Micro Machines World Series: Further Troubles at Codemasters?

While I first believed DiRT 4 was just a bit of an anomaly from Codemasters – rushed out the door before it could be polished to perfection like many were anticipating – there’s now evidence that the one-two punch of DiRT Rally and F1 2016 served to mark both the begging and end of a golden age for the UK-based development team. Though it’s not a racing simulator by any stretch of the imagination, and it barely qualifies as a game that has any sort of relevance being discussed on PRC, Codemasters’ Micro Machines World Series has been an absolute disaster from both a critical and commercial standpoint. With content regurgitated from Codemasters’ prior release Toybox Turbos, a complete lack of anything resembling a proper single player campaign mode, intrusive in-game advertisements, and most if not all online elements blatantly ripped from Overwatch, the few who dared to purchase World Series are choked at how the same company who pushed out a pair of glorious racing simulators could drop the ball this badly.

Inspired by their own series of top-down arcade racers created with Galoob’s blessing in the early 1990s, Micro Machines World Series was meant to be a nostalgia trip back to when racing games were primitive pieces of software, placing an emphasis on colorful graphics and simplistic gameplay to try and re-capture the retro magic once more, albeit with exponentially more powerful gaming consoles. Unfortunately, Codemasters have instead taken three steps backwards and basically given potential customers zero reasons to give World Series a shot.

The car collecting meta-game of Micro Machines V4 for the PlayStation 2 – which boasted 800 cars – is now non-existent, and the car count has dropped significantly even compared to their last outing in Toybox Turbos, with just twelve vehicles to select from – preposterous considering Micro Machines are synonymous with toy car collecting among children and adults alike. Incorrectly believing this obscure retro arcade racer will somehow explode to become the motorized equivalent of Team Fortress 2 or Overwatch, Codemasters have also not included any sort of single player campaign in World Series, the game forcing users to connect to the online servers for participation in ranked and unranked “playlists”, with matches against AI bots hidden away in a Skirmish mode. That’s right, despite Electronic Arts making several foolish attempts in years past to push games without any prominent single player component, and promptly receiving an enormous backlash from customers and critics alike, Codemasters have basically ignored three years of gaming history in favor of repeating the exact same mistakes.

The laughs don’t stop there, as the folks over at PlayStation Universe have continued to split hairs over the shortcomings in this budget title and brought to light numerous instances of outright laziness on the part of Codemasters. Tracks have been completely regurgitated from the unlicensed Toybox Turbos and re-sold with mere cosmetic changes that have replaced the generic toys making up the trackside objects seen throughout the levels with officially licensed Nerf products, with even the heads up display throwing the popular toy weaponry brand in your face at every given opportunity. Aaron Varshney of PlayStation Universe also notes that the entire multiplayer experience, down to the exact progression elements and random item pick-ups, have been shamelessly lifted from Blizzard’s Overwatch. I’m not exactly well-versed in the team-based first person shooter so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of Aaron’s findings, but given a large portion of his review is dedicated to drawing direct comparisons between the shooter and World Series, I can’t imagine he’s entirely incorrect, either.

As his are assertions that Codemasters designed Micro Machines primarily with the eSports community in mind. Given there’s no single player campaign to speak of, a mandatory online component despite this sort of thing landing other devs in poor standing with their own fanbases, and ranked playlists on top of ranked playlists, it’s pretty apparent that this was a clumsy attempt by Codemasters to jump into the eSports scene – foolish considering racing games have not and simply will not have the widespread mass appeal of virtual cowboys and indians, let alone a dated, top-down racer based on a line of toys from the 1980’s and 1990’s.

And that’s if the online element actually functioned as advertised, which it clearly doesn’t. YouTube user Tiametmarduk, who is otherwise known for his close relationship with Codemasters, can be seen labeling his lone video on World Series as “Online Frustration” – pretty telling of the game’s quality considering Codemasters routinely fly him out for F1 gaming-related events.

Around this time last year, we learned that a large portion of the team formerly known as Evolution Studios would be acquired by Codemasters, essentially turning the UK team into an Audioslave-like supergroup of talented racing game developers prepared to push the current roster of games over the top, as well as introduce a new IP into the mix. And while DiRT 4 could have used a bit more time in development, shipping with a couple of oddities that kept the game firmly in “almost but not quite” territory,  Micro Machines World Series is a bit terrifying, as that’s now two games where Codemasters have objectively messed up pretty badly. It’s one thing to release a hardcore rally game where the tire physics aren’t entirely up to par, but dumping a game as half-assed as Micro Machines World Series onto the marketplace that’s full of regurgitated content, ripped ideas, and poor functionality, is something a major developer should not be doing at any cost.

