Your Top 10 Racing Games of All Time

Terronium-12

For My Mom, Always
Moderator
27,988
United States
Brooklyn, NY
KR_Viper
I Renown I
Racing games have a long, storied history of the "get up and go fast" mentality and have excelled at offering those in any age bracket the opportunity to do just that whether they have the means to drive for themselves or not. The genre itself is escapism for many; a means of sitting back and taking a stroll in their favorite car, taking in the sights and sounds of the virtual environment around them. While others treat it as something more, a means of practice and even a means of celebrating car culture itself — you'd be hard pressed to find a single person that actively (and regularly) plays video games that's never laid hands on a racing game in their lives.

With so many of us here specializing in the genre, it begs the question: what racing games would make your all time top ten list? With an abundance of offers on the table, each with their own charms and personality, there's — and we can't emphasize this enough — a lot to choose from.

For me, this was an incredibly difficult list to make and while some decisions were far more obvious/apparent, others took a fair bit of consideration on my part. I'll start with my top ten of all time and I hope you'll share yours. Offer a short blurb of what piqued your interest in the game, how it was significant to your tastes going forward — whatever you want.

10 - Burnout Revenge (2005)

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I know what you're thinking: "T, what the hell? Why isn't this Burnout 3: Takedown?!" I never purchased Burnout 3, however, even with that said, it still played a vital role as it's because of the Takedown demo I would purchase Revenge when it released in the first place. I spent a unholy amount of time crashing, racing and destroying everything in my wake in this game. The soundtrack was phenomenal, the physics were pure arcade bliss, and making the AI eat a plate of poo is one of the most satisfying feelings one can possibly have in a video game. Best of all, it's highly encouraged!

Burnout Revenge is, without any question, one of the most fun games I've ever played in all of my days.

9 - Driveclub (2014)

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In my mind, this is the spiritual successor to Project Gotham Racing (this isn't the last time you'll see this mentioned, trust me). To this day, January 21, 2023, Driveclub still has audio that rivals the likes of Forza Horizon 5 and any other console racer you can think of. It will put up one hell of a fight, bloodied nose and all, and the same holds true for its visuals. Don't believe me? If you own the game, fire it up and take a lap around venue in any weather condition, and then fire up GT Sport and/or GT7, and keep this in mind: Driveclub released in 2014. It was a little too ahead of its time in some ways and behind in others. While its launch was troublesome, its post launch support was stellar. Its weather effects rival, well, any racer currently on the market by a considerable margin.

Unfortunately for us, there will never be a Driveclub 2 as the doors to Evolution Studios were closed in 2006. There's no telling what the series may have evolved into and it will forever be a "what if" scenario.

8 - Forza Horizon (2012)

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What happens when you take Forza Motorsport, throw out the rule book and let players roam free? You get the original Forza Horizon, that's what. Set in Colorado, Forza Horizon is the franchise's first foray into an open world environment and it was a smashing success. No longer confined to laps around a track, you could now lay your foot down and listen to the wide open throttle of all your favorite cars as they darted down the streets and highways of Colorado.

I haven't been able to quantify what it is yet, but there's a quality about the original that the succeeding titles haven't been able to replicate. It's not the fact that FH1 is the first (and so far only) to offer a rally expansion because that can easily be overlooked. Nor is it the open world because, let's be honest, 2-5 has more of an "open" environment that FH1 ever had and they're all larger to boot. There is something — some kind of charm or nuance — that the original has that sticks with me more than the others though. Perhaps it's just that it's the first and nothing else. Regardless, FH1 has a special place in my heart and that will always be the case.

Of course, roaming free isn't all the original Horizon offered as there was a story (and even cutscenes!) as well. It was a virtual playground to explore to your heart's content and there's no way I'm going to pretend it didn't set off a major rejuvenation of sorts in the genre. However, I'm also not going to pretend Forza Horizon is the first to do it on this scale. In fact, there's a certain Atari title that released almost six years prior that tackled an open world racer first and, quite honestly, did (and still does) a lot of things better. If you're wondering why this isn't higher up on my list...

7 - Test Drive Unlimited (2006)

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...This would be the reason. Let's get the obvious out of the way first: yes, Forza Horizon has better visuals, better audio, and better physics. These points will never be argued to the contrary. Ever. What can be argued is TDU was the first on the scene and approaches things in a way that is wholly realistic for its premise: the life of the rich and famous.

I spent hundreds of hours acquiring, buying, unlocking, customizing, and racing in the original TDU. The game unquestionably served as a blueprint for what would become Forza Horizon, The Crew, etc — they all owe gratitude to TDU because without it, they're unlikely to exist in their current iterations/capacity, if at all. It would take until Forza Horizon 4 to allow players to purchase homes and TDU still approaches that feature better than FH4 and FH5. While the cop pursuits were a bit (and that's being polite) ill-thought and implemented, the game had so much to offer that it was only a blemish on its otherwise clean record. Every individual car had its own HUD cluster, you could customize the interior colors, wheels, and aero options (if any) at the dealership (yes, there were dealerships that you'd drive to/discover) and it was all complimentary of every other feature in the game.

TDU wasn't perfect, far from it in fact. However, while the statement about Driveclub being ahead of its time may seem a tad hyperbolic, TDU truly fits that bill. Solar Crown has a lot to live up to

6 - Assetto Corsa (2014)

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What is there for me to say about Assetto Corsa? I've sunk more time into this than any other racing sim in the past...10 years or so. While it was originally a PC exclusive it would eventually make its way to consoles in 2016, but for my purposes we'll be focusing on the PC version. Let's just jump right into it: mods. There are a copious, stupid amount of mods for Assetto Corsa and they all offer something different.

If there's a track or a car you fancy, there's a high likelihood that a mod of it exists. There aren't enough good things I can say about the game. It plays brilliantly with a wheel (even more so if you use a custom FFB LUT) and a controller, and if you're tired of its aged looks, you can get the Custom Shaders Patch alongside Content Manager and inject a near next-generation visual overhaul with little difficulty. I love AC for everything it does and can't get enough of it. Nearing 10 years later and I'm still actively playing this game and enjoying it. That alone should speak volumes.

5 - Need For Speed Most Wanted (2005)

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Now we're getting into the top 5, the nitty-gritty of the list and there's absolutely no way, no how, that the original Most Wanted isn't in my all-time top 5. I've purchased this game three times: originally on the Xbox, then again on the Xbox 360, and then a final time on PC. I've beaten the game, from beginning to end, multiple times, on every single platform I've listed. To say I loved the original Most Wanted would be a gross understatement, I feel.

"T, what about Underground?" I loved Underground but it doesn't strike the same chords as MW. I would spend 15-20 minutes (if not substantially more) getting into police chases because I wanted my bounty to be sky high and then some; I wanted to get into as much trouble as the game would allow, and it was a rush that carried through into every event in the game whether there were any pursuits or not. The 2005 racer is such a blueprint, the BMW M3 GTR — the game's hero car — has weaseled its way into almost every single NFS game since, adorned with its iconic livery.

The soundtrack is amazing, with a good deal finding its way into my Spotify playlist. The game itself is still my measuring stick for NFS games and while that's unfair to a degree as times have changed, it speaks to the sheer amount of fun it offers.

4 - Forza Motorsport 4 (2010)

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Were you not expecting to see this? FM4 is to Forza what GT3 (or 4, depending on who you ask) is to Gran Turismo: the measuring stick. FM4 does a lot right, seemingly too much as it was to the detriment of the series going forward. The Top Gear partnership, Autovista, the world tour mode, the cars, tracks, it was all fantastic. This was a toss-up (for me) between this and FM3. Why 3, you ask? While I've been playing Forza since the beginning, prior to FM3 I was only ever able to maintain interest up to hitting driver level 30. Arbitrary, I know, but it was a thing for me and FM3 broke that by a considerable margin. It's also worth mentioning that FM3's menu soundtrack is the best the series has ever had in my opinion.

