Adventures In Driving: How Driving In Games Is My Worst Nightmare

Being a gamer for the last few years has opened me up to experiencing fun gameplays, great storytelling, and the sheer glee of shooting and blowing shit up, as my wonderful friends would lovingly put it. I love being able to have a console or handheld waiting for me at home when there’s a game I really want to continue playing, or for those days when things haven’t gone right for me and I just need a few hours to be alone and forget my own reality for a little while.

Games that are broken up into missions are great for when you want to dive in and out of a game on your own time. Games like Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row 2 has some of the most fun missions I’ve played and adds some variety to the games without them ever being boring at all. Maybe the only missions I can probably do without are driving missions or any mission involving the use of operating any sort of vehicle.

There are about a handful of games I’ve played which involve driving either in a mission or just used as a regular means of transportation to get to one end of an open world environment to another. I’m terrible at steering cars, helicopters, or planes in games. Being able to drive during those times when I’m not doing a mission allows me to sort of relax into getting my character to where he/she needs to go. Oftentimes, I do find myself controlling the driving in a game as if I’m a drunk behind the wheel. I’m constantly driving cars into walls, wrecking property, or running over people. All of this is done without any of it ever being intentional at all. My panic mode kicks in when it’s a requirement to drive during a mission.

Yeah, I totally meant to park my car right there...
Yeah, I totally meant to park my car right there…

When a game starts off as a stress reliever for myself, it quickly escalates into a stressful experience of trying to finish a mission on a set timer or making sure you’re tailing an enemy close enough without losing them in a chase scene. Clearly, I don’t do too well under pressure. My driving in games becomes even more reckless and erratic. I’m slamming other cars out of the way and hitting and running over pedestrians, as if they’re mere bowling pins. Talk about the worst road rage ever.

Being not so good at steering a vehicle has me walking a fine line between being able to complete my objective and keeping the car under some semblance of control. I can’t count the many times I’ve got my vehicle under control only to lose it at the last second. Most of the time the cause can be traced back to being rear ended by another random car from behind, which then sends my car sailing mid-air and slamming into a wall. Trying to backup and steer myself back into the direction of the getaway car has been a cause of frustration for a number of games I’ve played and usually it means mission failure for me.

After multiple tries and nearly losing my cool, I do eventually get a mission complete. Of course, I can still do without having to be the one in control of the car, as I try to stop my enemies by any means necessary. The missions become more complicated for me when a game expects me to drive and shoot someone down at the same time in a moving vehicle. Seriously?! You expect me to drive and shoot at the same time? What madness is this? Where’s my partner to do the driving as I shoot? What happened to team effort, damn it?! I’ve experienced this in missions for Saints Row 2 when one of the missions has me stopping gang members from reaching the Saints hideout first. Trying to keep the motorcycles in my line of vision while shooting them down isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Probably I made the mission harder than it had to be on myself by not using the right weapon to get the job done, but there’s often no right or wrong way to get anything done in a game mission anyway.

Maneuvering the Mako from Mass Effect is one of the worst vehicles to drive in a game.
Maneuvering the Mako from Mass Effect is one of the worst vehicles to drive in a game.

Whenever I play a mission for a game, I find myself holding my breath in the hopes my next mission won’t involve driving at all. Drive to this location and then take out crime bosses? No problem! Break into this facility and disable the security cameras? You got it! But chasing down someone getting away from the scene by driving in the vehicle conveniently provided for me? No. I can do without that one, thank you.

What’s your personal experience with driving in games? Are you a smooth operator, or a destructive tornado on the road?

11 thoughts on “Adventures In Driving: How Driving In Games Is My Worst Nightmare”

  1. I’ve been awful at driving in games. In GTA V I’ve sort of learnt to drive freely, but as soon as a game asked me to take out another car by driving you can guarantee that the speeding car gets away from me and I have to do it over and over again. Especially if I’m on a motorcycle, I spent more time flying through the air because I crashed than being on the motorcycle.
    I also dislike missions where you have to jump with a vehicle, there was one mission in GTA V campaign where you had to jump onto a moving train with a bike, I kept crashing, a lot.
    I had significant problems in Watch dogs, because the driving mechanics in that game weren’t very good anyway, so I was even worse than usual.

    One thing I found that really helped me was getting a new controller, I don’t know about you but I have girly tiny hands, which means xbox 360 controllers cause me issues. I struggle with pressing multiple buttons at the same time (like you have to do if you’re driving and shooting at the same time) because my fingers are tiny. I bought a kids controller which is way smaller than the normal controller and my driving improved massively. I could never fly flying vehicles before I had my current controller.

    1. Yeah, I really do hate those missions where you either have to chase someone down in a vehicle or try to escape from getting caught in a vehicle. It has been a cause of frustration for me many times over when I encounter this.

      At least changing controllers seem to have helped with your driving issue in games. I don’t think that’s my problem. I’m just bad at driving in games. I doubt it’s the controller’s fault. 😛

  2. Great post. You are not the only one. I too am a horrible driver. This is quite evident in Watch Dogs where I rarely can make a driving mission without completely destroying the vehicle as well as most of my surrounding environment (sorry civilians). I agree with Rhiosace that the driving mechanics are pretty terrible and I feel even worse than usual. Which is odd because I can do the stealth, the sniping, and everything else, but trying to get away from the cops…yeah, not so much. It really does heighten the anxiety when playing and I try to avoid the driving missions unless absolutely necessary.

    On occasion the driving isn’t so bad in games (Driver: San Francisco comes to mind or even Saints Row III), but I am a force of destruction even when I try to be careful. Thank goodness my driving skills are far more promising in real life.

    1. Thank you! I haven’t bought Watch Dogs yet, but judging from your comment and Rhiosace’s comment about the game, I’m really not going to like the driving missions at all. I was hoping there wouldn’t be any, but that’s just wishful thinking. At least I know what I’m getting into in advance.

  3. My had driving skills became evident in LA Noire mainly because you’re supposed to avoid hitting people because it’s “the right thing to do.” Haha
    But what about the horse in Red Dead?? I always found Tue riding experience for that nice.

    1. I haven’t played Red Dead, but I rather guide a horse than drive a car in a game. I can tell you from experience that I just narrowly miss running over people in LA Noire, but I can’t say the same for the property damage I cause when I go from one crime scene to the next in a car. It’s bad.

  4. Hahaha I can totally relate! I am a terrible driver in games. At least, I used to be. I forced myself through the first few missions of GTA V and finally got the hang of it, to the point where I felt pretty confident in my driving abilities and could maneuver through city traffic at super high speeds. It was so much fun. BUT as soon as a mission wanted me to tail somebody or I had to make a getaway… I crashed into everything. It’s the pressure!! I get stressed out easily, I guess. So I can definitely relate to that! And let’s not even talk about how awkward the Mako is, which is just a whole other kind of bad video game driving…

    1. Haha, right? I think everyone has an issue with the Mako from Mass Effect. It’s the most awkward vehicle to drive in a game. I was so glad it was gone by the time the second game came out. 🙂 I definitely didn’t miss it much.

      I’m also bad under pressure in driving missions. If they put a timer on it or there’s a constant warning of, “They’re getting away,” then forget it. I lose control of the car or I take one stupid turn and find myself stuck against a wall. Driving in games really is the bane of my existence!

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