Lucinda Green is a record holder in the Badminton Horse Trials. She won the trials for an astounding six times! What's more, she rode six different horses during those trials! Isn't that just amazing? Now, you can share her experience in the thrills of being an equestrian through Lucinda Green's Equestrian Challenge.
The game challenges players on three fronts: cross country, show jumping and dressage. The ultimate goal of the game is for you to win all four-star events in Adelaide, Badminton, Burghley, and Kentucky. Before you get ahead of yourself, however, you need to cover the basics.
The game starts with you as a young two-star equestrian taken under the wings of Lucinda Green. Full customization of the character allows you to create a rider that truly matches who you are or, at least, who you perceive yourself to be.
You also get to take care of your own horse. This is a very important aspect of the game, as your success depends on the amount of work you put into training and caring for the horse. It must be fed, watered, brushed, among other things. You also need to make sure that its attributes are distributed properly so that you will be able to grab the prize every competition.
There are four "stats" or attributes that you need to balance. They are: Speed, Stamina, Jumping, Agility, and Trust. Each person will be able to develop a horse differently by simply adjusting the allotment of stats.
Lucinda Green teaches you and trains you until you can compete in the four-star competitions. At this level, you will pit your character in various contests against the biggest names in riding today.
Graphically, the game is stunning. That is, if you compare it to other equestrian games today. The customizability of the character is also a nice touch. However, the gameplay is nothing revolutionary. The game just does not push any gaming boundaries.
It is less tedious than other games, which means you can enjoy yourself more and take care of the details less. After all, gamers who buy equestrian games are more interested in the competition rather on the simulated horse-care lessons, right? The life of the game is also quite good: you are able to enjoy the different challenges and you don't end up feeling a bit disappointed because of the length.
However, the repetitive motions that one must go through in order to compete and the actions involved in taking care of the horse can be very dull at times. The menu is also quite clumsy and this means that you might have a hard time navigating around the controls.
Not many people are bound to buy equestrian games. It just doesn't seem like a genre that appeals to the common couch soldier/strategist/athlete. Equestrian challenge attempts to change this through lots and lots of eye candy. However, its sticking to realism doesn't really help in making it more popular with gamers. Even a little bit of imagination could surely have helped this game.
The bottom line is this: Equestrian Challenge is a great game. In fact, it's superior to any equestrian games available today. However, if you are not fond of the sport, you might not see enough in this game to try it out. You should get this game if you love horses, but if you are the typical point-and-shoot guy, you might want to skip it.