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Since its release in 1995, the Playstation console has seen its fair share of racing titles come and go. Few are as iconic as the likes of Polyphony Digital's Gran Turismo, but there's been no shortage of options to choose from going back through each generation of console. But what about now? What racing games are the best for Sony's latest PlayStation 5 consoles?
To help you choose which racing title might best fit your needs, we've rounded up a collection of the best racing games out there, from the famed Need for Speed series all the way to the more simulation-style options like Assetto Corsa Competizione. Check out our collection below and let us know in the comments what titles you think we're missing out on.
Things to Consider When Buying an Xbox Racing Game
Before you dive in and purchase your next racing game for your PlayStation 5, there are a few things you'll want to consider.
Sim or Arcade Style?
Take into account whether you prefer simulation racing games, which aim to replicate real-world driving experiences as accurately as possible, or arcade racing games, which tend to prioritize fun and accessibility. Titles like Gran Turismo and Assetto Corsa will be more simulation-specific, while the likes of Dirt and Need for Speed will have more of an arcade feel.
Car and Track Selection
Look at the variety and number of cars and tracks available in a given title. Some games focus on specific car brands or racing styles, while others offer a wide variety. Choose one that best fits what you're looking to enjoy.
Consider whether the game has an online multiplayer component if you're interested in competing against other players. Some games have more vibrant online multiplayer scenes (such as Assetto Corsa Competizione), while others might be lacking.
Updates and DLC
Check if the game is regularly updated and if any downloadable content (DLC) packs are available to enhance your gaming experience. Keep in mind some DLC packs could add unexpected costs on top of the original purchase price of the game.
Gran Turismo 7
Gran Turismo 7 (GT7) stands alone as the pinnacle in racing simulation for PlayStation, bringing together decades of development and innovation. With a garage filled with hundreds of cars ranging from classic models to the latest supercars, and a vast array of tracks from around the world, GT7 offers an unparalleled depth of content.
The attention to detail, including realistic driving physics and stunning visuals, set a new standard for what is possible in a racing game. The game features a robust single-player campaign, but competitive online modes ensure there is plenty of content to keep players engaged for years to come.
What sets GT7 apart from the competition is its authenticity, realism, and ability to cater to both rookies and veteran racers alike. The game includes extensive tuning and customization options that allow players to tweak their vehicles to perfection, while its dynamic weather and time-of-day system add an extra layer of challenge and immersion throughout races.
Since its debut in 1997, Gran Turismo has released title after title that delivers an uncompromised racing experience, and GT7 is no exception. As expected, Campaign Mode is time-intensive, but our time playing GT7 impressed us with the breadth of cars, tracks, and customization available to gamers.
F1 23 continues the legacy of its predecessors, offering an authentic and thrilling Formula 1 racing experience for newcomers and experts alike. The game captures the intensity and precision of F1 racing, with all the official teams, drivers, and circuits from the 2023 season, including the F2 and F3 series.
While the game might appear to be a relatively minor update over F1 22, its new Career mode and updated AI drivers help to create a more realistic racing experience compared to its predecessors.
Codemasters, the studio behind the F1 series, has made the AI more lifelike in how it acts—and reacts—on track, which was one of the biggest complaints of previous F1 titles. Codemasters have also improved car-handling physics and improved the Career mode, now deemed "Braking Point 2." Other upgrades include new circuits (Las Vegas and Qatar) as well as a new "Precision Drive" technology that makes it easier to control the car when using a gaming controller (as opposed to a sim racing wheel).
We've played the new F1 2023 game (admittedly, on Xbox) and the improved controller experience is a dramatic departure from previous games, resulting in a more balanced race car when making minor inputs. The upgraded AI drivers are also noticeable in that their moves are more predictable and more realistically replicate how you'd expect a real-world racing competitor to act in a given on-track situation.
Assetto Corsa Competizione
If it's a hardcore simulation experience you're looking for, Assetto Corsa Competizione delivers with an emphasis on GT3 and GT4 racing. The game boasts impressive realism, with highly detailed cars, advanced tire and aerodynamics simulation, and realistic weather conditions. The track selection includes some of the most famous circuits in GT racing, all of which are laser-scanned for pinpoint accuracy.