There's also a bit of a special place here as FM4 is what would lead to ForzaPlanet being created and would give me the freedom to essentially run a forum and news page. Still a wild thing to this day and I'll always be thankful to the boss man @Jordan for the opportunity. While this is the only game on the list I haven't gone back to replay recently, there's no denying the impact it had on everything.

If Forza Motorsport can rekindle this flame and deliver on many (and more) of the same aspects, it will be an instant winner in my book.

3 - GTR 2 (2006)

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Now we're here at the top three and there's no better class for this game to be in than here. I bought this on a pure whim at J&R Music World on November 22, 2006 at 6 in the evening. No, I didn't remember all of that on my own, bar the store I bought it from and it being on a whim, everything else came from the receipt that's still in the box. :lol:

There is no underselling how important and big of a role GTR 2 played for me getting into PC sim racing. This game was my everything, and I mean my everything. The visuals, the sounds, the venues, the physics — it was unlike anything I had ever played prior. One of my favorite cars to race was the S7R and I remember modding it (this is a few years after I picked it up) to the point where it had so much horsepower that the engine would catch fire if the throttle were wide open for any longer than three seconds or so. :lol:

It was an absolute blast. The Super GT, GT500, Le Mans, Prototype, street cars, the stupid amount of mods available for the game left me with more to do than I could ever possibly indulge (RIP nogripracing). Without GTR 2, I never would have discovered rFactor (which I also bought soon after), Ferrari Virtual Academy (anyone remember this?), Assetto Corsa, and the list could go on. It's because of GTR 2 that I love the A1 Ring (Red Bull Ring) as much as I do, and Fuji Speedway (it was the test site for the above S7R "adventure"), and it's also the reason I bought Race Pro on the 360. I saw the game on the shelf, saw that it was developed by SimBin, and that's all I needed to know.

In many ways, GTR 2 is my sim racing renaissance and is unequivocally responsible for me playing any PC racing sim. It played that big of a role and the only reason it isn't higher is for reasons that will soon become apparent.

2 - Project Gotham Racing 3 (2005)

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If you've never played PGR 3, you're missing out on one of the best arcade racing games I have ever played, bar none. It was a launch title for the Xbox 360 and for a good reason because Bizarre Creations knocked it well out of the park with this. The selection of cars, the cities that you race in, it feels like a master class in how to make a game fun with a visual representation that matches. You like Autovista? PGR 3 did it first. Granted, Auto/Forzavista would take the feature one step further by allowing the engine bay, doors, etc, to be opened and interacted with, PGR 3 put you in your garages and would let you gawk at the cars in a fidelity that seemed absolutely mind-boggling at the time.

Did I mention PGR 3 is singlehandedly responsible for me loving Classical music? Every time I turned the game on, I would immediately tune to the classical station if it weren't set already. I didn't listen to anything else. Going around corners in style with Beethoven playing in my ear? Is there anything better? No. The answer is no.

The physics were delightful. It wasn't an arcade racer trying to be a sim trying to be an arcade, no, PGR 3 knew exactly what it was and it emphasized upon it to the nth degree. Powersliding through corners, drafting off your opponents, overtaking, drifting, take corners cleanly or stylishly — PGR 3 wanted you have to fun the best you could. And the audio...for point of reference, PGR 3 (and later PGR 4) were used in comparison videos against GT5, GT6, Forza 3, Forza 4, and even Forza 5, and it came out on top 8-9 out of 10 times. That alone should tell you everything you need to know.

Its audio direction was the measuring stick for a while, long after its time in the sun even. Why not PGR 4, you ask? That's simple. As much as I love 4 and for everything it does better, I played 3 more. I love Project Gotham Racing, it's one of my favorite games without any question, but there's only one game that I can think of that tops it on my list.

1 - Gran Turismo 2 (1999)

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You hear it, don't you? My Favourite Game by The Cardigans. Very relevant, very fitting.

If you know me, you saw this coming from 127 miles away. Gran Turismo 2 is my favorite GT game of all time and there's no sugarcoating that whatsoever. While it wasn't the first GT game I ever played (that honor goes to GT3) it was the first one I bought because I didn't have a PS2 at the time. GT2 introduced me to so many cars I'd never heard of and manufacturers I never knew existed. To be fair, some of the cars don't actually exist but that's neither here nor there. :lol:

The amount of times I've replayed this game and done so differently every single time is amazing even to me. My path eventually narrows down to the same stuff: get this car and then run roughshod of everything and laugh maniacally while doing so. The US soundtrack during races is something I'd never turn off, in fact every single song is in my Spotify playlist. I get urges to replay GT2 regularly and the game has had a profound effect on my love of racing games and perhaps sim racing as a whole. Of course GT2 doesn't compare to anything modern but there's no denying that without Gran Turismo, console sim racing likely wouldn't be where it is now. Forza Motorsport wouldn't exist in its current capacity, as it likely would have been influenced by something else.

I remember my very first playthrough vaguely, but I'm fairly certain one of my first "good" cars was the Cougar XR7 and that would eventually carry me through to some of the better cars and more rewarding races. What a tail happy thing it is though, good gracious. GT2 is a timeless classic that, even four console generations later I still play it and have more fun with it than should be allowed. There aren't enough good things I can possibly say about GT2 and it (perhaps unfairly) is the measuring stick for me against other GT games in more than a few ways.
 
602
Croatia
Croatia
NekoPuffer_PPP
10. F-1 Hero

An NES game. I don't have too much to say on it, but back when I was little, it was pretty fun, and is also technically the first "sim" racing game I ever played, since it features tire wear (that much counts, right?)

9. Burnout Revenge

Darting around city streets at high speeds and wrecking rush hour traffic along the way seems like the perfect way to relieve stress, but I didn't see it that way back when I played it. I just liked to watch cars go boom. The higher-level explosions are super satisfying. Not to mention the fantastic soundtrack. You know what songs I'm talking about.

8. Ford Racing 2

I learned about so many obscure, rare and unique Fords in this game, such as the GT90. The sounds of some of the cars were so good, I'd say they've aged well. The intro really gets you fired up, Cyberchrist is such a good song here.

7. Need For Speed Most Wanted '05

I'm not as big of a fan as others might be, but I still loved MW because it felt just right. Street racing and cop chases done right, unmatched to this day.

6. Need For Speed ProStreet

I've spent a lot of time in ProStreet, and the PS2's loading/saving times made some elements such as customization pretty painful, but I greatly enjoyed the different racing categories such as drag racing (wheelies!) and the incredibly dangerous speed challenge.

5. Need For Speed III Hot Pursuit

I was 4. My first ever racing game...I really did start early. I even had a simple wheel at one point which worked perfectly well. The intro actually scared me when it played, but it was so cool. The soundtrack done by Rom Di Prisco and others is absolutely perfect. Whenever I played as the cops, the siren used to annoy my grandparents, which was, of course fun. :lol:

4. Dirt Rally 2.0

I wish all racing games sounded as good as Dirt Rally 2.0 does. I enjoy the sense of speed, the feeling of the cars, the danger of wrecking at any turn keeping you on edge, and once again, the beautiful music which plays inbetween stages, intended to give you time to relax for a bit and prepare for the next round. A wonderful experience. If you love driving on the edge, and are nuts about how a car sounds, I cannot recommend any game more than this one.

3. Project CARS 2

I've never played the first PC, but from everything I've heard about PC2, I just had to have it. Pre-ordered, and enjoyed it every time I turned it on. This is the most immersive experience I've ever had. I found myself doing laps as if in a trance, only stopping once I'd run out of fuel. It's a massive shame this game wasn't just that little bit more polished, because the base is rock solid. It's a beautiful looking and sounding game, with a plethora of features and adjustments you can set. I'd go as far as to say it is ahead of it's time.

