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Why are the menus in many modern racing games so bad?

nkarafo

Member
Nov 30, 2012
16,567
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Now, i haven't played every racing game out there. I only have a PC so i can only comment on the games released there.

The last three racing games i spend some time on have awful looking, confusing menus.


Project Cars 2




Forza 7




Forza Horizon 4



What's up with all these boxes of various sizes? They all feel like i'm browsing a crappy Windows mobile OS.

Forza Horizon 4 is especially bad, it might as well have the most confusing menus in videogames history. No matter how much time i have spent with that game so far, i still don't know where everything is. Also, it looks horrible, with no pattern or reason. Forza 7 is not as bad visually, but it's still confusing. Unfortunately, this one also has terrible performance issues with horrible lag, stutters and mini freezes as you browse.

Are other racing games as bad?

I know some older racing games are known for their awful menus as well (Dirt 2 comes to mind). Was this a thing with even older racing games? I don't remember having such issues with some i played on N64/PS1/PS2, etc. I mean, here's how it looks on my favorite PS2 racing game (WRC 4)



Nice and simple.
 
Last edited:

Bankai

Member
Jul 14, 2015
1,054
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Wreckfest on PS5 had pretty good menu's!

...

No it didn't, it was so confusing and the music couldn't go loud enough and it was never in the place I looked.
Great game though :)
 
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SafeOrAlone

Member
May 22, 2018
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I was loving what I tried of Forza 4, but those menus were a big eyesore and a reason I hopped out. I'm sure they aren't all that complicated, but to a new player, they just weren't friendly.
 

Elysion

Member
Jan 11, 2020
373
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Good lord, that FH4 menu…

Despite belonging to what is possibly the simplest and most straightforward genre of them all, racing games sure do love their overly complex menus (especially simulators). But I think games in general are in dire need of more elegant UI design. I‘m currently replaying AC Black Flag on Switch, and the menus in that game are a nightmare to navigate.
 
Jun 2, 2017
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I thought it was cause I was getting older(im 34 lol), but in all those games you mentioned, plus Gran Turismo I always feel lost compared to older racers.
 

Inviusx

Member
Jan 4, 2016
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That grid, or card design or whatever you want to call it, it has a "Madden game from the mid 2010's" vibe to it. It just lacks soul.



Microsoft carried that design and ran with it for the Xbox UI, it just feels unintuitive.



Meanwhile GT Sport has a comparatively clean and modern menu design that centres around a dynamic slide show of high res car photos, trivia, in game capture of your cars driving out of the garage, your photomode photos and other stuff





That same approach can be seen with the PS5 UI, where they want everything to be about the key art and less about the actual menu items. Super slick.

 
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Iamborghini

Member
Dec 19, 2019
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I thinks it’s done to make you feel the game has a lot of features.

In your exemples I like PC2 menus, never played the game but it feels well easy to understand with the main menus at the top.
 
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cireza

Member
Jun 1, 2014
8,953
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Strongly dislike these menus as well. You get a bit the same stuff in Hitman. It took me a lot of time to finally understand where things were etc...
 

22:22

Doesnt need recognition
Nov 19, 2020
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GTSport's menu is very pleasing aestheticy speaking, in regards to functionality though there's certainly room for improvement.
 

ZywyPL

Member
Nov 27, 2018
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Too much content/features I guess - on one hand the devs don't want us having to go through through a submenu of a submenu, then back to the main menu and again through different submenus again to find what we are searching for, so they throw as much stuff as possible at once, which isn't a very finesse way anyway.
 

Moonjt9

Member
Oct 2, 2019
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Wreckfest on PS5 had pretty good menu's!

...

No it didn't, it was so confusing and the music couldn't go loud enough and it was never in the place I looked.
Great game though :)
I came here to post this exact thing!

I can’t even tell what I’m looking at with that menu, or even what’s highlighted. Awful UI design. Simple lists or images in an ordered fashion are what is needed. I feel like these designers have ADHD
 
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chonga

Member
Aug 17, 2020
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You didn't even show the worst one. Gran Turismo Sport. Nothing is called what it should be, and it's scattered all over the place behind submenus.

