Whether you love unrealistic high-speed action or ultra-realistic racing simulations that invite you to experiment with countless options and customization options, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in our buyer’s guide to the ten best racing games out there right now. – At least when it comes to virtual motorsport!
Game 1: Trekmania Turbo
Let’s start with an extremely fun racing game from Ubisoft. Trackmania Turbo, developed by Nadeo, is far from tarmac realism, but is full of variety and craziness. The simple principle of the game captivates you from the first second, and with 200 events divided into four categories, countless medals and a motivating hunt for the best score, you and your friends can expect plenty of fun.
Plus, thanks to the route editor, there are endless supplies, always new and fresh challenges and, typical of the series, countless opportunities to blow off steam creatively. The heart of Trackmania Turbo is clearly improving your own driving skills, which is always required at insane speeds. For all those new to cars: what better introduction to the racing genre than such high-speed fun for young and old.
Game 2: Wreckfest
Finnish studio Bugbear is best known for their hugely popular arcade racing series FlatOut. While it’s still considered one of the highlights of the virtual car world, the third and fourth installments in the series were unintentionally pushed so hard against the wall that not a single screw was fit for purpose any more – quite a shame. The development team, now part of THQ Nordic, probably thought so too, and in 2018, after nearly four years of early access, they released Wreckfest, the unofficial successor to the venerable Crash Fest.
The racing game, which focuses on body damage and collisions, is particularly impressive thanks to its complex damage model. If you look at the many racers who are all pretty sleepy in this area, it’s doubly and triply enjoyable. In addition to the madcap Wreck competition, there’s a big focus on more classic motorsport in the form of races that convince with tough duels and surprisingly good feedback from the vehicle and underneath. Anyone who turns the competition into a scrap with Caracho in Wreckfest will not only have a lot of fun, but will also help relive the painful death of the FlatOut brand – welcome!
Game 3: Burnout Paradise Remastered
It’s been over twelve years since EA Criterion Games caused a stir amongst arcade racing fans with their action racer Burnout Paradise. Even after all this time, there are still countless fans of high speeds who get nostalgic at the thought of the fascinating open-world gaming world of Paradise City. It really does make sense. Instead of having to deal with a long introduction or annoying tutorial, you get straight into the high-speed playground without much ado. There are also interesting secrets hidden everywhere in the form of dizzying tricks and shortcuts.
At every traffic light, there are racing events that put the satisfying feeling of speed in the spotlight again and again. More than 70 vehicles also offer a pleasing variation that fuels the famous Burnout gameplay cycle with nitro. What’s also particularly noteworthy: Burnout Paradise Remastered is also available for the Nintendo Switch, which is otherwise unsuited to motorsport. It even achieves a steady 60fps, which is essential for a racing game! If you’re looking for an affordable arcade race without the frills or just want to indulge in nostalgia, you can’t do without Burnout Paradise Remastered.
Game 4: Forza Horizon 5
There are only a few game series where each individual installment is one of the best in its genre and time. One such game series is the amazing Xbox brand Forza Horizon. The game has always been a success with its beautiful open worlds and countless possibilities, but with Forza Horizon 5 you take it to the next level in many ways. The multifaceted and paradisiacal game world of Mexico still promises all sorts of secrets even after countless hours of play, and the newly introduced expeditions make diverse and entertaining use of the game world’s diversity.
In addition to the massive game world, more than 500 beautifully designed vehicles from a variety of well-known manufacturers, countless online and single-player events and graphical splendour rarely seen. If you want an arcade race, then Forza Horizon 5 is a damn good choice.
A little note for those who don’t have an Xbox or a working gaming PC: Ubisoft’s The Crew 2 also offers a huge open world and plenty of fun events to play with friends or alone. It lags far behind the Horizon series games in some aspects, but there are boats and planes in addition to cars… That’s something, too.
Game 5: F1 2021
When you talk about motorsport, of course you can’t ignore the premier billion euro Formula 1 class. Fortunately, this also applies to virtual racing! Whether it’s F1 2017, 2019 or 2020, Codemasters has released plenty of great F1 games over the past few years. Unsurprisingly, our choice falls on the thrilling F1 2021. Not only does it have the biggest scope in the series, including a high-quality racing story, but every area has also been significantly redesigned and expanded upon over the years.
In My Team mode, we can take on the role of driver and team manager and make important financial and strategic decisions, including the dynamic driver market, qualifying, race strategy and press meetings.
In addition, you can adapt F1 2021 perfectly to your needs with countless customization options. Whether it’s a handheld arcade race or a challenging race with high demands for simulation and realism, F1 2021 promises first-class gaming fun. If you can’t wait for the upcoming start of the season or, like many others, suffer from the current “Drive to Survive” fever: definitely grab it!