2. Gran Turismo 4

The GOAT, the game that really pulled me fully into the world of cars and racing. I wish I could talk more about it, but what can I say that so many others already haven't? Gran Turismo 4 is legendary, it is the benchmark.

1. Tokyo Xtreme Racer Drift 2

The force feedback accuracy in this game puts most modern titles to shame. It came out in 2006 on the PS2 and is the first game I was actually able to drift a car around corners comfortably and confidently with a wheel. It begs the question, just how hard is it to make FFB feel so good? You'll have to try it yourself if you don't believe me. The intro to this game is the very best in the genre, starting off with horses galloping across a field of grass, as the scene transitions to cars. A Silvia drifting down a mountain road littered with cherry blossom petals being kicked up as it flies past. It transitions into a night race, a battle between a yellow NSX and a red S15. All while a song composed by Daiki Kasho and sung by Dakota Star - "Call Me Now" plays in the background. Sadly never released in its original form, outside the intro.

I could go on about it for hours. No other game company put as much heart and soul into their games as Genki did. Only Polyphony Digital comes close.

It is regarded by players as "the best racing game you've never played", and you absolutely should.

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44,170
Australia
Australia
Super Monaco GP Arcade game in Penn Station, NYC
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- My first experience with paddle shifting way back in 1989/1990. I went to college in Brooklyn. So, I travelled from the Bronx, on the 1 train and switched at 34th, for the A. First time walking through, I noticed the arcade and shops. Took note, for my trip back home. That game was crazy. Leagues above Pole Position. :lol: The paddles were real loose, but to my 18yo eyes, the game was sensory overload. Spent lots of quarters to try and control the car, as well as add more time. I’d say Super Monaco GP actually got me into watching F1.

Need For Speed Hot Pursuit/Hot Pursuit 2
- I was early in getting the Japanese version Of Gran Turismo in late 1997. A few months later, bought this Super fast paced game at the time. Watching the leaves blow up as I drove over them, the bumps, jumps, hwy patrol chasing. The thrill of outrunning The police, obeying the speed limits, cruising along in an M5, Lotus, Ferraris. High speeds through hidden paths and entering main roads was certainly different than the civilised GT games I’d been paying before. Awesome game.

Le Mans 24 Hours Dreamcast
- First off, the graphics. Unbelievable back then. Driving the cars I watched on tv. afternoon to night to day transitions. Rain. Headlights on and off. That was a taste of real personal computer simulations. A system ahead of its time. I bought the Playstation version some years later and the difference was like playing the handheld football games with the red LEDs.

Need For Speed Shift
- Gotta give it up for the team that made this game. Customisation was a dream. Building an AE86 into an N2 race car. From changing the steering wheel to tyre branding to getting it on track and experiencing the physics. As arcadey as some of it was, it had its own take on what GT started.

Forza Motorsport 4
- Loved it for the championship races. Once completed, I would start a new one. The tracks would change each time. Never got bored of the game.

Project Cars 2
- What can I say. The game has everything. Karts, LMPs, vintage everything(cars & even circuits), road cars, rock crawlers, snow, an ice track, changing track conditions, career mode, track tests, classic dates from years past, seasons, good graphics and realistic physics, an engineer that lets you know about weather, overheating, damage, position, time remaining, encourages you to push harder and congratulates you just for finishing. A truly immersive experience.

Gran Turismo 4
- Summed up in one event: Tuning Car Grand Prix. Take the classic ethos of Gran Turismo, by building a car and trying to win with it. Qualify and try to beat very fast AI opponents. Tough to do in a heavy 5.4L V8 and 4L I-6turbo FPV Falcons.
Graphics and new coastal tracks, all experienced on my first GT gaming wheel.

ToCA Touring Cars
- This game would be number 2 on the list, but the graphics just fall short of the actual number 2 on my list. It’s ironic because number one on the list is pretty comparable. Anyway, bumper to bumper racing like the real series. Full season campaign. The engineer

Gran Turismo 2
- Racing Modification Racing modification Racing Modification. This feature alone, just knocked this game out the park for me. Add the new marques like BMW, Ford, Vector, Mercury, Plymouth, Audi and Ruf. Tracks like Rome night, Pikes Peak, Red Rock Valley, Laguna Seca. This game produced endless hours and joy of play. From kei cars to sports wagons to the famed Toyota GT-One. 99 laps or 300kms, just a crazy game.

Gran Turismo
- Ive mentioned many times about seeing that EG Civic hounding the C4 Vette at Grand Valley, but when I finally cracked the game open and watched that intro :eek: Opened up a whole new world of cars.
 
111
Spain
Spain
• Race07
It may not really be the best. But if you are a touring car lover there is nothing better.

• TOCA Touring Cars 2
Rain, on board camera, heavy damage, 16 cars grid.
The first was the reason that made me fall in love with touring car racing and the second improved the experience.

• Colin McRae 2.0
Colin Mcrae's Subaru and Tommi Mäkinen's Evo VI, my chilhood heroes together, why can I say? And ode to rallies.

• Forza Motorsport 4
Best car list and career mode of any Forza games.

• Project Cars 2
It's not perfect, but due to the ambition and effort it deserves a place in the top. Awesome car and track list, all the options to try to create a race as close to what you want.

• PGR3
He showed me what the new gen was.

• Driveclub
The true spiritual successor to PGR. The main reason that led me to buy a PS4. At a time when it seemed mandatory to make open world games, FH, The Crew... Or bring simulators to consoles, Assetto Corsa, Project Cars, Dirt Rally... It showed that few things are more satisfying than choosing a car, a circuit and enjoy the pleasure of a good arcade racer.

• Pro Race Driver
BTCC, DTM, V8 Supercars... Incredible amount of real world tracks. And the first appearance of Ryan Mckane.

• Test Drive Unlimited
Freedom, road trip, relax...

• Enthusia
The great forgotten and for me make things better than GT.

Honorable mention: Auto Modellista, V8 Superstars Next Challenge, WRC Evolved, Gran Turismo 2, Dirt Rally 2.0, NFS Hot Pursuit.

Games like rFactor, Richard Burns Rally, GTR2, F1 Challenge 99-02, or Assetto Corsa I have left them out of my personal top 10 because I liked the mods more than what the base game offered.

Flat0ut 2, Wreckfest, Burnout 3 and Destruction Derby 2 they have been some of the games that have given me the most hours of fun but I cannot consider them the best in history.

edited to say that it has been almost impossible for me to choose just 10. Sorry to name many more.
 
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1,054
United Kingdom
Silverstone
There is no way I can rank all 10 in order, so I'll do the top 3 in order and the rest as random.

Toca touring car PS1 - classic, enough said

Gran turismo 1 - changed my life and sparked an interest in JDM cars

F1 2010 - IIRC first CM F1 game, leagues ahead of what came before on console

Need for speed Underground 1 & 2- at the peak of the modified scene craze these games were great, 100% on both

Assetto Corsa Competizione - best physics I have ever experienced

Gran turismo sport - the first racing game I played regularly online, automatic ghosting and a penalty system changed the game for console online racing

Burnout 2 - trying to outscore my friends on the crash mode was endless fun, need a new burnout!



3 - Colin Mcrae Rally 4 : something about this game just clicked with me, the grip in the tarmac rallies was not very realistic but so much fun, still used the d pad back then and got very very good at the game.


2- Geoff Crammond's Grand prix 4: my first and proper PC racing simulation game, was so realistic compared to the console games, my mind was blown!


1-Gran Turismo 3 & 4: I remember looking at screenshot and videos coming up to release and couldn't believe a racing game could look this good. The hype was real even after release, GT 4 in particular was the highlight, must have 1000+ on GT4 alone.
 
