Arcade Racing  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Arcade Racing  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Drive!Drive!Drive! I Tried Three Reviews at the Same Time, but Only Finished One Wed, 18 Jan 2017 05:57:50 -0500 Pierre Fouquet

Drive!Drive!Drive! (D!3), by developer Different Cloth, is one of those games that only comes around every so often -- and one of the few arcade racing games that I give a shit about. It doesn't do anything new with actual the racing, and drifting isn't some new fancy thing -- you just press the brake like in countless other arcade racers. You shunt and smash people out the way, you jump, draft, and simply race. So then, why do I care about it?

You race the biggest morons, on multiple tracks at the same time

You read that right, you race on multiple tracks simultaneously. This makes D!3 special, and a bit extremely bonkers. It takes a pretty standard arcade racer, and makes it something new.

Adding this dimension to racing makes every race more tense than The Rock after leg day. You are constantly on edge, as every time you leave your current track to get a leg up on another track, the AI driver who replaces you is a complete idiot. They can't go in a straight line, even when there are no other cars around them without crashing, and insist on driving with the brakes on (I swear they do that) as they go slower than James 'Capt. Slow' May.

Yet, this is another thing that sets D!3 apart from the countless other arcade racers. Usually when racing against AI you feel like you are cheating, but because of the multi-track racing you are also the dumbest thing around. Even if you are 'just' racing on 2 tracks (at the same time) it's a challenge. This is what D!3 boils down to -- a challenge in racing the stupidest, lamest, most infuriatingly moronic AI known to man. Yet, it is one of the greatest things you will ever do in a racing game.

You stop caring about clean racing; you don't have any morals with good passing. You crash, and you make them burn. You smash and you speed off laughing with glee. And you do all of this with one of the best soundtracks, and in a year of excellent soundtracks -- 2016 having Doom, Abzu, and so many others -- one that stands out is impressive.

ZOMBI crafted the soundtrack, and christ on a bicycle did they nail the atmosphere. Everything is one seamless block of musical smashing, tense racing, post-rock synth, electronic controlled prog.

This is where I stop gushing, and start being realistic with myself

I will stand by everything I said above, and the following will likely will not be the case with you. But I have a confession to make:

I stopped playing D!3 about 2 hours after I picked it up, and haven't felt the need to go back.

This isn't a fault with the game. It isn't due to glitches, bad design, or bad controls. This isn't because I can't seem to come in first easily, or even that I'm actually pretty bad at the game. I think it's time to admit to myself I have fallen out of love with arcade racing games that I cannot use my wheel to play. Ever since getting that thing, I've played Daytona and Sega Rally every few days, but the Force Feedback (FFB) I get from the aforementioned games has spoiled me. The lack of FFB is felt, and that is why I cannot go back to D!3. It's nothing the game did, it's something I did.

Having said the above, it shouldn't stop anyone from getting Drive!Drive!Drive! It's the closest an arcade racer has got to keeping me playing. It's the longest I've played a controller based racing game in about 2 years. D!3 is the best arcade racer in years, ever since Split/Second back in 2010. D!3 sits along side Nitronic Rush (and Distance) as the most awesome arcade driving games (I don't consider the latter two racers, but survival driving games).

There is far more to D!3 that I have not put in this review. From the multiple different cars you can unlock, to the beautiful simplistic interface, or the amazing polygonal art style and super long and interesting career mode, this isn't a game I can express every facet of in one review. Just know that it is the best arcade racer out right now, and it's something very new and super interesting.

If I have piqued your D!3 fancy, the game is out now on PS4 in the EU/UK and US, and available for PC on Steam. Of course, being an indie game, you won't have to get a mortgage to experience this gem.

Note: Copy provided by developer, Different Cloth, for review.

The Future of the Arcade Racer Mon, 21 Nov 2016 02:00:01 -0500 Caio Sampaio

We have become accustomed to witnessing photorealistic graphics, experiencing accurate physics and exploring immersive universes in racing games. This; however, has not always been the case. It all started in 1974, when players entertained themselves standing in front of an arcade machine.

The racing genre has come a long from its conception, to its current state, but it is still possible to have fun with arcade racing games and through the use of Virtual Reality (VR), they can make their way back to the mainstream audience.  And we will tell you how.

