Our favorite car/driving games from the E3
Several years ago, video games surpassed movies in how people spent their entertainment dollars. That trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down or turning around. And why should it? In real life, you have to pretty much stay between the lines and say, “Thank you sir, may I have another?” In the gaming world, you can become whomever you want to become, and that person doesn’t have to thank anyone for anything. In fact, judging by most of the terribly violent games we saw in two big halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center, that person can spend all day chopping up his enemies with a broadsword and be racking up points the whole time he’s doing so.
But among all that violence and venomous flying dragons, there were car chase games, and that’s what we were there for. Here is all the news we found on car-related video games at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo.
“WRC 7” puts you in the driver’s seat. Photo by Bigben Interactive
This is the official game of the World Rally Championship. It has new cars, new teams and new tracks, including all 13 courses for the 2017 WRC calendar, from Monte Carlo to Australia. Not the entire course from all WRC rounds, but four or five stages from each one. That includes so-called “epic stages” that allow you to continue playing/driving for 20 minutes at a stretch. Stages are run on tarmac, snow, dirt and mixtures of all the above. You can run at dawn, early evening and even at night. This is what’s called a sim, for simulation. As such, it has loads of detail and requires more finesse to do well than the easier-to-drive “arcade” games that let you crash along sidewalks and continue on. “WRC 7” arrives in September for PS4, Xbox One and PC. It will be priced either $59.99 or $69.99 — a decision will come on pricing in a few weeks.
“Gran Turismo Sport” offers stunning realism. Photo by Gran Turismo
‘Gran Turismo Sport’
Kazunori Yamauchi told us he and his team worked four years making this new game, the latest car-racing epic of the iconic “Gran Turismo” franchise. This one is a visual and technological smorgasbord: VR compatible, 4K, HDR, 60 frames per second, wide color … When asked what was the most exciting thing about “Gran Turismo Sport,” Yamauchi-san said, “The expression of lighting.” Thanks to the highest tech ever seen in “Gran Turismo,” the cars look more realistic than ever. There should be 140 cars you can race on either 15 or 19 tracks and even more track variations when the game comes out this fall for PS4.
“Project Cars 2” offers realistic race cars on realistic tracks.
Project Cars 2
This sim game offers everything from Indy cars to GT to Touring cars to Rallycross. Game director Stephen Viljoen described it to us as “a very authentic racing simulation experience.” Developers worked closely with real drivers, from Porsche factory pilot Patrick Long to the original Stig Ben Collins, to assure an accurate look and feel to the game. The 180 cars available are “each significant in their own motorsport,” Viljoen said. “There are no filler cars.” There are over 50 tracks, from COTA to Laguna Seca and from Spa to Silverstone. Each track is accurately modeled “with millimeter accuracy,” Viljoen said, down to the fluid dynamics of the water in the puddles. “When it rains, the puddles form in the same place in the game that they do on the real track.” “Project Cars 2” debuts Sept. 22 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. Price will be $59.99.
Cars are just one mode of transportation thrill in “The Crew 2.” Photo by Ubisoft
‘The Crew 2’
The cars in “The Crew 2” represent just one form of the action offered by this wild arcade game. In addition to racing supercars through New York City or LA or three other big American cities, you can also race powerboats up the Hudson River, fly a plane in an air race, ride a dirt bike across Monument Valley or stomp stuff with a monster truck. Maker Ubisoft is a French company founded by five French brothers. There’s something of a fascination with America evident in the game. When we asked one Ubisoft rep what area is covered in the game he replied, in a heavy French accent, “The whole USA.” “The Crew 2” launches in early 2018 for PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox, Xbox One and PC. God bless America. And Vive La France!