Best Racing games?


Motorstorm Pacific Rift is a better game than Burnout Paradise. The two DLC packs are the high point for that studios output as Arctic Edge, Apocalypse, RC and DriveClub were all successively worse than their predecessor.

Need For Speed High Stakes(1999) is one game that I return to every 18 months or so. The PC and PS1 versions are different enough that they’re like two different games. Both are great. I wish they’d get the remake treatment, since currently my laptop can’t read CDs and I think the PC version is better.


This isn’t a car racing game, but SSX 3 is incredible. The way you could thread tricks together to get boost on the wonderfully designed courses, as well as the controlls means that I always have a reason to keep a PS2 nearby :slight_smile:


To me the best racing game is a bad racing game. But not actually bad, more goofy: for old school I dig Cruisin USA and Crash Team Racing (GameCube) (Idk if it’s still good…haven’t played it since I was a kid). For something more modern Blur and Fast RMX. All of these are arcade racers and are no realistic sims such as Forza Motorsport (Forza Horizon 3 is kinda an in-between racer).


I historically preferred more Sim games and still love forza motorsport and Sim settings dirt and project cars style games, but that said I’ve preferred arcade racers more and more as I age and my reflexes slow and my free time shrinks.

Burnour paradise will always be a classic for me but I’m also extraordinarily excited for the forza horizon 3 dlc that drops today I think. The horizon 3 driving model is amazing and feels wonderful to just cruise with so adding some ridiculous hot wheels tracks sounds dumb in a relaxing and enjoyable way. Can’t wait! Probably won’t get to play it until this weekend but hey, that’s adulthood right?


I mean, Burnout Paradise was the perfect open world racing game, Errant Signal has a great video on the game that goes into why:

But, I feel Forza Horizon 3 comes pretty close in many ways, and exceeds it in some regards like offroad driving. Seriously, the Arial Nomad, tuned for speed might be the most ridiculously fun car I’ve driven in a racing game! The races are fun, the car customization is fantastic, the world is fun to pick and prod at. Only real problem with the game is performance on PC and the soundtrack has some real clunkers (no, I don’t want to listen to cellphone-commercial-indie-rock thank you!).

Otherwise, I think the Crew gets dunked on a bit too much. Yes, the story was garbage (“YOU KILLED MY BROTHER, so let me beat you in a street race”), and the AI in the game was cheating and bad. Still, there is fun to be had exploring the world with friends. Another fantastic open world marred by all the bullshit around it.

Other racers that are good worth your time:

  • Mario Kart 8: Best Mario Kart game! Is excellent for newcomers but has a pretty high skill ceiling for figuring out the best ways around the track with different vehicles.

  • Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed (worth noting, rubber banding is very mild in this game. That is a good thing for idiots like me who are too competitive in Kart racing games, it’s a bad thing for families or people who don’t play many Kart racers.

  • Redout: Like Wipeout with a bit less world building, but amazing low poly graphics. The Dual Analog racing technique is really fun to learn. DON’T STOP ACCELERATING!

  • Wipeout HD Fury: If you have a ps3 still plugged in, it’s worth checking out. The soundtrack in Fury in particular is DOPE


Burnout Revenge. Not really because of the racing, though.

For racing, it’s Mario Kart 8.


Burnout 3 is the only car racing* game I have ever loved. It is perfect and pure in all the right ways, and I also have a soft spot for revenge.

*I think Magnetic Sleds in F-Zero and Wipeout dodge this slightly, as do Karts of the Mario variety.


diddy kong racing

  • Beetle Adventure Racing (N64)
    It’s rare to see a racing game like this anymore. Most games rarely bridge the gap between “serious & realistic” and “mario kart” but Beetle Adventure Racing did. Imagine a slower Need for Speed with a focus on weird, wacky, varied locales. On the surface things may look serious but there’s UFOs, pirate ships, and cackling jack-o-lanterns the size of a house.

  • Blur (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
    A theme in some of my picks might be that I got tired of serious racing games and Blur definitely fits that bill. With a slick neon aesthetic, Bizarre Creations’ swan song tried to to be “Mario Kart, but for adults.” It didn’t work out for them, but the game is still loads of fun.

  • Forza Horizon (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC)
    Forza Horizon takes the rather dry tone typical of the main Forza racing sim series and tries to liven it up with a racing festival set in an open world. There’s light story elements and offroad racing to be had. I have a big soft spot for the first game because I love Colorado, but really, you could play any of the three and be fine – but the magic definitely seemed to wear off on the second go around, because these games seem to be nearly identical to each other outside of locale.

  • Trackmania Stadium (PC)
    There’s still nothing on the market quite like the online-time-trial-focused Trackmania Stadium and its focus on endless user generated content. Whether you’re playing the free release, Trackmania Nations on Steam, or Trackmania 2: Stadium, just make sure you’re playing the Stadium environment because I tend to find that whenever Trackmania experiments with anything that isn’t Stadium, it tends to be kind of a bummer.

  • Distance (PC)
    There was a lesser-known indie game called “Nitronic Rush,” which combined the wild course design of Trackmania with San Francisco Rush 2049. Distance is the spiritual successor to that, by the same team (Nitronic Rush was their college final). Distance unfortunately isn’t very good on its own, but with the added benefit of Steam Workshop support you’ll find hundreds of very excellent tracks to race on, and that’s where I’ll remember it the most fondly.