In the 70s and 80s, there were many reasons which drew players to arcades, even after home consoles were introduced in the market. One of them was the cost. Players could pay a small fee, in order to have a short burst of entertainment. In the eyes of many, this made more financial sense than purchasing a video game system to play at home.

As technology evolved; however, consoles started to become more sophisticated and their cost decreased, becoming more accessible to the average customer.  Opting to own a console became a consensus among gamers, who performed a mass exodus from the arcades, to their living rooms.

Nowadays, arcade racing games have become a minority in this industry, but as technology continues to move forward, history may repeat itself and benefit the arcade racing genre.

While the top VR sets used in gaming remain expensive to the average crowd, many gamers crave for the opportunity to immerse themselves in virtual worlds, but cannot afford to do so. This is the opportunity arcade racing games must grasp, in order to ensure their survival.

If a developer makes the commitment of building an arcade racing game with VR support, the individuals who cannot afford to have this technology at home will head back to the arcade, in order to dive into a virtual world.

Developing this product; however, would not be cheap and would require significant resources, but as the novelty of VR is introduced and players are able to experience it, with a small cost, the profit will be made through the scale of the sales. Many people paying a small fee, equals a big profit, which as of now, is the opposite of the logic applied in the VR market, as developers sell their products with a big price tag, to a limited audience -- think microtransactions in many of the biggest games, in 2015 League of Legends earnt a massive $1.6 billion even if it's free to play.

There is; however, a limited time window to put this plan in motion. The costs of Virtual Reality will decrease over the next few years and it will not take long before it becomes financially accessible to a mass audience. By the time this happens, the opportunity to reinvent arcade racing games will have been lost, as people will not go to the arcades, in order to experience VR, if they can do this in the comfort of their homes.

We shall conclude; therefore, that the future of arcade racing games hangs in a limbo state. It is possible to reinvent the genre and bring it back to mainstream relevance, but this will take an investment and above all, an innovative drive from a developer who is willing to take the risk.

#MobileMondays, Round...1.5? - Asphalt 8: Airborne Tue, 08 Mar 2016 04:08:46 -0500 DoubleVendetta

As promised in my previous article, here it is. #MobileMondays, round one (ish), where today I'm taking a look at one of the very first games that really slapped me in the face with the potential of mobile as a platform. That game, ladies and gents, is Asphalt 8: Airborne, one of a few seriously kickass titles by Gameloft -- more of which will no doubt show up here as the weeks pass. But just what is Asphalt 8, for those of you who haven't already heard of it? Well, let's answer that.

As its name implies, Airborne is the eighth installment in the Asphalt series, which, in a nutshell, is a set of arcade racing games that sit in the same sort of vein as Need for Speed. You've got gas, brakes, and of course, the all-important N2O bar. Out-drive your opponents, or out-battle them a la Burnout. Your choice.

As they say in "Burnout," "When speed is not enough..."SMASH THEM TO BITS!!!

Airborne? Aren't Cars Supposed to Stay On the Ground?

You're forgiven for making this mistake, I promise. But no. No they are not. I can't accurately express in words all of the epic that comes from making your car into a flying, spinning (or flipping) death top of awesome, so I'm going to take the easy way out here and let the trailer speak for me:

Yeah, the cars in Asphalt 8 are having a bit of an identity crisis. They seem to think they're airplanes, or rocket ships, or some bizarre combination of the two...AND IT'S AWESOME!!! How many other games can you say let you do a quintuple barrel roll IN A FERRARI?? I'll give you a hint: not many.

See, unlike its vehicles, Asphalt 8 knows what it is -- a fun, fast, very much arcade racer that takes one look at the laws of physics and violently throws them out the window. After which it sends several high octane sports cars speeding out said window. Which all do quintuple barrel rolls.

That's a big deal, because I cannot stress this enough: Games that don't know what they're trying to be usually tend to suck. Having a clear sense of "this is what I am" is quite possibly the single most important point to hit in game design. And Asphalt 8 doesn't just hit that point. It smashes it, head on, at approximately 240 miles per hour, and several hundred feet off the ground.

Okay, So My Car Can Fly. What About Driving?

