Racing games come in all different varieties. From the ultra-realistic Forza, Gran Turismo, and F1 series’ to cartoonish cart racers and whiplash-inducing arcade racers with high flying stunts,
When compiling our list of best racing games, we strived to include games of all stripes, as well as both recent releases and classics. We narrowed our list down to 20 excellent racing games. Besides a few carefully considered selections, we only included one game from each franchise. If you’re looking to burn virtual rubber, these are the games you should add to your library.
Burnout 3: Takedown
In terms of over-the-top arcade racing action, no game has done it better than Burnout 3: Takedown. The 2004 title from Criterion Games for PS2 and Xbox upped the carnage from the first two entries in the series to create a constantly riveting experience. Sure, Burnout 3 had traditional races, but rather than trying to steer clear of other racers, the main fun came from slamming into their vehicles.
As damage accrued, you could eventually total their vehicle and in turn, increase your chances of winning. The takedown mechanic thrived in the new Road Rage mode, which tasked you with totaling a set number of cars within a time limit.
Burnout 3 was at its best, however, when playing multiplayer with friends to see who could rack up the most takedowns in a single event. With slick arcade handling, bombastic crashes, and a wide variety of game modes for both solo and multiplayer play, Burnout 3: Takedown remains one of the best arcade racing games ever.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the brilliant culmination of 25 years of Nintendo cart racing games. Featuring a wondrous collection of tracks both old and new, a large roster of customizable characters, and enough cheap items to ruin friendships, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is easily the best Mario Kart game ever made. It’s also, undoubtedly, the greatest cart racer of all time.
While the Grand Prix mode offers four different difficulty levels to master, Mario Kart has always gotten its legs from multiplayer. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has both local and online multiplayer for both traditional races and the battle mode. Yes, it’s a port of a Wii U game, but it contains all of the DLC as well as new characters and battle mode variants.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launched on Switch in 2017, but it remains one of the top sellers on the console today. In fact, nearly 50 percent of Switch owners have purchased Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. That number seems low to us. If you own a Switch, you should have a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Diddy Kong Racing
Diddy Kong Racing was the best cart racer on Nintendo 64. Yes, even better than Mario Kart 64. Starring characters from Rare franchises, Diddy Kong Racing had a novel single player campaign at the time. Set in an open world called Timber’s Island, you visited five different biomes, completing four races and a boss fight in each world.
Forza Motorsport 7
Forza Motorsport 7 is the ultimate simulation racing game for Xbox One. The team at Turn 10 Studios really outdid themselves with features sure to delight any and all gearheads. With more than 700 vehicles and a wealth of customization options, Forza Motorsport 7 has arguably the most impressive catalog of cars available in a racing game thus far.