We’ll find out later this summer if the Formula One franchise also falls victim to the same lackluster design choices and rushed, regurgitated ideology.

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30 thoughts on “Micro Machines World Series: Further Troubles at Codemasters?

  1. I feel like most games who position itself as “eSports first” game will attempt to rip off elements from Overwatch/Dota 2. That includes loot boxes (aka gacha), which Rocket League also had.

    Speaking of gacha, I slipped info about Shutokou Battle Xtreme in my “vaporware cars in Asphalt 8” reader submission back in January, but you seem not to pick that up. You hear that right, Genki turned Shutokou Battle (aka Tokyo Xtreme Racer) into a gacha mobage with pretend race cars instead of waifus (see: Fire Emblem Heroes, Fate/Grand Order, Granblue Fantasy) because mobage is the next big thing in Japan currently.

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  2. I used to be a big video game fan back in the 1980s and 1990s. This was before the industry became fully commercialized and infiltrated with political correctness.

    Back then the best games were designed by Japs. They featured Aryan heroes like Link fighting to save Princess Zelda and the Master Race of Hyrule from the evil blue Jew pig Ganon. Today, feminists and cuckolds design games with brown female heroes, sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You sound like a shitposter from /v/ this time, especially those who bitch about censorship in localized releases of Japanese games. Go back to Senran Kagura, shitter.

      (I know that I shouldn’t have replied to /pol/ baits, but I can’t resist this one. BTW, SK isn’t my thing anyway.)

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  3. What’s the deal with Codemasters games and their chronic lack of content? What are their ~400 employees doing all day?

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      1. There’s a guy on youtube who still uploads gameplay of that game regularly and claims that “most evenings there are between 5 and 15 players online”. Goes by V8HAWK if you are curious.

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    1. Probably dealing with the fact that the FIA wants them to put out a game every bloody year while limiting just about anything and everything they can do.

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      1. Even if they have half of the company dedicated exclusively to F1, that still leaves them with more people than the entirety of Milestone to do other games. And they don’t need half of the company on F1, especially modellers, because it’s largely the same game every year. The 2017 season uses the same circuits as 2016, which were the same from 2015 plus Baku and so on. It’s not like they are making a new AssCreed every year with entirely new environments.

        The FIA’s restrictions are just a convenient excuse. They didn’t give them the WRX license on the condition of making a half assed job with it, and they don’t own every road in the world and every country that could be used for a rally event. They didn’t force them to make a game about a toy car collecting franchise with only 12 cars either.

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  4. This looks like a stupid fucking concept of a game and it should never have been made. I don’t think Dirt 4 was bad at all, and I’ll wait to see F1 2017 before declaring that Codemasters has slipped back into their mediocre ways we saw around 2014.

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  5. Every where I go, Overwatch keeps creeping into my life. Fuck Mei btw.

    As for Codies, I wouldn’t be too nervous yet. I remember they had some weird online monster hunt game that failed that didn’t make much difference to racing game quality. On the other hand, with how promising F1 2017 is, I hope they don’t fuck it up.

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  6. Unrelated –

    I just read iRacing has supposedly discovered what has been the issue with their endurance races and people’s crashes. They’re hosting their endurance race in Spa-Francorchamps unchanged so hopefully we will know if things have been fixed.

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  7. Holy shit James, do you proof read before you post? All sorts of typos. I thought you were supposed to be a professional here.

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  8. Mika from MSNBC was bleeding from her wherever when she attacked President Trump on the TV, so President Trump spilled the beans on her bleeding New Year’s facelift!

    He banned the bitch from his party she was bleeding so much!

    And now GOP cuckolds are screaming like a bunch of pathetic babies!

    We need to vote these people out! Replace them with people that have a sense of humor!

    Lindsey Graham and other cuckservatives can go fuck themselves.

    I am so sick of this guy – what is going on? Why is he in the government?

    Seriously, who does this person represent? What kind of person says “Lindsey is my guy, he’s really got the right vision for America?” I can’t imagine any type of person ever thinking or voicing such a sentiment.

    I have never in my life heard him make any public statement that I agreed with, and he is an openly closeted homosexual representing the Bible Belt..

    Liked by 1 person

  9. When did PRC stop being about sim racing? Covering the occasional arcade title would be okay, but they seem to making up the majority of content now. Change your line to ‘the worst site you could visit for racing game news’.

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  10. Good old codies dropping out filler games , who knows why ……….. Remember the silly f1 racer with cartoon vettles and so on .

    Some see to do more damage then good . Wish they would stick to the two titles they have running at the moment and put all recourses into them .

    Or at least come out with a drive club type game with tighter physics and better damage model , grid remaster 🙂 maybe .

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