5 racing video games to play at home
From full-on simulations to wild arcade fun, there’s a racing game for you.
You don’t need to look any further than empty store shelves that once housed Sony PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles to get a sense for how popular gaming has been during the last year. Gamers, both new and old, have been picking up their controllers to help cope with the drudgery some are experiencing during this global pandemic.
While racing and driving simulators have been around for decades, the newest generation of games have only gotten better. From real-time weather to experiences based on the actual physics of driving, you can almost feel the vibration of the engine and smell the motor oil playing today’s games. Here are five of the best racing games perfect for car enthusiasts and gamers of all skill levels to play while riding out the tail end of this pandemic.
Forza Horizon 4
Forza is one of the most popular racing games in the world thanks to its mix of fantasy and reality. Part arcade game and part driving simulator, it can best be described as fun. It won’t intimidate newbies but will still reward seasoned players since you can up the skill level you play at. Turn 10 Studios, which creates Horizon 4, always seems one step ahead of its competitors when it comes to its visuals, sound effects and its selection of sports and exotic car options. The game’s world is also shared, so you will be driving its streets simultaneously with other gamers. It is available on Xbox, Windows, iOS and Android. Sorry PlayStation fans, this one is not available on your console.
Better described as an emerging form of motorsport than just another game, iRacing is a PC-based racing simulator that places you on the most accurate, laser-scanned replicas of real racetracks from around the world. The tracks are so accurate that professional race car drivers actually use iRacing as a training tool. This might be the only chance you’ll ever have to speed around a track with the likes of drivers such as Max Verstappen or Lando Norris. The game might seem intimidating, but it’s actually pretty easy to get into and, after you install the software, you’ll be going wheel-to-wheel against virtual racers from every corner of the world.
Dirt Rally 2.0
With some of the most realistic driving and richest detailing of any video game, this thrill ride will leave you feeling like you are actually racing on rally tracks located all over the world. There is definitely a learning curve to maneuvering a Lancia Stratos car on dirt roads mere inches away from other racers while your co-driver yells pace notes at you. It takes practice, but when you get a sequence of corners just right in this mud-soaked rally simulator, there is no better feeling.
Need for Speed Heat
The Need for Speed series is one of the longest-running and most successful racing game franchises in the world, with its 1994 original still considered to be among the best thanks to its
realistic driving experience. The franchise has since morphed into an experience that is a cross between an arcade game, similar to Forza Horizon 4, and feeling like you are in a Fast and Furious movie. Heat is set in a Miami-inspired world, can be played in day or night mode and features a plot-driven storyline set around different citywide races. If you want to live out your own racing fantasies like Fast and Furious character Dom Toretto, Need for Speed Heat is for you.
Codemasters’ F1 is a must-play game. Its hyper-realistic simulator puts you in the seat of some of your favourite race cars as you hurtle down a track at speeds in excess of 300 km/h. For its 2020 entry, the game embraces the highly team-centric nature of the racing world and gives one of the most fully fleshed-out team management experiences you’ll find. You can design your team’s liveries, choose an engine supplier, pick a sponsor and managing the finances in between races against the likes of Ferrari and McLaren. If the management component isn’t your thing, you also have the option of just racing around the track.