Scaff's Sim Racing Reviews

Discussion in 'Console & PC Gaming' started by Scaff, Jul 28, 2020.

  1. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    I've been reviewing titles on my youtube channel for a while now (link in my signature), however following a discussion over in the Project Cars 3 sub-forum I've put a more structured approach in place, and thought I would gather them all in a central location.

    The following video explains why I've taken this route and how the scores/ranking is made up, however, I've also covered these in text for those who don't want to listen to me.



    Review Policy
    A Note on Scores

    These are my own view based on my own experience with the titles in question and should be taken as just that, you may well disagree in some or even all of the areas and that's perfectly understandable, these scores are also representative of how a title stands at the point in time it's being reviewed.

    A Note on a 'Total' Ranking
    I don’t intend to provide a total score or ranking as the actual needs of someone looking to pick up a title will vary, for example, if a large amount of accuracy to a particular Motorsport discipline simply isn't high for you, the score it that area is largely irrelevant. What I would suggest is that you take the areas that are important to you, and use those to get your own final score for a title.


    Scoring Areas
    Driving Simulation
    Dominated by the physics side of how vehicle dynamics and tyre models are recreated. It would also include the implementation of Force Feedback to communicate what is happening within the physics engine and Tyre model, as well as how well track and surface changes are dealt with.

    Racing Simulation
    Rating the quality and awareness of the AI, as well as how balanced it is across the various types of vehicles being raced. How varied the packs' ability is and how scalable it is for users.

    Motorsport Simulation
    This one is a made up of how well real-world motorsport disciplines are recreated, it can be very focused (such as the F1 series, WRC series or ACC) or more of a sandpit (such as PC). Are the correct vehicles, tracks/stages and regulations being used.

    Accessibility
    How varying needs are catered for in terms of the audience, are a good number of well implemented driver aids included is the title game-pad friendly, does the difficult scale well and (if applicable) are the structures and rules of the racing explained well.

    Content
    Simply how much 'stuff' does it have in it, the range of tracks and vehicles. Is it a singular focus or does it take the sandpit approach? How widely can the content be used, i.e. can you take any car up Pikes Peak (as in SLRE) or is it locked to only some of the content (as in Dirt Rally)

    Value
    What is the initial price, does it come with a season pass from day one, how much of the future DLC is chargeable and is it recharging content that has been recycled from previous titles.

    These six areas will then be plotted on a radar graph to provide a visual representation, along with a brief explanation of the score for each are and my logic behind it.

    Example.jpg

    Review Stages
    Initial Look

    Done a day or two after launch, this will cover the initial impressions of a title and will not look to rank any of the above, as its too early and is used for getting an initial feel and view of a title. I try and do this for all of the main or interesting titles on PS4 I can manage, but as I have to fund these myself, I can't cover everything

    Review
    Normally a week to ten days after launch to give time for the scale and scope of the title to be experienced (I do after all have a day job and family), this will use the ranking scale to provide a more balanced view of the title. Depending on the title, this may be the first review if I wasn't able to pick the title up at launch.

    DLC/Update Reviews
    I will provide short reviews on Updates and DLC for as many titles as I can, for minor updates I will put these in a weekly roundup on the channel rather than dedicate a full video to minor changes.

    Post DLC Review
    A re-review of a title once the DLC (if applicable) and all updates are in, as in this day and age titles can change quite considerably over the first six months to a year.

    The second post in the thread will be an Index, so that you can find related videos throughout the review stages easily, I will also be adding my old videos and adding in scores and explanations over time.

    I hope you all find this interesting, but at the very least it helps provide me with a location to keep them all organised.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2020
  2. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020 at 4:48 PM
  3. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    F1 2020

    Initial Look


    Review


    F1 2020.jpg

    Driving Simulation: 7

    Continues to build on previous years resulting in a good balance f approachable realism in regard to the driving simulation

    Racing Simulation: 8

    Solid AI with a good track awareness and happy to fight with both the player and each other, adding in a great range of skill levels

    Motorsport Simulation: 9

    About as close to offering every element of the sport as it possible to get and remain an accessible package

    Accessibility: 8

    Excellent range of accessibility options, catering for a wide range of players experience, the only thing it requires of the player is to bring a love and degree of knowledge of F1

    Content: 5

    Mainly limited to the current F1 field, last years F2 and a range of F1 classics, some of which are locked behind paid DLC or the premium launch edition

    Value: 6

    Unfortunate follows the Codemasters mould of locking some content away behind premium launch editions and paid DLC, offering perks like early access to those wishing to pay more. Combined with the (understandably) limited content due to the nature of the title potentially limits the value it offers to those not invested in F1 as a sport or series.