Assetto Corsa Competizione offers a variety of single-player and multiplayer modes, including a career mode, championship mode, and competitive online races. The game is a stalwart in the competitive Esports community, which is a testament to its realism and capabilities. While we would suggest playing the game with a dedicated sim racing wheel if you intend to be competitive online, using a controller is perfectly fine for offline events and less serious gamers who simply want to enjoy realistic racing from their couch.
Project Cars 3
Project Cars 3 strikes a balance between realism and accessibility, offering an approachable racing experience when you're first starting but more than enough setup and strategy complexity to keep veteran drivers interested. The game features a wide selection of cars, from everyday road vehicles to high-performance race cars, all of which can be customized and upgraded as you progress through the game. The track selection is equally impressive, with more than 140 circuits from around the world.
Project Cars 3 includes a comprehensive career mode that challenges players to rise through the ranks, earn credits, and unlock new vehicles and upgrades. The game also offers robust multiplayer options, including scheduled events and competitive racing leagues which, from our experience, are usually matched well with equally capable drivers.
It might not necessarily excel in any one area, but Project Cars 3 is a solid experience for PlayStation users that makes racing accessible for newcomers while also catering to players who want detailed control over the settings and upgrades offered throughout the game.
Wreckfest deviates from the standard racing-game formula, opting instead for a more demolition derby–style experience. This title challenges gamers to push beyond their boundaries, steering a strange array of cars to their ultimate capacity in perilous scenarios where collisions are more or less intentional—especially in the assortment of purpose-built modes for demolition.
Tracks available range from wildly improbable vehicular combat arenas to circuits that more or less mirror traditional racing tracks. The vehicle roster is equally as distinct, offering everything from souped-up riding mowers to classic muscle cars. Gameplay is undoubtedly more arcade-based than others in this list, but the collision and racing physics are top-tier, creating dramatic displays of twisting metal and flying wreckage.
It's hardly shocking that Bugbear, the game's creator, is the same studio that brought us the celebrated FlatOut 1 and 2, games renowned for their rag-doll physics in the racing genre.
Need for Speed: Heat returns the series to its street-racing roots. The title offers a thrilling blend of high-speed chases, underground culture, and a vast open world to explore as you see fit. Set in Palm City, a fictionalized version of Miami, Florida, players can race through various environments, from bustling city streets to winding country roads. The game features a diverse lineup of cars, from tuners and exotics to classic muscle, all of which can be customized to suit your style.
What sets apart Need for Speed: Heat from its predecessors is its unique day-night cycle, with sanctioned races taking place during the day and illegal street races at night. The law enforcement in the game are always on the lookout, adding an extra layer of excitement and danger to nighttime races. With its engaging gameplay, extensive customization options, and vibrant open world, Need for Speed: Heat provides the thrilling and customizable experience we've come to know and love from the Need for Speed series.
Dirt 5 is the go-to off-road racing game for PlayStation. It offers a fun, fast-paced racing experience that stands out for its arcade-style gameplay and vibrant visuals. Players can tackle various terrain types, including mud, snow, and gravel, across events that take place around the globe. The game features a wide selection of off-road vehicles, from lifted buggies and trucks to modern rally cars—more than enough choices for any type of racer.
Where Dirt 5 shines is in its Playgrounds mode, where players can create, share, and race on custom tracks. The game also offers a robust career mode and local split-screen multiplayer for up to four players, making it a great choice for couch co-op racing fun. With its easy-to-pick-up gameplay, exciting race environments, and a plethora of content, Dirt 5 is a standout choice for anyone wanting off-road adventures.
Can I use a steering wheel controller with these games?
All of the games in this list support external steering wheels, although the extent of that support will vary from one wheel to another. Be sure to check compatibility before purchasing a sim race wheel.
Can I play these racing games offline?
Essentially all racing games offer offline gameplay modes, including some split-screen multiplayer modes and nearly all single-player career modes. That said, Gran Turismo 7 bucks this trend and requires an internet connection for the Campaign mode, which has been a heated topic of debate.
Are there any racing games suitable for children?
Yes, racing games with E (Everyone) ratings are generally suitable for children. That said, only you can decide what kind of content is better suited for children given their age and your limits. Some titles, such as Wreckfest, show dramatic crashes that may or may not be suitable depending on the level of vehicular violence you're comfortable with your child seeing.
How often are new racing games released for PlayStation?
The release schedule varies from one developer to another, but you can generally expect several new racing games to be released each year.
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