Okay so...went and tested rFactor 1 with no mods on a bone stock install....which is the free trial with all the content.
Managed to completely forget the first turn existed at Toban and went flying off the track thinking I was further on down the straight....but it did remind me how good the sound design was for 2005, I could do a whole lap of Toban with the assists on meidum and be competitive in one of the slowest classes of racing. The oval side...oh this is where it gets both good and bad. Good....in that you have a spotter who tells you if there's cars on your inside or outside, bad because.....well.....you're in a pack of cars, it can be hard to hear the spotter at times and hear the other cars...that being said rF1 has some good engine sounds, if you're side by side you can usually hear when you're clear of that car.
NR2003 however.....ugh. It's a mixed bag. On the sheer driving front, pick a big track, hold the gas, lift off and steer, you're set. On the other hand put 42 other cars on track and you're sudddenly faced with 42 other cars that will shove you out of the way. In a test run I did at Daytona I had the spotter continually telling me I was 3 wide for 20 laps...which was terrifying. The bad part about that out of the box is...alright, good point first. Duke. Freaking. Nukem voices the spotter....but you just get generic radio chatter, ar outside, etc. So, got a community sound pack, that atually made it worse, so I went back to the default sounds and cranked the steering assist up to 95% (which I usually run) and went to Atlanta to test. I plugged in a FB wheel and could tell the FFB was solid, so I tried it on keyboard...and gamepad. It's playable on both, but it's not really optimal.
So the race at Atlanta started with me in the middle of the field, the pack got spread out pretty fast after I nudged a guy off to the inside going for position....after the caution period the field spread out so I got to log laps and pass one or two cars at a time. That worked fine. I even went 4 wide into the first turn to get 3 spots and take a top 10.
Then the road courses....oh here we go. Now NR2003 was built with oval racing in mind, so the AI cars go side by side no matter what. This was a problem at Watkins Glen since I ballsed up the start, and the RNG mechanica failures decided that was a fine time to lose a gear, and my car was smoking. So the AI decided to ram me out of the way from the back. The spotter didn't tell me jack shit about it, I got punted off into the gravel and clawed my way out, caught up to the cars and blew the engine doing that. Restarted the race, nudged a guy off at T1....and found something interesting that I know won't ever be fixed since NR2003 is a 15 year old game....but if you're not within a certain distance of the car the spotter won't say a thing. It works well for side by side racing, the spotter picks up on that but for being on somebody's rear fender and following them....nope, you gotta listen out for that one.
NR03 has fantastic 3D sound though, I'll give it that one. I was able to hear an oppnent diving down the inside and move over to give him a bit more space than needed, then stay side by side through the next few turns and take the spot back under brakes. Sound design's great, the oval racing and physic are good, the spotter is meh....though I found my old burned CD and lerned even a backup CD goes for $200 or more for fans of NR20033 really.....which is crazy.
Lastly tested RF2. It's a prettier RF1 with different handling and the same assists...and rain.
Lastly went to one I helped develop, PCARS 1, plugged in my gamepad, turned the assists on,and I remember people at launch claiming the assists were too strong. I've no clue what they were on about, on my X360 pad, with the assists on they were barely noticeable in a slower car. Admittedly...PARS has some....interesting physics quirks for its car classes, I did test with a car from each class at the same track and weather to make sure though and on keyboard, the assists were more noticeable than on a pad, or a wheel, the higher the difficulty the assists are locked to off, something I dislike really....though I know why and I can't go into details about why certain things were done how they were.
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