    Full F1 2020 Video Playlist
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020 at 8:04 AM
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  4. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    Assetto Corsa Competizione

    Initial Look


    Review


    ACC.jpg

    Driving Simulation: 9

    Excellent physics and tyre model, taking a step above even the level of AC itself when combined with the dynamic weather and time of day makes for the most accurate and realistic driving simulation on console to date.

    Racing Simulation: 8

    Impressive AI with great awareness of both the player and each other, they will race accurately with each other. Oddly one of the most impressive aspects is the awareness of them to blue-flags when passing backmarkers, an area that is often forgotten in AI logic. Only let down by the lower AI count of console, which can make longer races lonely places at times.

    Motorsport Simulation: 9

    Unremittingly accurate in its depiction of the series, down to the actual track and weather differences between each of the two seasons offered, only let down by the unrealistically short stints in the longer events when scaled back to 'shorter' durations.

    Accessibility: 4

    Unfortunately, a title that does little to make the sport accessible, despite a short 'tutorial' in the career mode, large amounts of the particulars of the discipline are not explained and if you don't know things such as pit limiters only activating in 1st gear you are potentially going to end up feeling overwhelmed. Pad control is better than the original AC, but that's a low benchmark to beat.

    Content: 5

    With 24 cars and 11 tracks in the base title, even the 'free for pre-orders' Intercontinental GT pack, which adds 4 more tracks does little to change the fact that the title os light on content.

    Value: 8

    While low on content due to the nature of the discipline its recreating, the title pushes the score up by being a 'budget' price release, coming in at £35.

    Full Assetto Corsa Competizione Video Playlist
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020 at 8:05 AM
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  5. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    Ultimate Racing 2D

    Review


    Ultimate Racing 2D.jpg
    Driving Simulation: 1

    It's not a driving simulation, and aside from some type of vehicle being more tail-happy than others, you will not find a deep and detailed simulation model here. That said, did you really expect to?

    Racing Simulation: 5

    The AI is offered in a range of difficulties via a slider, meaning it does cater for a range of players, its functional enough to make mistakes and be aware of each other and the player

    Motorsport Simulation: 4

    Surprisingly it does offer qualifying, tyre wear, dynamic weather and pitstops, they may be done in a basic manner due to the arcade nature of the title, but this does add to the depth and replayability.

    Accessibility: 9

    It’s a top-down racer with a wide range of AI settings, it's about as accessible as it gets in this regard, plays great with a gamepad, has no idea what a wheel is!

    Content: 8

    35 racing classes, 45 tracks (many faux real-world ones), a massive career and championship mode provides a huge amount of content to get to grips with.

    Value: 10

    At under £8 it represents excellent value, particularly given the sheer amount of content it offers even as a top-down racing title

     
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  6. Whitestar

    Whitestar Premium

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    Good decision! And I like that scoring system.
     
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  7. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    Thanks
     
  8. Morbid65

    Morbid65

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    I like the scoring system, particularly how the sim aspects are broken up into more specific categories.

    I agree that an overall rating doesn't make a lot of sense, but as the number of titles you review grows, you could probably compile the ratings in a spread sheet that could be easily sorted for people to sort by the category they find most important and so on for those looking for a list.
     
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  9. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    Dirt Rally 2.0

    Initial Look


    One Year On


    Dirt Rally 2.0.jpg

    Driving Simulation: 8

    A solid physics model that moved the work done on the original Dirt Rally forward, while some issues do still exist on the tarmac sections, the end result is very satisfying and convincing. Early issues with FFB on Thrustmaster wheels have now been resolved, but the title does still need care with the FFB settings.

    Racing Simulation: 7

    AI is always tricky to judge in a rally title, as its asynchronous by its very nature, however, the times posted in the rally stages offer a competitive balance for a range of players. The are we can see the AI directly in is the Rallycross and this has improved from the original Dirt Rally, which seemed to be far too challenging for quite a few players.

    Motorsport Simulation: 6

    Oddly basic in its approach, the career mode, while expanded from the original still offers a limited recreation of how rallying functions in reality, while Rallycross is at least a little more faithful. Points are gained for manual handbrake starts, tyre choice and the service park, however, those looking for a more structured approach may well be disappointed.

