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ADAC GT Masters Experience 2014 (PC-racing simulation) REVIEW

October 9, 2015

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Today I want to review ADAC GT Masters 2014. It’s a traditional hardcore PC racing simulation. I saw it a couple of times in the shelf in the market but did not buy it cause my favourite car, the Porsche 911 GT3, was missing in the car list. Cause the Porsche lincense is EA exclusive? I think so. The Lambos are also not included in the game.

A couple of times later I bought the games despite of it. Still playing Anno 1404 I decided to want a new racing game to play on the side. At home I opened the box and began to install the game … the first surprise appeared. The game let you choose between an offline version and an online version. The online version was marked with the hint “full version”. So I thought the online version is the full game including the offline game and began to install.

The ADAC GT Master series is a GT series with supercars from well known luxury car manufacturers. The 2014 version featuring the following cars and the eight official tracks of the ADAC GT Master series:

GT Cars

Cars: Audi R8 LMS ultra, BMW Z4 GT3, Chevrolet Camaro GT, McLaren MP4-12C GT3 and Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. Officially the Corvette Z06.R GT3 should be also included and is shown on the cover on the box. But in my game it’s not to find till now.

Tracks: Hockenheim, Sachsenring, Circuit Park Zandvoort, Eurospeedway Lausitz, Motorsport Arena Oschersleben, Nürburgring (GP track), Red Bull Ring Spielberg and Slovakia Ring.

The ADAC GT Masters is a German GT series nearly the same like the Blancpain series, which is some kind of a European GT championship with the same type of cars. I was surprised to see the Blancpain banners of the cars in loading screens in ADAC GT Masters 2014.

The tracks are from the German national ADAC GT Masters series, but I’m sure in other countries nearly the same games, maybe with other tracks is sold as something like Blancpain GT series 2014 … but I’m not sure … and do not investigate 😉 And the Blancpain is a much smaller series than the ADAC GT Master national series with much more races. So the pseudo “Blancpain  GT-Championship” is more a commercial fake, than a real European chamionship!1

Online Version of ADAC GT Master 2014 (RaceRoom Racing Experience):

O.k. back to the installation process … oh yeah fuck steam, all is on the CD but you download the shit from your server. Yeah o.k. I choosed the online version, so I did it … I wanted the full game. After a really looooong!1#&! download & installation process I finaly started the game to start to play.

I play the game with a XBox 360 controller on my PC which was detected as standard by the game automatically, I like that!!

Car confusion:

I did a quick start, surprisingly I got a superfast prototype like car from the game. I did not understand … wasn’t this a GT car racing game? What the heck is the prototype car doing here and the games gives me first???

On the track, the in-game graphic was obvious not up to date, but that did not bother me. I have a PC from 2011 and still 2011 this machine was not a powerhouse. So I’m happy the game runs well on my PC.

But as I drove on the track, nothing went to plan. Shifting was automatic I hate in a sim, button configuration not what I need and this super high performance car was simply undrivable (without driving aid). O.k. that quick start failed, back to menus.

Settings configuration part 1 – confusion:

I aborted instantly and went into the menus to adjust the game. And I promise you, this is a really annoying act of the game if you’re new at it.

Like in many other PC simulations you can adjust nearly everything. But in ADAC GT Master 2014, the menus and finding the function is completely confused!! You can adjust tons of options … and it’s totally confusing organized!

But you have to do the adjustments to be able to play the game to your satisfaction. So you have to fight through this plague. Some functions feel downright hided, or better said – totally illogical placed.

… but finally you set the buttons you want to have, the manual shifting, physic model and other functions. *Phiuu* … finally ready to go!

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Further Car confusion:

Before I tried the next run, I looked for another, less powerful and easier to handle car. And … where are the GT cars? I found many classes … and finally also the GT cars. But most of the cars are locked – and you could only unlock it against a virtual currency … or real €.

