No, we don’t have an “axe to grind” – driving games really did get worse over the years…

I think the most common complaint we receive about is that both myself and Chris are supposedly pissed off nerds with an axe to grind, who “hate everything” and should just sit back and enjoy playing video games again. Now, y’all are entitled to your own opinion, but for some of you, your opinion is wrong, and we should at least try our best to explain our stance on the current roster of driving games.

And our stance isn’t hard to understand – racing games have declined in quality since Autumn of 2007, when Halo 3 and Call of Duty 4 rocked the gaming world. The immense following both franchises received sent every company into a mad dash with the mantra we want the CoD audience, and number-crunchers slowly infiltrated their way into management. Driving games, once their own thriving genre with a loyal fanbase, were seen as an afterthought.

It’s easy to demonstrate what I mean, just by using clippings from mainstream review sites.

1Released in 2004, GTR 2 was a smash hit, a critical success, something you don’t see from hardcore racing simulations. Everyone praised its fantastic controls, competent AI, and phenomenal driving physics. A decade later, (roughly) the same team released Project CARS, a title plagued by technical issues that revolved around the game’s poor controls, lackluster AI, and lack of overall polish. I thought video games would get better throughout the years.

2Released in 2002, NASCAR Dirt to Daytona is largely regarded as one of the best console racing sims ever, and the game even included an unlockable hardcore physics mode for wheel users. The game featured not one but four different NASCAR sanctioned classes, and a highly detailed career mode with several RPG elements. A decade later in 2012, some of the creative geniuses behind the NASCAR Heat series of games released NASCAR The Game: Inside Line, a title that was virtually unplayable according to both critic and user reviews. I thought video games would get better throughout the years.

32002 saw Electronic Arts give us Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, the absolute best racing game you can buy for Sony’s landmark console. Critics loved its tight controls, lengthy campaign mode, brilliant AI, and large car & track roster. A decade later, Criterion and Electronic Arts gave us a bland Burnout Paradise clone that could be completed in an afternoon, drove poorly, and had performance issues on consoles. I thought video games would get better throughout the years.

4Polyphony Digital gave us a disc that was a virtual automobile encyclopedia with Gran Turismo 4 in 2005. The game was praised for its solid physics, ridiculously huge library of tracks & cars, and career mode that took people months and sometimes years to complete, which was an incredible feat on what was then aging hardware. Gran Turismo 6, a game released nearly a decade later on a console used by the United States Air-Force to build a supercomputer, still used PS2-era car models, AI behavior, and audio samples. I thought video games would get better throughout the years.

5Formula One Championship Edition raced onto the PS3 in early 2007. The game featured a lengthy, realistic career mode with driver contracts, test days, and performance incentives, along with solid physics and fantastic graphics. The game also featured unlockable historic cars that spanned every decade of F1’s existence. F1 2014 removed the additional historic content that was seen in previous editions, failed to rectify bugs and complaints of the previous three entries in the series, and gave all but the most hardcore of F1 fans no justifiable reason to purchase the new version of the game. I thought video games would get better throughout the years.

We’re just angry nerds with an axe to grind, though.

7 thoughts on “No, we don’t have an “axe to grind” – driving games really did get worse over the years…

  1. (any year)- Gee Halo1-4 on the same disk would be amazing and give us a lot of replay value while we wait for the next halo

    (2014)- Oh boy playing loading screen simulator 2014 sucks. How did this game run flawlessly in 2002 but I cant join a frigging match in 2014 for the life of me with 50up/down internet?


  2. I agree with *some* of the things you point out, but I dont think its a fair comparison between most of these games. Go back and spend a little time with the old games, and I am pretty sure you would find plenty of things wrong now that you didnt consider wrong back then. There are a few advancements within the last 10 years too, so painting it this black is a bit biased, imo


  3. F1 CE was unplayable with a controller. if you didn’t use the steering help corners were a guessing game, and with it, you where on rails. you also could not pit with it, as it would stick you to the racing line.
    i remember for fun i put all the aids on and did a lap, where all i did was hold down the gas and vaguely steer. the car braked, downshift and turned for me, at every corner.
    i remember trying to do the career and the engineer help thing where they give you new settings and send you out, camber was always wrong. they’d apply the same amount front and rear, and the back would never grip, because it had way too much.
    it didn’t matter though, on medium difficulty you could put a super aguri on pole, no problem. on hard, you couldn’t hope to keep up, because one mistake and the rest of the field is gone, because they didn’t make mistakes.
    i was frustrated that medium was super easy and hard was almost impossible.
    there were other issues too.
    playing through career i got to bahrain. did testing, set the car, qualifying, (so several hours of gameplay) and got into the race, only to spin out every lap at turn 6 (the tight right hander after the fast sweepers). no matter what i did, or what line i took, even with no gas, the car would spin. hadn’t happened in any other session.

    so yeah, some rose tinted glasses on some of these.


    1. Also, in gt4 cars had open diffs, no matter what. You could not do donuts. The cars would never spin out, and if they did ever lose grip, they where nearly impossible to catch. And every car had forced on abs. You couldn’t lock wheels under braking (without the handbrake) the physics for gt4 just wherent good. They also had unfinished content, like drag racing. They had a drag strip, but no drag cars, or real support for it, because it was dropped at the last minute.


  4. If I were you I would’ve saved the F1 2014 argument for F1 2015 in case that one’s shit (which, considering that even Career Mode has been scrapped, I fully expect it to be). 2014 was always a lost cause, as CM themselves said it would be due to their focus on the new gen game, and it doesn’t help that FOM are absurd with the limitations they now impose on F1 games.

    Hell, even with 2014 being a lost cause, CE still had so many problems that I wouldn’t quite say that we’ve gone “backwards” in this case.



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