    Accessibility: 6

    The Dirt Rally series seems to revel in its status as the hardcore arm of the Dirt franchise, and as such little is done to welcome in the newcomer or novice, however, gamepad support is reasonable enough, but rally has always been a tough nut to crack on a gamepad. It is however slightly more accessible than the original, so many they are getting a bit soft as time goes on.

    Content: 8 (6 at launch)

    Very light at launch in terms of locations and stages, with little in that regard transitioning over from the original Dirt Rally, which many assumed would mean it would turn up in paid DLC, something that turned into reality. While much of the recycled content was polished up (Monte Carlo in particular), it did serve as a sticking point for many. The car list, however, for both Rally and Rallycross was good and varied both at launch and in the DLC, with a good mixture of past content returning and new toys to play with. New locations in DLC was limited to Scotland for rally, however, Rallycross was well served, with a host of new locations arriving.

    Value: 5 (6 at launch)

    With almost as much content locked behind the DLC/Season Pass as was in the base title, value was always going to be a hard sell for Dirt Rally 2.0, made even worse by the fact most of the Rally stages were recycled from the original. This was slightly sweetened by the inclusion of the Colin McRae Flat Out pack into the Season Pass, which did add in new content, also now available in a Game of the Year edition with all the DLC included.


    Full Dirt Rally 2.0 Video Playlist
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020 at 8:07 AM
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  10. sirjim73

    sirjim73

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    Love the reviews methodology. :tup:

    Value is a tricky one though. Why does DR2 go down in value rating after a year? Is that because the DLC was below expectations or something else?

    Also, value rating only makes sense at release date to me, as its compared with the full, fixed price.

    When looking at a game one year on, few people would likely expect to pay full price even for a GOTY edition.

    Example being DR2 which I held off from buying for a long time for the "Value" reasons highlighted in your review. However, when it appeared in the sale at a heavy discount (a month before the base game was free on PS+), I bought the "complete" edition, as it was now worth the cost to me.

    So, its Value rating at launch, in my opinion, was very similar to your 6 rating. However, its Value rating after a year was much higher than 6 to me, due to the lower price point. In the same way that you indicate the ACC Value rating is higher because of its lower price point.

    I am of the opinion that the other rating categories are OK to include after a year, it is only the Value rating that I consider there are difficulties with.

    I hope some of that rambling above makes sense :D
     
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  11. Dave A

    Dave A Premium

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    I imagine the value rating is based on the cost as at the time Scaff purchased it and then re-scored on reflection as at the time of the review rather than what the cost of the game has been at various points inclduing sales and a special offers. I think it would be very hard to account for those periods rather than what the games RRP is.
     
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  12. Morbid65

    Morbid65

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    Maybe it would be a good idea to mention the price at the time of review with the value rating? Then if the price goes down later people can do their own sorta "math" on it and decide if it's worth it for themselves.
     
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  13. sirjim73

    sirjim73

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    So, a "hindsight" rating then? I guess that makes sense. And would work for all the categories too.

    e.g. "if I knew the physics would improve from release to their current state, what would I have rated them at on release".

    I read it as being a review one year on of the position one year on.

    Anyway, its Scaff's ratings and reviews, not mine. He can use any system he likes :cheers:
     
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  14. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    The value is a tricky one once you get passed the launch period, for Dirt Rally 2.0 I did check on exactly what the prices currently are on the PSN store to get a measure of it, and in that particular case, I dropped it because a lot of the DLC content was recycled from the original, and arguably should have been included in the base product.
     
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  15. MrCrynox

    MrCrynox

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    If it was me I'd score the value at the time of release & make that point clear on the review, copy paste a statement on every review because there are a few reasons why value can change as a game ages be it discounts, price drops or additional free content. I do like the style of your reviews @Scaff & like the new written additions to compliment the videos.
     
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  16. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    Wreckfest

    Review


    (Nearly) a Year On


    WF6.jpg

    Driving Simulation: 7

    Hidden behind a rough and tumble arcade-style title is actually a very solid physics engine, with far more depth than first appears on the surface. It gives Wreckfest far more longevity that you would initially suspect and strikes an excellent balance between pick up and play and depth

    Racing Simulation: 7

    In the vein of the titles driving style, the AI has to be aggressive, but it manages to achieve a firm balance between aggressiveness and competitiveness. Tied to a good range of AI options it's rare that you feel the AI has done the dirty on you, and on the rare occasions it does, the resulting carnage will probably leave enough of a smile on your face you will not mind too much at all.

    Motorsport Simulation: 3

    While certain real world motorsport discipline are the root of Wrkefest as a title, it only takes the bare bones of these series, leaving enough to craft a sizable and enjoyable career mode with a good sense of progression.