I was confused! I wanted only a GT racing game – but complete. I suspected it’s maybe only the GT series on the box, but insight more a game like project cars, maybe technical not on that standard but from the idea of many racing series in one game. But why so many cars are locked and marked with online and real currency to unlock? Micropayment!

I had enough from this shit and tried to install the offline version of the game!

The offline version of ADAC GT Masters 2014:

I put the Disk in my PC and executed the installation once again. But this time I chose of course the offline version, which I thought, it’s only a part of the complete game. Oh how wrong I was!

This time the installation went faster cause the data on the disk were used. After the installation process I got a separate Icon for the offline ADAC GT Masters 2014 on my desktop. So … a different game.

I launched it and the first surprise was a different presentation of the game. This time the game was really focused on the ADAC GT championship only. And the menus looked better … even if the damned structure remained the same … how I should soon notice.

Multiplayer online in the offline version: … in the so called ‘offline version’ there’s also an online option to race against other human opponents. The online mode. Here you can drive online races based on the ADAC GT Masters series.

I decided to drive first in the practice mode … with no other opponents to get used to the car handling.

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Settings configuration part 2:

And yes of course … the game did not remember the configurations I made in the online version. All was set back to default in the offline version and I had to do it new. Of course it was again annoying to do it because of the imo confused menu structure. I hated it! I want to drive damned developers! With installation process online/offline/configure – I lost tons of time – instead play the game *grrrmpf*

But o.k., finally finished it again

… and happily noticed that I can choose in the offline version all cars in the game. No locked cars or micropayment like in the online version. Nice! So free selection of the cars and tracks and hoped at last I could burn some rubber.

As I saw then back onto the online Version with its different car classes – all locked and to pay for to free the cars – I bet they build one engine to release different racing games. Each features a racing series … and in the online version you can unlock the cars from the other games by purchasing them. There’s also a game DTM experience out which is mentioned in the online version and I saw it in the shelf in the market where I bought ADAC GT Masters 2014.

So the whole game development seems to be a construction kit – a modular game system. Then a specific game focussing on a certain racing series and the developers plug the right components together. So they can release more than only one game by using one (bigger) source for all.

Imo you feel this … that the developers are not focused on one game like back the time Simbin was on GTR and make this game perfect. Here they do a lot of things and then stick the components together.

After that impressions – I googled a bit. And yes … and now I realized what the online version, the RaceRoom Racing Experience, real means. It’s an online “free to play” racing game which is developed and online puplished by Sector3 Studios. Then they used this source and released a couple of stand alone racing sims like DTM, WTCC, ADAC GT Masters.

Sector3 Studios is interesting, cause many Simbin ex-employees are part of the company. After Simbin was bankrupt many employees moved over to Sector3 Studios … and Simbin was the developer of the FIA GTR series I adore so much.

Car physics:

You can choose between three car physics: Novice, Amateur and GetReal. Cause of the first experience with the prototype car in the online version, I choosed first Amateur. It felt good, at first I found the feedback of the car a bit unresponsive and with that I mean the tyre-grip and breaking feedback I found a bit lacking. But after a while you get used to it. In general the handling is faithful and really good and delivers what you expect from a PC racing simulation which wants to be real. It plays and feels realistic. The more you play it, the more you will like it … you will love to drive this cars fast!1

I changed quick into the Single Race Mode to be able to drive against opponents.

But what the hell???

Settings configuration part 3:

What the hack, where are the settings????????? Ooohhh Jeeessszzzz … really?? I simply wanted to drive, damn!! O.k. only some basics this time, but …

This time I knew the menus better, but still annoyed to search a functions (where the hell was the physics settings!!*2§%#!1). Oh yeah, settings were done – I could finally drive. Thanks … really thanks, what had I fun with this game till yet!1#&§!!

I hope I do not have to do this again when I start the Championship Mode. But o.k. then I’m used to the game struture.

But not now I wanted to drive single races for fun and get used to the game. To know how the game is, how the AI and the car handling works.

