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16 Best Racing Games

Blow off steam with the top racing games out there

Best Overall Choice

Forza Horizon 4

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Best Premium Choice

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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Best Budget Choice

Forza Horizon 3

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Forza Motorsport 7

As long as video games have existed, people have wanted to drive fast and release some stress. Let’s face it – driving is a fun pastime, so it makes sense that people would turn to it as a recreational activity. Whether you prefer to get behind the wheel of a go-kart or exotic supercar, there’s a racing simulator out there for you. The question you’re left to answer is, which one is the best racing simulator game of them all? Well, we reviewed a damn-good many of them, and from the popular Gran Turismo Sport to a platform for F1 racing, we’ll help you decide which racing game is right for you.

 

Best Overall Choice

1. Forza Horizon 4

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The fourth edition of this popular racing series was released early in October 2018 and quickly became a fan favorite. The thrills are endless as you compete in various events, try out various (and often ridiculous) stunt missions, or play in the often heated team-based modes with friends and strangers alike.

The platform itself transitions between four seasons. Each week, you can expect updated content, challenges, gameplay, and rewards. Imagine the difference of driving in the British Isles during a warm, summer day compared to a cold, winter morning. You’ll see it all considering that Turn10 has elected not to wall off any areas in its digital conglomerate modeled after the real-world UK.

Not only can you collect more than 450 cars in this racing game, but there’s some exceptional scenery to enjoy as well. Not to mention the dozens of DLC cars already planned for monthly release. With a perfect blend of arcade and realistic handling coupled with a vast and diverse open world, Forza Horizon 4 is a racing simulator you can easily spend hours driving around your favorite cars in. Try it out and become a Horizon Superstar today.

2. Burnout Paradise Remastered

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Ten years after the initial release of Burnout Paradise, Criterion Games unveiled a tribute to it. This says something for how popular the original was and is one of the reasons we included it on our best racing games list.

Through this game, it’s easy to relive all the high-octane stunts and destruction from this arcade-style driving game. The sounds of the streets include scraping guard rails, squealing tires, and roaring engines set to a delightfully nostalgic and very appropriate soundtrack. Artists such as Guns N’ Roses, Jimmy Eat World, Depeche Mode, and Alice in Chains fill out the setlist while a nice touch of Mozart, Beethoven, and even Tchaikovsky is provided for the more cultured Burnout players among us.

Join in with open world events and team up with others to smash billboards. You can have fun all by yourself with 75 cars to unlock and tons of activities and collectibles spread across the map. Dial it up online and complete the hundreds of different challenges waiting for you to start the ignition.

 

3. F1 2018

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If you are a Formula 1 fan, then this is the best race car game for you. It features an authentic experience, ideal for anyone that follows this global motorsport. In the game, you have access to team management and PR work dealing with media, providing a rich and rewarding atmosphere both on and off the track.

This platform offers the latest tracks, cars, and drivers. In fact, they’ve also included 18 classic vehicles as well. Make sure you try out the 1955 Ferrari 412 T2 because it was the final F1 vehicle with a V12 engine – an honest masterpiece and incredible to drive; this racing simulator really does its cars justice.

Considering this is the Officially Licensed game for the 2018 season, you gain access to the entire calendar of circuits and the full roster of drivers. Race for a little while and you might just forget it’s a simulator.

4. Gran Turismo Sport

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If you talk to anyone that enjoys racing games, chances are they’ve heard of Gran Turismo. That’s because it was one of the most popular games that ever existed. The Sport version is modern and updated. It focuses heavily on competing in a multi-player setting online. Of course, it’s still as satisfying regarding visual appeal as the previous titles.

The online championship has even been certified by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. Through this software, you get to compete for a home country with your favorite manufacturer. Choose from the Nations Cup or the Manufacturers Cup to race in. Pick a high-performance car from more than 140 options and enjoy the 19 real-world locations spanning 27 layouts. Gran Turismo is a Sony exclusive and therefore only available on PlayStation systems.

5. Horizon Chase Turbo

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This retro-inspired arcade racer was released in May 2018. It’s available for the PC and PS4, as well as Android and iOS devices. Drive some legendary vehicles and enjoy nostalgic low-poly graphics that remind you of the way things used to be.

Why not gather some of your friends and try your skills out in four-player mode? This thrilling arcade game was originally inspired by Lotus Turbo Challenger, Top Gear, and Outrun, but what’s most exciting about it is the soundtrack. In fact, Barry Leitch composed it. You might remember him as the man in charge of Top Gear’s music over 25 years ago.

6. OnRush

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OnRush isn’t your typical race car simulator; it’s a team combat racing challenge. It’s your mission to score points by making your way through the checkpoints and taking competitors down as ruthlessly as possible. Your gameplay depends on what mode you set it on. Switch mode gives all the contenders a bike and a set number of lives. Each time your vehicle is destroyed, you get to change to another one until you don’t have any cars left. Then, the last team still standing wins the game. With Lockdown mode, you’ll notice similarities to Battlefield and Call of Duty. It’s a King-of-the-Hill style minigame that requires players to hold a point for as long as possible to rack up points.