Game 6: Gran Turismo 7
Fans have long had to wait for a full-fledged new Gran Turismo, one of the kings and pioneers of the racing genre. waiting. But my goodness, it was well worth it. Gran Turismo 7 is visually stunning, playfully motivating and finally, again! – Another step towards simulation. The obvious aim is to return to the roots of the legendary brand, as well as a technical and innovative twist on the future. With Gran Turismo 7, Sony and developer Polyphony Digital are unveiling a generous overall package, including the long-awaited return of the popular world mode. We start out as a small racing talent, fighting for wins and recognition behind the wheel of cheap road cars. Gradually – especially after hundreds of hours of play – we gradually progress to the top leagues of motorsport and, in doing so, gain places in increasingly luxurious, rarer and faster cars. And they are the brightest star in the GT7 sky.
Game 7: Project Cars 2
If you want an impressive way to see how a series of games can go from “oops” to “ugh”, watch Project Cars 2… and right after that Project Cars is a pain, yes, so go ahead and do it. it and stay with Project Cars 2. The racing game, developed by Slightly Mad Studios, shines with an intense driving experience that can rarely be enjoyed virtually, especially on consoles. If you want to race a challenging F1 Lotus from 1986, Project Cars 2 will suit you. But if you prefer a 1972 Ford Escort, you can do that too! Although there are racing games for PC and consoles where the tyre behaviour and track conditions are more realistic,
Even five years after its release, the powerful feedback and therefore immersive driving experience feels superb. Unlike its simulation rivals, Project Cars 2 also impresses with great scope and ostentatious technology that burns an extremely satisfying sense of speed onto the screen. The dizzyingly detailed settings are just the cherry on the cake for motorsport enthusiasts. What do we want to tell you? You should try it and, more importantly, stay away from Project Cars 3 !
Game 8: Dirty Rally 2.0
When it comes to extremely appealing driving physics in racing games, Codemasters is one of the main guarantors! And not because of popular game series like Formula 1 or Grid, but because of Dirt Rally. Unlike such disappointments as Project Cars 3, the sequel has gone even further! Dirt Rally 2.0 feels fantastic. If you appreciate the thrilling staging, lots of content or the rewind feature that protects you from disappointment, you may have trouble getting started. But they sweep away surprisingly quickly on the track.
Whether it’s a WRX-licensed rallycross competition or a sweaty rally where spectacular track wear is evident, Dirt Rally 2.0 is a joy to watch. In terms of our adrenaline, our quest for perfection and, most importantly, our enjoyment of the game. Yes, the predecessor had more content and the role-playing system within the campaign feels a bit artificial. The DLC policy on Codemasters’ part also remains quite bold, but still: Dirt Rally and Dirt Rally 2.0 are a force in the racing genre that fans should have experienced at least once.
Game 9: Assetto Corsa / Assetto Corsa Competizione
Which brings us to two of the most realistic racing simulators on the market. It starts with the Italian car simulator Assetto Corsa or the official sequel Assetto Corsa Competizione – unlike most competitors, it’s also available on consoles! With a few caveats, but more on that later.
Developer Kunos Simulazioni was able to gain initial experience with Ferrari Virtual Academy back in 2010, then worked on the Assetto Corsa racing platform and released the successor to Assetto Corsa Competizione in 2018, which has made progress, especially in the tech area, thanks to a new game engine and important updates. The driving physics are absolutely outstanding, whether in part one or part two – at least if you have the right accessories. None of this is recommended with the controller, as it simply lacks the necessary feedback. If you’re mulling over the idea of taking your first steps as a sim racer, you definitely need a steering wheel with force feedback support. You should also appreciate a steering angle of at least 900 degrees.
As well as a great driving experience, there is, of course, much more. For example, official GT World Challenge Europe licensing, including the legendary 24-hour race at Spa. In addition, the official ‘Ferrari Esports Series’ uses Assetto Corsa for its championship – Ferrari’s national pride certainly resonates in this, but underlines the popular racing brand’s claim to realism. If you want beautiful graphics, ultra-realistic race tracks and a masterclass driving experience, you should take a closer look.
Game 10: rFactor 2
Which brings us to our last ‘video game’ on our list – if you can call it that at all. Racing simulator rFactor 2 is considered the most realistic simulator on the market alongside Assetto Corsa, but it goes a few steps further. Whether for motorsport engineers or test drivers in various racing classes such as Formula 1, anyone looking for an ultra-realistic racing simulator with countless customisation options will almost exclusively use rFactor 2.
In the areas of tyre wear, heat transfer and rubber behaviour alone, the American simulation considers more data points than any other! The tracks are not laser scanned like Assetto Corsa or Gran Turismo, but use other advanced technology. Not only does this provide a very accurate representation of the actual routes, but it also dynamically changes the surfaces as the race progresses. And just as impressive is the AI, which allows for a wide range of adjustments and thus turns virtual opponents into talented badass drivers who leave virtually no margin for error. In terms of graphics, you have to reckon with the cutbacks, despite the pretty looks and day and night changes, but you’re hardly getting anywhere near the virtual feel of real motorsport.