I have no idea why but I really cannot drive in games. I’ll crash pretty much anything that a game lets me drive; the more realistic the setting the more I crash. This is, in all likelihood, a result of my firm belief that you don’t really need to break that much when you go into a corner. It may also have something to do with Mario Kart teaching me that you have to do a burnout if you want the best possible start. Taking lessons from Mario Kart probably isn’t a good idea though, Peter just got mad when I threw a blue shell at him.
Of course it’s not just racing games where vehicles feature prominently, it’s just these are the ones I’m terrible at driving in. Forza? I might complete a lap if you turn all the assists on. Burnout? It’s a good thing that crashing is the idea, I’d just do it anyway. However, give me a Warthog in Halo and… well I wouldn’t say I become good, but I don’t actually crash all the time. If I’m lucky I might clear the vehicle sequence. Maybe.
That’s probably why I hold the Warthog so dearly as an example of how to do vehicles right outside of the racing genre. Halo manages to make the handling so simple and instinctive that you can almost do it without trying. Compare this to Battlefield 2, where attempting to control any vehicle with just the control keys was a nightmare, and it’s obvious just how right Bungie got their vehicles. I mean who wants to grab a joystick every time they clamber into a jet in the middle of a firefight? Just let me carry on as easily as if I was still running across the ground.
Of course even clumsy or bizzare vehicles can still be fun. For most people games are about fantasy, and whilst fighting your way through wave after wave of faceless enemies can be fun, for me it doesn’t hold a candle to jumping into some crazy contraption and blasting them away, or speeding around a race track in a flying car. I’d much rather fly some futuristic jet whose handling is a physical impossibility than drive around the Nürburgring in a supercar. Sure, I’m unlikely to do either in real life but if I’m doing something I wouldn’t normally do I may as well go all out.
However, given how strong the racing community is here at TSA I suspect I may be alone in my desire to toss realistic vehicles out of the window. Do you prefer a realistic handling vehicle, or would you rather fly in something that seems to have no visible form of propulsion? Of course context is a big part of it, you don’t want a hovercraft in GT5, but do you have a preference? Are you happy to drive anything as long as it’s easy to control?