TSA Game Of The Year 2014: Racing

You hear that? It’s the sound of all of the racing games trying to catch up to first place, even though they’re only half way around the track while our winner stands on its podium with the gold trophy in hand. Here are the results of our first staff game of the year vote – chosen by the people regularly contributing to the site over the past year.

This year has been an odd one for racing games – although there have been more than last year, there hasn’t been that big Need for Speed release that we’re used to seeing towards the end of each year and there have been more quirky entries such as Toybox Turbos which, alongside GRID and F1 2014, only launched on last generation platforms – two of those didn’t even make the chart.

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Although not entirely comparable, arguably the biggest racing face-off this year was the one between the Xbox One’s Forza Horizon 2 and the PlayStation 4’s Driveclub. Both of these were great games, with Forza building upon its predecessor and Driveclub being a new direction for former MotorStorm developers Evolution. Forza Horizon 2 managed to get third place in our vote.

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Despite the online issues which plagued the launch of an otherwise very competent racer, Driveclub managed to grab the second spot in our voting and you can see how that makes sense now. With the dynamic weather effects in place, plenty of fixes, and an online system which isn’t broken, Driveclub is a stunning example of a racing game.

But throw all of that realism away – all of those scratches and dents on the cars, the handbrake turns, and the destructive collisions – and you’ll find our favourite racing game this year: Mario Kart 8. It’s a landslide victory to say the least, with the game grabbing 42.4% of the votes, a staggering 15% more than Driveclub’s 27.4%.

With stunning visuals at 60FPS, some incredible track design complete with anti-gravity sections, and plenty of wacky fun to be found, it’s perhaps the purest example of what a racing game should be – it’s a high speed romp that is an incredible amount of fun in multiplayer.

Mario Kart 8 is TheSixthAxis’ Racing Game of the Year 2014.

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Don’t forget to vote for our Community Game of the Year – you have until Friday!

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35 Comments

  1. Fair play. It’s the only game that makes me wish I had a Wii U

    • It’s the only game that made me buy a wii u

  2. Oh congratulations Nintendo! Sadly it’s a game I’ll never play, but ps4 could really do with something similar. I have a deep, personal dislike of driveclub and am a little shocked it’s as high as 2nd with its ludicrous rubber banding, invisible walls, corner and collision penalties and stupid darkness.

    • While i agree that Sony could do with something similar I wonder whether it would get the same negative reception as PS All Stars Battle Royale?
      I never understood why it was panned as I really enjoyed it.
      Also now I think about it Sony had two kart racers on PS3, LBP Karting and Mod Nation.

      • To be fair LBP Karting was essentially a re-skinned Modnation with all the same issues.

      • ModNation should have been brilliant, had all the ingredients right but they screwed the pooch in the implementation. Those load times!

    • Yeah, I can’t stand it

      I can see there’s a good racer in there but those issues make it completely unenjoyable for me

      So disappointed with Driveclub & not just its woeful, embarrassment of a launch

  3. Driveclub above Forza is a little but surprising.

    • DC is much better now that it mostly works. I’ve just gone back to it since it’s launch and I’m really enjoying it. The weather effects are brill!

      • This, it is a far superior game now to what it was at release. The AI and rubber banding, however, is still a major distraction at times. Example of which is.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3zlLGOa0Ks

      • What the hell has the patch improvements and the fact that DC is working got to do with Driveclub polling higher than Forza?

      • @psychobudgie that looks very annoying, its like they’ve replicated the typical online player!

      • The Ferrari California which bumped and passed you first can reach a top speed 30mph higher than the Alfa Romeo 4C you’re in. Then, a second very fast car bumps into you, drops back and a third car, another 4C which has had the advantage of consistent slipstreaming to reach near its maximum speed, tries to sweep past you and the narrowing gap on your left while going over a bit of a dip in the road, catches gravel on the left, tries to correct and you’re both as much a passenger in the ensuing smash up.

      • Wow, the shunts look far worse on that view. I can’t play the game like that, I need to use the bonnet or dashboard (without steering wheel) view to get a feeling of control and speed.
        From what I’ve seen I think the visuals look far better from the in-car or bonnet view too as you get blinded by the sun more and some great reflections in the glass on the dashboard.

      • @Stefan Your points are all relevant if I was playing Gran Turismo. Until it arrives on the PS4 I’m stuck with Driveclub. The Ferrari that bumps me shouldn’t bump me full stop. It’s a driving game, not destruction derby. The video is actually a fairly tame example. Some races bear more resemblance to dodgems than racing. When it works well, it’s a good game, when it doesn’t it’s awful.