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Gameplay:

Now to the real important thing referring to a hardcore racing simulation on the PC. It’s a genre for its own you don’t find on consoles. On the XBox 360 there is an exeption available  which is part of this genre-family. Race Pro was released on the 360 exclusive and developed by ex Simbin developers which are the maker of the legendary FIA GTR series on the PC. I had both games part 1 and 2 back the time on my PC and loved the games totally. Especially GTR 2! GTR 1&2 were simply the best racing simulations of the time. Race Pro was good and I was happy to have such a game on a console and able to play on a big screen, especially cause Race Pro had some tracks which I had never played before in a racing game. But Race Pro was not far as good as GTR 2. A good game I like, but not on the level like the legendary GTR series.

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ADAC GT Masters 2014 tries to follow into the footsteps of PC hardcore racing simulations like the GTR series. No wonder … many ex-Simbin employees worked on this game.

As I mentioned, at first I found the feedback of the tire-grip and breaking unresponsive. I missed the feedback. In the breaking process it was hard to feel if I decelerate hard or not. And on Amateur settings I was also not able to lock the brakes. But after a while driving I got a feeling for it and got on it. The feedback could be better, e.g. in the Forza series (played part 1-4) this feedback is done so much better, but you get used to it and then it works fine.

I configured a bit the steering option due to the X360 controller I used for the game. So I adjusted the speed sensitivity of the steering up to 100%.

It worked good and I got a lot of fun while driving! I got into it and the driving felt like a good old-school racing sim. I love this feeling …

… one main reason for this feeling is … and you can’t find this in any console game (nope, also not in RacePro), is simply because of the realistic FX sounds which gives you a lot of car feedback and atmosphere. In that form it’s simply not existing on consoles, who knows why! I don’t know, maybe Project Cars?? I played it only very short and not a real race car.

The reason is the detailed sound elements of a racing car in ADAC GT Masters 2014. I loved this back the time in the GTR series too. It’s the screaming of the transmission and the variation of the FXs while driving over bumpy parts of the track. The whimpering mechanics, shaking hardware elements and rattling noises, the crisp gears mechanics. This creates such a unique and real racing atmosphere! I love this a lot and this was something I was really missing in the Forza or Gran Turismo series when I drove GT or prototype racing cars. Not every car like that has this kind of noises, but many has … and for me these cars are the most exciting to drive!

What PC hardcore racing simulations do also best, is the implementation of bumps on the tracks and the physical reaction of the vehicle. In my eyes this brings so much fun into the driving experience … this is also a point I missed in the big series Gran Turismo (payed part 2 (on bleemcast) and 4) and Forza (played part 1-4) in that intense when driving real race cars.

ADAC GT Masters 2014 brings this kind of racing experience with very good FX implementation successful onto your PC.

But how is the racing action? Yeah, the AI is questionable. If you fail the breaking point at the beginning of the game they crash stupidly into your trunk and shoot you out of the track. That’s annoying cause if you get shot of the track, you can’t do anything …  and so you loosing tons of time in the gravel-yard off the track. And after contact you get easy lost from the track or spin out. After you got used to go the pace of the other racing cars (you can adjust the difficulty freely), the AI works better. The overtaking AI is pretty good, but sometimes you got still a unessecary hit in the back or side … with frustrating consequenzes as written above. So the AI is for single players a weakpoint of the game and can be annoying.

In ADAC GT Masters 2014 you are free to set your difficulty in %. So you can start with an opponent difficulty of 80% which is the easy settings referring the CPU AI. Also beginners can handle this difficulty easily imo when they know somewhat the track and how to handle the car.

As usual in this genre, the cars are driven best from the cockpit perspective. This is the view the game is made for! On some cars I think the banners on the front-window are too big. I would like to have an option to do part to full transparencies on it … but that I wish in other games too, like the Forza or GT series. It’s a game, I don’t sit real in the car. I wish always to have this option … but no one does 😦

As mentioned you can choose between three physic models for the car handling. Novice, Amateur and GetReal.

Novice is a strongly simplistic experience with lots of aid.

