Picked up Colin Mcrae 04 today. First impressions are favourable. Graphics are improved over previous version, handling does feel more weighty – I tried 03 a couple of days ago just to make sure I would notice differences like these.

However there are some usability niggles that should no longer exist in games and smack of lazy programming and/or cash-in of an easy upgrade. Firstly you can’t assign your own controls, with the ability to only choose from one of five pre-defined control settings. This is pretty nasty and while I can find one that almost suits me why couldn’t I assign controls to buttons of my choosing. Allowing the user to map controls to any buttons should be a pre-requisite on all games.

Every time you start the game you have to enter your name – why doesn’t it hold the previous entry? The LIVE scoreboards are a good edition although proper multiplayer is would have been a better option. In fact the LIVE scoreboards seem to load separately meaning you come ‘out’ of the game when accessing them. When you go back to the game it restarts but without the loading intro’s – weird.

Overall a good game, better than the last one but a fairly weak update.