Ever wondered what would happen if one magically transported the jackass driving the Jaguar R-Type to the mall to fend for himself on some of Europe’s finest racetracks? Well, wonder no more, my friends as one of Italy’s most popular – and a tad obscure - racing licenses finds its way onto the PSN in ‘Superstars V8 Racing.’

In reviewing this title, it became obvious that Superstars V8 Racing (‘Superstars’) is riding shotgun for a suddenly robust PS3 racing genre. ‘Gran Turismo 5’ is revving its engines for release (it’s about damn time), likewise a new ‘Need for Speed’ chase title already critically acclaimed. These follow the heels of a successful ‘Formula One‘ (F1) sleeper offering that successfully flew off the shelves in race-happy markets.

What, pray tell, does Superstars have going for it? Quite frankly, it’s cheap. Twenty bucks is a drop in the bucket when comparable titles line up for 3x that price of admission. Moreover, Superstars – akin to its NASCAR and F1 counterparts – certainly stays true to its license. In the impossible chance you’re both familiar with the Superstars V8 series, its drivers, cars and tracks…this is the real deal. If you’re one of these people, hot damn, you’re a racing junkie. And I salute you.

Moreover, Superstars offers a 22 inch Pirelli size amount of car tweaks, including gear spacing, shock adjustments, tail angle manipulation, tire types…likewise the ability to turn on/off ABS, stability and/or traction control. The effects of these on actual performance can be micro-analyzed through post-lap telemetry. This dynamic grid literally provides a second-by-second analysis of gear-to-torque, performance outputs for vehicle testing. While I found this an insane level of detail, the physics nerd in me did get a little giddy.

Even with all of these nuances, the glaring reality is that there’s only so much one can do with mainstream, production V8 vehicles. None of the cars – most being BMW – felt any different the more I messed with them. In fact, the cars did little to distinguish themselves, period, across manufacturers due to the similarity in vehicle class.

Similarly, damage effects – even when turned ‘on’ – were barely noticeable visually, and often resulted in nothing more than wonky steering bias. Run full speed into another car (enduring a 5 point penalty), and all you get is a slightly hanging bumper on an Audi that now likes to veer right. All the time.

Finding the easier settings ho-hum, I soon turned off all the little helpers to provide more road feel. Instead, what emerged resembled a plastic cup desperately seeking traction on a countertop covered in dish soap. More time was spent keeping my damn M5 on the road versus hugging corners, manipulating gears, and/or attempting clever passes. The opposing AI (up to 19 in a race) certainly didn’t help matters much. Everyone else on the track drives likes lemmings, constantly bumping each other gently while adhering to serpentine inner lines. This becomes a glaring aspect of a game where there’s no multiplayer in exception to online…where I can’t seem to connect to a proper server.

Still, Superstars is certainly better than many of its peers in the racing genre. While car graphics are uninspired – dear God, please give me more camera angles; amen – lighting and dirt effects are pretty cool. I also found the continuously bending antennae far too entertaining than a grown man should. I do, however, want to know what the hell is up with the helicopter that keeps circling ominously just off the screen. Allusions to ‘Demolition Man’ continuously jumped into my mind. Lots of Taco Bell. And Wesley Snipes.

In addition to standard ‘quick race,’ ‘race weekend,’ ‘training’ and ‘multiplayer’ modes, there’s a bit of fun to be had in unlockable ‘Superstar’ race options. In specific, manufacturer-vs. -manufacturer duals do provide some intrigue. Not a big fan, however, of having to unlock nearly all of it. (Too much dish soap.)

Collectively, what we have in Superstars V8 Racing is a true-to-license racer that handles awkwardly, looks good but not great, and has some legs via unlockables. In short: a decent $20 download. Still, it’s hard not to recommend the stellar Wipeout HD for the same price point…or to save up for the better – and more accessible – higher priced retail options in waiting. Isn’t that what the Holidays are for?


Superstars V8 Racing is a decent downloadable racer for the PSN, one that stays true to its somewhat obscure license. Still, shoddy handling, generic car graphics and feel, and single player-centricity make its $20 price point seem higher than it should.

  • Authentic Superstars license
  • Cool telemetry analysis
  • Robust customization
  • Generic and often wonky handling
  • No local multiplayer
  • Better options for the price
Quote: "Superstars V8 Racing is a decent downloadable racer for the PSN, one that stays true to its somewhat obscure license. Still, shoddy handling, generic car graphics and feel, and single player-centricity make its $20 price point seem higher than it should."
Reviewed by Paul Stuart | 11.25.10


Supercars V8 Racing

O Games

Black Bean Games


US Release
October '10



Players 1
Online 2-12
HD 720p
Dolby 5.1