12
United States
United States
my 10 would be in no order
1.grand turismo 4
2.nascar thunder 2004
3.world of outlaws 2002
4.test drive eve of destruction
5.midnight club 3
6.wreckfest
7.burnout 3 takedown
8.need for speed prostreet
9.dirt rally 2
10. stuntman
1. honorable mention
snowrunner not a racing game but great driving game
 
927
United States
Madison, WI
FerrariF1GT
FerrariFan24
In no particular order:
  • Gran Turismo 3
  • Gran Turismo 4
  • Tourist Trophy - I applaud Milestone’s and KT’s efforts to bring back the market for bike racers, but this one still stands atop
  • Forza Motorsport 4
  • Project Gotham Racing 4 - killer sound design for both engines and music choices, coming from a non-audiophile
  • RalliSport Challenge 2 - the vehicle and stage variety and physics favorable for tossing the car around make this my favorite rally game
  • Crash Team Racing - sorry Mario, the bandicoot reigns supreme because of single player content and AI that doesn’t screw you over with clocks and orbs
  • NFS Hot Pursuit 2010
  • Grid 2008
  • Test Drive Unlimited 1
The GTs, Forza 4, PGR4, and CTR were easy choices, the rest I had to think longer about.
 
10,076
United States
Marin County
Honorable Mention: Dirty Rally 2 - The gameplay can be so compelling that you can almost overlook the fact that there is basically no game attached to it. The feel of the game on a good dirt stage with the frankly astoundingly good sound design and art direction is basically unmatched. Unfortunately, the handling on tarmac is awful, a significant amount of the stages feel pretty boring, and the game has basically zero depth.

Honorable Mention 2: TDU 1 - Absolute **** from a gameplay perspective, but I have to laud the ambition. The role playing elements are really well done in a way that I don't think has been matched STILL.

#10 Forza Motorsports 1 - It took the Gran Turismo concept but added more realistic handling, more open car modification, and more driving excitement. I wish from the start the T10 team had put a little more emphasis on quality because a lot of the visuals and assets were on the low quality side and this has sadly persisted over the years. This game was a total breath of fresh air though when it first released.

#9 Forza Motorsports 4 - It took a lot of what I loved about FM1-3 but actually put a much higher degree of refinement to the game. IMO this is the closest the FM series ever got to the GT series in terms of overall product quality. Looking back it, I don't think it's aged as well as GT4 (something about the color pallet looks very off to me) but I enjoyed this game quite a bit.

#8 Need for Speed 3 Hot Pursuit - I had this one on PC and I just really enjoyed the environments and the gameplay. It's far from the best game on this list, but I have a lot of affinity for it.

#7 Forza Horizon 1 - Long before the series started to rub me the wrong way for its lack of growth, I thought the concept for FH1 was amazing. For a first stab at it, I thought it was a pretty great game. Unfortunately the series never really expanded on or refined the concept, so the later ones have been more of a disappointment.

#6 Assetto Corsa - Really for no other reason than I just love the way the game feels to play. Getting everything from the car is as much of an experience as the entire single player campaign of many racers. It's so good to play that it transcends the "but where is the game?" pitfall that trips up DR2.

#5 Gran Turismo 5 - Not nearly as polished or complete feeling as GT4, but there was a depth to the environments that I just loved. The dynamic time of day in this game was something that really drew me in.

#4 Tokyo Extreme Racer 3 - In terms of open world (though limited in this series) racers go, I think this one is my favorite. I've mentioned this title in other threads, but I don't think other open world racing games have quite used their open worlds in such an intrinsically important way as the TXR series, and it really makes the open world compelling. This is not a "go anywhere" open world, but you can really insert yourself into the world, it's just a really awesome experience - with only minuscule role-playing features, the game really makes you feel like you are playing a role. I liked Zero too, but 3 had vastly better driving mechanics, so it was the best for me. Easily my favorite story-driven racer I've ever played.

#3 Need for Speed 1 - This was my first racing title on PS1 and it's just a very personal thing. I loved it and still have all the showcase music completely memorized.

#2 Gran Turismo 1 - This game was absolutely everything when it first came out. A really beautifully crafted experience and nothing came close at the time. My #1 pick I think exceeded it, but it was a real line in the sand.

#1 Gran Turismo 4 - I don't think there was a racing game before and I don't think there's been one since that has had the same ambition as GT4, and I think it mostly lived up to that ambition. It definitely had issues but it felt like such a complete and thoughtful and refined experience on every level. GT4 was just masterful. I harp on about "immersion" a lot and this game was just so damn good in this regard. Every screen, every menu, every piece of music, every location, every gameplay element, etc just felt so deliberate and designed to build up the experience. There are few games of any genre that feel as special as GT4 does...from the opening cinematic to the prize car screens, gt auto animations, user interface, music. My biggest gripes with GT4 were the sort of robotic car handling and the car audio.

Give me GT4, with GT7 visuals, DR2 sound quality, AC driving mechanics, and a TXR gameplay mode.
 
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1,368
United Kingdom
Lincoln
EGGSBAWCKS
DigitalLuke64DD
10. Test Drive 6 (Game Boy Color version) - Purely voted based on nostalgia and personal sentiment to me, as it was my first ever 'own' game that I got for my 5th birthday along with my Kiwi Green Game Boy Color; my mum said she bought it solely because it had a Viper on the box and that was my favourite car ever at the time. Gameplay wise, its a pretty mediocre R.C. Pro-Am clone with very little in common with the full fat console version (which itself is pretty tepid), but it was perfectly suited to the platform and made me have an appreciation for all of the cars that were in it. I still own it with my original save file, and have replayed it many times over the years and will continue to do so. I have about $16,000,000+ earned in game, which I'm adamant is a world record given how obscure this version is. :lol:

9. Import Tuner Challenge - I haven't played any other entries in the TXR series apart from the GBA entry, but I'd agree with the general consensus around the series; cars don't handle great, can be grindy, you're seeing the same locations over and over and the gameplay isn't actually engaging, but damn, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't something oddly gratifying about it all. Kind of like Dynasty Warriors but as a racing game instead. I've abstained from playing earlier entries yet (partially due to the time sink, partially due to the potential language barriers since I only own a Japanese Dreamcast), but I was strangely hooked on this one and slowly crossing off all the rival gangs was quite rewarding.

8. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! - The best Mario Kart, thank you very much. Obviously doesn't have the track or character variety of everything from DS onwards, but the overall 'feel' of the game is probably my favourite. More reliant on driving skill instead of items and still just as replayable now as any of the others.

7. Le Mans 24 Hours (a.k.a. Test Drive Le Mans) - Legitimately one of the main reasons I bought a Dreamcast, the game is a technical marvel for something from 2000. Full day-to-night, cyclic weather, damage, proper pit animations, the actual full 24 Hours of Le Mans, you name it. Physics are a little squiffy hence why its lower down my list, but it never feels like a slog to play and I actually enjoy occasionally going back and redoing the full 24 hours with a different car/class, which I can't say for something like Gran Turismo's 24 hour events. Being that its from 1999/2000, the car list is stellar too.

6. DiRT 2 - It was very tricky to pick between DiRT 1, 2 or 3 as they all have plusses and minuses, but I think DiRT 2 is the most well rounded package. DiRT 1 has more to do and way more vehicle variety, but the physics are very much an acquired taste. DiRT 3 tightened up what DiRT 2 offered with more straight up rally events and Gymkhana which I actually really liked though I did think it was more style over substance, and pretty light on content at that. DiRT 2 hit a firm middle ground, and had an amazing soundtrack to boot. Only things I didn't like were the over-the-top, 'extreme sports' aesthetic with camera shake during the menus, and I felt it could've used a few more point-to-point rallies to balance out the roster a bit.

5. Project Gotham Racing 4 - I have more nostalgia for PGR2 and 3, but 4 was just straight up fun. Arcady handling with enough nuance to make it feel grounded, and the course design and car selection was just right. I still prefer the sense of progression found in the older games however.

