If any of you have been following my posts the last 2 weeks or so, you’ll have read my series comparing the cities from a specific game to the real cities we live in, have visited, or seen lots of on TV and movies.
You would have also seen a lot of my comparison pictures of the cities as well, but if you have generally noticed in most of the game pics there seems to be one constant theme especially when getting skyline shots of the cities: I’m driving my car either by or towards a downtown area on a freeway. That’s what I plan to talk about, freeway driving games.
Now the game in question that I was talking about is The Crew. I love that there is a virtual version of the United States that you can drive across at your leisure complete with big cities, small towns, and of course my favorite part, freeways and highways. The Crew though is just one of a good selection of open world games in which you can drive on freeways.
You might be asking yourself why I’m talking about freeways and expressways here. Well, I have always liked them ever since I was old enough to start remembering my trips with my parents to New Orleans. There was just something about sitting in the backseat and looking through the car window as we pass through cities driving on the highways and seeing the big green signs, multiple lanes, fast moving traffic (if you’re not going through at rush hour) and the massive freeway interchanges that I just loved as well as seeing different parts of a city as well as the city’s main skyline.
I remember as a child that I had these toy hot wheel tracks that I could put together and with these certain type of blocks or connectors, I would build elevated bridges that would go across the kitchen. My parents sometimes hated it because they would have to constantly step over them and so I unfortunately could not leave them up for long periods of time.
My parents at one point thought I was going to be an engineer because of my obsession with putting together toy highways at the time. Of course as you get older, things change and you discover other things that do interest you, but freeways and cities (and now the wilderness too) still remain among my top fascinations. Alright let’s get to some of the open world driving games that contain some cool highways and freeways.
This game will probably be in my top 2 of favorite open world driving games. The MASSIVE map of the US (scaled down of course) with every road type imaginable as well as different terrain, cities, and towns.
This game is loaded with highways which are basically its version of interstates that mirror some of the actual interstates today though there are some exceptions to this. For the most part in the rural parts of the map, the highways are pretty accurate as they are four lane divided highways though the exits and on and off ramps sometimes do not resemble how they actually should be, nevertheless you’ll recognize them as interstates and some of them in the game do have interstate shields.
Sadly, there are no big green overhead signs especially in the major cities which is something I had really hoped for. With a map as big as this it may have been hard to put so many of them in there.
Now the big difference with the freeways in the game is when you get into the major cities. I’ve probably mentioned this in my review as well, but when you are in the cities and driving around its freeways you will notice they generally resemble how they are when driving in the open areas away from the city.
What I mean by this is that they remain 4 lanes instead of the 6 and higher lane freeways of real life. Again, a bit disappointing, but I’d rather have the 4 lane freeways than none at all. Now there are just a couple of exceptions to this in the game. In the city of Detroit, one of its highways is 6 lanes and New York City has a 6 lane elevated highway as well which closely resembles the FDR highway which if you’re from NYC, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
One thing I am happy about though is that some of the freeways do follow their actual alignments in the cities in real life. If you read my recent article about The Crew’s New Orleans, you’ll see some screenshots and a video of myself driving a car throughout the city, but also on its highways which go by the downtown skyline and over the Mississippi River by going across the twin span Crescent City Connection bridges.
I love that as it for the most part makes me feel like I’m back there in that city driving to my grandmother’s house. Other cities in the game that are fairly close or try to resemble some of each city’s actual highways are St. Louis and Dallas as well as Seattle. In St. Louis in the game, one of the freeways is a little sunken below ground, but goes right by the Arch which is true to life as in the actual city, that would be I-44.
Dallas in the game has a loop highway around the city (which mainly just comprises its downtown area) and a VERY large highway interchange that resembles the High Five interchange that the city is known for. If you’ve also read my other post comparing real life Dallas vs the game’s version, you’ll see some pictures of the interchange and how closely they do match. I do like driving on this part in the game as it makes it feel like you’re really driving in Dallas.
Now there are other cities to that have highways in the game that I haven’t talked about extensively yet, but there is Salt Lake City, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington D.C. Chicago in the game has a cool elevated highway that goes right by the city’s airport (known as O’Hare International) and not far from the large skyline of the city.
Los Angeles I would say probably has the largest freeway system in the game though again, they are not to scale meaning they are generally just 4 lane highways instead of the many 8 to 10 lane highways that really run through the Los Angeles area. The interchanges though do fairly closely resemble the actual ones so that is a plus. Then in San Francisco you have the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. I will talk more extensively about this in the continuation of my real city vs game city comparison articles.
Grand Theft Auto V
Now this is a game that is just a total blast to play because there are so many different things you can do in this game from causing mayhem, to driving recklessly, and the open world nature that has been a staple of the series from its very beginning, you cannot go wrong with GTA V.
I will have to say that to date, Grand Theft Auto V has been my most favorite game of the series. The map is huge though not the size of The Crew and I love how the city of Los Santos is resembled after the best parts of LA. You can also drive outside the city limits into the next county and into the awesome countryside.
