I really love a well written head-to-head comparison in the automotive magazines (or these days on YouTube). A good article will inform the reader of the characteristics of each car and make them feel how one performs in the real world. These days, driving games are so accurate in their depictions of cars…how does the game experience stack up against a real comparison?
I recently watched a Motor Trend comparison of the new Focus St and the 2nd generation Mazdaspeed 3 so I decided to give a virtual comparison a whirl. I took each car out on the Maple Valley track for a 5 lap blast. This course is a good measure of grip and suspension as you need to maintain speed to be quick. Plus, there are nice sweeping corners and some elevation changes so it’s a fairly technical course.
Not surprisingly, lap times were super close with a best laps in the 1:51 range for each car. The mazdaspeed was about half a second quicker omy it’s best lap but I think the Ford has more potential. Like the Motor Trend comparison noted, the Focus feels very nimble and precise. It rotates very easily like the real car and Turn 10 studios even put in the aggressively amplified intake noise that Motor Trend loved. In the game, the noise is more like a Honda VTEC transition as it comes on strong at 6000rpm.
By comparison, the Mazda has a bit more midrange power than the Ford, but the difference isn’t as huge as the video may lead you to believe. After all, Torque is a measure of force which is hard to replicate in a game. Regardless, the Mazda was also fairly accurate compared to the Motor Trend commentary. It isn’t as sharp as the Ford and it feels larger (despite the Ford being bigger in real life). The Mazda was easier to drive and required less shifting than the Ford on this track but the Ford does indeed feel better. I think with larger tires better ore aggressive alignment, it’s possible to get the Mazda to have the same “snap.”
Ok so this isn’t a very technical post, but still…it’s impressive how accurate the game experience is. If anyone at Turn 10 ever reads this, I’d love an office visit to see how it’s all done!!! That’s right, I said it!!