Fisrtly, the game! The best rally game ever! 5 star!
But, and its a very annoying but, this game will not work if you have certain software installed! See the Codemasters forum!
When I installed this game, it would not run as it claimed I was attempting to use disc emulation software. I had bought a genuine disc from my favourite supplier, play.com, so what is going on.
The answer lies with the disc protection software, Star-Force, the most invasive disc protection software on the market. It installs hidden drivers to your system that monitor optical drive activity and, if it thinks your doing anything other than running the game, it can re-boot your pc. This includes anything with auto-insert notification including Nero, Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Ultra-ISO, anything from Alchohol 120, Deamon Tools, drive-image, the list goes on.
I contacted their techincal support and after a few email sending in dxDiag and numbers burnt to the bottom of the disc, i got told to uninstall any software from the huge list and turn of my anti-virus while running the game, even though this game is connected to the internet during play!!!! I un-installed anything I could think of with insert notification or virtual drive imaging and it still won't work.
I now have to switch hard disk boot priority and load a different hard disk with a clean copy of XP and not a lot else on it to play this game.
All that said, the game is breathtaking. The graphics are totally immersive. I have an 8800gtx and an nvidia 650i mcp motherboard. With that level of hardware you can ram the sliders to max and enjoy withouth a single frame issue.
The driving physics are superb. This game will take some getting used to. The steering appears for too sensitive at first but when you get your fingers calmed down on the pad, its actually totally brilliant.
The speed and playability of the game will burn many many hours without you noticing the real time and the many different game modes allow you to switch to a different discipline when you get bored of one.
A five star game, badly let down by copy protection. You also need a meaty machine to run it so read the small print, and the reviews, first!