  • Ford Racing 3 (Gamecube, Xbox, Playstation 2, PC)
    This isn’t a joke. What started as a game I bought for a buck and a half on Steam because it was old and cheap actually turned out to be surprisingly fun. It’s not the most realistic game, the graphics are dated, but it’s cut from a similar cloth as Beetle Adventure Racing – though just a little more grounded.

  • Gas Guzzlers Extreme (PC)
    Blur was deliberately trying to be Mario Kart for adults. It had a lot of the same weapon types and the TV commercial even poked fun at kart racers. Gas Guzzlers could be considered a distant cousin to all of that, but you won’t find blue shell allegories here. This is just a straight up car combat game with machine guns and rocket launchers and grenades. It’s got arena modes, but multiple flavors of traditional racing, too. Great fun.

  • Rollcage (Playstation, PC)
    Everybody remembers Psygnosis for Wipeout, but I will always remember them for Rollcage, their other futuristic racing game. Rollcage’s gimmick is cars are built in such a way that they can’t ever flip over, with big wheels and a tiny chassis. Tracks take advantage of this, with tunnels that allow you to drive on the ceiling. There’s a spiritual successor on Steam called “GRIP” but it’s early access and every time they update the game it feels like one step forward, two steps back over what makes Rollcage so fun, so I don’t know if I’d recommend it. Stick to the original Rollcage instead, for now.

  • DiRT 2 (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC)
    There have been a lot of DiRT games, but none of them have ever really nailed it quite like DiRT 2 has. I love the fun, road-trip feeling this game has, and there’s a lot of dialog without it getting in the way (like it does in later Codemasters racing games). Also, even though the game seems to take itself seriously, at least it’s offroad racing and not more street races.

  • Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (2010) (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC)
    Basically the only serious “street racing” game I’ve enjoyed in the last ten years, but that might not even count because a lot of this game deals with scenic routes through mountains, valleys and coastal areas.

  • Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 (Playstation 2)
    I’m specifically singling out the Playstation 2 version of the original Hot Pursuit 2 here – it was also ported to the Gamecube, Xbox, and PC, but those ports were handled by different developers and are actually almost completely different games. I enjoy HP2 for the same reason I enjoy Criterion’s 2010 Hot Pursuit; cool cars and scenic routes. You drive through Rome, Hawaii, California’s Redwood Forests, and more. It all feels very inspired compared to how bland a lot of modern racing games can be with their track locales.

  • Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
    Simply put, my favorite Mario Kart. I can’t speak for the Switch version because I don’t own it, but Mario Kart 8 on the Wii U gets away from the crazy party game item spam that defined so many previous Mario Kart games and has some of the most creative, beautiful track designs of this entire series, married with driving that feels so, so good. The last Mario Kart game I enjoyed this much was Mario Kart 64.

  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Xbox 360, Playstation 3, 3DS, Wii U, PC)
    Mario Kart 8 might be my favorite Mario Kart, but this is probably my favorite kart racer, period (maybe – it depends on which day of the week you ask me). Its driving physics are a little more realistic and its mechanics aren’t quite as tight as Mario Kart 8’s, but it ends up working out in the end. Plus, a huge, meaty singleplayer campaign fulfills in ways Mario Kart 8 definitely cannot.

  • Rumble Racing (Playstation 2)
    If Beetle Adventure Racing is “Need for Speed but less serious,” this is Need for Speed + SSX (by the same team that did the original Beetle Adventure Racing, as I understand). Racing games with trick systems are an unexplored concept we really need more of.


DiRT 2, Burnout Paradise, and S&ASRT for me.


This thread just reminded me of all the time I spent playing Ridge Racer Type-4 with friends. If we were to rate a racing game on style & music, this one would be it.


Project Cars is a pretty good time. Heavy on the sim side of things. Flop sweat inducingly intense in VR if you have access to it.

My personal favorites are Dirt 2, Dirt Rally as mentioned several times. Can’t say enough good things about those.


I am so taken aback by the shear diversity of games shared and talked about here. Thank you all for the responses!


You know… just in case you forgot you’re in “Paradise-Fuckin-City”


Punching Mac in the face at the start of every race was the best feeling. Also that series has lore?!


I’ve only had one experience with Burnout and it made me ask ‘why isn’t EA doing more of these’

I had a frustrating time starting out with DiRT Rally, but when you figure out how those cars work, making that hairpin turn is one of the most satisfying things you’ll do in a video game.


I’ll admit that I don’t play a lot of racing games. The last one I had fun with was Burnout 3: Takedown, because it scratched my itch for a crash mode (which is hilarious considering cars scare the everloving fuck out of me). As for the last racing game I truly enjoyed playing with other people…

Lotta childhood memories with this one.


I’ve never felt more accomplished in a game, then when you nail that perfect handbrake turn around a hairpin.


If I recall, it’s not too much lore, just a faint spreading, more like how DJ Atomika somehow still had a job across SO MANY GAMES


For me Forza4 was probably the most complete package, I spent hours just hotlapping at Maple Valley. Apart from that I think that Driveclub came together really well in the end, Forza Horizon 3 is a joy to just mindlessly cruise around…and my guilty pleasure (sorry) is the 2010 resurrection of NfS Hot Pursuit.

(Just remembered that Indianapolis 500 game from the 1990s…good times! :smile:)