Gamer Koala

The Best Racing Games of All Time

Whether you cut your teeth on Pole Position or Gran Turismo, it’s clear that race cars and video games go together like peanut butter and jelly. Today, we’re going to take a look at 10 of the best racing games from the last couple of decades. It’s amazing how incredible these games look and feel nowadays! Some of these are even compatible with virtual reality, making immersion a big part of the appeal. So buckle up and let’s punch the gas!

10. Burnout 3: Takedown

Burnout 3: Takedown
EA Games

Even 20 years later, 2004’s Burnout 3: Takedown still provides a rush. The focus isn’t on reality – it’s on fun. The visceral thrill of slamming cars into other opponents and NPCs is what this game’s about. Mods were developed for more chaos, such as the “Crash Mod” for causing a chain reaction of crashes, or the legendary “Road Rage Mod.”

9. F1 2020

F1 2020

For fans of Formula 1 racing, F1 2020 is the official videogame of the 2020 Formula 1 and Formula 2 championships. Meticulous detail was put into tracks, teams, drivers, and weather conditions day and night. If you want hyper-realism – it’s all here. There are lots of options and customizations from rookies to veterans, as well as multiplayer and online competition.

8. Flat Out 2

FlatOut 2
Vivendi Universal Games

Flat Out 2 is a 2006 demolition derby simulation game. It’s more of a crashing game with a racing element added. The demolition derby mode was known as “deathmatch.” The game also featured numerous stunt mini-games, including flying through flaming hoops. It won two awards as the best racing game of 2006.

7. Need For Speed: Underground 2

Need for Speed 2: Underground
Electronic Arts

Released as the eighth installment in the series in 2004, Need For Speed: Underground 2 was a massive success. It’s noteworthy for being the first racing game to offer a fully free open-world environment. It’s considered one of the best Fast and Furious look-alike games. For its time, its cars, racing game mechanics, and story, were the very best.

6. Assetto Corsa

Assetto Corsa
Kunos Simulazioni

Assetto Corsa, released in 2014, is renowned for its realistic gameplay. For its time, it had some of the best graphics of any racing game simulator. Its physics were razor-sharp thanks to its use of laser tech for scanning. The game is highly challenging and offers tons of customizable options.

5. Trackmania: Nations Forever

Trackmania 2020

The free-to-play Trackmania: Nations Forever was released in 2008, a day after TrackMania United Forever. It offers a variety of tracks and a track editor that lets users design their own unique tracks. This led to a vibrant community of track producers online who share their tracks for others to play. While not the most realistic, it’s one of the most addictive.

4. DiRT Rally 2.0

DiRT Rally 2.0

Considered the holy grail of off-road games, 2019’s DiRT Rally 2.0 focuses on rallying and rallycross in varying weather conditions. The terrain is spot-on and realistic. Your driving skills will be challenged to the max by accurate weathering, and you can practically feel every bump in the road.

3. Need For Speed: Most Wanted

Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Electronic Arts

The ninth installment in the series, 2005’s Need For Speed: Most Wanted is an open-world racing game. It’s definitely a Fast and Furious look-alike but offers a lot of freedom. It’s less linear than its predecessor, and players don’t have to follow specific quests to progress. In 2012, EA published an identically titled edition as well, but that version does not contain a story.

2. Gran Turismo 7

Gran Turismo 7
Sony Interactive Entertainment

As the 8th main installment and 13th title in the franchise overall, 2022’s Gran Turismo 7 offers the most realistic racing experience ever. The graphics are mind-blowing. This version adds five more cars, bringing the total number of vehicles to choose from to more than 400. It also features virtual reality support for PlayStation VR2. 

1. Forza Horizon Series

Forza Horizon 5
Xbox Game Studios

Making its debut on Xbox 360 in 2012, Forza Horizon Series is the fifth and one of the most critically acclaimed in the franchise. With its gameplay, and the wide variety of cars and races available, this is the racing game every player must experience. Big props for music that perfectly fits each environment.