Should Comparison Videos Be Trusted?


As the green flag drops on this latest generation of racing simulations, we are seeing an emergence of videos comparing two or more titles. I’ve been seeing these comparison videos, and they seem to do a significant job swaying community opinion to one title or another. What I feel is an issue with the titles is that, while they may compare the graphics and sounds, you don’t really see much of what goes on under the hood.

One video I wanted to take a look at in particular is this one by LetsGoRacing comparing Game Stock Car Extreme to rFactor 2. Reiza Studios worked together with Image Space Incorporated to release Sao Paulo for rFactor 2. This provided an interesting opportunity to provide a comparison between the two ISIMotor-based titles.

At a first look at the video, it may seem like Reiza’s video would win out the comparison: the car is faster, the graphics arguably look more natural, and it seems more “alive”. However, I wanted to dissect the video, point out some of the differences, to try to give a more informed opinion between the two titles.

First, I will address the statistical side of the cars. While both of the cars are based off of 2012 spec F1 cars, they are NOT created equal. The Formula Reiza is based off of the championship-winning Red Bull RB8 car, while rFactor 2’s offering is the Marussia MR01, which was a backmarker. Looking at the P1 times of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix, we see:

  • Sebastian Vettel: 1:14.140
  • Charles Pic: 1:17.234

In the video, we see the driver run a 1:16.050 with the Formula Reiza,while the Marussia lapped the circuit in 1:19.982. That’s an average of around 2 seconds slower than the real life counterparts, while still staying within the 107% limit of 1:20.330. So, I feel that I can assume that he is driving at the same level of performance in both cars. I think both developers did an great job recreating the cars in the sims, but it could be something overlooked in context of a comparison video.

While you can get a good opinion of the graphics and sounds via a comparison, you can not get an idea of what’s under the hood. You don’t get a perspective of the “feel” of the car through Force Feedback, or how the physics correspond to your driving. If you compared rFactor 2 and RaceRoom Racing Experience side by side, it may seem clear that R3E would be the better title, if you judged solely from the video (like above). However, RaceRoom Racing Experience has a very “floaty” feel in the physics/Force Feedback, while rFactor 2 feels far more crisp and precise.

To sum things up, I feel that comparison videos can work well, to an extent. However, there is just too much that goes on under the hood that simply can’t be showcased in a video. I recommend checking out in-depth comparisons or, better yet, trying out the titles for yourself.

What are your opinions on comparison videos in sim racing? Let us know in the comments!