A terrible campaign structure and other problems make Ferrari Racing Legends an exercise in frustration.

The Good

  • Great collection of cars from throughout Ferrari’s history
  • Racing these cars can be exciting at times.

The Bad

  • Many campaign events are maddeningly difficult
  • Unlocking content is an often infuriating struggle
  • Absence of rewind option results in frustrating restarts.

Few automotive manufacturers have a legacy that’s as bold and exciting as that of Ferrari. Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends has the advantage of being able to draw on that rich and thrilling history. It includes 51 cars from Ferrari’s past and present, from the 1947 125 S to the 2011 150° Italia. These are incredible machines; the 1967 330 P4, the ’84 Testarossa, the 2005 FXX–the sleek lines and sharp contours of these cars can quicken the pulse of most any red-blooded automotive enthusiast. Unfortunately, despite having such an exciting stable of vehicles to celebrate, Ferrari Racing Legends flounders, with a poorly designed campaign that’s structured in such a way that even the privilege of driving some of the most coveted cars ever produced becomes a chore.

Mastering the handling of these Ferraris is a satisfying challenge. Grinding through the campaign isn’t.

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Why does the campaign matter so much? Because the overwhelming majority of content–most cars and tracks–are locked at the start and can be unlocked only by playing through the campaign. The campaign is divided into three eras–golden, silver, and modern–and each era includes anywhere from 53 events to over 100 for you to complete.

The problem is that each era is structured as a linear series of events; until you complete one event, you can’t do the next. Additionally, many of the events are extremely difficult. The result is that you might find yourself stuck attempting the same event over and over again, not because you get any enjoyment out of attempting the same feat in the same car on the same track umpteen times, but because you want access to the content you’d unlock for completing it, as well as the opportunity to play later events in the campaign.

All the drivers buy their helmets at the same helmet shop, Helmut's Shop o' Helmets.

All the drivers buy their helmets at the same helmet shop, Helmut’s Shop o’ Helmets.

If you come across an event that you just can’t win, you’re out of luck. There’s no way to skip an event and move on to later ones in the same era. All the cars and tracks that can be unlocked only by completing subsequent events in that era will remain locked to you, forever. Of course, it’s nice to be rewarded for success, and the lure of unlockable content is an effective incentive to meet certain goals in any number of games. But Ferrari Racing Legends’ inflexible, uncompromising campaign isn’t a source of enticing rewards so much as it is a source of demoralizing punishment. Unless you have incredible patience and determination, you won’t be willing to jump through the infuriating hoops this game requires you to, and most of the content will remain inaccessible.

That’s a shame, because when you’re not running up against these frustrating constraints, driving these cars can be a pleasure. Ferrari Racing Legends isn’t one of the most visually impressive racing games on the market, but the beauty inherent in Ferrari’s designs makes the cars attractive, and many of the track locations are picturesque. Of course, one Ferrari can handle very differently from another–a 1948 166 Inter that tops out at 125 miles per hour feels quite different from a 1995 F50 that can hit 202mph–but they’re all extremely quick and responsive.

A terrible campaign structure and other problems make Ferrari Racing Legends an exercise in frustration.

By Carolyn Petit