4. GRID - Basically all the positives of DiRT 2 but with track based racing instead, and a sense of style that hasn't been topped since. Physics could be tricky at times and brutally difficult at others, yet very rewarding when you got it right and I loved the aspect of starting a team from scratch to take it to the top. None of the sequels have really done it for me since they strayed away from the direction the first one went with, though I have had a lot of fun with Legends.

3. Forza Motorsport 2 - Every Forza after this was objectively better, but I liked this one more. Lots of quirky race cars and I loved the idea of simply building up a car to take on anything, which every game from 3 onwards ditched to an extent. Really liked the presentation and music selection too.

2. Need for Speed: Most Wanted - I'm slightly embarrassed its this high, but I love almost everything this game did. The pursuit system, the cheesy story, the way the cars handle, the map, it all peaked here in my book. Not counting arcade games or old school stuff that you finish in one sitting, I've probably replayed through this game the most (30+ playthroughs; I've lost count), something about it just doesn't get old for me.

1. Gran Turismo 3 - Not just my favourite racing game, but tied as my no. 1 game of all time, alongside Pikmin 2, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 and Zelda: Majora's Mask (depends which mood I'm in :P). You'll notice most of my past choices have sequels or earlier instalments which are better, and this is no exception, but GT3 was the perfect transition between being accessible and overly anal. GT4 still impressed me on a technical level with its amount of detail and car selection, but I thought the handling model was more fun in 3, even if it wasn't more realistic. It drags towards the end game for sure, and the car list is lacking in certain areas, yet I still love everything about it.

I tried to keep my list to one game per franchise. As mentioned, I see a lot of positives in a entire series of games so it was hard to pick just one for a lot of them, but I'm hard pressed to find many racing or driving games I don't thoroughly enjoy in some form... except Fast & Furious: Crossroads. That game was dog water.
 
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MXH

C1 Route Wanderer
Premium
3,034
Sweden
Gangsterstaden
In no particular order :
  • Gran Turismo 2
  • Gran Turismo 4
  • Tourist Trophy
  • Enthusia Professional Racing
  • DiRT 2
  • DiRT Rally
  • Driveclub (& Driveclub Bikes)
  • Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3
  • Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 (PS2)
  • Need for Speed Underground (1)
I could easily stretch the list with another 10 games but the ones above had the biggest impact on me personally. To keep it short and to avoid writing an essay, these are all games that I have fond memories of, spent an obscene amount of time playing and/or gladly return to regularly.
 
650
Germany
1 h from Nürburg
toastet
No order

  • Sportscar GT
  • Gran Turismo 4
  • Midnight Club 2
  • Burnout 3
  • GT Legends
  • Big Scale Racing
  • Forza Motorsport 4
  • Need for Speed Porsche
  • Forza Horizon 1
  • Rallisport Challenge 1

  • Dirt 2
  • Flatout 2
  • Wreckfest
  • Gran Turismo 2
  • Motocross Madness 2
  • Need for Speed III
  • TOCA 2
  • Race Driver 3
  • Enthusia
  • F1 Racing Simulation 1
 
10,076
United States
Marin County
10. Test Drive 6 (Game Boy Color version) - Purely voted based on nostalgia and personal sentiment to me, as it was my first ever 'own' game that I got for my 5th birthday along with my Kiwi Green Game Boy Color; my mum said she bought it solely because it had a Viper on the box and that was my favourite car ever at the time. Gameplay wise, its a pretty mediocre R.C. Pro-Am clone with very little in common with the full fat console version (which itself is pretty tepid), but it was perfectly suited to the platform and made me have an appreciation for all of the cars that were in it. I still own it with my original save file, and have replayed it many times over the years and will continue to do so. I have about $16,000,000+ earned in game, which I'm adamant is a world record given how obscure this version is. :lol:

9. Import Tuner Challenge - I haven't played any other entries in the TXR series apart from the GBA entry, but I'd agree with the general consensus around the series; cars don't handle great, can be grindy, you're seeing the same locations over and over and the gameplay isn't actually engaging, but damn, I'd be lying if I said there wasn't something oddly gratifying about it all. Kind of like Dynasty Warriors but as a racing game instead. I've abstained from playing earlier entries yet (partially due to the time sink, partially due to the potential language barriers since I only own a Japanese Dreamcast), but I was strangely hooked on this one and slowly crossing off all the rival gangs was quite rewarding.

8. Mario Kart: Double Dash!! - The best Mario Kart, thank you very much. Obviously doesn't have the track or character variety of everything from DS onwards, but the overall 'feel' of the game is probably my favourite. More reliant on driving skill instead of items and still just as replayable now as any of the others.

7. Le Mans 24 Hours (a.k.a. Test Drive Le Mans) - Legitimately one of the main reasons I bought a Dreamcast, the game is a technical marvel for something from 2000. Full day-to-night, cyclic weather, damage, proper pit animations, the actual full 24 Hours of Le Mans, you name it. Physics are a little squiffy hence why its lower down my list, but it never feels like a slog to play and I actually enjoy occasionally going back and redoing the full 24 hours with a different car/class, which I can't say for something like Gran Turismo's 24 hour events. Being that its from 1999/2000, the car list is stellar too.

6. DiRT 2 - It was very tricky to pick between DiRT 1, 2 or 3 as they all have plusses and minuses, but I think DiRT 2 is the most well rounded package. DiRT 1 has more to do and way more vehicle variety, but the physics are very much an acquired taste. DiRT 3 tightened up what DiRT 2 offered with more straight up rally events and Gymkhana which I actually really liked though I did think it was more style over substance, and pretty light on content at that. DiRT 2 hit a firm middle ground, and had an amazing soundtrack to boot. Only things I didn't like were the over-the-top, 'extreme sports' aesthetic with camera shake during the menus, and I felt it could've used a few more point-to-point rallies to balance out the roster a bit.

5. Project Gotham Racing 4 - I have more nostalgia for PGR2 and 3, but 4 was just straight up fun. Arcady handling with enough nuance to make it feel grounded, and the course design and car selection was just right. I still prefer the sense of progression found in the older games however.

4. GRID - Basically all the positives of DiRT 2 but with track based racing instead, and a sense of style that hasn't been topped since. Physics could be tricky at times and brutally difficult at others, yet very rewarding when you got it right and I loved the aspect of starting a team from scratch to take it to the top. None of the sequels have really done it for me since they strayed away from the direction the first one went with, though I have had a lot of fun with Legends.

3. Forza Motorsport 2 - Every Forza after this was objectively better, but I liked this one more. Lots of quirky race cars and I loved the idea of simply building up a car to take on anything, which every game from 3 onwards ditched to an extent. Really liked the presentation and music selection too.

2. Need for Speed: Most Wanted - I'm slightly embarrassed its this high, but I love almost everything this game did. The pursuit system, the cheesy story, the way the cars handle, the map, it all peaked here in my book. Not counting arcade games or old school stuff that you finish in one sitting, I've probably replayed through this game the most (30+ playthroughs; I've lost count), something about it just doesn't get old for me.

1. Gran Turismo 3 - Not just my favourite racing game, but tied as my no. 1 game of all time, alongside Pikmin 2, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 and Zelda: Majora's Mask (depends which mood I'm in :P). You'll notice most of my past choices have sequels or earlier instalments which are better, and this is no exception, but GT3 was the perfect transition between being accessible and overly anal. GT4 still impressed me on a technical level with its amount of detail and car selection, but I thought the handling model was more fun in 3, even if it wasn't more realistic. It drags towards the end game for sure, and the car list is lacking in certain areas, yet I still love everything about it.