As I mentioned above, Los Santos is loosely modeled from the actual city of Los Angeles, mainly the best parts of the city. You have a Hollywood type area, the downtown skyscrapers, rundown and gang infested neighborhoods, the beach and a Santa Monica Pier area, airport, and even a large port. I’m here though to talk about freeways and I’m glad to say that Grand Theft Auto V does have a freeway system.
Now unlike The Crew’s freeways, GTA V’s are generally closer to scale and resemble much better the way the freeways look in LA. Some of the freeways in the game do at points get up to 8 lanes wide, have some cool looking and large interchanges as well as a couple of big bridges.
Another thing that makes me happy with cruising around the freeways around Los Santos and the surrounding areas is that the freeways in the game have those large green overhead signs signaling upcoming exits off the highway or approaching another freeway. If you’re familiar with LA then you know that there are interstate freeways all over the metro area but the big ones especially that go by or near downtown are I-10, I-5, and I-110/CA-110. Los Santos has its own numbered highways though one of them is numbered as I-5.
The other two interstates in the game are known as I-2 and I-4 though none of these interstates actually exist in California, but they are actually interstates in other states. There’s an actual interstate 4 in Florida and believe it or not there is an interstate 2 in Texas that is actually pretty new. It was apparently commissioned back in 2013, only goes about 47 miles and is near the Mexican border. Funny how I originally thought those were fictional highways and turns out they actually exist.
You might be asking yourself if the freeways in the game have any dense traffic similar to the LA that we all know. The good news is yes, at times the traffic can sometimes be a little thick, though not completely stop and go traffic like the actual city.
That would get annoying real quick if it were like that quite a bit in this game, but thankfully while the traffic can get a little heavy at times, you can still generally navigate around it and if all else fails, get out a rocket launcher or grenade and take out the traffic yourself, hehe.
The Need For Speed Series
If we are talking about freeways and highways we certainly cannot leave out this famous racing game series. Need For Speed has always been about very fast cars and the roads and highways to race them on.
The early game were not open world or free roaming, but as new game systems were released and more powerful than the previous generation, the Need For Speed games evolved as well and so when the Underground series came about back on the PS2, the series finally moved to open world driving and racing and had freeways as part of it. There weren’t a lot of freeways in the games, but what they did have was awesome and really allowed you to get your car up to speed and go as fast as possible.
Need For Speed Rivals was more of a shift away from the urban landscape, but retained its open world status and still had a California type feel to it. The game does have a single freeway known as I-4 (why does this interstate seem so popular in games?) and goes right through the country side from the edge of the mountains to a desert setting, but is a 6 lane freeway with a few exits off the highway. It is really nice to drive on especially if you’re trying to get away from the game’s intense cops so that way you can get up to speed quickly to try and outrun them.
Not much else to say here other than there is a large interchange under construction on one part of the highway. You can go up its large incomplete ramps and then launch your car right off the top for a long jump and fall.
The new Need For Speed game that came out late last year returns to an urban setting in the fictional city of Ventura Bay. In my review of the game, I mention that this city is a loose version of the city of Los Angeles.
It seems LA is a popular city to model game cities after. The game does have a couple of freeways known as I-5 and I-6. Interstate 5 is generally a big freeway loop around the entire area while I-6 is a shorter freeway going from one end of I-5 to the other end. It serves more as a quicker route if you don’t want to take I-5 all the way around the map.
Unfortunately, the freeways in the game have very little traffic and are not very wide. In some parts of it the freeways are 6 lanes, but for a majority it is 4 lanes. Still though, they are just perfect to take your modified vehicle and see how fast you can get it.
Other Games with Freeways
There are a couple of other open world games on the PS4 that also have freeways in them or relatively close to resembling them. Watch Dogs is one as its city is modeled after Chicago. Its freeway system is not very extensive, but it does resemble one of the interstates known as I-94 that goes through the real life city.
Traffic in the game on the highway is not too heavy, but not as light as say the Need For Speed series tends to be. It is a neat sight to see though as you’re driving on the highway and come up to the Chicago skyline with the Willis (I still say it is Sears!) tower in the middle of it.
Just Cause 3 is another open world game that is fairly new to the PS4 and takes place on a fictional Mediterranean island. It does feature roads and some tall bridges, but really does not have any true freeways.
That has not always been the case in this series because if you’ve played Just Cause 2 from the PS3/Xbox 360 era, the fictional island it was on did feature long elevated highways which were sometimes fun to drive on. Since JC3 is in a more European setting and there aren’t as many highways or freeways as the US, I think the game developers had decided to leave them out which I don’t necessarily mind as the game is just a blast to play.
Well there you have it folks, my list of freeway driving games on the PS4 that I love to play. If you like freeways and highways and don’t want to waste gas and time driving on the actual freeways and want to do it just for fun in a video game setting, these are the best games to do it.
There’s an interstate in The Crew that elevates and goes through The Rocky Mountains on its way to Salt Lake City. It is quite breath taking for a video game. You won’t go wrong with GTA V and the wide open freeways of Los Santos and thicker traffic. Nothing like driving super fast on the freeways of Need of Speed with exotic and modified cars. Check out the video below of a drive on some of the freeways in GTA V.