IIt was only a few years ago that racing games were confined to the limits of two-dimensional game design. The players watched the events on the screen from a top-down perspective and took corners as they appeared, often at breakneck speeds. In 2022, it’s a completely different matter, as there are driving games to suit almost every taste and every level.

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Whether you’re looking for a casual drive or want to take things a little more seriously, each platform has something to offer. In this list, we will try to include racing games that cater to all tastes to represent the best racing games on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

So buckle up, pick up the handboard, and let’s run through the best driving games you can play this year.

F1 2021

F1 2021. Credit: Codemasters

While the controversy surrounding the final race (or rather, lap) of the 2021 F1 World Championship is sure to linger for some time to come, at least we can be thankful that there was no such rumbling with last year’s flagship F1- video games. Building on the series’ legacy by adding a new story mode and a host of welcome changes, F1 2021 was one of the most dynamic installments to date.

Developed by Codemasters (responsible for other titles including TOCA racer and the DIRT series), it is an authentic reproduction of one of the most popular motor sports in the world.

With an updated list of drivers, cars and tracks F1 2021 players can compete seasons, manage their own F1 team and even participate in the new Braking Point story mode. Playing as a young rookie named Aiden Jackson, players start in Formula 2 and work their way up to Formula 1. The new mode adds drama to racing as you compete head to head with a rival. You know, like the classic grudge fest between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, but in the virtual world and with far less sabotage.

Creating a realistic portrayal of a highly technical sport is no simple task, but the developers make sure F1 2021‘s gameplay for all skill levels. If you just want to relive your favorite sport, there are several assistive options to choose from. Looking for more of a challenge? You can adjust the game’s difficulty and physics to match your abilities. For a true F1 experience, you can even play the game’s frantic races in real-time, leading to long, calculated battles where disaster is just around the corner.

F1 2022 is scheduled for release later this year. In the meantime, check out last year’s F1 2021 review here to see why it’s one of the best racing games out there.

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5
Forza Horizon 5. Credit: Playground Games

Moving quickly from the sandstone and sleet that littered the roads Forza Horizon 4 – AKA the perfect UK road trip in video game form – the next chapter of the iconic Xbox driving sim lands in Mexico. Quite literally, in fact, as players must first drive a car out of a plane in a feat of madness Fast and furious style.

There are plenty of blockbuster set-pieces in Forza Horizon 5, but when it comes down to the basics, e-racing fans won’t be disappointed: the driving feels extra special and, as highlighted in the NME review, you’ll never want the car fighting you to stay on the track, the sense of speed is immense without feeling like you’re about to fly into a ditch, and the generous rewind function and driving line means you don’t have to worry about being perfect , you just have to focus on the fun.

The painstakingly crafted Mexican landscape will be, by far, one of the finest views you’ll ever have the pleasure of driving around in a fictional car, while the sheer volume of vehicles you can tear it up with will keep you employed for some time. Forza Horizon 5 is a visual masterpiece on Xbox Series X.


Gran Turismo Sport

Gran Turismo Sport screenshot
Gran Turismo Sport Credit: Sony

Fans and journalists criticized Gran Turismo Sport on publication due to its lack of content. However, since launch, developer Polyphony Digital has added new cars, new tracks and even a VR mode to PlayStation VR since its release. Instead of delaying another one Gran Turismo game, the developers released a cut-back version of the game and have been building it with the community since release.

Sport featuring the tight controls and handling associated with the series and a range of tuning and performance options for players who really want to get stuck in. In its current state, Gran Turismo Sport is a solid sim racer that focuses on online play rather than single-player content. There is a career mode, time trial and an offline league, but most players will want to try the online modes to get the most out of the game.

After selling an estimated 8 million units, Gran Turismo Sport is the most popular driving game on PS4, and for good reason. Sport builds on the legacy of its predecessors. However, it also sets the future of the series with its focus on competitive racing and online play. It’s the best racing game you can play on PlayStation, at least until now Gran Turismo 7 (see the latest teaser here) releases sometime next year.