Because OnRush was built by the same team who did Motorstorm and Driveclub, you can expect some stunning visuals and precision graphics. It’s also a thrilling multiplayer experience, unlike anything you’ve ever enjoyed before.

7. DiRT 4

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Rally games are on their way back in and DiRT 4 is a great way to ease back into it. Luckily, off-road enthusiasts have more options when it comes to racing simulator games these days, but DiRT 4 comes as somewhat of an exception to the rule in a world of open-world, tons-to-do types like Forza Horizon 4. You see, where past iterations of the DiRT franchise have featured Gymkhana and Demolition Derby style events, DiRT 4 strips away everything that isn’t pure, undiluted rally driving – and that’s exactly what this racing game is about.

Career mode allows players to manage their own team, enabling them to hire or fire their crew, sign up sponsors, and design their own experience. There’s also a nifty feature that allows you to randomly generate rally stages, so you could theoretically never drive the same course twice. As for the vehicle selection, you can choose from a variety of stadium trucks, modern subcompacts, classic rally cars, and Group B legends donned in the liveries we all know and love. If you want to get serious about your gameplay, there’s a live ladder, tournaments, leagues, and cross-platform leaderboards to compete against.

It is worth noting that past iterations of this game have been very touchy with the controls which really brings out the nuanced characteristics of a proper rally vehicle. Where brute force and a ‘pedal to the metal’ mindset can get you far in other racing sims, you’ll likely notice that it’s the small adjustments and precise throttle control that ultimately get you the gold in DiRT 4. In fact, more often than not, you’ll find yourself careening off into a ditch while you’re still getting the hang of what it’s like to race in this cutting-edge rally racing simulator.

8. Forza Motorsport 7

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You won’t find a game that does what Forza Motorsport does. Microsoft outdid themselves with this racing game. There are more than 700 cars to choose from, giving Forza Motorsport 7 a larger car list than any game of its generation. There are also endless customization features, 32 different tracks, and a completely redesigned career mode.

With this version, everyone can compete. Enjoy the Forza Racing Championship Esports league with spectating modes and split-screen play. Experience the best in 4K gaming with a proper racing wheel setup and you’ll forget you aren’t driving a real car in no time at all.

Best Premium Choice

9. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

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Last year, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe broke the record for the fastest-selling game out of the franchise. Back when the original debuted for the Wii U, it was hailed as being the best kart racer ever. This version brings back all of the earlier thrills including Battle Mode. The gameplay is exceptionally smooth with 60 frames per second plus 1080p. It allows you to fully enjoy the track designs and challenge yourself with the 200cc mode.

Race with your friends locally in four-player mode and spot your favorite characters like King Boo, Bowser Jr., and Dry Bones. Just as can be expected from any Nintendo classic, this generation’s iteration is every bit as fun as its predecessors and has everything you’d expect with a few new additions to liven up the experience.

10. Driveclub

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While this might be the oldest game of its generation on our best racing game list, it still has a lot of appeal. The multiplayer arcade racer showcases precise attention to detail and offers some amazing landscapes. It was inspired by some of the Need for Speed titles and reminds us slightly of the Project Gotham Racing platforms.

If Driveclub does anything right, it gets the basics down. You’ll experience real-life weather effects, amazing speeds, and superior handling models. You won’t find lots of advanced features on this game, but if you just care about getting out and racing, this is the way to go. You can join in with one of the existing clubs or take the bull by the horns and create your own with up to 12 drivers. Varied challenges offer lots of unique gameplay to keep you entertained.

11. Wipeout Omega Collection

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If you’re a fan of electronic music and enjoy advertising in your games, then this racing game is for you. It’s a remaster of the previous two installments: both Wipeout HD back from the PS3 days and Wipeout 2048 on the PS Vita. With the new version, you also receive an updated soundtrack.

Race on 26 reversible circuits with 9 game modes and 46 unique ships. Take your friends on with a split-screen showdown or battle in eight-player races online. While the scope of the game is a bit limited and the arcadey everything about it can be a bit overwhelming at times, there really is something to the way the ships just glide around the tracks. Vehicle handling is incredibly fluid and the level of agility the racers in this game accomplish even at speed is a mind-boggling and welcome departure from the typical racing game.

12. Project Cars 2

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Project Cars 2 was developed by the same group of people that brought us the work of art that was the Need for Speed: Shift series. In this racing game, they offer a stronger focus on motorsports from a variety of disciplines. You’ll have access to sports cars, classic tourers, and open-wheel racers as well. They also offer one of the widest selections of circuits on the market today as well as 180 driveable vehicles from the start. While it’s not even in the ballpark of the ridiculously-high-bar-setting Forza Motorsport 7 with its 700+ cars, it’s definitely got enough variety to provide hours upon hours of entertainment.

With the variable weather system, you can simulate your races through varying seasons. There’s also a single-player campaign mode which follows a real-life driver’s career. If you dream of turning your racing skills into a profession, you’ll find a lot of pleasure in Project Cars 2. An in-depth tuning guide also exists in-game to help add a level of realism to the game while simultaneously giving more feeling to the cars. Dialogue boxes allow drivers to address any number of complaints about the car and the game will essentially teach you how to tune the vehicle in order to refine it exactly how you want it.

