If it’s been a while since you’ve loaded up a good racing game, buckle your seat belt and get ready to blast off in a whole new direction because we’re about to take a look at the best titles in the genre, for the PlayStation 4 that is. Whilst the PS4 is yet to find its Forza, and many would argue that it was a lacklustre year for PS4 racing games, there's some big ones coming in the not so distant future – Grand Turismo 7 to name one. Let think that this year was a little taster of much bigger things to come. The graphical horsepower of Sony’s new console is certainly no secret to those who have already experienced it and to say that the average driving game looks amazingly fantastic on this platform is of course, an understatement. The fact is that driving games have never looked so exciting or felt so immersive as what we now have at our fingertips. Heck, some are even expanding the notions of what we expect in other areas, like socializing (Driveclub). Anyway, rather than discuss the finer points of what makes a racing game good, let’s explore some games, shall we?
In short, MotoGP 14 is a great sim. It does everything it’s supposed to, including delivering a really awesome career mode which will keep you busy for hours, days and weeks on end. The models, tracks, features and graphics are also of a very high caliber, certainly nothing to scoff at. Controls are also top-notch as well, with the weight of g forces from each curve sucking you into the action onscreen. Naturally, it also comes stocked to the brim with all the expected multiplayer and social features too, not to mention several updates from last year’s outing. Lastly, lots of new content, including classic bikes, rounds out the reasons why you should pick up this game – if you’re already a fan, don’t even hesitate.
Usually when you hear the words “official” and “videogame” in the same sentence it’s usually a sign of impending disaster. In other words, we gamers tend to see this sort of titling as being directly proportional to a lack of quality (historically speaking). However, if you try to measure MXGP: The Official Motocross Videogame in this manner you’d be overlooking a fantastic experience. For starters, it looks and sounds fantastic, which is no simple feat to accomplish. Fans will also dig the multiple modes which allow you to jump into a single race or engage in a full career’s worth of activities. The action on the track can be dirty at times, especially if you neglect to properly master the feel for the controls, usually leading to a nasty series of wipeouts, perhaps pulling multiple racers in with you. Overall, a solid game that does an admirable job of portraying what MXGP is all about.
It wasn't the titled many of us has hoped for, however, when it comes to full-fledged, streamlined and dare we say, “fancy” racing experiences on the PS4, you’ll do no better than “Driveclub”. Marketed as a truly social racer for the next gen console, this game is very pretty and loaded with all sorts of interesting features. Having said that, it does come across as being a bit more “deliberate” than many other action-packed racing titles, in other words, there’s more focus on the journey and ride as opposed to the destination(s). Of course, along the way there’ll be plenty of jaw-dropping scenery and gorgeous car models to keep you company.
Cel Damage HD
Veteran gamers will probably remember the original Cel Damage, which was released onto the Xbox, with its delightful cel-shaded grahics and outlandish vehicular combat. This HD version improves upon the graphical aspects of the original yet leaves the zany, sometimes intense violence of its predecessor intact. All in all, it’s basically a really fun and outlandish game that you can pick up and play when you’re just looking for some simple fun with your friends. The fact that it also supports local play is also worth mentioning, for those offline moments…
“Trials Fusion” is basically part time trials bike racing, part puzzle platformer. In essence you are tasked from moving from point A to point B across a side-scrolling map, yet this is conveyed via a 3D environment where your racer is positioned at an angle. This affords you a very unique perspective on the action and allows you to concentrate on actually controlling your character a bit better. For a title with such relatively simple controls it’s surprising just how deep the gameplay truly is. You can often reload an area with a particularly tricky series of jumps dozens of times, executing nearly the same controller movements before finally toppling a checkpoint. Aside from that, Trials Fusion is definitely one of the most fun and addictive racing games to have been released in recent years.
(Future Note) The Crew
To simply say that “The Crew” is likely to be AWESOME doesn’t really do it justice. This open world driving experience introduces us to what amounts to a whole new gaming experience. In truth, we’ve never really had a console racing game like this before, which allows one to drive all across a scaled-down nation / continent, replete with various individual areas. To say that it is an ambitions undertaking is of course an incredible understatement. Look for The Crew in early December of this year and for god’s sake, remember to stick it on your Christmas list too.