10 best open world racing games of all time

Forza Horizon 5This year’s release has grown on the success of one of the best franchises in the genre of open world racing games, becoming one of the top rated games of 2021. With beautiful environments, realistic racing and enough optional activities that no player would ever want to run out of things to do, the new title showed what open world racing games can be.

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However, the genre has a surprisingly long history, and there are plenty of amazing open-world racing games that offer expansive and enjoyable gaming experiences in their own right.


Unlimited test drive

Unlimited test drive

One of the first entries into the open world racing game genre in 2006, Unlimited test drive established many of the conventions that are still present in similar games today. While the game has aged considerably in a genre that has focused a lot on graphics enhancement, the game still has a lot of appeal.

The Hawaiian island setting of Oahu is a treat, and there are surprisingly a ton of options for things to do. The races are intense and engaging, and the game draws the player into their world with the freedom it offers. Even with the nostalgia aside, Unlimited test drive is a very good racing game.

Need for quick heat

Yellow car in Need for Speed ​​Heat.

While the Need of speed the franchise has mostly been successful with more linear titles, Need for quick heat has shown that developers are more than capable of creating an enjoyable open world experience. As with everything Need of speed title, gamers can expect fun racing mechanics, good music, and a decent vehicle selection, albeit small compared to other games in the genre.

The game also delivered on the open world front, as the urban setting of fictional Palm City is surprisingly diverse and still remains a fun place to run. Need for quick heat allows the player to switch between day and night, allowing for intense street racing once the streets are dark. The game was not the strongest entry compared to the top rated games in the Need of speed golden age, but it was still a fun game.

The crew

Cars drive side by side in The Crew

A game that has ambitiously attempted to represent the entirety of the contiguous United States in its open world, The crew has one of the largest open world environments of its kind to date. World design was one of the title’s strengths, and the campaign was a decent size and gave the player some direction for exploration.

Being able to join crews and compete together is also fun, and while it’s a minor issue that the game doesn’t have an offline mode, The crew is always a very enjoyable open world racing experience.

Forza Horizon 2

Corvette in Forza Horizon 2

The first one Forza Horizon the game is starting to show its age, but Forza Horizon 2 showed that the Turn 10 and Playground games are really starting to catch on. The game is incredibly beautiful and holds up well, taking place in some of the most idyllic parts of Italy and France. The world is big and there is a lot to do.

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The tracks in Forza games are always fun and well constructed, and Horizon 2 was no exception. This entry into the franchise also introduced bucket lists, absurd multi-vehicle events that have become a keystone of the franchise and helped keep things interesting when racing and exploring starts to get boring.

Crew 2

Two cars race around a track in The Crew 2

Although it does not significantly develop its predecessor, Crew 2 still developed on some of the core concepts of this game, making it a solid entry into the genre. Similar to the first game, Crew 2 is based on a massive recreation of USA and is an online experience only.

Crew 2 sets itself apart from the first game by adding more content to enjoy, including the ability to take control of a variety of vehicles in addition to cars, a bunch of different racing types, and a different hub in the outside world for each mode . Co-op multiplayer is also a fun addition to another enjoyable title that is easily one of the best games similar to Forza Horizon 5.

Forza Horizon 3

Building on previous franchise entries, Forza Horizon 3 is a technical feat of dedication when it comes to providing drivers with beautiful and lifelike backgrounds. Set in Australia, the third iteration of the open world genre for this racing franchise has a level of detail that means the player could never get bored of exploring.

To achieve this, The Guardian reports that the team traveled to Australia and spent countless hours trying to capture the country’s unique skyline and lighting. Otherwise, the game retains the same basic mechanics as previous entries in the already established series. Forza Horizon as one of the pioneers in the arena of open world racing experiences, and has a high octane opening sequence to instantly inform riders of the thrills they can expect from the game.

Unlimited test drive 2

A car in Test Drive Unlimited 2

The 2011 sequel to the first Unlimited test drive, Unlimited test drive 2 Still manages to feel ahead of its time with experiences rivaling those in many subsequent games. The game retains the setting of the island of Oahu but also adds the island of Ibiza for players looking for a new place to explore.

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In Unlimited road test 2, the player starts out as a valet and progresses to become the winner of the coveted solar crown, racing in different categories which include classic cars, offroads and motorcycles for racers looking for something different. The game even has a fun online mode, which makes it another game with seemingly limitless content.

Burnout Paradise remastered

One car flies over another in Burnout Paradise Remastered

Burnout paradise was perhaps the best open-world racing experience when it was released in 2008, but unlike some of its rivals, the game received a remaster in 2018 which makes the game even better to play now. The world is huge, the race is intense and you feel ridiculously fast.

Set in the fictional Paradise City, the game also features some of the most varied online content with different play modes like “cops and thieves” to keep things interesting. Burnout paradise is an extremely fun and chaotic game, and the remaster easily places it among the best racing games that are not Mario kart.

Forza Horizon 4

Dia de Muertos livery for Forza Horizon 4 Corvette Stingray

You might expect the series to experience a lull after the success of the series’ previous entries, but things just kept getting better with the fourth installment of the series. Forza Horizon franchise. The game features a large, shared, UK-based online world when released, but has a ton of content that can be enjoyed offline as well.

With over 750 licensed cars in the game, Forza Horizon 4 has proven to be a game for car fanatics as well as gamers who just want the thrill of racing and exploring. The soundtrack is excellent as usual and the cars are all spectacular, all resulting in one of the best open world racing experiences yet.

Forza Horizon 5

Shelby Forza Horizon 5 Cars

An incredibly refined game that represents the best of what open world racing games have to offer, Forza Horizon 5 is an incredible achievement, and, excitingly, there is even more content to come. Boasting the largest card ever in a Forza Horizon game, the latest title shows a Mexico in which players can easily get lost, even in places such as ancient Mayan temples and an active volcano.

The game is at its best when it develops and polishes the mechanics of previous games, and there is new and experimental content, including Horizon Arcade, in which fun multiplayer mini-games are available across the map. Forza Horizon 5 is ambitious and hits all the right marks for an open world racing game.

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