Amateur feels good and already real. But you can go early and hard on full throttle with less oversteer and less to no wheelspin and it’s not able to lock the wheels while breaking. But it feels real, it feels good. You don’t feel regulated.

GetReal is the simulation mode of the game. The feeling is really very similar to the Amateurs setting. But you have to take more care by accelerating corner exits, you have much more wheelspin, especially in lower gears. But I wished more sensitive locking wheels while hard breaking, it was nearly impossible to lock the wheels, only in corners maybe a bit … here I wished more.

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Conclusion:

So, can I recommend the game? It depends what you expect. If you a modern gamer and used to get tons of cars, tracks, tasks, tune shops, costumize and other content … then you probably don’t like it. ADAC GT Masters is a small game like a traditional PC racing simulation. You get some tracks, some cars … time attack, single race, championship, an offline and online mode – that’s it! For me this is no problem, you will know every track perfectly and learn how to drive every course and car best and battle for every split second in every corner to find your pace.

If you like this kind of PC racing simulations and don’t expect more … yes, I think you will like it.

But you should also regard that the game is from the technical perspective outdated. The graphic can’t compete with todays spot on racing games like Project Cars, Forza 5 or 6. It feels more like on the level of Race Pro – plus higher resolution … but nearly 10 years later. Thats maybe subjective, but this is how the visuals feels for me. It simply don’t looks like a todays AA of AAA racing game, it looks like a game from yesterday. Deal with it, or let it. If you’re a graphic whore … ADAC GT Masters 2014 is not made for you!

Is it a great sim? Hm … the technique is outdated and the physics are really good but also not the freshest for todays standards. Still good and faithful physics, but can’t compete with the benchmark in the genre like the Forza series. But the more you play, the more you will like it! It’s a very solid racing sim, nothing fresh but still very good. If you like the genre, know what you get and wants to play the supercars of the popular GT racing series … yes, it’s probalbly a game you will have a lot of fun with. It’s made for fans of real motorsport and less for the average gamer. It’s a pity that the presentation is so simple, but the driving does its job! But sorry ex Simbin employees, but with GTR 1&2 you were the leaders in that genre and set the pace … with Sector3 Studios ADAC GT Masters 2014 you remained on that standards from 10 years ago. This works still very good, but imo it’s time for the next step – hope to see in your next racing sim generation.

If you loved the GTR racing games and want this experience again …  yes you can go for it, for fans (like me) this game has dispite the AI issue still a lot to offer. But the AI is an issue for sure, so decide as a single player for yourself. You can compare it with the GTR games and on the same time you can not. The GTR 1&2 were so much better for its time (and had no AI issue).

Rating ADAC GT Masters 2014 (PC)

Controls:            8.0

Visual/Style:       7.0

Audio:                 9.0    (only FX – no music in the game)

Technique:          6.5

AI:                       6.0

Special feature   9.0    (bumpy physics in cockpit view)

OVERALL:         7.4

 

Legend (Ratings):

10/10         brilliant, really rare brilliant, has absolutely no competitors, this game defines genres and the world of games!

9/10           brilliant, really brilliant but has some competitors, not much but some, don’t defines really, but is part of the best of the best!

8/10           really good to great game, depends on tending more to 8 or 9. Among a bunch of other competitors, but great.

7/10           good to really good game, depends on tending more to 7 or 8. There are better games out there, but this game is still a good one.

6/10           really average … mostly in every way. With some real flaws. I you like the genre and your expectations are low, maybe you will have some fun with it. But not so much, this game could be so much better.

5/10           absolutely not necessary to play, it’s a waste of time. Maybe if you like to play trashgames with some friends and a couple of beers. Maybe then, it’s your decision.

4/10           see above – only even worse.

3/10           If you play this piece of shit and knowing about it … go to a doctor!

2/10           total trash – put it into the place where it belongs to. Keep the world clean!

1/10           you’re kidding? Break this cardridge immediately! Now! Show that thing what a hammerfall means! This thing shell die in pain!1

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