Five racing games ahead of the pack

STUTTGART: Racing video games can make your heart race with as much tension, drama, and action as any fight-packed blockbuster.

The latest hits take full advantage of the new technical capabilities of PCs and consoles, and are also surprisingly varied, ranging from fast-paced fun races to sprawling open-world spectacles.

‘Gran Turismo 7’ is a series of racing games with an incredible level of detail. —Sony/dpa

Grandmother Tourism 7

The game design philosophy Gran Turismo can be summed up in one word: details. Few series offer as many cars, greater scope and rich attention to detail as Polyphony Digital’s ode to the automobile.

The racing game series, exclusive to Sony, provided bags of gaming fun alongside impressive visuals.

In total, nearly 90 million copies of the series have been sold since 1997.

Players start with a few dollars to win small races against a few easy opponents. Moving forward, you need to purchase licenses to access a wider selection of racing series, cars, and tuning parts.

In the end, dedicated players can choose from over 400 vehicles, from the classic VW beetle to super-powered race cars. Fans can pedal to the metal on over 30 tracks.

The PS5 version is visually stunning, giving us glistening asphalt, a host of different weather conditions, and awesome tracks to test out Sony’s new console.

Meanwhile, the difficulty level is very accessible. Like in a role-playing game, drivers can slowly upgrade the car to keep up with the competition. It all adds up to a complete racing experience that provides at least a few weeks of fun.

What is worth playing: Just get behind the wheel and enjoy the ride. With Gran Turismo 7Polyphony Digital and Sony give us the old goodies of the series paired with a full-throttle racing experience.

“Forza Horizon 5” also takes drivers on dusty tracks through beautifully designed desert valleys. —Microsoft/dpa

Forza Horizon 5

Such a spectacle is a rare pleasure. Forza Horizon 5 is the new flagship game for Microsoft’s Xbox Series console. Playground Games gives us an open-world racing extravaganza with players racing through breathtaking Mexican landscapes in search of money and glory.

There is never a moment when you stand still. Forza Horizon 5 goes full throttle as soon as you sit down. Players charge down narrow streets in a Mustang GT, plow through the swamp in a pickup truck, or zip across the beach in a dune buggy. There is always a race or a challenge somewhere in this game world.

The special thing is that you can drive freely on each terrain area and constantly complete new missions in the form of racing challenges, like in an open world adventure. It could be a regular road race or a test of your ability to speed up jump ramps to reach record distances. If you fail, there is always the rewind button.

Each successful challenge you master allows you to climb the ranks and unlock new tracks or use your earnings to buy new cars or tuning parts.

Variety is a key feature. Whether you’re racing against the clock or racing against other people online, Forza Horizon 5 offers countless game modes. You earn experience points for almost everything you do, from drifting to brutally smashing traffic signs. Then there’s the super-smooth animation, awesome weather effects, and a catchy soundtrack.

What is worth playing: Forza Horizon 5 is a must have for all Xbox series racing fans. What’s not to love about a huge, spectacularly staged adventure playground?

'Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe' is another take on Nintendo's timeless racing game and fun for lead-footed gamers of all ages.  —Nintendo/dpa‘Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’ is another take on Nintendo’s timeless racing game and fun for lead-footed gamers of all ages. —Nintendo/dpa

mario Kart 8 Luxury

the Mario Kart The Nintendo-exclusive series of racing games has been around for 30 years and has shaped entire generations of video gamers since the Super Nintendo. The eighth part brings together all the advantages of its predecessors for maximum pleasure.

The mad races with all the platformer’s familiar heroes and villains are no less engaging even decades after their premiere. But Mario Kart 8 Deluxe isn’t even new, it’s a remake of the Nintendo Wii game Mario Kart 8 with some technical adjustments and playful details.

Players of different motor classes compete against computer opponents or up to seven other people, on colorful tracks of Sweet Sweet Canyon for Haunted house. In addition to perfect drifting, you also get credits for using popular extras like banana peel or rocket propulsion.

Besides racing, fans can also pop balloons or chase coins in online arenas. Above all, what Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offer is great fun for the whole family. Even 30 years later, you can still have tremendous fun hampering your competition with a banana peel or pushing them off the track with a well-targeted turtle shell.

In the meantime, the good news for those who know the 48 tracks by heart is that Nintendo has announced an additional 48 tracks by the end of 2023 in a paid add-on pack.

What is worth playing: It’s chaotic, funny and absolutely unparalleled. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe offers very varied and fun races with a unique comic look.

'GRID Legends' is a successful mix of racing game and docu-series.  — Electronic Arts/Codemasters/dpa‘GRID Legends’ is a successful mix of racing game and docu-series. — Electronic Arts/Codemasters/dpa

GRID Legends

If this all sounds a little too bright, wild and hectic, then take a look. GRID Legends, the latest offshoot in the long-running series from British development studio Codemasters. You will enjoy a good driving experience and there is also a lot to see.

GRID Legends is composed of two parts. There’s the classic racing game mode where players gradually move up the career ladder, racking up points and cash through wins around the world in order to unlock new tracks and cars.

But Codemasters also features a story mode with a junior racer rescuing a small racing team from ruin to ultimately become number one. The story sequences are staged like a docu-soap, with well-known actors like Ncuti Gatwa from the Netflix series Sex Education.

Whether you’re here for the classic racing sim or the docu-soap (which takes some getting used to), you won’t have any complaints when it comes to driving the various cars – they’re equally good than rivals like Gran Turismo 7.

GRID Legends may not be as glitzy and expansive, but purists can enjoy weeks of driving pleasure.

What is worth playing: If you skip the story, which is a bit odd, Codemasters’ GRID Legends is a full-featured racing simulation that offers an excellent driving experience alongside spectacular scenery.

Following in the footsteps of the 80s arcade classic Following in the footsteps of the ’80s arcade classic “Out Run”, “Hotshot Racing” takes you through winding mountains and sunny beaches in retro graphics. — Digital Curve/dpa

Radiance Races

Even without major visuals, you can have a great time just try Hotshot Racing, from Lucky Mountain Games and Sumo Digital, which offers a handful of cars, tracks and driving fun. It follows in the footsteps of the 80s arcade classic out runwith cars racing through winding mountains and on sunny beaches in retro graphics.

Also, there is no need for the ordeal to collect experience points and tune your car. you can put the pedal to the bottom without restraint in it Hotshot Racing. Only the exact moment of the drift counts. Used wisely, it fills a kind of energy bar that accelerates the car at the push of a button. That’s it a little more tactics or finesse are required.

You can choose from eight drivers who differ mainly in their concise lyrics, while when it comes to cars the only differences are in top speed, acceleration and drift behavior.

This may all sound simple, but it’s actually not. In higher difficulty levels, racing drivers must know the tracks exactly in order to defend themselves against the competition. Only those who time their drift for the specific moment and apply the boost stand a chance of winning. And in addition to the Grand Prix game mode, there are also online races.

What is worth playing: It’s old, but good. Hotshot Racing brings old racing classics to life like out run and focuses uncompromisingly on simple pleasure. – dpa