I tried to keep my list to one game per franchise. As mentioned, I see a lot of positives in a entire series of games so it was hard to pick just one for a lot of them, but I'm hard pressed to find many racing or driving games I don't thoroughly enjoy in some form... except Fast & Furious: Crossroads. That game was dog water.
I think you should pick up TXR3 on PS2 :)
 

MagpieRacer

Premium
14,542
England
Wymondham, Norfolk
Seagull_Racer
Well @Terronium-12 , this thread has had me thinking all afternoon. It's difficult to compile a top 10 when some games are just memories, but perhaps that is why they make it to the list. Here goes;

10. TOCA 2: Touring Cars (1998, PSX/PC)
Say the word ToCA when talaking about racing games, and most people will think back to the legendary BTCC games almost as readily as they would to the actual organisation. In fairness, the TOCA series ran for 6 games, almost all of which were hits. But for me, TOCA 2 stands out above them all. Simulating the 1998 British Touring Car Championship in its entirety, including the support series' featuring Ford Fiestas and Formula Fords. The racing was intense, it simulated a series at almost the peak of its power in the 1990s, the extras whilst modest, were fun enough that the game had longevity beyond simply racing the championship. IT was graphically excellent at the time, featured different weather. And for me personally, is a very vivid memory in terms of the enjoyment I had playing this game.
full2ha0.jpg


9. Project Gotham Racing 2 (2003, Xbox)
PGR is an excellent series, or should I say, was an excellent series. It introduced a new way of playing a racing game (kind of) and made it about more than just racing. Kudos, that noise, if you ever played PGR, you can hear it now. It would be easy to pick the 1st one for spearheading the series, or the 3rd for launching into a new era. For me, PGR1 was good, but as someone who played Metropolis Street Racer a lot on Dreamcast, it wasn't different enough to that to really be on the list. So PGR2 it is, with its huge 100+ car list, 11 locations (including the Nurburgring) and simply awesome presenation. Walking around going from showroom to showroom to view and buy the cars, checking them out in your garage complete with arcade machine. What. A. Game.
image_stream-26236-181_0002.jpg


8. GTR2 (2006, PC)
GTR hit the scene and almost overnight, transformed PC sim racing for good. It's level of detail and realism, wheel feel, racing experience, was unmatched on release. GTR2 was the tricky follow up, and while for many, didn't quite hit the mark, for me, it marked my first experience of PC sim racing and it left a significant impression that stayed for a long time. It took on the 2003 and 2004 seasons of the FIA GT championships, with GT and NGT classes, 34 tracks, 140 cars/teams, dynamic time of day/lighting, along with all the realism and physics upgrades one could expect. All that, before you even get to the games modability. Everything about it was just brilliant and I loved it.
ss_85157305f5eec30da1e12fe4ebeef858cde42c15.1920x1080.jpg


7. iRacing (2008, PC)
Ok so, the term game, perhaps doesn't always fit for iRacing, it is way more than that. If any racing game can claim to be an absolute simulator of motorsport and racing, this is it. Some of the most advanced car physics ever put into motion at a consumer level, some of the most detailed tracks ever devised, cars modeled so accurately that even drive line flex and entire braking systems are modeled top to bottom. A wheel is optional but essential, and with the right setup, it provides absolute racing nirvana. Whether its hot lapping the immense laser scanned circuits or going toe to toe with other people in a 24 hour battle, having a blast with some mates in cars above your level to really thinking about your race times to maximise point scoring. The whole experience is incredible and something that I do not regret investing in.
b2-eSports 2.jpg


6. Mobil 1 Rally Championship (1999, PC)
You'll notice a theme developing from here. This underrated gem was based on the British Rally Championship, featured 23 licensed rally cars from F2 and Group A8 classes, from the Vauxhall Astra to the Subaru Impreza WRC. Whilst it looks dated now, at the time it was close to what we would have accepted as photo-realistic. That was mainly thanks to the incredible stages, created using real life ordnance survey maps to get the routes as close to the real championship as possible, not just in route but also length, with some stages taking in excess of 20 minutes and 1 or 2 close to 30 minutes to complete, in 1999, rally games now have only just hit those levels of stage realism. Combined with good stage detail and atmosphere, made it one of the best rally games I had ever played.
rcdemo2.jpeg


5. Forza Horizon 4 (2018, Xbox One)
The Forza Horizon series came along and answered a question burning in everyone's mind, could you create an open world driving game, with the depth of a Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo title, while still being fun? Yes, yes you could. I could pick any bar the first game for this list (I really didn't have enough chance to play it to really consider it), but while FH2 had a great map and longevity, FH3 introduced blueprints, multiple biomes and excellent expansions and FH5 holds the mantle into the next gen era. FH4 for me struck the balance perfectly, a wonderful car list, expertly put together map, enjoyable events and gameplay, wrapped in an incredibly attractive package set in my home land. What is not to love.
02_horizon.jpg


4. Colin McRae Rally (1998, PS1)
The first Colin McRae Rally game, is a point in time where I can pinpoint the beginner of a love affair that has never ended. Much like watching Damon Hill win the 1996 World Championship at the tender age of 7 lured me into a love of F1, Colin McRae Rally gave me a passion for rallying and rally games that has never wavered. Sure, look back on it now and it looks old, jagged, the stages are short and it is quite basic. But, it had the WRC license, with 8 official cars with licensed drivers (except Tommi Makinen owing to his own game), 7 official rallies (plus Indonesia which was cancelled in real life) and 4 bonus cars. It was the closest thing we had to a rally sim at the time, it was accessible, but hard to master and I will always cherish the memories playing it.
fe97474d0cba8594eaed7e46df1092b0.jpg


3. Gran Turismo 5 (2010, PS3)
This one will be a controversial pick, my list wouldn't be complete with Gran Turismo featuring. On its own it transformed how we view racing games, by bringing car collecting, tuning and racing together in a monstrous package and developing it into one of the best selling and most loved racing franchises of all time. Again, almost any of the games could have featured, but for me, controversially, it is Gran Turismo 5 that makes its mark. That enormous car list, plethora of beautiful tracks, almost intimidatingly long campaign, WRC, NASCAR, Super GT, new time and weather effects. It was a beast, it may have over promised and under delivered to some degree, but it is the Gran Turismo I wholly enjoyed the most. I can't even really tell you why other than, it just is, with GT6 and GT4 tying behind it. If I was going to go back and experience one for the first time again, it would be this one.
t1larg.gran.turismo.5.jpg


2. Forza Motorsport 4 (2012, Xbox 360)
The car list, the track list, the event list, the sounds, the feel. Everything about FM4 felt perfect. It is still the best Forza Motorsport title, by far, it is my favorite racing game of this type, by far. It had a wonderfully curated catalogue of events that we can only dream of having now. Nearly 700 cars, all with cockpit views, tracks like Ladera, Positano, Fujimi Kaido and Sedona, all nestled within the selection of real world circuits. It was a monster, but everything felt purposeful, cars all had their place, all had events they could be used in. The debut of Autovista was jaw dropping, implementation of Top Gear was fun and the whole game was just stunning.
d68a31ee46d18bfa92c5efe2cf5d977a.jpg


1. Dirt Rally 2.0 (2019, Xbox One, PS4)
I love rallying, I love rally games, and I love Codemasters for continuously putting out some of the best in the business. Dirt Rally 2.0 is not just my favorite rally game of all time, it is my favorite racing game of all time, it is my most played racing game since the launch of the Xbox 360 (and remember, FM4 is on my list) and is also the most recent game on my list. Mainly because not much else gets a look in. Even with recent releases of Gran Turismo 7 and WRC: Generations, nothing can tear me away from DR2. It has some of the best stages, best sounds, it has genuinely enjoyable physics which push the simulation side but is also still fun to play, it has an insane collection of rally cars that no game can rival. Combine all that together and for me, you have a masterpiece of video game driving. It is addictive, enduring and still excites me every single day. The career mode is average, the historic championships are fun but limited, the World RX side is good fun. But its enduring ability to make you want to pick it up and play it means all of the downsides disappear. It is rallying nirvana, and frankly, the only thing that can knock it off its perch, is its own sequel.
DR2_Peugeot_306Maxi-3.jpg
 

ss3

640
United States
Littleton, Colorado USA
sandyskids3
Imma make it quick cuz I just woke up and it may change day to day depending how I’m feeling but:

