From an early age, humans know that if they want to be taken seriously, they must learn how to deliver a convincing car noise. Vrrrrummm, they might say. Or perhaps: brrrrrr-bp-brrr. These are the nascent efforts of the budding speed freak, and they must be respected. But once again the realm of videogames encroaches upon the germinal life of the human with pitiless velocity. Car games put a stop to make-believe noise, and introduce fully realised cars on a screen, ready for the racing, shiny bonnets and vrrrrummm noises included. Thus, the imagination dies, and these, the 10 best cars in PC games, are born. Beep beep.
Carson Hot Rod Coupe – Burnout Paradise
Looks like an old Ford, growls around corners, and does loads of those adorable motor-farts that make inhabiting an automobile so much fun. In Burnout Paradise’s world of fender-smashing road rage, the Hot Rod Coupe is also a very shy car. If it so much as glances at another vehicle, it will crumple into a neat cube of ready-to-smelt steel. This builds pathos. It is much better than earlier iterations of the vehicle because it can do a wheelie. No, you can’t steer while doing a wheelie, don’t be greedy.
Tuk tuk – Far Cry 4
You may have encountered Tuk Tuks in exotic locations such as Bangkok, or Covent Garden. But the easiest way to ride in one of these auto-rickshaws is to load up that copy of Far Cry 4 you bought in a sale and never played. Once you find this sorta-car, you will understand its immediate appeal. It is not fast. It is not strong. It has garish tassels hanging from the top of the windshield and a Polaroid photo taped where a rear-view mirror ought to be. It is a bona fide tourist trap of a vehicle, but if you vote it off this list, I will knock you down.
Laika 601 Deluxe – Jalopy
The Laika 601 is less a car and more a companion. A loyal friend who, yes, sometimes needs to be reassured in the midst of a serious breakdown. But that is what friends are for. You help them out in trouble, and they will help you when the time comes. Right? Right. In Jalopy, your quest is to drive across Eastern Europe. Provided there is liberal application of motor oil and new parts bought from shops along the way, I can think of no better compatriot than this honourable veteran of the roads. Also, you can’t afford anything else.
Warthog – Halo: Combat Evolved
“What do you mean use both sticks to drive!? Why is there no ‘go’ button? What does the backend of this wannabe Jeep think it is doing, sliding around like that? Hang on. I think I’m getting the hang of it. Yeah. Yeah it’s all right actually. Yes. YES. This is the car. THIS IS THE CAR. Honk honk. This. Is. The. Caaaaaarrrr.”
Surfer – Grand Theft Auto V
A classic. This re-hash of the VolksWagon hippy van is “not a good choice for pursuits due to its weak resistance against heavy collisions”, according to the GTAV wiki. WRONG. It is the perfect choice of vehicle for a crime caper and hot pursuit. Think of the farcical fender-bending required to escape the jogging guts of Johnny Law. The three bank robbers in multicoloured balaclavas emerging from the van’s backside like an impromptu performance of Pussy Riot. The final moments of the proud vehicle as it tumbles down a Los Santos hillside into a rich family’s pool. But you don’t need to imagine these things, you’ve already done them. I knew you were a videogamer of discerning taste.
Toy cars – Rocket League
Is there a sensation as satisfying as the post-explosion glow when you boost straight through the chassis of a foe in Rocket League? Boom, says the game, nodding to you with recognition. Boom. It matters not that the ball is bouncing idly towards your team’s open goal. It matters not that you are losing 0-7. The boom has shown them. Everyone knows who is king of the cars now.
Mad Maxmobile – Mad Max
Flamethrowers. Spikes. Wasteland serf hanging on the back end with a harpoon gun. Imagine how embarrassed you’d be if your da picked you up from school in this. What a nightmare.
This piece of shit – My Summer Car
The hollow metal skeleton resting on beer crates outside your house in the Finnish countryside of the 1990s is not a car per se. It is a car-to-be. That is the point. You must assemble this machine through a horrifying sequence of bit-by-bit horror-Lego. There is no instruction manual. The only way you will be able to complete this game without help from YouTube is if you are already a qualified car mechanic, or if you have the patience of a sniper. Good luck.
Golf cart – Satisfactory
Satisfactory is a game about visiting strange and beautiful new lands, meeting wondrous new creatures, and killing them for fuel. You can buy a cart from a list of items in a corporate shop at one point, and to someone stranded on an alien planet without a decent method of local transportation, this collapsible motor-cart looks okay. You buy the blueprints, knock one up at the equipment desk, and unfold it for a test spin. That’s when you notice. It is tiny. You are the sci-fi equivalent of somebody who has accidentally bought a piece of toy furniture on eBay instead of a normal-sized wardrobe. Reluctantly, you clamber in to this car the size of a wicker washing basket. You hunch with comical concentration as you drive about, reminded only of those bright red and yellow push cars for children (other colours are available). Don’t fret though, you instantly make another interesting discovery: this little box of yellow embarrassment is remarkably nippy.
Batmobile – Batman: Arkham Knight
Weren’t these sequences famously bad? Don’t look at me, I’m only including this vehicle to appease the Batfans who comprise approximately 9% of our readership. I don’t know anything about Batman. Why would I want a car that turns into a bat? Sounds dumb.
One Off The List from… the worst scientists
Last week we did a multi-disciplinary meta-analysis of the 9 worst scientists in PC games. The results were conclusive. The only scientist on the list worth saving is… the Medic from Team Fortress 2.
The bad doctor should be removed, says list ponderer “Nevard”, because he is not really a scientist.
“Strictly he is a Doctor of Medicine… He doesn’t work in a laboratory, use the scientific method, particularly test anything at all, or to my knowledge even claim to be a scientist… it seems to me that The Medic is mostly just out for a good time rather than trying to advance humanity’s knowledge or even discover anything.
“He has curiosity but it’s the kind a cat has where it wants to see what will happen if he does ‘this’ with no interest in why or if it is repeatable, and we can’t just describe every random man in a white coat messing about in his shed as a scientist!”
A sound theory, well articulated. Thank you all, and see you next time.