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2013 Racing Game of the Year

/ Jan 21st, 2014 No Comments

Need for Speed: Rivals

Racing games usually fall into two categories: arcade or simulation. The enjoyability of a game really depends not only on personal preference but also how well the game balances between the two extremes. Make a game too “simmy” and it loses broad appeal while making players ask why they aren’t just driving in real life. Make it too much like an arcade game and having to manage things like tire wear and fuel consumption seems out of place. Even if the right feature set is there, it all comes down to the cars.

The Nominees

Need for Speed Rivals – Need for Speed Rivals looks amazing and the driving physics are a perfect balance between arcade and sim. The gameplay is all new, now featuring a persistently online world with up to six players working through two separate campaigns. In the perfect situation, the combination of not knowing who is A.I. or real, the constant threat of crashing or being taken out and the gamble in just one more race make it one of the most exciting experiences in years. However, players will often have to start their own races. Without any real matchmaking, finishing the race in a first-tier car can be cut short with a surprise T-bone from a Lambo cop car. Online multiplayer actually spoils the fun more often than adding to it. There is still a ton of fun to be had in Need for Speed Rivals, which is why the game earned a review score of 88%.

Need for Speed: Rivals

Imagine the most expensive and impractical cars for pursuit vehicles. They’re here.

Forza Motorsport 5 – As the first driving game on Xbox One, Forza 5 had to deliver in many aspects. While positively reviewed by most critics, the fans were more than upset at the streamlined roster, fewer tracks and the integration of “opportunities” to pay for cars and progression. Microtransactions leave players with a bad taste in their mouths and the developers promised to take another look at the game’s economy and marketplace. Although the quality of each car model shot through the roof, the roster of just 200 pales in comparison to previous titles. The progression feels like an iOS game, complete with dual currencies and a time vs. monetary investment proposition for each vehicle. Forza 5 is a looker. It’s just a shame that the streamlined experience, for as good as it is, is ruined by microtransactions that aren’t so micro.

Forza has some truly amazing visuals.

Forza has some truly amazing visuals.

Gran Turismo 6 – Gran Turismo 6 was released in December, three years after the last iteration. It greatly improves the complex and confusing U.I. from the past and further bolstered the already insane vehicle roster. The same complaints could be made regarding the limited damage modeling, some insane physics simulations and the return of the almost universally hated license tests. Still, the game grew leaps and bounds where it really counts, and added interesting special events as a welcome change of pace to the standard grind for cash. Gran Turismo 6 received a received an 85% review score.

Don't just customize the car. Dress your racer too.

Don’t just customize the car. Dress your racer too.

The Winner – Gran Turismo 6

No driving game came without its own set of issues but one was far more forgivable than the rest. Gran Turismo 6 brought the franchise back with a ton of significant improvements and more cars than you could ever want to drive. Everything from the menus to the racing physics made it a more approachable and enjoyable game. It may still have the same issues that have plagued the series for years, but the rest of the Gran Turismo 6 is so expansive that it’s hard to find fault. The pros outweigh the few cons, even if they have been around for 15 years.

Chance Asue

Chance Asue

Associate Editor & Multimedia Specialist at Gaming Illustrated
Chance Asue is a self-taught computer builder and hardware junkie. His favorite game franchises include Pokemon, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. He is Gaming Illustrated's Multimedia Specialist and reviews the latest hardware tech.
Chance Asue

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