So, when you first boot up the game, there's a tutorial race in a souped up sponsor car which is a good way to get to grips with the basic handling. After that, you get to pick 1 of 8 unlicensed cars. oof. There are a few upsides to having unlicensed cars (eg, you can actually customize your car, damage, etc) however the fact that you have only 8 to customize is pretty crap. The 8 cars in question are:
Six Fuse, a Subaru WRX looking thing
Avian Evolution, Lancer Evo X with rx-7 tail lights
Krucher Kollektiv, mix between 2 generations of VW Golf (at a glance, mk1 at front and mk5 towards rear?)
ORP CityCruiser, basically just an ek9 civic
Prodigy Inspire, r34 Skyline front, mustang c pillar
ORP Maestro, basically a Honda Prelude
Prodigy 17, Silvia at front and NSX at rear
Once you pick your car you get greeted to the garage, where you can buy parts and customize your car. By the way, hope you like your choice because this is the only customizable car you can use throughout the career. There are sponsor cars that you can use a few times in the career but other than that, you're stuck with what you got.
This game has very arcadey physics. This isn't Forza. If you wanted Forza, play Forza. As of the October update, the physics feel very good, like you would expect an older arcade racer to feel. Steering is easy (if a tad understeery at times) and for the most part, you have to brake when you enter into corners. This game isn't brake to drift so, if that's what you want then... cool! the only bad thing about the driving physics is the handbrake. It's basically a drift button that you have to hold down to do skids. i don't use it much and i still did well in the game. There are about 7 types of race. Circuit which is well, a circuit. Duel which is somewhat of a figure 8 destruction derby mess. Time trial which is an A-B race that's timed. Arcade which sees you reaching the required amount of checkpoints in time. Sprint which sees you trying to navigate from one checkpoint to another on time. Joyride which sees you smashing stuff and then eliminator, a mode not much seen in recent games, which has you battling for first in order to not get eliminated. It's a fairly decent variety however, the game is really short! there are 12 race series with about 5 races in each. All of this amounts to about 2-3 hours worth of gameplay.
Car customization (the main selling point of the game)
Customization (unsurprisingly) is the game's major strong suit. After all, this was one of the first things to have gotten shown off! One reason why this system is so good is due to unlicensed cars, as car manufacturers nowadays don't really like seeing their cars in any way other than stock. Removing this limitation meant that this game can have absolutely INSANE modifications. You can change stuff from bumpers, fenders, spoilers, mirrors, lights, wheels, stance, engine and its respective parts, seats, steering wheels, gauges and even stereo setup of all things! the only major thing missing is a wrap editor however, this may be coming in future.
Progression and difficulty
Progression is both good and bad. At the start of the game, you have an absolute rust bucket to work with. I personally like this as nowadays, many games throw you high end exotics during the first few hours of game play which overall leads to a very bad feeling of accomplishment later on. Anyways, as you gradually modify your car, you can see a very obvious transformation between scrap and super car. Again, i like this a lot! The amount of money you earn and the rate at which you earn it on the other hand... It's very likely that if you're smart with your money/just play the game as was intended, you'll likely find yourself maxing out all the performance and visual parts just halfway through the game, potentially leaving you with upwards of 100k left once you've completed the career. i don't like this. I think they should either lower the amount of money you earn through out the game, increase the price of parts or maybe charge for damage done to your car (however the damage system would need to change to suit that style). There is also no story but if you're very impatient like me, it doesn't matter too much.
In terms of difficulty, it starts of really easy and ends really hard, with no real middle ground. Right off the bat, the AI are really aggressive and get slightly faster as you go on however, it feels that around the 4th-5th event, the AI decide to sicko mode and go really fast. Faster than the W12 engine, the best engine you can buy in the game. Speaking of engines, you can kind of breeze through the start of the game using the default inline 4, only upgrading parts. Due to the strange spike in difficulty and the weird amount of money you earn, you can basically complete the first half of the game with said inline 4 and then just skip to the w12. Again, i don't like that.
Graphics and sound
Now, i'm no expert so you can probably ignore this section and make your own opinion but, personally i think the game looks decent. Not amazing but, you can see what things are. Stuff like reflections on cars look pretty cool. The only major gripe i have is that the actual environments you race in look bland and uninteresting so, that's something i'd like to see improved.
In terms of sound, its also OK. Engines as of the October update don't sound horrible but that's about all i can say. There's a distinct lack of sounds such as tire squeal and turbo blow off valves which is kind of sad. The music is royalty free. I'm not kidding. Its all from the website "PremiumBeat". That said, some of the songs also don't sound horrible.
Suggestions and stuff i'd like to see
This game has a lot of things i'd like to be added. In short, some things i'd like to see are actual A to B sprint Races, maybe a drifting game mode, more customizable cars, better progression and more life in the maps (due to there not being much traffic). Some commonly suggested ideas include a wrap editor and a photo mode however, these things have been suggested to the devs a fair bit so they could be coming in the next few updates!
Valiant effort but falls short in many aspects
Also, if you can find it anywhere for less than $50 i'd say consider it. I think they dropped the price on steam to about $40USD and, that is a slightly fairer price point for what you get.