The 15 Best Racing Games of All Time
Are you looking for the best racing games of all time?
Well then, you’ll be pleased to know that you need not look any further, as this list has it all.
From Need for Speed: Heat to Forza Motorsport 7, you’ll find the 15 best racing games of all time listed below, based on popularity and sales.
So, without further ado, here’s a list of the 15 best racing games of all time.
The 15 Best Racing Games of All Time
The list of racing games and figures mentioned below has been compiled from various sources around the web, such as Digital Trends & All Car Leasing.
These are the 15 best racing games of all time:
15. Burnout Paradise
Burnout Paradise is an open-world video racing game developed by Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts in 2008; for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows.
The game’s story is set in “Paradise City” and sees players compete in several street races to progress through the game.
However, unlike other racing games on the list, players can progress at their own pace, as the game does not follow as a strict gameplay framework.
Burnout Paradise introduced the feature of keeping players’ records stored on their driving license, including stats like their fastest time and biggest street crash. And, completing events boosts the driver’s rank, which unlocks new cars.
Upon release, Burnout Paradise received positive reviews from critics and won several industry awards, including “Best Driving Game” by GameSpot, Spike TV, & GameTrailers.
14. Mario Kart: Double Dash
Mario Kart: Double Dash was developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development and published by Nintendo in 2003.
It was released on the GameCube and is the fourth installment in the Mario Kart series.
The game is similar to previous titles, allowing players to control playable characters in a bid to win races against each other on Mario-themed tracks.
However, Double Dash introduced several new gameplay features, like supporting co-op gameplay with two riders per kart and becoming the first game in the series to use 3D polygon graphics for the racers.
It was also the only game in the Mario Kart series to allow cooperative gameplay at the time.
Double Dash received praise from critics for its graphics, new gameplay features, and track design. It became the second-best-selling GameCube game of all-time, selling more than seven million copies worldwide.
13. Burnout Revenge
Coming in at number thirteen on our list of the best racing games of all time, is the 2005 classic, Burnout Revenge.
Developed by Criterion Games and published by Electronic Arts, Burnout Revenge was released on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Xbox 360 in September 2005.
Revenge is a mixture of vehicular combat and racing through rush-hour traffic. It introduces new features like “traffic checking,” “Vertical Takedowns,” a new game type, and improvements to the Crash mode gameplay.
It’s available to play in single-player or multiplayer mode and received favorable reviews upon release, with comments about its storyline being its main criticism.
12. Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition
Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition is the third installment in the Midnight Club series and is an arcade-style racer that focuses more on high-speed racing than realism.
It was developed by Rockstar San Diego and published by Rockstar Games in 2005.
Its name came about due to a partnership between Rockstar and Dub Magazine, which is why you’ll see a lot of DUB advertising throughout the game.
Players race through the open-world streets of San Diego, Atlanta, and Detroit in an attempt to cross the finish line first. By doing so, players unlock new cars and different customization options.
You’re able to enhance the performance, add new paint jobs, change vehicle parts like the wheels, bumpers, spoilers, and hoods, and mess around with some of the engine components.
Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition sold more than 1.1 million copies worldwide on the PS2 version and approximately 3.64 million copies worldwide on the PSP.
The PSP version received a sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) for reaching sales of more than 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
11. Gran Turismo Sport
Gran Turismo Sport is a racing video game for the PlayStation 4, developed by Polyphony Digital and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment in 2017.
It’s the 13th game in the Gran Turismo series and the first game to be released on the PlayStation 4.
The game includes “Sport Mode and “Arcade Mode,” which are equally enjoyable to play, and online racing is available.
It’s also the first game in the series to include Porsche vehicles, as EA renewed their licensing agreement with the luxury car manufacturer.
Initially, the game came with 168 cars and 29 tracks to choose from; however, recent free game updates brought the count up to 324 cars and 82 tracks.
Gran Turismo Sport received favorable reviews upon release and topped the UK all-formats physical sales charts for an entire week!
10. Need for Speed: Underground 2
The tenth best racing game of all time, and one of our personal favorites, is Need for Speed: Underground 2.
It’s a cross-platform racing video game and the direct sequel to Need for Speed: Underground. It’s also the eighth installment in the Need for Speed series.
It was developed and published by Electronic Arts in 2004, and released on Microsoft Windows, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS.
The game carries on with the Need for Speed: Underground storyline and allows players to take part in several street racers, as well as tune and customize their cars.
Need for Speed: Underground 2 sold more than 8.4 million units worldwide by the end of 2004 and broke UK sales records.
9. The Crew 2
The Crew 2 is an open world racing video game that’s only available to play online, and the sequel to 2014’s The Crew.
It was developed by Ivory Tower and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia.
The game is set in a scaled-down version of the United States and allows players free-roam of its open-world environment.
Players assume control of a racer and work their way through different street races to try and become successful in multiple disciplines.
Players have a choice of cars, motorcycles, boats, and airplanes to control, and the game features both single-player and multiplayer modes.
The Crew 2 was met with mixed reviews upon release; however, it won the award for “Best Sports Game” at the 2018 Ping Awards.
8. Midnight Club: Los Angeles
The eight best racing game of all time is Midnight Club: Lost Angeles.
The game was developed by Rockstar San Diego and published by Rockstar Games and is the fourth installment in the Midnight Club series.
If you’re looking for a game that has a large open world map to explore, then this is a good one for you. The map is three times the size of all the cities from the previous installments in the series combined! So there’s no running out of things to explore.
Set in the city of Los Angeles, the game features 43 cars and 4 motorcycles to choose from, as well as a new 24-hour day-to-night cycle, weather effects, and traffic with licensed vehicles.