      • The AI should probably have done a better job of avoiding you, yes, and I agree that they’re too happy to shunt you, but saying that it’s rubber banding when it uses the respective cars’ real world speed and acceleration value and allows for slip streaming to let AI in much faster cars of the same category to catch you up through high speed sections of a track is just wrong.

      • @Stefan There are plenty examples of the rubber banding out there as well as plenty of complaints about it. The vid is an example of the poor AI, not the rubber banding. I am not alone in being passed on the line despite going flat out in the fastest car on the circuit while driving an almost perfect lap. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it is infuriating as it zooms past me as if I have the handbrake on.

    • Two things. One related, one not.

      This is TSA and the PlayStation-centric nature will bump the likes of DriveClub up.

      On an article-related note, it’s not like Mario Kart had genuinely stiff competition. Driveclub’s votes probably revolved around the weather update. If not, it should have! :-)

      • DC was an easy choice for me and not just for the weather update (which is of course simply stunning). What wins it for me is that it’s the most satisfying combination of accessible, ‘proper’ racing on finely crafted tracks which provide a consistent challenge – i haven’t played FH2 and i understand it reviewed well but open world racing just leaves me cold. Similarly Mario Kart would strike me as being more of a party game than something to sit down and spend time with as a solo experience.

    • On a serious note, have you actually played DriveClub?
      From god knows how many negative articles & reviews, the opinion of those who actually have and play the game completely differs most of the time.
      A lot of Xbox owners or/& PS4 owners who have never played the game seem to automatically put the game down and bad mouth it (probably due to the online shenanigans) & have no idea how bloody good the game actually is.

      • Yeah but I’m really surprised by DC scoring 2nd (I haven’t played it) because it was so completely broke on launch.

      • No I haven’t, however going by reviews and general comments FH2 scored much higher consistently than Driveclub. Also I feel voting for it because “its better now” is saying its ok to release games in a terrible state as long as it’s fixed months later.

      • I’ve found most reviews negative, but looking around different sites, putting aside the online cock-up the general user comments for DriveClub were great.
        It’s made my game of the year without the online section. The single player campaign kept me entertained for days.

  4. I am a massive racing game fan and have played MK8, FH2 and Driveclub but Driveclub is by far my favourite. It is such a competitive game and I find myself going back to it over and over again to shave seconds off my lap times. However I can understand why its not for everyone.

  5. I need something like Rollcage or Wipeout to get me excited for racing.
    Mario Kart is OK, but half the fun when it comes to kart racers is playing as characters you love and I’m not a Nintendo fan.

    • Rollcage! Good call. The much forgotten Psygnosis game was an absolute gem and I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing an updated version.

  6. FH2 is probably my favourite game of the year – put over 30hrs into the single player mode alone and it launched with a full set of features. Looks like I may have to try Driveclub again. The last time I played it was an absolute mess and I hated it. It still annoys me how much of pass a lot of people gave the game. “oh, the single player is working so why are you complaining?”…yeaaaah..wow that turned into more of a rant than anticipated! Mario Kart 8 is also an amazing game.

    • Good to hear from you Dan!
      I agree, MK8 is fantastic and I’m happy to say that having only played maybe an hour of into a friends Wii U. Forza Horizon 2’s demo, played one sister’s boyfriend’s Xbox One, was truly superb, I wish this years racing line up impressed me as much as 15 minutes of that demo had.

  7. Have yet to play Driveclub but honestly can’t see it topping Mario Kart 8 in my books.

    As some might know, I’ve never been a huge fan of Nintendo but MK8 has near enough converted me. Fantastic game all-round and hands-down the best kart racer on the block. The fact that I’m contemplating buying a Wii U myself to play MK8 when not at university definitely says something.

  8. Well deserved. Looks fantastic.

  9. Mario Kart 8 is incredible, the best kart racer ever in my book. The only thing keeping it down is the poor battlemode.

    Forza Horizon 2 is also among my favorite games of the year, truly outstanding. And now there’s a new DLC location out, which should be cool.

    Still waiting for the Plus edition of DriveClub…

  10. I have played drive club and horizon 2 and for me Horizon is the winner with better handling, better gear shifting mechanics, car tuning etc. However, I haven’t played Driveclub with the weather update and was very disillusioned with it after the day one shenanigans so maybe I should download IT again with the weather update and see if it can sway me to actually think it’s a good game rather than mediocre and broken! I do think that it isn’t suprising it came second however due to the fact this is a playststion centred website.

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