We are back at it. I know we are in the next gen consoles, but sometimes to move forward you have to look back. These are the top 10 racing games for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
This is a highly subjective list put together by my good buddy Don Purnell, based on the titles that we gave a lot of burn to, instead of just looking to critically acclaimed games. This is not a debate about which console is better, which console had better games, or whats the best simulated racer…simply put with all things equal, what was the best and most fun racing game.
There were 2 rules for making this list:
- Must have been released on Xbox 360 or PS3
- Had to be a racing game
Ok, Enough with the excuses. let’s get into Don’s list and then start the debate in the comments!
10. F1 2011
This hidden gem by Codemasters is a must for F1 fans and typical racing sim fans. While light on customization options (this is F1 after all), F1 2011 features a rather steep learning curve that makes learning tracks and the intricacies of F1 satisfying. F1 2011 improves on the previous years edition in multiple ways. It added rule changes that were present in the F1 racing season and was a tighter game overall.
F1 2010’s criticism stemmed from its numerous bugs and lack of features; 2011 was released as a more complete and stable game. Codemasters would go on to release annual releases until F1 2014.
Bizarre Creations who are most known for Metropolist Street Racer and Project Gotham Racing released Blur in 2010 to fail solid reviews. Blur can be best described as Mario Kart with real cars. Although it can be also related to Diddy Kong Racing in the sense that it has weapons laid out in each track that are not randomized. You can bank these weapons, three at a time, to use against other racers. One weapon is a typical pea shooter that slows down racers, another is an area of effect sonic boom that shakes everyone off of you.
I can’t say for certain why this game wasn’t more successful – everything about it was very solid. it had varied tracks, great online features (despite it being completely dead online) and split screen. Unfortunately, we may never see a sequel to Blur since Bizarre Creations went out of business shortly after release.
8. Test Drive: Unlimited
Test Drive: Unlimited is one of the ultimate cruise games. The career mode is nothing special, the online features are perfectly serviceable, the car selection is good, and there is enough racing variety to keep your interest going. This may all sound mediocre, and to an extent, it just might be, but the largest draw of TDU is it is an entirely free roam driving game.
Pre-dating Burnout Paradise, this was the first true next gen racing experience for me. Eden Games modeled the entire island of O’ahu, Hawaii and you are free to cruise around at your leisure. No load times or transitions. Of course, you can buy houses, customize your cars, engage in rival races online, cruise with friends online, but I still consider this game something more of a leisure.
7. Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Criterion games has always been a racing powerhouse and the reimagining of the already great 2005 NFS: Most Wanted was a task only they could take on. This time featuring an open world environment, you were free to tackle tasks any way you wanted at any time. Robust online features, both competitive and cooperative round out arguably the best NFS game in years.
6. Sonic And All Stars Racing Transformed
I debated adding this game or Modnation Racers at number 6. Modnation Racers is a quality kart racing game with an immense amount of customizability modes and sharing modes, but ultimately the racing is just standard kart fare.
Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed is the best kart racer to date and in my eyes, far surpassing Mario Kart Wii(note: I’ve yet to play Mario Kart 8) in every aspect. Firstly, the games tracks are an absolutely incredible trip into Sega’s history and a nostalgic rush. Tracks based on Golden Axe and Afterburner are sure to put a stupid grin on your face with remixed music and references to their respective games.
The game takes a page from Diddy Kong Racing, but expands upon it. Most racers are 3 laps, and after each lap, the track drastically changes which causes your kart to transform into an aircraft or seacraft. Each character’s transforming vehicle is seamless; something out of Transformers, easily. This is a must for any kart racing fan, you’d be doing a disservice to yourself avoiding it.
5. Project Gotham Racing 4
This was my first addictive racing game for 360. PGR3 wasn’t a very good launch title. Sure, it showed off some of the 360’s power, but the game was just not up to the standard PGR2 had set before it went to the next generation of gaming. PGR4 hits the mark with a new expansive career mode that cross many years and seasons and racing mechanics that skate a fine line between arcadey and simulation. Make no mistake – this is still heavily grounded in the arcade handling realm, it just does it exceptionally well. Online modes keep the experience rich and ongoing if you’ve had your fill of the single player. Leveling up and credits to unlock new cars and tracks are incentive enough to make this a top racer.
4. Gran Turismo 6
Gran Turismo took forever to finally reach the PS3. Polyphony released a PSP game and Gran Truism 5: Prologue, which many would argue was a $30 demo for GT5. it would not be until 2010, four years after the release of PS3, would we finally get a Gran Turismo game.
While GT5 was certainly a great game, it still had some growing pains for being in development so long. Let’s not forget that Gran Truismo 1 had apparently been in development since 1992 and wasn’t released until 1997. Gran Turismo 6 was released in 2013 and it felt like a much better GT experience. With over 1200 cars to buy and choose form, better online modes, better graphics, better everything, GT6 was the one to get on PS3.
Another Codemasters game…known as Race Driver: Grid in Europe and Grid in the U.S., this under rated racer was released in 2008. This game was a pleasant surprise for me; the graphics were stunning and the racing were mechanics were absolutely tight. The extensive career mode had you playing various races between the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Drift Mode was insanely fun and showcased the amount of control you really had over your cars. You would have to manage your team; if your team placed high, sponsors would pay your more money. You added sponsor decals to your cars along with customizable layers and paint jobs, to stand out from the pack.
2. Forza Motorsport 4
Forza 4 is the most comprehensive simulation experience for the last generation. Turn 10 pulled out all the stops for their last iteration on the 360. More cars, more modes, more online and social features, most customizability, more tracks, better handling…you get the idea…everything was refined to provide the player with nearly any possible option they wanted in a racer. This is it. Gran Truism 6 was great, but Forza 4 just offers a fuller experience.
1. Burnout Paradise
Burnout Paradise is by far my favorite racing game of the last generation. Set in the aptly named Paradise City, it is a sandbox of arcade racing. Whether it’s the crash modes, point to point races, head to head, take down races, multitude of car challenges, Paradise is just a drive away.
The DLC is some of the best for any racing game and fairly worthwhile. The idea of driving the Back to the Future DeLorean, WITH hover optional hover mode, is worth the price of admission alone. You’ll constantly be completing missions to raise your license rank and even go online with friends and others in head to head races, of which there are many types. This is the virtual equivalent of playing with your Hot Wheels set as a kid, but at blistering speed.
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Whats You Top 10?
What are your Top 10 racing games on PS3 and Xbox 360? Think we left anything out of our list…Let us know in the comments below.