By Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF), OnRPG Journalist
Being the successor to an old favorite can be a difficult thing. Nitto 1320 Legends has taken up the challenge of providing a more advanced and fun experience than it’s already very fun predecessor, Nitto 1320 Challenge. Nitto 1320 is known for allowing virtual racers the ability to change and customize their cars with the same amount of freedom as you would expect to have in real life. The single greatest improvement that came with Legends, it might be argued, is the ability to race head-to-head unlike the turn-based Challenge. I remember Nitto 1320 Challenge being very addicting when I was younger, so I can’t wait to see how things have changed with 1320 Legends.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, Nitto 1320 Legends is known for giving its players the ability to customize their cars with almost the same amount of realism as you could in the real world. Purchasing parts and fine turning the tiniest details about your car is a big part of making sure you win. Unlike the original, you won’t be able to just buy the fastest car and the best parts and win; you will now need to make sure you have the ideal parts combinations for your car, while tuning each to shave off milliseconds from your time when racing. It is the realism offered by Legends’ improved physics engine that will interest car racing fans.
The graphics in Nitto 1320 Legends are a massive step-up from what was available in Challenge. That being said, the graphics still aren’t very impressive. But then again, I can understand and accept this and still have fun with the game because I know that it isn’t the focus of the game at all. Unfortunately, I fear that some people will not be able to cope without action-packed 3D graphics blowing their minds. For those that can, though, a lot of good is waiting for you.
The control scheme used in Nitto 1320 Legends is pretty easy to get used to. You use your mouse for the gas and break. For gear changing, you will either use the up and down arrow keys or W and S keys. I kind of wished that the gas wasn’t done by dragging the mouse, as I found it not to be the most efficient way to do it. However, I did get used to it rather quick. And I admit, using the mouse allows for a lot more control over your speed which can come in handy, especially at the start of a race.
Nitto 1320 Legends has a lot of young fans, just as its predecessor did. It also has a lot of older players, though. And while some formally young fans may now be the older fans, one thing as stayed the same: the scamming. Yes, the Nitto community is infested with scammers, even to this day. Although, now it feels like they are dealt with much faster than in the past. You’re almost as likely to have a hardcore discussion on cars and drag racing as you are to have a stranger ask you for your username and password so that he can give you the best cars and unlimited money.
Another thing I noticed is that the community, in size, is but a shell of what I saw when I played Challenge years and years ago. And a lot of the players do not speak English – which isn’t a bad thing, it just makes it hard for an English speaker like me to make friends and enjoy the game to its fullest. And considering that Legends has a lot more emphasis on player versus player challenges, this really makes for a difficult time trying to have fun. You ask questions and all you get is a lot of, “jajajajaja” and words that you think might be insults but aren’t sure. This sucks because Nitto 1320 is one of those games that basically requires that you rely on other players to teach you secrets, tricks and techniques.
The gameplay in Nitto 1320 Legends is very similar to the original 1320 Challenge. As I’ve already mentioned, the biggest difference is a more realistic physics engine that makes fine-tuning your car all the more important. Another big difference is the addition of live racing, something that was absent from the previous Challenge. This means that live tournaments that allow for spectators are available. The downside to 1320 is that it is behind other games by a long shot, and so may not appeal to anyone but hardcore drag racing fans, or those with weaker computers.
There are a couple of ways to race. The Dial-In method, where you try to predetermine your time and do your best to get as close as you can to it without going over it. And then there is the head-to-head method, which is self-explanatory and my personal favorite. You can choose to wager on the race, or you can have it just be a friendly challenge. You enter a racing room – which is a glorified chat room – set up a challenge, choose who you are going to challenge and what the rules behind the race are and hope they accept.
The actual racing is pretty interesting. You start several feet from the starting line and the first step to move your car into the start zone. Your placement in the starting zone has a lot to do with your strategy for that race. Starting further back might allow you to employ a technique that might, if you can keep tire traction, give you the ability to speed up faster than your opponent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, starting as close to the line as possible ups your chance of fouling, but might buy you that tenth of a second that makes all the difference. The same thought processes that go into real racing goes into preparing for a race in Legends, which is why people like the game.
A lot of the game doesn’t center around the actual racing, but preparing for races. This means stuff such as car shopping, parts shopping, and tuning your vehicle parts for maximum speed output and efficiency. The game world is broken into several parts, and your goal is basically to start at the bottom with nothing and make it into the big leagues by buying property in other parts of the map. Only the best of the best are allowed access to the top zone on the map. You can even start or join a racing team, which provides a sort of clan-like community that you may know from other MMOs.
Now, I’m not the biggest fan of racing games, so I don’t have much experience with them. So far, however, I feel that Nitto 1320 Legends is definitely doing things right. The fact that it uses 2D graphics is a massive downer for most people, but is also a plus for those that do not have a great computer. I feel the game would actually work incredibly well as a smartphone game, as it’s just not enough for most people on the computer. One thing I noticed that has me a bit afraid is that the developer’s last announcement was in December of 2012, over five months ago. If you are looking for a low-requirement racing game, go ahead and check out this one as it’s free and can be quite fun.
Features: 3/5 – A Decent number of features for a racing game.
Customization: 4/5 – A lot of car customization.
Graphics: 2/5 – Just not enough for a client-based computer game.
Controls: 3/5 – They work well but take times to master.
Community: 2.5/5 – It’s on the low side, and the small community that is there is not that great.
Overall: 3/5 – It’s worth a try if you need a low-requirement racing game.