A lot of young peoples first entrance into the car world isn’t through a garage or a drag strip but through a computer screen. The virtual car world is as big if not bigger than the real one, and this year saw three new big titles come out and I’m about to tell you which ones best.
Forza Motorsport 7
Forza Motorsport 7 is an incredible looking game, its weather effects are second to none. Wind and rain battering down means the track not only visually changes but the way your car reacts changes, braking distances get longer, huge puddles cause you to aquaplane and you can’t put all your power down coming straight out of a corner. FM7 has the most diverse car list of the three games, with everything from a Ford hot rod to full on Lemans racers. But with that diversity comes issues, thanks to Forza Motorsports sister franchise, Forza Horizon a lot of off road vehicles are included in the game, but there are no dirt tracks, although a much smaller part of the game the other two franchises feature numerous dirt racing circuits (Project Cars 2 even has ice racing) Forza has the most off road racers but nowhere to drive them off road, very disappointing and something that seems to be overlooked. FM7’s drivatar system is fantastic, taking the job of AI drivers the system takes your driving characteristics and creates a profile which races for you online, not only earning you in game currency but creating an exciting competition far superior to the other franchises AI.
Gran Turismo Sport
Gran Turismo Sport is by far the most disappointing of the trio, considering the amount of time its taken to come out I expected much more. Whilst looking fantastic when racing in the dry, its wet weather effects fall flat and seem to have no major effect on the driving characteristics of the track. GT Sport also has one of the most dull and boring car rosters ever seen in a racing game, there are no classics, very few entry level cars and seemingly hundreds of theoretical concept cars drawn up especially for the game. (The Vision McLaren I talked about a few weeks ago is one of these) The career mode is non-existent, taking you to an online only competition where you are easily out raced by competitors from around the world and the driving school appears to be the only other task to complete which veers from ridiculously simple (driving in a straight line) to stupidly hard Endurance competitions. The AI in Gran Turismo Sport is particularly bad, it has no life to it, seemingly driving a set line around a track making no active defence of positions or trying to overtake. This leads to the races becoming a dull and boring affair where you only need to avoid the AI drivers and drive a better line to win.
Project Cars 2
The first Project Cars game was well received by critics and fans alike and the sequel is continuing that success, it may not be quite as good looking as the other two games but it has nine tenths of the beauty. The car list whilst still not being as good as Forza has the diversity needed to create exciting racing, taking a McLaren 720S ice racing was a particular highlight. What sets Project Cars 2 apart from the competition is the real world racing rules, in the other games if a car was being particularly annoying you could simple punt him into a wall to get through. In Project Cars 2 however if you do such a thing you will be required to drop back behind the car (which will sometimes be many places down depending on the violence of the shunt) or face disqualification. This means you need real talent to get to the front of the pack and win rather than brute force. The AI in Project cars 2 is middle of the pack, whilst it provided a competitive high level opposition it can be a little dumb, barrelling into pile ups and flying all over the place for no obvious reason.
Overall the racing game enthusiast has a great opportunity this year, Forza has been the leading horse for many years purely because of its regularity, but now it has competition and its not really holding up against some. Gran Turismo Sport is a shambles and a shadow of its former self. And Project Cars 2 is a really good up and coming racing series that is showing real promise.
First I would tell you to avoid Gran Turimo Sport, its poor AI, lack of interesting cars and bad career mode have led one of the original innovators in the genre to become a poor excuse for a simulation racer and something that has been beaten by much better and much more enjoyable games. Secondly I would say that Forza Motorsport 7 is an amazing entry into the world of racing games, its incredible roster of car and ever-changing AI patterns have led it to be one of the truly great racing games. But its lack of dirt racing and easily available in game currency that leads to an irritatingly easy career mode that has put it in second place. Finally my number one, its racing is exciting, challenging and best of all realistic, which has led it to be one of the best racing games out there. FM7 is a great stepping-stone into racing games but Project Cars 2 is what a racing game should aim to be.
What do you think of the new racing game, let us know in the comments
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