All-in-all, the game addresses several complaints about the sequel and essentially debuted as the title that it was meant to be in the first place – a solid, grounded, highly customizable racing simulator where the physics are rewarding and the cars feel so right you just want to keep driving them over and over again.

13. Fast RMX

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Fans of the F-Zero franchise will love this game (shoutout to Captain Falcon, though). This technical masterpiece features stunning course design, hard-to-beat AI, and fast-track action. Phase-Switching keeps players engaged, forcing them to switch between one of two phases, orange and blue, to match the color of a pad on the ground. Get it right for a speed boost or flub the phase-switch and see yourself getting brake-checked. It may sound gimmicky, and it is, but it also can cause you to miss jumps or awkwardly bump into turn walls, which means it can actually impact the outcome of the race and is something to be paid attention to.

The advanced skill of this game forces you to learn all of the tracks like the back of your hand. Different vehicles suit different racing types and there actually is a certain level of strategy that can be deployed in this game where speed is everything. Fast RMX is quickly on its way to becoming a cult classic and will likely live on in the hearts and homes of dedicated enthusiasts for years to come.

14. Assetto Corsa

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What’s interesting about Assetto Corsa is that this racing game wasn’t developed by a large team. In fact, Kunos Simulazioni is only a group of five people based out of Italy. Despite that, the game has received rave reviews for its attention to detail and accuracy. From the makers of netKar Pro, a widely-appreciated and underrated racing simulator from 2006, Assetto Corsa is an improvement over its predecessor in almost every way imaginable.

netKar Pro was praised for its physics and visual realistic tire wear and vehicle damage. The game didn’t feature a single player mode and had limited community support, so it never really got the support it deserved. Also, only three of the vehicles were officially licensed. Compare that to Assetto Corsa’s 120+ officially licensed cars, extensive single-player campaign, improved graphics, physics, and damage models, huge cult following and mind-blowing attention to detail where every car feels unique and different and you’ll see just how much Kunos Simulazioni have learned in the last decade.

It’s been several years since its release, but they still have one of the best handling games out there. Make sure you get a high-quality racing wheel to head out on the track because this simulator feels like the real thing. Of course, there’s limited content due to the scope of the team that built it, but it’s still very rewarding to play. You don’t have access to as many cars as the monstrous volumes found in other games of its generation, but that really just adds to the intimate authenticity in each one. If it’s authenticity you want, you won’t find a better option.

Best Budget Choice

15. Forza Horizon 3

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While we’ve already mentioned Horizon 4 in our best car racing game list, this one deserved its own spot, too. It’s a full-blown automotive playground with an arcade experience set in the heart of Australia. It makes sense for every racing enthusiast to own both versions for unique gameplay.

Head into the Australian wilderness to test out some of the best cars ever produced. You’ll find an extensive selection of American muscle cars and their Australian counterparts, some particularly rowdy street-legal and stadium trucks, as well as a healthy dose of Euro hatches, Japanese imports, turbos, exotics, hypercars and more.

Roam the Australian outback in some of the fastest cars ever made then take things to the next level with Blizzard Mountain. This snow-rally wonderland offers some of the best weather effects in all of gaming. With the Hot Wheels Expansion, you can also bring some of your childhood fantasies into reality on some of the most insane tracks you’ve ever raced on, featuring the likeness of so many of the nostalgic sets we grew up with.

As expected, there’s also a healthy dose of DLC cars and more events than you can shake a stick at. Leveling up rewards the player with a prize wheelspin which can result in a free car or some cool cash. Bucket list challenges allow players to experience a collection of unique vehicles in environments they were designed to thrive in, or make you do the most ridiculous thing in the worst car for the job just for the sake of unnecessary difficulty and comic relief; it can honestly go either way. Pick this racing game up today to enjoy hundreds of hours of driving your favorite cars on long, open roads, completely devoid of any apparent form of law enforcement or real consequences for going like 200 miles per hour in a Lamborghini Centenario.

16. RFactor

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Make room for the stock cars. Definitively the oldest title on our list of the best racing games, RFactor lets you experience a wide range of single-seat cars that feel completely authentic. The biggest rave this game receives is about its sharp and accurate steering. Many people claim it’s the best racing game if you want to feel like you’re out on the road.

In addition, the AI behaves insanely naturally; you would think you’re racing another human. It’s probably one of the top racing games if compared to the bots of others. They regularly defend their leads, make errors that seem completely human, and avoid colliding with the other competitors. With this game, you can also join or watch any race from RaceCast.







About Brian Jones

Brian Jones spent over 30-years at various dealerships as an ASE Certified Master Tech. These days he works with those dealerships to create quality automotive content while spending more time with his family near Dallas, TX. In his spare time, you'll still find him playing with tools, cars, and many other "manly" gadgets. Brian's passions include traveling, pickup trucks, and anything related to motorsports.

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