Polyphony, Codemasters, System 3, Turn 10, SimBin, Brain In A Jar, this is directed towards ALL of you. I’ve been enjoying Supercar Challenge lately with my new wheel, playing a good few hours every few days. It’s the most satisfyingly realistic driving simulator I’ve ever felt. However, I’ve still only unlocked 3 cars in the game, out of 44. There are 41 cars I can’t drive. Despite the fact that this is a videogame, my options are artificially limited by in-game money earned by competing in hundreds of races with dull, easy, brain-dead AI opponents. That’s no knock on Supercar Challenge’s AI racers, all racing games have AI I don’t care about.
Should I really have to spend 50 hours in career mode just to enjoy Time Trial properly? Would it be considered a crime to let me drive the cars I want from the start? This is mindblowingly terrible design that has somehow become the standard in console racing games. Time Trial is what I love – I want to drive to my own limits and challenge myself, to properly appreciate the physics of these fantastic simulators. Why can’t I take ADVANTAGE of the fact that this is a videogame, and drive the car I want?
Motorsport is a big part of Go Vacation, much to my excitement, and it’s found in the form of “Motor Fest” in the City Resort. This one mini-game manages to include not only street races through the resort, but also motorbike racing, checkpoint races, and open-wheel oval racing in a huge stadium. All the motorsport games are controlled with the Wii Wheel setup, using motion to turn – no nunchuck – and much to my relief it feels very smooth, a bit like Mario Kart Wii but faster. The car handling isn’t realistic, but they do wiggle about a bit if you tackle a corner too fast, and you need to lift off the throttle a fair bit, with braking only required on the sharp corners. It’s not exactly Race Pro, but it’s just challenging enough to be satisfying. It’s more comparable to Ridge Racer, which is no surprise when you find out the Ridge Racer development team actually helped work on Go Vacation.
Ah, the age old question. It’s a debate that’s raged on over the internet gaming community for the past decade or so. Gran Turismo has dazzled people over the years with its fantastic presentation, wealth of options and satisfying career mode. Forza has emerged with improved driving physics and community aspects, and now thanks to Kinect support you can move your head in your living room to look around realistically inside your TV. If only there was some kind of “joystick” device for such a feature, maybe in the future. Nevertheless, both Forza and Gran Turismo have a lot to offer. For someone looking for a true racing experience, which one is the best bet?