    Accessibility: 7

    As mentioned in the Driving simulation area, Wreckfest manages to strike a good balance between pick up and play and depth, it does, however, get a few points docked for some odd design choices. The lack of ability to bind buttons being the main one, this really should be a default option in this day and age. The overall presentation in some areas is also a little rough around the edges, such as replays which may well put some off.

    Content: 8

    Wreckfest came out of the gate with a good amount of content, as mentioned it comes with a sizable career to start, a good range of tracks and vehicles. The vehicles bolstered by a solid upgrade and cosmetics system that is refreshingly free of monetisation. Over the course of the season pass, they have also added a number of really strong tracks free of charge, as well as a massive amount of new cars and cosmetics on top of this. Finally, a tournament system was added towards the end of the season, adding in a range of daily and weekly challenges, with a new progression system and new vehicle versions to obtain, perfect for those that had finished the career mode and were looking for a new challenge.

    Value: 8

    Launched as a budget title at £35 Wreckfest offered excellent value for money straight out of the gate, the Season pass was a very fair £19 and is a rare example of a season pass offering strong value for money, particularly when the Deluxe edition, combining the game and season pass can be picked up for £50. Personally, if they were to offer a second season of content that offered similar value I would not hesitate to opt-in and support the developer.


    Full Wreckfest Video Playlist
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020 at 8:08 AM
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  17. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    Project Cars 2

    One Year On


    PC2.jpg

    Driving Simulation 8

    Despite the tribal nonsense on the internet the truth is that Project Cars 2 does have a solid physics engine, that does a lot very, very well. It is of course not without faults, but overall it manages to provide a realistic and competent driving simulation that recreates the feel of driving in a manner that demonstrates the great work the tyre model and overall physics engine brings to the table. Live Track 3.0 then takes that and adds another layer of goodness on top of it, ensuring that its not just the cars that are the star, but the way the tracks change and evolve are just as important.

    Racing Simulation 6

    While Project Cars 2 does offer a wide range of adjustability to the AI, and has moved on from the base laid in the original, the truth is that the AI is competent at its best moments, and downright odd at its worst. The key issue is around finding the right aggression balance, as too low and the nervousness was clear to see in the oddly twitchy wheel changes when cars are side by side, get it too high and it's now carnage. That it isn't consistent from car to car or track to track remains the biggest issue, find a good combination and its great, don't and its a mess.

    Motorsport Simulation 8

    While not attempting to mirror anyone motorsport discipline, what Project Cars 2 does, however, allow you to do is recreate just about any real-world series you want. You may need to do the hard work, but with options that many, many other titles miss out on, PC2 shows that it can be done. Just about the only thing missing is customer championships, had that been added it would be close to perfection in this regards. Even with this omission, PC2 remains the Sandpit for Motorsport fans.

    Accessibility 6

    While PC2 did make changes to the original to make it more accessible, it has to be said that it remains a difficult title for people to get into. The FFB and gamepad use still require a good among of tweaking to get right, enough to put off a lot of people. While steps were made in the right direction, such as the Race Engineer that will tweak set-ups based on your feedback and a range of default set-ups to use as a base, easy to implement options, such as tyre warmers for all cars were missing.

    Content 8

    Project Cars 2, even without the DLC content, offers one of the finest track line-ups of any racing title released, while the car list is, in my view, excellently balanced, offering a good range of vehicles, with little padding via cheap duplicates. Add in a large career mode and the sandpit options in both single and multiplayer and you have a volume of cars, tracks, time of day, weather, etc. that will keep most occupied for years.

    Value 7

    At launch the variety of tracks was varied and close to complete, however a good number of cars (around 20% of the final count) was locked into the DLC. Price-wise you are looking at what could be considered average prices for the base title and £25 for the season pass, however, a deluxe edition is available for £70 that contains everything and is a common sight in various sales.

    Full Project Cars 2 Video Playlist
     
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  18. MagpieRacer

    MagpieRacer Premium

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    Bang on my friend. Personally as an incompetent pad user I'd put accessibility at a 4 but that's just me.

    Really enjoying this review format, keep it up.
     
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  19. MrCrynox

    MrCrynox

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    @ Scaff will you be doing a written review for WRC8 & then 9 ?
     
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  20. Scaff

    Scaff Staff Emeritus

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    Yep, will be doing so, next on my list (WRC8) and as I have WRC9 Pre-ordered that one will follow as soon as I can.
     
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