Four elements support a memorable racing games: a thrilling sensation of speed, visuals that create a fun gaming environment, precise controls, and top-notch sound effects and cruising music. No matter the racing game’s genre—arcade, sim, or kart—if it nails those components, it will be remembered as one of the best. What PC games fall under this category, exactly? Our list separates the few games with winners from the many games with runners-up.
Racing Games on PC
The competition has a complete slate of games. Even without accounting for racing titles from other game retailers, Steam alone has an absurdly high number of pages dedicated to competitive driving as of this writing. Of course, not all of the titles on the list are racing games. For instance, Rocket League is undoubtedly a sports game despite having wheeled cars that are really moving quickly toward a goal (anyone who says otherwise is lying and is not your friend). The simulation game EmergeNYC, in which you take on the role of the FDNY, NYPD, or EMS and try to rescue lives, is not a racing game.
In a racing game, you take control of a car and compete to cross the finish line first by outrunning your opponents. That is how we define it, and we believe it to be rather sensible.
What About the Steam Deck on Racing Games?
All you have to do to play these games on a Windows PC is download and install them. Whether you’re using the Steam Deck, see if your preferred racing games are compatible with the Proton-enhanced, Linux-based environment by consulting Valve’s game compatibility list. According to data taken from SteamDB, hundreds of Steam games have so far been validated by Steam Deck (Opens in a new window). A green checkmark means the game has been thoroughly tested to function properly on Steam Deck; a yellow checkmark means the game may be played on Steam Deck, “but additional steps or manual effort from the user,” Remember that unreviewed racing games can be compatible with Steam Deck.
Pedal to the Metal
You probably feel the urge for speed if you’re reading this post. Thankfully, we do too. The PCMag pit crew enjoys playing racing games, so we have a few suggestions for you to check out. We must admit that we have strong preferences for arcade and kart games. Future evaluations that examine intense racing sims like Assetto Corsa Competizione, Automobilista, and Project Cars will broaden the field. Expect them shortly. Check out our picks for the best PC racing games right now. Happy motoring!
Burnout Paradise Remastered
One of Criterion’s finest games, Burnout Paradise was first published in 2008 for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. It follows that Burnout Paradise Remastered is even better.
Players on PC now get access to the formerly exclusive Big Surf Island, with all of its potential for stunts and mayhem, in addition to some nice graphical improvements. The geography of Paradise City is still entertaining whether you are simply driving about or taking part in the many activities that are offered.
The title’s great vehicle control, wide-ranging map, and many unlockables are not substantially diminished by any of the original game’s flaws, which include an unpleasant crash cam and some UI glitches.
The Colin McRae Rally and Sega Rally Championship of the 1990s boosted “extreme” racing games, and so does the Codemasters-created Dirt 5. The rally racer Dirt 5 doesn’t care about realism or in-depth customizing. Instead, it wants you to barrel your way to victory on twisty, muddy circuits.
While not entirely innovative, Dirt 5 is successful in providing players searching for a PC game. With plenty of high-speed escapism with a noisy, vibrant racing experience.
Forza Horizon 4
Just two years after the release of its outstanding predecessor, Forza Horizon 4, on PC in 2018. Several people questioned the need for the series’ every-other-year cycle. However, the open-world racer’s creator. Playground Games, bragged that its additional features would make the purchase worthwhile. The business was entirely right.
Forza Horizon 4 adds new cars, engaging solo and multiplayer modes, and seasonal effects to the exhilarating racing-and-music festival formula. The game’s finest feature is without a doubt the shifting weather patterns, which change how you approach driving. For instance, the picturesque lake you speed by in the spring, summer. And autumn can freeze over in the winter, enabling you to take a different route. The rain in April also muddies the courses, making it difficult to turn. You are not locked in one season for too long since the seasons change every week.
One of the greatest racing games to debut on PC in recent years, Forza Horizon 4 also has magnificent UK-based locations. Returning Barn Finds, new performance-enhancing Skills, and a well-chosen soundtrack.
Forza Horizon 5
Every installment of the well-liked racing series from Xbox Game Studios builds on the one before it, and Forza Horizon 5 is no exception. The fifth edition of the racing-and-music event offers all the usual modes, a great atmosphere, cool music. And crazy stunts, but this time the adjustments and additions are more evolutionary than revolutionary.
Forza Horizon 5’s unique Mexico location, crazily packed options, and new features will appeal to longtime series fans (the create-a-track EventLab, in particular). The racer has a wealth of inventive riches that will astound newcomers. In summary, Forza Horizon 5 is just another reason why Forza Horizon is still the finest racing game series.
Horizon Chase Turbo
Nowadays, it’s simple to take a pessimistic position toward anything tinged. With nostalgia since so many pop culture entities are exploiting the past for financial gain. Despite having a retro appearance, Horizon Chase Turbo has charm enough to keep it from falling into the hack category.
Horizon Chase Turbo is a straightforward game that emphasizes boosting, dodging other players’ cars. And a special gameplay element: collecting gas canisters to prevent running out of gasoline. Nevertheless, the primary draw of the racing game released by Aquiris Game Studio is its graphics.
