The video game community and driving enthusiasts just go hand in hand, with many of the greatest games in existence being racing games (all of which are incredibly varied in content and difficulty). Much like every genre of video game, racing titles have evolved so much over the years, and now companies are creating ultra-realistic video games that have got gearheads salivating.
Whilst the prospect of what VR might be able to bring to the racing game genre is very exciting, there have been some amazing games throughout time, both new and old, that have had major petrolheads hooked. Here are 10 of the best.
10 Forza Horizon 4
The Forza series of racing games is one of the most popular amongst hardcore driving fans, as well as just casual gamers. The reason? They're simply great, which iswhy this won't be the last time you see a Forza game on this list.
Forza games are known for their brilliant graphics and providing a palpable feeling of speed while playing, which keeps things thrilling throughout. With great commentary and enough challenge to keep even the best gamer engaged, this game has it all. The racecourses in the Forza Horizon series are varied and unique, which keeps things interesting. Gamers even having an option to race against a World War II fighter aircraft, just because.
9 Driver: San Francisco
Unlike most driving games, Driver: San Francisco is one that actually has quite a lot of storyline, rather than simply just driving around on a race track, with this being an action-adventure racing game with an open-world map.
Players can shift from car to car, rather than getting out and walking about like a Grand Theft Auto-style game, whilst completing a variety of missions that are all grounded in the need to drive. With a great online mode that has a range of things to do, Driver: San Francisco offers plenty to players to keep them entertained for hours on end.
8 Dirt Rally
If you're looking for an incredibly realistic game that will test your skills then DiRT Rally is a perfect choice. With the game expecting a high level of skill right from the start, many gearheads can get behind it.
The game isn't the easiest to play, so those who aren't great at racing games might struggle, as it isn't very forgiving if you can't get to grip with the controls. Still, that is what makes the entire thing feel so realistic. With stunning graphics and immersion that is tough to top, this is one game that all enthusiasts can really get stuck into for a good challenge.
7 Need For Speed: Rivals
The Need for Speed franchise is one of the most popular and well-known in the history of the racing game genre, although not every single installment in the series has been up to par. However, those Need for Speed games that are good, tend to be great. Rivals is an example of one that really knocks it out of the park and has become incredibly popular amongst gearheads.
The game is set in an open world, which allows for exploration and refines the cops and robbers mechanic set by previous games. Players can level up as the game progresses and with an impressive multiplayer mode, it has become a hit for people to play with friends.
6 Burnout 3: Takedown
Burnout 3: Takedown remains an incredibly fun game to this day. Full of carnage and chaos, it is a game that doesn't take itself too seriously and it really benefits from that.
Originally released in 2004, Burnout 3: Takedown developed from the first two entries in the series and added to that foundation. Of course, the main aim of the game was still causing damage and destroying other cars, but there was still a realistic driving element to the game as well. This is one of the most over-the-top racing games ever made, but that doesn't make it a bad one. With a fun multiplayer mode, everyone got to enjoy the madness of this classic game.
5 Gran Turismo Sport
In terms of graphics, Gran Turismo Sport might have got every other game on this list trumped, with gamers falling in love with the crystal clear definition of how the cars and background scenes look in this game.
Polyphonic Digital went above and beyond with this one to make it a success and they certainly did not disappoint. However, it isn't just the graphics that keep fans hooked, as the gameplay itself is great too. With 28 different tracks, all of which are incredibly detailed, there is plenty of variety to keep people occupied, with gamers focusing on mastering each track.
4 Forza Motorsport 7
Another ultra-realistic game from the popular racing series, Motorsport 7 quickly became a favorite amongst those who love racing games. This game is all about the details, and the graphics involved in this one are simply sublime. Not just focusing on the cars (which also look amazing), but also thinking about background details from the crowd to how the wind might react to the environment. Everything looks great in this one.
This game also has different weather and road conditions, all of which impact the gameplay. The game forces players to improve in order to get more powerful cars, rather than just giving them everything from the start. It's rewarding and super detailed.
3 F1 2018
Not everyone is a fan of the formula one franchise, but for those that are the F1 video game series is of crucial importance. With 21 circuits, ten teams, and 20 different drivers, all of which participated in the 2018 season, F1 2018 is the best of the bunch so far, with brilliant visuals that will please every fan.
As well as just focusing on the driving elements, the game also focuses on upgrades to the car that will affect it for the rest of the season, just like in reality, taking the game to the next level.
It might not be the most flashy racing video game to have been created, and it is now quite old, but it still remains a firm favorite amongst diehard gamers who enjoy the brilliant job that was done by Evolution on this.
The game was hampered by issues early on, being delayed almost a year, much to the frustration of patient fans. Driveclub then debuted with some serious performance issues, which gave it a horribly rocky start. However, those who were patient enough to relax and wait were able to enjoy a classic game that had some brilliant gameplay and fantastic graphics for its time, that still hold up now. Kudos to the team for turning things around.
1 Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Here's a quick curveball to round out our list. Whilst it might not be a serious or realistic racing game, how can you not love Mario Kart? First debuting in 1992, there have been many versions since; the incredibly popular series seems to go from strength to strength.
The series is simply perfect for everyone in the family to enjoy. The variety of tracks is suited for a new gamer and those with more experience, and people are able to compete or co-operate as they choose.
With a wide variety of characters and customizable vehicles in later offerings, Mario Kart caters to everybody. If you think it's not a serious-enough racer, wait until somebody nails you with a Blue Shell inches from the finish line. Things sure get serious then!