Sunday, January 17, 2010

The corkscrew.

I don't know very much about racing. If it is on TV and involves a little more than turning left I will watch it, mostly because I enjoy watching things go fast and then taking sharp corners (and it looks really nice in HD). I have played quite a few racing games, however, and the vast majority of the good ones include Laguna Seca. The first time I remember seeing it was in Gran Turismo 2, when to my surprise and horror I stumbled across the corkscrew: the most devious section on any track, ever. This was the age before visual assists like racing lines, so I had no idea how to make it through without simply cutting the corners off and praying I didn't crash. Since then racing games have gotten a little more forgiving, but even with a line that tells me just when to brake and when to hit the gas the corner is still a challenge. I know it is coming, I understand basically how to not die when navigating it, but it doesn't matter. My first attempt always ends up something like this:

Forza 3 is not the first game to allow untimely crashes to be rewound, but it is the first to not limit this function to a few times per race or just going back a few seconds. This unlimited rewind does not necessarily remove challenge from the game, only frustration. Not much is worse than spinning out on the last corner of the last lap of some long ass race. Now I can back the tape up several turns if need be and see exactly what I did wrong. I find it amazing that braking a second to early or late can mean the difference between hitting the corner just right and embarrassing yourself in the sand. By allowing this Forza 3 becomes, more than any other console driving simulator before it, educational. I am not going to learn how to bomb the corkscrew in a million dollar super car, but I do have a better understanding of the level of ability required to do it more than once.

In unrelated news I gave Serious Sam HD a shot on the 360. It is a relic, but a good one, and has benefitted visualy from a good hi-res polishing. No one should try to play the game with thumbstick, however; it's just not healthy, and not nearly serious enough.

One last thing: if anyone knows how to beat a top notch Boxer with Blanka, please let me know, I sure as hell don't. And don't say that the answer is to pick a better character.

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