Best Racing Games: All the top kart, sim and arcade racers

From hardcore, track focused sims, to open world arcade speedfests, to cute kart racers, the thrill of driving a car at great speeds simply doesn’t get old. With such a wide spread of sub genres within the racing category, though, it’s tough to know what games are the ones for you. With so much variety on offer, here are Trusted Reviews’ top automotive romps worth your consideration.

F1 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Pros: 

  • More customisation over last year’s model
  • Hockenheim is in
  • Overhauled sense of physicality

Cons: 

  • Pit media interviews are a confusing and unnecessary addition

As with all annual sports series, the F1 games are an iterative affair, but each one makes notable improvements that increase the level of authenticity, detail and depth. F1 2018 is far and away the best F1 game to date – a peak of sim design that takes the glitz and glamour of the sport and transposes it to a beautiful looking recreation of the world’s fastest competitive endeavour.

The twinkling lights of Singapore’s Marina Bay night race may not look photo-realistic yet, but this is the best F1 has ever looked, played, and sounded.

Dirt Rally

dirt rally

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Pros: 

  • Challenge is both fun and satisfying
  • A true sense of brutal, muddy speed
  • Plenty of variety in tracks and locations

Cons: 

  • Difficulty won’t be for everyone

The most hardcore rally game in years, Dirt Rally takes no prisoners. It’s a purist’s dream, distilling the challenge of point to point racing down to its engine-gargling core, while stripping away any arcade touches that bolstered its series predecessors. Dirt Rally definitely isn’t for everyone, but indulge in the depth and difficult that it provides and you’ll find one of the most satisfying racing games in a long time.

From the mud slicked courses of Wales to the forests of Finland; the dusty Grecian hillsides to the immensely tough ice courses of Sweden, Dirt Rally will test your patience and your mettle as you commit to nailing the best times. 

Forza Horizon 4

Platforms: PC, Xbox One

Pros: 

  • Great map
  • A great variety of cars
  • Honestly, it’s all good here. Sound, graphics, driving

Cons: 

  • Driving to the individual races grates after a while

The latest in Forza’s spin-off series whisks players to the hills and meadows of a stylised United Kingdom. New to this game are changeable dynamic seasons, which transform the gorgeous landscape on a weekly basis – race through the speckled rains of spring, the scorching summer sun, the auburn of autumn and the frozen winter with all kinds of varying events.

Forza Horizon 4 is the perfect game for anyone, even those not traditionally into racing games. It revels in colour and speed, with a hugely customisable handling model that lets novices, intermediates and experts all find their rhythm. 

Driveclub

driveclub

Platforms: PS4

Pros: 

  • Gorgeous racer
  • Wonderful dynamic weather
  • Fun, challenge-based tournaments

Cons: 

  • A little bit old-school
  • Not the most adventurous racer out there

The oldest original release on this list still holds up strong. Developed by the now defunct Evolution Studios, Driveclub is a track focused racer that delivers arcade pace and simulation authenticity. It’s also still one of the PS4’s most attractive games, complete with dynamic weather and time of day systems that bring its various locations to life.

More than that, Driveclub makes everyday cars a huge amount of fun to drive. It’s not just about Ferraris and McLarens here – your A-to-B city runaround is just as exciting to swing into the apex of a sweeping turn in the Scottish highlands. 

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Best multiplayer games

Platforms: Wii U, Nintendo Switch

Pros: 

  • Looks absolutely gorgeous on Nintendo Switch and on the TV
  • Battle Mode is a superb addition
  • Plenty of challenge here for all skill levels
  • New assists for beginners work a treat
  • So many tracks and racers

Cons: 

  • Some will want a brand-new Mario Kart on Switch

One of the best games on Wii U has been ported over to the Nintendo Switch, where it still stands tall as one of the most enjoyable, moreish racers that Nintendo has ever produced. Flush with beautiful, bold colours and some of the best courses that a new Mario Kart game has delivered in the series’ history, Deluxe comes packed full of content.

There’s even all the additional DLC tracks included, all as part of the package. For players that means a huge amount of solo, local and online multiplayer – both at home in docked mode, and portable on the go – and the pick-up-and-play nature of the game means you’ll likely find dozens of hours of fun here. 

Burnout Paradise Remastered

Burnout Paradise Remastered

Platforms: Xbox One, PS4

Pros: 

  • Incredible open world racing
  • Crashes still have that satisfying ‘oomph’
  • Controls feel superb
  • That soundtrack

Cons: 

  • Visual upgrade is minor
  • Some mechanics feel dated

Remastered for the current gen with 4K resolution and 60 frames per second smoothness, Burnout Paradise is a blisteringly fast arcade racer that never lets up. With a fabulously rich world to explore – the titular Paradise City – a rip-roaring soundtrack, and the series’ infamous automotive carnage at its most insane,

Burnout Paradise is unlike any racer on this list. It doesn’t care about car brands or engine tuning – just get as much nitrous as you can stored up and boost your way toward the horizon. 

Forza Motorsport 7

Forza 7

Platforms: PC, Xbox One

Pros: 

  • Looks utterly gorgeous
  • Accessible to players of all skill levels
  • A fun and engaging career mode
  • So many cars to drive
  • And lots of tracks to drive them on

Cons: 

  • Long load times between races
  • AI behaviour can be erratic at times

Forza Motorsport 7 is the best mainline Forza game since the heyday of Forza Motorsport 4. That’s a pretty long time – so much so that Motorsport 7 is the first current gen version of Forza wholeheartedly worth a recommendation.

But it’s really something – complete with an immense track list, hundreds of cars from all disciplines of racing, peerless visual presentation, dynamic weather conditions, and 4K HDR + 60fps support on Xbox One X. It’s less accessible than its Horizon counterparts, but it still goes a long way to making novices feel welcome with a whole host of assists and difficulty settings. 

Project Cars 2

Project Cars 2

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Pros: 

  • 100% dedicated to simulation racing
  • Loads of cars
  • Loads of tracks
  • Looks great

Cons: 

  • AI a bit bonkers
  • Can stutter on occasion
  • Aimed at a very specific market

Project Cars 2 is very much a game about Real Racing, so you won’t see arcade style drifts or crazy crashes – authenticity comes with a certain level of sterility. It does pack a handling model that’s much improved over its predecessor, though.

It’s still tough, but give it time and Project Cars 2 is one of the more satisfying driving games on this list. Overtakes feel hard earned while victories feel joyous, and there’s a much improved AI system, better tracks, more varied roster of cars, and it all looks very pretty, no matter what platform you play on. 

What’s your favourite racer? Did it make our list? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter @trustedreviews. 

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