The best racing games are the ones where you can strap in and lose yourself for hours, never getting tired of it as you go as fast as you can.
Whether you’re looking for a simulation, an explosive arcade racing game, or a family-friendly go-kart game, the genre as a whole is much more complex than just putting pretty cars in pretty places. There are many nuances between the best racing games and make them all interesting, even if you are already dedicated to a particular series and style.
You can always count on a racing game, whether you want a decent multiplayer experience, the ability to constantly try to do better than before, or just the chance to roam some stunning vistas.
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The best racing games
We’ve put together a list of the best racing games currently available. Whether you’re a racing sim enthusiast or prefer something with a more arcade feel, there’s something for everyone.
- Gran Turismo 7
- F1 2021
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Forza Horizon 5
- Dirt 5
- Shipwreck Party
- Hot Wheels Unleashed
Gran Turismo 7
Gran Turismo 7 takes everything that was great about GT Sport’s fantastic multiplayer, high-fidelity cars and tracks, and innovative Scapes mode, and builds a more traditional GT experience around it. It has its own fresh new ideas that will probably pass diversions for the most part, but at its core, it’s the Gran Turismo you know and love. Broad and accessible, but with depth, nuance, and competitive racing for those who want to find it.
After more than a decade, Codemasters’ annual Formula 1 games have a rich pedigree. Recreating one of the fastest sports in the world, F1 2021 distinguishes between accessibility for newcomers and depth for die-hard racing fans, and comes with an in-depth career mode where you can lose dozens of hours as well as many options to take your race online.
Truth be told, you could probably buy F1 2020 or F1 2019 on the cheap and get a pretty similar experience to F1 2021, but this year’s game comes with a fun new story mode that gives you a taste of teammate drama. that you loved to watch (and laugh at) in Netflix’s Drive to Survive.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
This wouldn’t be a list of the best racing games without Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for Nintendo Switch. It’s the series at its absolute peak with more karts, characters, and customization options than you can shake a blue shell on. It also has a huge list of tracks to choose from, different game modes, and multiplayer lobbies that are still full of racers who want to get started. Honestly, it’s hard to imagine how Nintendo can top Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Nintendo must know that too – instead of a sequel, we’re getting 48 remastered tracks as part of the Booster Course Pass.
Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5 is open-world racing at its finest. Where Forza Horizon 4 took us through the country roads of Britain, its sequel transports us to Mexico, weaving biomes together as we go from race to race. For better or worse, Playground Games has settled into a groove with its Horizon spin-offs, so much so that we barely miss the original Forza Motorsport. From the slight arcade twist on the racing gameplay to the emphasis on exploration and showering players with unlockable rewards, it’s a formula we’ve seen before but hooked us effortlessly for hours.
Dirt 5 takes the rally racing series in a more arcade direction than its more serious sibling Dirt Rally 2.0. Developed by the team at Codemasters Cheshire (many of whom have worked on Driveclub and Motorstorm), it merges an expansive garage of licensed vehicles with a lighter, less serious tone compared to rally sims. There’s a story-driven campaign mode in Dirt 5 that lets you climb the ranks of the racing world, going from a fast person to a dirt track titan. It’s a real look on PC and newer consoles, easy to pick up and jam-packed with user-created tracks designed in its Dirt Playground tools.
This is by far the most violent racing game on this list. Wreckfest is all about demolition derby. Your objective is to cross the finish line first, of course, but also to eliminate anyone who stands in your way. You’ll need to design your own car and figure out which performance stats are most important to you before sending your vehicle out on the track and accepting the fact that it probably won’t come back in one piece. Since its launch, Wreckfest has been supported by a series of DLC releases and still boasts an active online community waiting to rip your bumpers off.
Hot Wheels Unleashed
Hot Wheels Unleashed is a new entry on our list, but a deserving one nonetheless. The game’s creator, Milestone, is no stranger to the genre, with the studio’s latest releases including MotoGP 21 and RIDE 4. Hot Wheels Unleashed captures the magic of not just collecting cars, but the thrill of building your own incredible courses, as if assembling bright orange track pieces on a virtual living room rug. Arcade racing is great fun with difficulty options to suit everyone.
To wrap up our list of the best racing games you should play, let’s take a look at the future of the genre! Throughout 2022 and beyond, we have a number of upcoming titles, including:
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