Believe it or not, driving feels pretty good. The drifting system takes a minute to really get the hang of; you brake and start a turn to begin drifting, and essentially let the car "level out" to stop. Once you have it down though, it becomes a ton of fun to tear through long corners while driving almost completely sideways, even if that might not be the best thing for your overall speed. Plus, long drifts are one of the best ways to juice your Nitro Bar, aside from the orange pickups littered throughout the tracks.

There are several different control options too, so you can really find the one that works best for you: steer using your device's accelerometer, "buttons" on either side of the screen, or a virtual steering wheel. Use auto accelerate, or take manual control over the action. Having said that, as an added bonus, A8 supports gamepad input, like several larger mobile titles are beginning to, and this is by far where its slick gameplay really shines.

In my humble opinion, this is the best way to play. It includes immediate, zero configuration necessary support for the MOGA line of Bluetooth controllers by PowerA, which I will be going over in another piece in detail very soon. If Bluetooth isn't your thing though, you can always grab an OTG cable for a few dollars off the internet, and plug in many of your favorite console controllers. Or better yet, if you're running Windows 8/10, run the game on your PC thanks to the app store, which has become my new favorite thing to do. And yes, keyboard controls are supported there too.

Thanks to the fact that it was originally designed to run on much less powerful mobile processors, even my toaster of a laptop can run it on "Extreme" settings, too, which look fantastic. (Natively captured screenshot)

Alright, Alright, The Gameplay Is Good. But How Much Do I Really Get?

Ah yes, the age old "content" question. It doesn't really matter how good a game's core mechanics are if you're going to be bored and done with it in an hour, now does it? Thankfully, I can say that isn't something you'll have to worry about here. The game has a slew of cars and tracks, which continuously increases through numerous updates, as well as a variety of game modes, including standard and Elimination style races, as well as "Infected," where the virus-carrying players are running on a clock that only increases by performing takedowns, but have an unlimited Nitro Bar.

Many tracks also have a "Reverse" version, all of which have received careful attention to ensure the pathway alterations are well-designed, and vehicles all feel different enough to be satisfying -- and justify you owning them for reasons other than completing an event in the game's single player "Championship" mode, which is fairly robust.

There is also online multiplayer -- which while not perfect, manages to be fun enough to capture a handful of my game hours across both my Android and Windows profiles. The mobile versions also have local Wi-Fi as an option, (notably absent from the Windows Store version, unfortunately) which means if you just want to play with just your friends sitting around, you have the option -- provided you have enough devices to run everyone's instances.

But What About Price? You're Pitching This Game Like A Full Retail Release

I can understand why you might think that, because with everything I've said so far, it would be very easy to believe I was talking about a console game, if you took out all the mentions of "mobile." But that's just it: That's how good Asphalt 8 feels as a game. There's enough content, and enough things to do, to rival many more traditional games within the genre.

Lucky for you, Asphalt 8 isn't carrying a $59.99 price tag, or even $9.99. The game is free to download and play. Now, it does have microtransactions, and a lot of them. Everything from car packs, to currency packs for both credits (easily earnable in game) and Tokens (significantly harder to come by, but still obtainable through gameplay, as well as watching advertisements in app.) Add to that the fact that some of the later cars in game have astronomical purchase requirements, (in the millions of credits) and it's very easy to see that there's a desire for you to fork over some cash.

The price of some cars can definitely be a little ridiculous.

That being said, they do frequently run sales on everything from those credit and car packs, to individual vehicles, dropping their credit price down significantly. If you keep your eye out for those, you can make out with a pretty decent value proposition for your money. And frankly, with as many hours of gameplay as I've gotten out of Asphalt, I don't feel bad about any of the here and there purchases I've made in the game. I'm okay with supporting the developers, because compared to many other games out there, Asphalt 8 isn't the worst "freemium" game out there, by a long shot.

So there you have it. A complete overview of Asphalt 8: Airborne. Hopefully I've helped you realize that "mobile gaming" doesn't have to be synonymous with three hundred different clones of Flappy Bird. Or Temple Run. Yeah... *cough* Anyway! I look forward to reading your comments, and don't forget to tune in next week, to see what's next on the #MobileMondays chopping block!