After being met with positive reception upon release, Midnight Club: Los Angeles was praised for its stylish presentation, detailed depiction of Los Angeles, the number of multiplayer options, and its varied soundtrack.
7. Need for Speed: Heat
Need for Speed: Heat is a racing video game developed by Ghost Games and published by Electronic Arts.
It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2019 and is the twenty-fourth installment in the Need for Speed series.
Heat is set in an open world environment called Palm City, which is a fictionalized version of the city of Miami, Florida, and its surrounding areas.
Players take part in sanctioned race events by day and illegal street races by night. The illegal races earn players REP, which makes the police more aggressive during night time races.
The game consists of 127 cars from 33 manufactures, including Ferrari, and it received mixed reviews upon release.
It was nominated for “Best Racing Game” at the Gamescom Awards and won the “Game, Franchise Racing” award at the NAVGTR Awards.
6. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Need for Speed: Most Wanted is a 2005 open world racing game developed by EA Canada and EA Black Box and published by Electronic Arts.
Its the ninth installment in the Need for Speed series and was initially released on the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Microsoft Windows, GameBoy Advance, and Xbox 360.
Most Wanted is set in the fictional city of Rockport, and focuses on players taking on the city’s most elite street racers in a series of illegal street races. The main goal is to become the most wanted racer of the group.
The game brings new additional features like more in-depth police pursuits and online multiplayer gaming.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted received positive reviews upon release and became a commercial success.
It sold over 16 million copies worldwide, making it the best-selling title in the series.
5. Gran Turismo 2
The second Gran Turismo title on our list, and the fifth-best racing game of all time, is Gran Turismo 2.
This racing game was developed by Polyphony Digital and published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1999.
Following on from the success of its predecessor, Gran Turismo 2 allows players to compete against the computer across various race tracks, in either Arcade Mode or Simulation Mode.
Arcade mode allows players to choose whatever vehicle they want to use and allows for damage. In contrast, simulation mode requires players to earn “driver’s licenses,” pay for cars and win trophies to unlock new courses.
You’ll find almost 650 automobiles and 27 racing tracks in the game, including rally-style tracks if that’s your thing.
GT2 was well received by critics and sold over 3.96 million copies in North America and 3.68 million in Europe by April 2008, becoming one of Sony’s “Greatest Hits games.”
4. Forza Horizon 4
Coming in at number four on our list of the best racing games of all time is Forza Horizon 4.
This 2018 racing video game was developed by Playground Games and published by Microsoft Studios for the Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.
Horizon 4 is set in a fictionalized representation of areas of Great Britain. It is the fourth Forza Horizon title and the eleventh installment in the Forza series.
Players can freely explore its open-world environment using over 670 licensed cars, and players can create their own routes using the games “route creator” feature.
Also, you’ll have the chance to buy in-game houses that unlock items like cars and gameplay perks.
Forza Horizon 4 received universal acclaim for the Xbox One version and favorable reviews for the PC version. It won the “Best Use of Game Engine” award at the Develop: Star Awards in 2019.
3. Forza Motorsport 7
The third best racing game of all time is Forza Motorsport 7.
The game was developed by Turn 10 Studios and published by Microsoft Studios for Windows 10 and the Xbox One in 2017.
It’s the tenth installment in the Forza series and features over 700 cars and more than 200 different configurations to race on across 32 locations.
Both Single-player and multiplayer modes are available, and the game runs at 4K resolution at 60 frames per second.
Forza Motorsport 7 was nominated for several industry awards, including “Best Racing Game” and “Best Microsoft Game,” and received favorable reviews upon release.
2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the enhanced Nintendo Switch port that was released worldwide on April 28, 2017.
This version includes everything from the original game but adds additional content, gameplay tweaks, and 1080p graphics at 60 frames per second.
As well as the above mentioned, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also has eight new arenas, six additional playable characters, more Kart parts for customization, and players can carry two items at once.
This ported version received critical acclaim upon release, with praise directed toward the revamped battle mode and number of improvements over the Wii U version.
Mario Kart 8 became one of the best-selling games of 2017 on Amazon and is currently the best-selling Nintendo Switch game, with over 23 million sales worldwide.
1. Burnout 3: Takedown
The title of the best racing game of all time goes to Burnout 3: Takedown.
It’s the third installment in the Burnout series and was developed by Criterion and published by Electronic Arts in September 2004.
The racing video game utilizes arcade-style gameplay, emphasizing dangerous fast-paced driving.
Players can choose to play the “Single Race Mode,” which pits them against the five AI opponents in a single or multiple lap circuit race through the city streets and carriageways, or “Road Rage Mode” in which you must achieve a total number of “Takedowns” in a preset time limit, or before the vehicle is totaled.
You could also enter the “World Tour mode,” which is a combination of Single Races, Road Rage, Crash Mode, and several other race variants in 173 events spanning ten locations across the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Burnout 3: Takedown received critical acclaim upon release and became one of the highest-rated racing video games of all time and is considered by many to be one of the greatest video games of all time.
We hope you enjoyed our list of the 15 best racing games of all time.
Racing games are fantastic, aren’t they?!
Especially ones that allow you to customize your vehicles: like the Need for Speed series.
Creating this list has reignited our passion for racing games, so you know what we’ll be doing this weekend, don’t you?!
Here’s a quick recap of the 15 best racing games of all time:
- Burnout 3: Takedown
- Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
- Forza Motorsport 7
- Forza Horizon 4
- Gran Turismo 2
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted
- Need for Speed: Heat
- Midnight Club: Los Angeles
- The Crew 2
- Need for Speed: Underground 2
- Gran Turismo Sport
- Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition
- Burnout Revenge
- Mario Kart Double Dash
- Burnout Paradise
What’s your favorite racing game? Leave a comment below.
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