Ferrari GT Evolution Hands-On

It appears as though The Guardian has broken embargo on the two other Gameloft titles we played last week, so we’ll do the same.

Hero of Sparta is a 3D beat-em-up that is clearly modeled on the God of War series of console games, which will grow to four games sometime in 2009.

It’s not as bloody as God of War–the red blood of your enemies has been changed to golden sawdust-like powder, to satisfy Apple’s requirements–but it’s every bit as violent. Your hero dismembers monsters and demons with nasty combos, and there are even quicktime events with specialized animations for slaying larger villains in style. For instance, we went up against a minotaur-like creature, tapping on a number of points in sequence to drive our sword through its neck.

Hero of Sparta uses an on-screen gamepad for controls. It’s due out around December 8th for $9.99.

Brothers in Arms: Hour of Heroes is a third-person 3D shooter covering several important WWII campaigns, including North Africa and Normandy. You run around with your squad picking off Nazis from an over-the-shoulder viewpoint, occasionally diving behind cover or hopping into vehicles for a change in gameplay.

We were impressed by the game’s full suite of shooter controls. It uses a d-pad arrangement similar to Hero of Sparta, except that you aim with your right thumb while maneuvering or strafing with your left. When it comes time to get nasty with your grenades, an animated arrow deploys to show you where the explosive is headed, to help you aim.

Brothers in Arms: Hour of Heroes is also due out around December 8th, for $9.99.

Earlier today, we sat down with Gameloft’s Carmen Pearson to check out three of the publisher’s upcoming iPhone titles. We’ve been sworn to secrecy on two of the games, but we got the OK to write about the third–Ferrari GT Evolution. This realistic racing game’s coming out in about three weeks, plus or minus, and it’s going to make a lot of driving game enthusiasts very happy.

Ferrari GT Evolution is built on an upgraded version of the Asphalt 4 engine. For instance, the menu screens are laid out in a similar fashion, but they’ve been re-skinned to match Ferrari’s red, silver and black theme.

The in-game graphics, meanwhile, have been upgraded to match the luxurious racecar brand at the center of the product. The background graphics are noticeably sharper; we tried driving an Enzo through Paris in the fall, and could make out individual leaves on the trees bordering the street. The engine’s visual effects have received an upgrade, too. Lens flare is more pronounced than it was in Asphalt 4, and driving through a rainstorm will streak the screen with detailed raindrops.

The gameplay has been pushed away from the arcade extremes of Asphalt 4 to focus more on realistic driving physics and car tuning. You can still choose to steer with touchscreen, faux steering wheel, or tilt controls, but the feel of the game is much less cartoony, and crashing into other cars is no longer a major emphasis. To underscore the racing sim angle, Gameloft’s even included a full race replay feature, in the vein of serious console racers like Gran Turismo series. Ferrari GT Evolution also takes a page from Raging Thunder’s book with the inclusion of online multiplayer.

We don’t have any screens or video to post yet, but we’ll post them as soon as we get them. In the meantime, here’s the product details straight from the publisher:

*Brings the unique experience of owning and racing Ferrari GT cars to the iPhone in this realistic racing simulation game. Players can drive up to 33 variations of authentic Ferrari models that include: Enzo, Testarossa, F40, F430, 250 GTO and more! The game features 10 different cities to race in based on difficulty level and can be unlocked as players progress in the game.

*The racing title takes full advantage of the iPhone’s gaming capabilities and allows you to drive your Ferrari using three different types of controls �” Touch, Accelerometer and Virtual Wheel.

*Unlike other racing titles, the unique aspect about Ferrari GT Evolution is that you can modify the sensitivity of the controls based on your playing preference. This allows players to have more control of the car and enable them to truly feel like they are racing.

*It also immerses players completely into the Ferrari brand by allowing them to customize and tune each Ferrari model to the specifications they like before races (such as turning on/off the Anti-lock Braking System, Adaptive Steering, Electronic Stability Program, etc.)

*You can also select to play against other friends or competitors with the online or local multi-player modes. At the end of each race, players can watch high quality TV-like replays to see how well they performed.

*Ferrari GT Evolution will be available around December 8 on the App Store for $9.99.

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