Although Horizon Chase Turbo is a beautiful game, its flat, polygon-heavy graphic design. Which is reminiscent of racing games from the 1990s, may make it difficult for some players to immediately identify it as such (but without jaggies, clipping, and other era-specific visual flaws). Depending on whether you’re traveling at night or during the day. The images alternate between soft pastel hues and cool neon accents.
Horizon Chase Turbo is a PC racing game that is insanely amazing to look at and just as much fun to play.
With its pick-up-and-play control method and angular, low-polygon graphic design, Hotshot Racing imitates arcade-style driving events from the 1990s. The game, which Madalin Stunt Cars 2 Games created with assistance from Sumo Digital’s racing experts, mimics the feel of old racing in many ways. Mostly.
Despite having an Outrun-era aesthetic, Hotshot Racing lacks the exhilarating level design that makes many classic racers so memorable. That doesn’t mean that Hotshot Racing isn’t fun; it most definitely is! Powersliding enthusiasts will like the gameplay.
Need for Speed Heat
Need for Speed: Heat is an exhilarating racing game that generally succeeds in delivering the aspects that made prior NFS entries so popular: amazing vehicle customization possibilities, strong racing mechanics, and outrageous police chases.
The game contains a clever day-and-night system that enables you to enjoy both high-stakes, subterranean racing at night and lighter, daylight racing sequences. Palm City adds aesthetic variation to the game and looks wonderful in any setting.
Despite the weak multiplayer option and some confusing controls, the game is more fun than the previous installments because to the character customisation and enhanced plot. Fans of the series should get this book without delay.
Ridge Racer Unbounded
Despite not having the same cache as Gran Turismo or Forza in the current video game industry. The Ridge Racer series has a devoted following that enjoys the drift-focused racing action.
This edition, created by Bugbear Entertainment, adds environmental and vehicle damage to the basic gameplay. As you compete for street cred in the made-up Shatter Bay. Ridge Racer has gone completely Burnout.
The several districts of Shatter Bay are highly detailed and destructible settings that tempt you to participate in one more race. Only one vehicle and one racing district are available when Ridge Racer Unbounded is started. But more may be unlocked as you rack up collateral damage points. These points are obtained by smashing through any obstructions except an impenetrable brick wall.
Since this is a racing game, you may completely disregard the plot, yet the driving action is engaging and diverse. If you want to stay sane, just play against human opponents.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Collection
Kart racing is a genre characterized by crazy driving in the arcade style, absurd power-ups intended. To defeat opposing racers (or protect you from their assaults), curvy circuits, and adorable characters. The only difference in Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed Collection is that you fight on land, in the air, and in the sea. And it has a fantastic cast of Sega characters, too.
Sonic, Amy Rose, Eggman, Knuckles, and Tails are among the numerous characters from Sega’s colorful arcade and console past that appear in the zany racer. You may crank up the engines by, among others, employing Alex Kidd from Alex Kidd in Miracle World, Amigo. From Samba de Amigo, B.D. Joe from Crazy Taxi, and Beat from Jet Set Radio. Other non-Sega characters in the game include Wreck-It Ralph, a Disney cartoon celebrity, real-life Danica Patrick. A former NASCAR driver, and three characters who are only available in the Steam version: Pyro, Spy, and Heavy from Team Fortress 2.
Transformed Collection is a kart racing game featuring a charming cast, entertaining weaponry, and well-thought-out circuits. Who knows, you may discover that it feels superior than Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Nintendo Switch.
The creation of Black Rock Studio One of the greatest foundations in racing game history may be found in Split/Second. Split/Second has the competitors performing super moves known as PowerPlays. They race towards the finish line in a game where they battle for glory and huge money. The game is framed around a fake reality television program where the in-game racers compete for fame and large money.
PowerPlay points obtaine by deftly drafting, drifting, and leaping. You may explode certain elements of the environment when an opposing racer drives. Close to them while at least one tier of the PowerPlay meter is full. You’ll know what you can destroy. When by the presence of a blue symbol next to a specific environment element. When you unleash a PowerPlay attack, it is quite thrilling to learn that the chopper. It has flying above dropping bombs on your adversaries.
Split/Second is a frantic racer that will have you hugging corners, jockeying for position, and downing jumbo planes late into the night. It combines arcade-style racing with massive, environment-wrecking explosives. Since Split/servers Second’s are down, you must compete against other players locally.
WRC 10 FIA World Rally Championship
Developer KT Racing commemorates the World Rally Championship’s 50th anniversary with WRC 10. WRC 10 has old-school races and vehicles from the event’s illustrious past, tight controls. Photorealistic automobiles and scenery in addition to new circuits and challenges. Although this installment in the series isn’t much different from WRC 8 and Geometry Dash 9, its little upgrades make the game better overall.
The things that fans of simulation racing demand include in WRC 10. There are many hours of enjoyment thanks to the career mode and the several solo and multiplayer choices. Despite a few noteworthy flaws, this is overall another outstanding effort by KT Racing. It respects the tradition of the World Rally Championship.
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