I need to retract about 82% of all the negative things I typed in my last post.
I gave the game another shot—I spent $30 on it, of course I'm going to attempt to get my money's worth—and it was a COMPLETELY different experience.
And no, Codemasters is not paying me to do damage control. Yet.
I played a race online—got trounced—but at least I was on the screen for longer than 3 seconds and was able to get the controls down a bit better. So, this is what Codemasters SHOULD have done—lock down Elimination mode until you hit a certain level.
I played Elimination mode almost immediately because that's what I remember from the olden days and had the most fun with. It's NOT fun when you have no idea what you're doing and the computer is godlike. It was just a frustrating mess. So... TIP #1: DO NOT PLAY ELIMINATION until you git gud.
I played a few more races and suddenly it hit me—use the brake for cornering. I was just letting up on the gas and still flying off the track. But the brake... it was literally game changing. I was now coming in the Top 5. So... TIP #2: USE THE BRAKES!
Then, I hit level 6 and Ranked opened up. Previously, you needed to hit level 10 to get into Ranked, so they must've patched this so that Ranked wouldn't be a ghost town. I went into Ranked and... there were actual people in there playing. Every match wasn't against 10 AI cars! In fact, I actually got into a match where there were only 4 AI cars out of 12... and it was a blast! So... TIP #3: Stick it out until level 6 and you can get into Ranked. That's where the fun is!
In conclusion, this game is nowhere near as bad as I initially ranted about. It's actually quite enjoyable now. Two things that need to happen yet, Codemasters, if you ever read this:
Put it on sale. $20 would be perfect for the content you get. Or get that sweet, sweet, PS+ deal going.
Take notes from Rocket League for the post match screen. If I'm in a room with 4 people and I want to continue into the next race with those 4 people, please let me do that. So, offer up some type of button prompt that states you'd like to continue with this group. And then the entire group that checked YES moves into the next race and allows for more stragglers to join up. Eventually, you could have a full lobby of players moving from race to race and that's what this game desperately needs.
Bring back the originals as DLC:
Walter was my man back-in-the-day. He had the best lines.