Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Best Driving Video Games (That I have Played)

Two things that I need to get out of the way: one is that these are games that I have played.  I won’t judge games that I have not played for better or worse, as that’s not fair.  Second, these games are DRIVING games, and not games that are specifically RACING games.  So for all of you Gran Turismo fans wondering why your games are not listed, please see the two reasons above.  The following games are in no particular order:

Driver (1999)
Courtesy of Pwned

Come on, it’s in the name!  I remember playing this game as a little kid.  You are the wheelman, the mysterious undercover cop trying to chase down the evil Jericho.  That first level in the parking garage was a pain in the you-know-what!  I just hated hearing “hey man, watch the paint”, and “OK, Man! OK! OK! OK!”  These were good times.  Aside from that, this game was something that I had never played before at the time.  It was the first real open world driving game for me.  Sure it had limitations, and the cars could be destroyed by just pushing another car, but it was fun!

Driver 2 was fun to get out of cars, and Driv3r was fun, yet too much like Grand Theft auto, but when I first saw that AMAZING live action trailer for Driver San Francisco based off of that first level of the first game, I was hooked.   This leads me to…

Driver San Francisco (2011)

Okay, I will admit that the story mode was a little boring and WAY too easy, the music choice could have been better, and not all the engine sounds were accurate.  You know what?  Who cares!  It’s the first game that features both of my family vehicles: an S197 V6 Mustang (even though mine is not a convertible), and a last generation Chevy Blazer (and mine is not a two door)!  The graphics are well done, and the driving physics are the BEST that I have experienced in any game.  You can feel the loose and scary suspension of the Dodge Monaco, and you can turn the Lamborghini Murcielago on a dime at over 200 miles per hour.  A dirt road is sketchy, and the pavement begs for burning rubber.

The dialogue you experience when you use willpower to change into a car that has a passenger was well written.  The comedic value was appreciated.  The assortment of cars is quite respectable, and the side missions were quite fun.  As mentioned, it was very fast and easy to complete to 100%.  However, it has good playability even after 100% in my opinion, because the driving is so fun.  It has officially become my time killing game.  You know; that game where you can’t dedicate time to online matches of Call of Duty, but you have a few minutes before having to go somewhere.  That is a coveted position for a game of mine to hold.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 [TDU2] (2010)
Courtesy of Rack of Ammo

Beautiful, enormous, endless playability, customizable, dynamic, and worst acting/dialogue ever.  If you have not played this game, you are missing out.  This game is open world to the max.  You can drive ANYWHERE.  The graphics are simply gorgeous.  I’ll sometimes find myself driving the streets of Hawaii or Ibiza to the end of a cliff, just so I can watch the virtual sunset.  Then some jerk comes along and slams into my car knocking me into the water.  Yes, this game will not win any awards with its killer lines like, “Thank you.  I couldn’t have done it without you”, but the fact that to finish the game, it will take you close to an hour to drive around Hawaii as fast as you can is pretty damn awesome!

I can’t comment on the music, because after I realized the selection was terrible, I always turned off the radio.  I like the little things the game offers such as the cars getting dirty.  I still cannot say enough about the graphics though.  The lighting is superb as the sun sets, with rain on the ground, and everywhere else.  You can customize your character, but I prefer making the ’69 Dodge Charger look like the General Lee.  That took a LONG time to pull off.  The houses/garages are gorgeous as well, and I’m too cheap to buy the casino content, so I can’t comment on that.  Still, it’s great to drive around and meet some people who just enjoy the game as much as you do.

Honorable Mentions
In the event to keep this blog post at a decent length, I will just give the rest honorable mentions:

For LA Noir, I think it was pretty interesting to drive around in some iconic cars from our past.  While the physics and other aspects were not the greatest, the graphics and wide array of cars from the 30’s and 40’s with complete drivability was quite fun!

Picture Courtesy of Collider

It is very common for a game such as a first person shooter to throw in a driving level.  Usually they suck beyond belief.  The graphics are usually terrible, and the streets/settings look fake.  MOH Warfighter blew me away with the few driving parts it had.  The settings looked very real, the handling was surprisingly good, and the audio was stellar.  Great job all around.
Picture Courtesy of FPS General

Twisted Metal 2?  Come on; it’s a demolition derby style game that allows you to shoot rockets and other projectiles at your competition, and it’s for the original PlayStation.  Can it get much better?  Only if you could jump off the Eiffel Tower.  Oh, wait.  You can.

 Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia

There are tons of other games like Smuggler’s Run, RoadKill, Burnout Paradise, and more, but these are just some of the games that I think are the best driving (not racing) games out of the ones that I have played.  Have any other games in mind?  Let me know in the comments below! 

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