Review: nK-Pro Racing
Title: nK-Pro Racing
Developer: Kunos Simulazioni
Tagline: Hyper realistic race sim for those that want something more behind the virtual wheel
Family Friendly: Click here for more information.
When it comes to racing games, there are the arcade styled racers like Project Gotham or Midnight Club. These tend to favor fun over realism and letting the players have a good time while they are defying the laws of physics and gravity on our fine city streets. From there, we have the simulation racers like Forza or Gran Turismo which are focused on providing more realistic wheels to the pavement experience. Then you have a game like nkPro Racing, a game that is so hardcore and realistic, it makes Forza and Gran Turismo look almost arcade like in nature. nkPro is all about living and breathing the most finite details about racing. It does not look to forgive for mistakes and will punish you until you learn to drive a race car at high speeds on a professional grade track.
In all fairness to nkPro Racing, I had never really heard of the title before it came into our offices for review. But there are lots of smaller developers that look to focus on providing that sort of hyper-realistic car sim that the hardest of hardcore fans want when they play. For these guys, Kunos Simulazioni is a developer that is looking to deliver for these fans.
So how hardcore is nkPro Racing? Well, do you play racing games where the weather is dynamically modeled for a race, and you have to allot for hydroplaning on the track because of the pooling of rain on the track. Or the idea that bumping a wall at a high speed does not just rough up your paint job, but instead creates a terrible grinding sound as the former corner of your car grinds into the tire. Every aspect of the car and the track are all modeled for realism.
Realism goes beyond just the data modeled, but in the cars and the tracks that you race on, as they are meticulously rendered for every slight bump or crevasse that might be found on the roadway. Cars are all captured with a high focus on interactivity both inside and outside the vehicles. Beyond the tracks, nkPro Racing comes up sparse with little in the way of detail beyond the track, and that is fine, as we know the focus is capturing the track, the cars and the data for these elements.
If you get tired of racing around the track by yourself locally, you can take your game online, but if you plan to do this, make sure that you know what you are doing, as things can get messy in a hurry when you are not in complete control of your car. Online racers take this game seriously and there is no place for the casual racer to fit in. Then again, the casual racer is probably not going to pick this title up.
If there is one complaint that I can level at the game is the obtuse navigation and control, especially if you are not using a wheel and pedal set. Being that I did not have a wheel and pedal set available, I went ahead and used my Xbox 360 gamepad, which I have used for racing games in the past, but it quickly found itself out of its league. But it is not just the precise controls needed, but the menus and general navigation of the game are not clear. Many menus will switch between allowing keyboard commands and mouse commands, and never making it clear which one will work.
Of course, nkPro Racing is a game that is not for most players and the developers know this fact. They know that there audience will be small, but it allows them to create a solid, well-built sim that hardcore fans of facing will love. It is one of the reasons I skipped out on assigning a verdict of any kind, because while the game is not for most, it is not a poorly designed. It is instead a niche title. Whether it is for you will depend on what you are looking for in a racing sim. If you look at Forza as racing lite, nkPro Racing is for you.
- Ultra-realistic modeling of car and track physics
- Lots of statistical data for players to mind for best lap times
- A strong, loyal online community
- Obtuse menu design
- Intimidating for beginners
While nkPro Racing is rated for all ages, it’s difficulty may be too much for the youngest audiences. It requires precision skill and timing to get it and that may not come until they get older.