One of the very first types of games I ever played was Mario Kart 64 on the Nintendo 64, even though it was a very different type of racing that I would grow to love, it’s still where I recognise the start of racing, if not, my gaming life. I properly got into racing games when I bought my first games console, a PSP. This is where I learnt almost everything about the best way to race, and where I fell in love with gaming. Since racing games are my favourite type of games, here’s my top 10 racing games.
10 – Mario Kart DS
This was a game that I played far later than everyone else. Since I was a PlayStation person, I didn’t have a DS to join in with the local online racing between friends. But that’s okay, the single player is still just as good, with all of your favourite levels from Yoshi Falls to Rainbow Road. It also is very similar to the N64 version but has improvements which is why it makes this list.
9 – The Crew
This could be a controversial one. As racing games go, this isn’t the best in the world of handling, graphics or range of cars. The reason why this game makes my list is because of the size of the map. The developers, Ubisoft Reflections and Ivory Tower, made a version of the US where you could drive coast to coast, seamlessly. No loading zones, it’s all there, get in your favourite car and drive. 3 hours later, you’ll be on the other coast (if you take the most direct route). This is the ultimate road trip game.
8 – Midnight Club 3 DUB Edition
This was my first introduction to the wide world of car customisation. Taking a Japanese Car from Honda and turning it into a flashy, high rolling racing machine. Now I look back at the game, the handling is rubbish, the AI is poor and the graphics again are not impressive either. But 12-year-old me loved it and it will hold a place in my heart forever.
7 – Midnight Club LA
Another entrance from Rockstar with the Midnight Club series. This time on the Xbox 360 and PS3. This time, it has all the perks of the previous game, with better handling and AI improvements to boot. The reason why this game is on my list is because of the open world multiplayer. I spent literally HOURS in this mode with my friends, cruising around in our fastest and coolest creations, marvelling at how everyone else was better, and then in awe of the hackers that had full control of the car customisation and put neon’s everywhere on the car and changing the bodywork as well. A quick shout out to the PSP version of this game that had an extra special map based in Japan that had a few extra cars, some more car customisation and an extra separate storyline.
6 – Forza Horizon
This game came out In 2012 and when it came out, it was the best racing game I had ever played, it had an okay storyline with a huge range of cars available. But this wasn’t the reason why it was the best in my books. While the visual customisation was a little lacklustre, the customisation you could do under the hood of your cars was insane it the time, all of this in a large open world as well. The game also had quite possibly one of the best ranges of soundtracks as well.
5 – Test Drive Unlimited (PSP Version)
This game belongs to a slightly older generation of racing games but in my eyes, is still just as great. The PSP had a slightly different version of the game than what was available on the PC and 360. While the map, an accurate mapping of O’ahu (a Hawaiian island) was the same. The majority of the races were different, often longer and better. I remember grinding on one particular race that took about an hour but gained me just over one million each time.
4 – Need For Speed Carbon
You can’t not have a racing top 10 without Need For Speed creeping in somewhere. This iconic game was the pinnacle of the first part of the series before the reboot. A masterful arcade feel with the brilliant array of car customisation and an amazing storyline as well. Need For Speed has never been as good.
3 – FlatOut:HeadOn
This was the PSP version of the game FlatOut 2, it had some updated content and a few extra game modes but the reason why I love this game is that the whole game is based around destruction derbies. You’re in a race, want to crash into someone? Go right ahead, no repercussions there, except maybe a little lost time, or maybe your car blows up… but for me, the highlight of this game was getting through the challenge mode. Getting into a race where your in a school bus that has extra damage resistance is always lots of fun, what about a destruction derby in an American style lorry cab? That’s also possible.
2 – Juiced: Eliminator
This game after I went back to it was so much smaller than I originally thought but was still just as fun. This game taught me many things about racing, from driving line to discovering a racing type called Drag. Go ¼ mile as fast as you fucking can. Its one of those games that I will always love due to nostalgia, no matter how old it may now feel.
Time for some Honourable Mentions first we have GTA V, while one of the best things about GTA V is the racing side of online, the game itself is not a racing game. Despite it having one of the better driving mechanics in a game. Next, I haven’t included Dirt 4, Dirt Rally, Forza Horizon 3 and Project Cars 2 in my list because I haven’t played them enough to get a valid opinion on the games. That being said, I will definitely be playing them in the future. So time for…
1 – Project Cars
This game is a master piece. The name of Ultimate Simulation Racing Game has been taken from Grand Tourismo and a new crown has been named. This game has so much content, being able to drive your way from Cart Championships up to LMP1 while competing in 24 hours of Le Man each year, with pinpoint precision in every car you drive. The only was to understand what I mean by this is to play it yourself. I would recommend you try this game out but Project Cars 2 is out so I would urge you to try that one out instead, it only improves the experience.