I'm a big fan of cars. I've been playing racing games ever since F1 World Grand Prix came out for Nintendo 64. I can beat almost everybody who races me on the same console (though I'm not so competitive online) and I love beating games all the way through. I even won first place in my local autocross chapter in my supercharged BMW. When I heard about the PSN game V8 Superstars Racing for only $20, I knew I needed to get my hands on it.
Not only were the graphics pretty good, but it also featured two of my favorite cars, the BMW M3 and M5. Unfortunately, that's almost where the realism ends. The game only features 9 different cars, of which only five are real. The real cars are the Audi RS4, BMW M3, BMW M5, BMW 550i, and the Jaguar S Type R. The fake cars are the Cluster S3-P, Barricade DM, Mustard E1, and Scorpio IZ4. Of course, the fake cars are based upon real ones: the Cluster is what I expect is the Ford Falcon, Barricade looks like the Chrysler 300C, Mustard appears to be the Cadillac CTS-V, and the Scorpio is similar to the Mercedes-Benz C class.
Not only is the game plagued with unrealistic cars, but they also handle oddly and unrealistically. Opponent drivers drive predictably allowing you to easily pass even on the outside of corners. This is true in all difficulty levels. The best way to learn to drive is with the game's license system. Unfortunately, it will teach you to re-drive if you are used to realistic simulations such as Forza Motorsport, F1 2010, or GT5: Prologue.
The championship mode is interesting which allows you to practice and tune your car before starting the race. Qualifying is similar to F1 style with better times placing you higher in the start. Unfortunately, with all AI settings I was able to skip qualifying and still finish first. It is an interesting 10 races though.
The online component was the only aspect that I found enjoyable. Surprisingly, there was no lag at all. The main difference in online play is that only the top cars are chosen, so it really comes down to driver skill.
Overall, this game left me disappointed. The depth of the game was poor. The cars were few and unrealistic. The physics seemed made up. You might think that for $20, this game is a good bargain. Maybe, but for $20, you can pick up GT5: Prologue and get many many more cars and the realism will eclipse V8 Superstars Racing. Additionally, if you have an Xbox 360, you can pick up Forza 2 or 3 for $20 and have a much more enjoyable time.