"Brand Central", who the fuck calls a car showroom Brand Central? "Sport Mode", who the fuck calls Online Mode Sport Mode? "Scapes", who the fuck calls Photo Mode Scapes?

Amusing that someone just posted that screenshot as a good example of a clean and modern design.

The mere fact that this image exists tells you why it is bad UI. If you need to make an image with labels to explain what all the parts of your UI are and do, you've made a bad UI. UI shouldn't need explaining.
 

xrnzaaas

Member
Dec 9, 2013
12,622
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Personally I don't like menus based on tiles, especially when they're in various sizes. I'm not operating a Windows tablet ffs.
 
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Hypereides

Member
Jan 19, 2009
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Its UX design over aesthetics, mate. These UIs are specifically based on meticulous user testing. Its not really any longer about making them look "interesting", but instead they're designed to serve a specific function. Modern day visual gradient/material design and minimalism is effective in attaining clear visual communication in that regard.

Generally, most modern game GUIs lack any distinct character to be frank. They're usually so bland they just mesh together. I also agree the WRC PS2 screen looks more pleasing to the eye.
 
Last edited:

Spaceman292

Member
Mar 11, 2019
1,978
3,325
425
Now, i haven't played every racing game out there. I only have a PC so i can only comment on the games released there.

The last three racing games i spend some time on have awful looking, confusing menus.


Project Cars 2




Forza 7




Forza Horizon 4



What's up with all these boxes of various sizes? They all feel like i'm browsing a crappy Windows mobile OS.

Forza Horizon 4 is especially bad, it might as well have the most confusing menus in videogames history. No matter how much time i have spent with that game so far, i still don't know where everything is. Also, it looks horrible, with no pattern or reason. Forza 7 is not as bad visually, but it's still confusing. Unfortunately, this one also has terrible performance issues with horrible lag, stutters and mini freezes as you browse.

Are other racing games as bad?

I know some older racing games are known for their awful menus as well (Dirt 2 comes to mind). Was this a thing with even older racing games? I don't remember having such issues with some i played on N64/PS1/PS2, etc. I mean, here's how it looks on my favorite PS2 racing game (WRC 4)



Nice and simple.
So they can more easily obscure and ambush you with microtransactions.
 

Shut0wen

Member
Oct 29, 2020
276
142
245
Now, i haven't played every racing game out there. I only have a PC so i can only comment on the games released there.

The last three racing games i spend some time on have awful looking, confusing menus.


Project Cars 2




Forza 7




Forza Horizon 4



What's up with all these boxes of various sizes? They all feel like i'm browsing a crappy Windows mobile OS.

Forza Horizon 4 is especially bad, it might as well have the most confusing menus in videogames history. No matter how much time i have spent with that game so far, i still don't know where everything is. Also, it looks horrible, with no pattern or reason. Forza 7 is not as bad visually, but it's still confusing. Unfortunately, this one also has terrible performance issues with horrible lag, stutters and mini freezes as you browse.

Are other racing games as bad?

I know some older racing games are known for their awful menus as well (Dirt 2 comes to mind). Was this a thing with even older racing games? I don't remember having such issues with some i played on N64/PS1/PS2, etc. I mean, here's how it looks on my favorite PS2 racing game (WRC 4)



Nice and simple.
Funny you mention dirt 2 because the tread for these type of menus came once that game got released,
 
Feb 3, 2020
196
213
230
I'm assuming they're basing the designs off the way apps line up on a phone/tablet. I'm also getting weird "brochure" vibes, anybody else remember those? Lol. They don't seem to understand that navigating a menu with your fingers on a screen is much different from using a controller.
 

SublimeCorruptor

Neo Member
May 3, 2021
47
38
110
I recently started The Crew 2 which has the same awful UI. Horizon is a mess too.
WRC 9 has a bad main menu but is fine when you get into Career mode.
Gravel is ok but the game is barebones comparatively.
There's a reason some games revert to faux mouse controls as it makes it easier.
I think PS5 OS has regressed in functionality and UX but looks good.