Dirt Rally 2.0

Dirt Rally 2.0 Screenshot

DiRT Rally 2.0 is the typical rally driving experience. With 8 real world locations, 36 different stages and several iconic licensed vehicles, DiRT Rally 2.0 provides players with one of the most lifelike simulations of rally driving. You’ll fly past trees at breakneck speeds, throw your car sideways around corners, and spend more time than you realize trying to perfect your driving times.

What does DiRT Rally 2.0 such an amazing driving game is the commitment to create a real rally experience. Driving aids are available, but there is no rewind function. All your mistakes are your own, whether you crash in the first corner or the last. Knowing that failure is just a crash away makes every race feel tense. Are you falling behind in every sector? You can push the car harder to make up time, but push too hard and you’ll end up hitting a tree.

Unlike other driving games, 2.0‘s cars are unruly, powerful machines that need to be tamed. Driving with a steering wheel is truly a full-body workout, and even controllers provide a fair amount of feedback. This applies especially to the game’s Group B rally cars, which are lifted from one of rally driving’s most dangerous eras. DiRT Rally 2.0 is brutal, unforgiving and encouraging in equal measure. It perfectly captures the constant danger of rally driving, but condenses it into a compelling and authentic experience.

iRacing

iRacing screenshot
iRacing Credit: iRacing.com

Probably the least recognizable title on this list, iRacing is the game of choice for esports fans. Released in 2008 and developed by iRacing.com, iRacing bills itself as “the world’s premier motorsport racing game” and for good reason. It’s not as pretty as other games here, but there’s a reason why it remains the pinnacle of motor esports.

iRacing provides a true-to-life authentic and realistic driving experience. Everything from suspension to tire differential and even brake bias can be customized. Cars on the track handle just like their real-life counterparts. The extent of iRacingThe realism is such that many professional F1 and Nascar drivers use it to practice before events.

With competitive racing leagues, over 70 tracks and an impressive collection of licensed cars, iRacing gives players plenty to get stuck into. Competitive racing leagues provide a digital racing career for players to run. You will build your way up the ranks by winning races and driving safely. Those who really want to take it up a notch can play iRacing with a wheel setup that is how the pros play it.

Wreck party

Wreck party
Credit: THQ Nordic

Wreck party is a scrappy driving game that channels the visceral physicality of demolition derby video games and real-life events. Developer Bugbear Entertainment’s unique destruction physics unfold in real-time, making every car a target. Every single element of a car can be scratched, creased and removed with a surprising amount of detail.

It’s the variety on offer that makes it such an enjoyable driving game. There are several race modes, including direct destruction-based events, traditional stadium races, and events with converted furniture vehicles. Wreck party puts the destruction physics to excellent use, creating dramatic runs that can change on the flip of a coin. Trade too much paint with other drivers and you will permanently damage your car. Damage affects vehicle performance, which can change your car’s performance.

It may lack the polish of other games on this list, however Wreck party provides an experience that very few car games can. It forces players to be aware of the space around the car and penalizes players for driving irresponsibly. Seeing a car crumple to pieces after a bad crash or crash is also gratifying on a basic human level. We all love a good crash, as long as no one gets hurt.

SnowRunner

ShowRunner.
ShowRunner. Credit: Saber Interactive

SnowRunner is about the journey. Instead of racing other drivers, you race against the elements, traversing mud, water, snow, ice and just about anything else. This is a game that focuses on driving itself. You’ll spend your time delivering goods instead of speeding through corners and chasing lap times.

SnowRunner encourages players to drive in ways other games don’t. You can change the differential lock for traction, engage four-wheel drive, and even use a winch to get out of tight spots. To be successful, you must understand how each element of a truck or vehicle works. Build your affinity and skill with the vehicles in SnowRunner is a real joy. Honestly, you’ll be amazed at the feats of endurance you’ll perform just a few hours into the game.

Between digging yourself out of a muddy swamp and climbing an ice-covered hill, SnowRunner can be quite relaxing. Cruising the open roads, enjoying the scenery and listening to your favorite podcast while driving is a great way to relax. If you’re looking for something a little different, SnowRunner is the perfect diversion from typical driving games.

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