Test Drive Eve of Destruction
Test Drive Unlimited 2
Micro Machines V4
Motorstorm Pacifc Rift
Gran Turismo 4
Motorstorm Apocalypse
Gran Turismo 7
Dirt 3
Wreckfest
NFS Carbon

Honorable Mentions:
Driveclub
NFS Unbound
 
3,268
Philippines
Philippines
GBalao888
GBalao888
1. WipEout Pure
2. Forza Motorsport 4
3. Forza Horizon 5
4. Gran Turismo 4
5. Ridge Racer (PSP)
6. Project Gotham Racing 3
7. Driveclub
8. Assetto Corsa
9. Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 (Shutokou Battle Zero One)
10. NFS Underground
 
2
Lebanon
Lebanon
I agree with OP on many of their choices..
In no particular order:
  • DriveClub
    Until this day, one of the best-looking racing games on any platform. The rain particle physics on the windshield is still unparalleled to this day.
  • Test Drive Unlimited
    Delightful open-world experience. Great car selection. Before loot boxes and monetization ruined the joy of actually unlocking stuff in-game
  • NFS: MW (2005)
    Need I say anything?
  • NFS: HP (2010)
    Pretty much Burnout Paradise, but with licensed cars. I can still hear the sirens with Edge of the Earth playing in the main screen
  • Blur
    Mario Kart, with licensed cars? Sign me up. The physics were a bit lacking, but there is no car game more fun to play with friends on LAN.
  • GT Advance 2: Rally Racing (GBA)
    Objectively nowhere near the top games, but I have such fond memories of playing this on my beat-up Gameboy that I can't leave it off the list.
  • GT5
    A classic (to a certain extent) Gran Turismo experience with groundbreaking PS3 graphics
  • Burnout 3:Takedown
    Incredible fun, great soundtrack, pure chaos.
  • Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition
    Great car roster and customization, great music selection.
  • Burnout Paradise
    I just played it like GTA, cruising around and chilling. Great way to kick back after a long day

 
1,964
Canada
Ontario
bloodyboyblue
I definitely don’t have the diversity of others since I’ve never really been into PC gaming and have only spent very brief stints of time with borrowed Xboxes but these are the racing games I’ve enjoyed the most.

10. Driveclub (just plain fun, though I always wish there was just more of it, and that it was more of a circuit racer)

9. Mario Kart 8 (sure it doesn’t reward actual skill as much as it should but there’s not many games that are easier to turn your mind off and play)

8. NASCAR Racing 2003 Season (I barely ever actually “played” this game and when I did it was far above my skill level when I was a kid. Pretty much it’s entire purpose was designing paint schemes with my dad and organizing our own series and races for the AI to run, and I wish there were more games that you could do that in, especially with how user-friendly livery editors have become)

7. Dirt 2 (Rallycross in this game is one of the most fun driving experiences I’ve ever had in a game, and my enjoyment of codemasters products only went downhill from here. This was the perfect level of realism for a game like this and wasn’t too arcadey or overly punishing)

6. GT Sport (the most fun I’ve ever had online with a game, and my introduction to proper livery editors. Sure the single player experience was nonexistent but this game was a ridiculous timesink in a way nothing else outside of Genshin Impact is for me)

5. Mario Kart 64 (just peak nostalgia)

4. Gran Turismo (the start of it all, and still feels great to play. It says a lot that this game dictated the classic cars of 25 years later)

3. Gran Turismo 4 (definitely peak Gran Turismo, though I imagine the longer races are not so fun to go back to now)

2. NASCAR Thunder 2004 (peak console NASCAR, so fun to play, excellent career mode)

1. Gran Turismo 2 (just legendary in so many ways, I wish we could get a modern remake with GT5/6 level visuals with the exact same car and track list but it’ll never happen. Defined a lot of my automotive interest. Probably the only racing game in my top 3 or 4 games of all time)

Honorable Mentions:
-Gran Turismo 6 (the first time I experienced online gaming/racing, and made a lot of memories, despite the rest of the game being pretty flawed)
-Kirby Air Ride (does that count as racing? I spent hours and hours in City Trial mode and filling out the goal checklists)
-Mario Kart 8 (sure it doesn’t reward actual skill as much as it should but there’s not many games that are easier to turn your mind off and play)
-NASCAR 2005 Chase for the Cup (was far from perfect but the career progression was fun)
-Project Cars 2 (never really got a handle on actually playing it but it certainly tried hard and had a lot going for it)
 
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262
Slovakia
Slovakia
palqo
DeliriousRex5
So many I actually can't beleive how little 10 is.

Sports Car GT. My first ever simulator, absolutely loved every second of it.
Test Drive Unlimited. Specifically the Platinum mod, makes the original game absolutely amazing.
Forza Horizon 2. Closely tied with FH4.
Trackmania. Great fun anytime.
Dirt Rally. Most fun I had in VR.
Motocross Madness 2. Another must play for every petrolhead.
Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition. See above :)
NFS Porsche Unleashed. My favorite NFS.
Race Driver: Grid. This one was never reproduced in sequels.
SCAR - Squadra Corse Alfa Romeo. First rewind implementation I think I like more then current ones.

Already at 10 and haven't mentioned AC, FM7, GT5, Mercedes Benz World Racing, Ford Racing series, Burnout Paradise, Colin McRae Rally 2.0, Colin McRae: Dirt 2, NFS Most Wanted, Shift, Carmageddon, Driveclub, Project Cars.
 

MagpieRacer

Premium
14,542
England
Wymondham, Norfolk
Seagull_Racer
So many I actually can't beleive how little 10 is.

Sports Car GT. My first ever simulator, absolutely loved every second of it.
Test Drive Unlimited. Specifically the Platinum mod, makes the original game absolutely amazing.
Forza Horizon 2. Closely tied with FH4.
Trackmania. Great fun anytime.
Dirt Rally. Most fun I had in VR.
Motocross Madness 2. Another must play for every petrolhead.
Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition. See above :)
NFS Porsche Unleashed. My favorite NFS.
Race Driver: Grid. This one was never reproduced in sequels.
SCAR - Squadra Corse Alfa Romeo. First rewind implementation I think I like more then current ones.

Already at 10 and haven't mentioned AC, FM7, GT5, Mercedes Benz World Racing, Ford Racing series, Burnout Paradise, Colin McRae Rally 2.0, Colin McRae: Dirt 2, NFS Most Wanted, Shift, Carmageddon, Driveclub, Project Cars.

I'd forgotten about Mercedes World Racing, what a game that was.
 

regnar

Senior Member
Premium
1,624
United States
Florida, USA
red95gts
Desman1982
Hard to pick just 10

Gran Turismo 2
Gran Turismo 3
Gran Turismo 4
Test Drive Le Mans (DC)
Tokyo Extreme Racer Zero (PS2)
Ridge Racer 5
Project Gothom Racing 3
Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 (PS2)
Need for Speed Most Wanted (2005) (XB)
Gran Turismo 1
Forza Motorsport 3 (XB)
 
7,836
United Kingdom
Wreckage, Turn 1
PrecisionXCIV
Given that 10 is such a small number compared to the number of racing games I've played, I'm going to pick the ones that have met one or more of the following criteria:
  • A game that successfully pulled off features that made it unique
  • A game that I have many fond memories with
  • Games that feel 'alive' off the track with buzzing atmospheres
  • Games which I believe were underrated/met with poor reception at launch that I really enjoyed (so basically highly exceeded my expectations)
With that in mind, here's my top 10 (ranked alphabetically, not in terms of preference)
  1. Burnout 3 Takedown
  2. Dirt 2
  3. Dirt 3 (Both Dirt games mentioned still have the best UI I've come across in any racing game)
  4. Forza Horizon (2012)
  5. Forza Horizon 3
  6. Gran Turismo 2
  7. Grid 2
  8. Midnight Club: Los Angeles
  9. Need For Speed Pro Street
  10. Test Drive Unlimited
Also, shout out to the my favourite non-racing game associated with cars, BeamNG.Drive.

Okay, now I'm really realising how restrictive 10 is because I have to give another shout out to Project Gotham Racing 4. :P The amount of detail Bizarre Creations was able to put in a 2007 game was truly amazing.
 
50
United Kingdom
Yorkshire
Mirai_Plays
MiraiRacing
I’m terrible at making lists, so I’m just gonna put these here in random order
  • Assetto Corsa Competizione: ACC was my first proper exposure to hardcore sim racing, and it was certainly a trial by fire. If I had a pound for every time I wrecked a priceless McLaren 720S GT3 trying to negotiate Maggots & Becketts without meeting Barry R. I’d be the richest enby on earth…. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. ACC is a game that demands that you play by its rules and punishes you for even the smallest mistake, but master it and you’ll truly feel like a driving god.
  • Automobilista 2: AMS2 endured a rocky start in life thanks to Reiza’s controversial decision to use the Madness engine instead of the exquisite-but-ageing ISI Motor2 engine. However, Reiza has repaid our patience by pumping out non-stop content updates that turned this little indie project from Brazil into the closest thing we’ll probably ever get to a true sequel to Project CARS 2. Obrigado, Reiza Studios!
  • Gran Turismo 4: If I was ranking these in order, GT4 would be number one. Why? Because it was the perfect example of sandbox sim racing done right. Whether you wanted to take it seriously or not, Gran Turismo 4 gave you the freedom to do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted, however you wanted… As long as you had enough credits. And when you were done creating ****posts on wheels capable of outrunning supercars, you still had hours of content to keep you coming back for more. GT4 wasn’t a racing game, it was a lifestyle.
  • Race Driver: GRID: My second-favourite racing game of all time would probably be the first entry in the GRID series. Yes, TOCA Race Driver 3 had more content, but it felt bloated and overwhelming just because of the sheer amount of damn things to do - An issue that GRID fixed. A long career mode with plenty of character, physics that were easy to learn but hard to master and an absolutely flabbergasting amount of toys to play with; This is how a good racing game is made.
  • OutRun2: I didn’t see anyone mention anything about this list being for home console games only, so I’m gonna flip the script a little. One of my favourite arcades (Which is actually a bowling alley and casino all in one) is in Bridlington, on the East Yorkshire coast. As soon as you walk in, you see an enormous CRT display off to your right-hand side, with little miniature-scale Ferraris bouncing around on hydraulics as the speakers pump out classic synthwave beats at a volume so loud it causes the audio to distort. This is classic arcade racing at its very best - Brutally difficult, infinitely replayable and purpose-built to rob you of every last penny until you realise you don’t have anything left to pay for your mandatory fish ‘n’ chips.
  • Driveclub: It’s easy to accuse Driveclub of being a glorified tech demo for next-gen (At the time) hardware, and it’s understandable why. However, after a rough launch, Evolution Studios tried to set things right by demonstrating how to make a live-service model work in a racing game: Take a decent base game, and then just throw free content at it until it’s twice the size it was originally. The career mode is boring and repetitive, but the sound design and stunning weather more than makes up for it. I can only imagine what a PS5 version would’ve looked like.
  • Need For Speed - Shift 2: Unleashed: The spiritual predecessor to the Project CARS series may have struggled with the physics side of things, but it got one thing right in just one title that Slightly Mad Studios couldn’t do in five years - Atmosphere. The music, the moody menus, the sense of speed, the grey-out and “Holy **** I almost just died” breaths from your driver as you get keelhauled into a wall by the extremely aggressive AI. Shift represents motorsport not as just a mere discipline of sports - It represents it as dangerous, exciting, exhilarating.
  • DiRT 2: DiRT 5 was a failed attempt at bringing the DiRT series back to its roots: Pumping music, colourful menus and the most insane off-road racing experience you’ll find this side of Motorstorm. Really, Codemasters should’ve looked at DiRT 2 as source material. The grungy early-mid 2000’s pop-punk aesthetic, the killer soundtrack (Look I love emo ok) and fun-if-underutilised friendship system came together to create a rally game that oozed character like a gourmet cheeseburger oozes cheese. I liked the menus in its successor more as they were a hell of a lot easier to use, but it just didn’t have the same charm.
  • Assetto Corsa: For the same reason T described. Modding is a powerful tool and the willingness of Kunos to give us almost unlimited access to the game’s inner workings has allowed some of the most incredible mods to become a reality. Race Sim Studios would not exist were it not for AC, and I hope that AC2 can build on its predecessor.
 
172
brockybrock
Some great calls out there, in no particular order

F12010 plus about nine following until I got bored of them
Dirt series
Assetto Corsa
Iracing
Gran Turismo series
Project cars
Race07
Race driver Grid plus further instalments
Shift

That’s all I can think of

Imagine what we’ll be looking back on in 20 years!

Good times
 
4,464
Ireland
Warwick, UK
PJTierney
PJTierney
Slapped this together in 3 minutes, have at it everyone:

  1. DiRT Rally 2.0
  2. Forza Motorsport 4
  3. GT Sport
  4. Gran Turismo 4
  5. Forza Horizon 3
  6. Forza Motorsport 6
  7. F1 2020
  8. art of rally
  9. F1 2011
  10. Need for Speed Hot Pursuit / Remastered
 
2,204
France
France
zeptrans
1 - Gran Turismo 2 : so much memories. open eyes to Japan cars world.

2 - Tourist Trophy : P.Digital came, they try, they win... How attract a car guy into 2 wheels world.

3 - Gran Turismo 4 : to many hours, days, months.

4 - V-Rally Championship Edition (Gameboy) : My first ever racing car game

5 - RFactor : introduction into racing simulation, so much mods to play at this time.

6 - WRC 4 : graphics, car feelings, career...

7 - F1 2000 : so realistic when I was young.

8 - Gran Turismo 5 Prologue : weird choice, but when your favourite game introduce cockpit view and Ferrari cars.

9 - NFS Carbon : I don't know if this NFS is a top one in NFS games, but i loved to play it.

Just pick an other Gran Turismo game or Assetto Corsa to complete this Top 10
 
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2,050
Mexico
Mexico
In no particular order, but from older to newer:

Formula One: Built to Win (SETA) - A trailblazer of a game, with a career mode of 4 cars (Mini Cooper, Vector W2, F40 and an unlicensed MP4/4) that you progressively improved by purchasing parts. It even had a slot machine minigame to earn more money!

Top Gear (KEMCO) - Great arcade fun and a killer soundtrack.

Super Mario Kart (NINTENDO) - The first will always be the best for me. Epic games and tantrums with my brothers!

Test Drive Le Mans (INFOGRAMES) - An incredible Dreamcast game for the time.

Burnout 3: Takedown (CRITERION GAMES) - The mayhem and satisfaction of taking down your rivals and plotting chain reaction crashes, and that soundtrack.

Project Gotham Racing 3 (BIZARRE CREATIONS) - The top of the series for me, the cars, the garages, and Geometry Wars too!

Forza Horizon 3 (PLAYGROUND GAMES) - The best biomes, skyboxes and expansions (Blizzard Mountain and the 1st Hot Wheels). Killer announcement trailer too.

Forza Motorsport 6 (TURN 10) - The best Forza Motorsports to date and you can't convince me otherwise (and I'm very fond of FM4).

Project Cars 2 (SLIGHTLY MAD STUDIOS) - As a casual gamer, this game removed my fears of a more serious, sim-driven experience. Too bad the franchise is dead now.

GRID Legends (CODEMASTERS) - Severely underrated IMO, and one of the best overall racing games nowadays.

While I'm not a Gran Turismo player (I did own a PS3 and GT6), I acknowledge its profound impact on the genre.
 
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