There are countless racing games in the market. Gamers jump into the driver’s seat every year, with most titles providing a good time for newcomers and long-time fans of the genre alike. However, those who want a more realistic approach to driving will find the list of available titles a bit more limited.
Below we focus on simulation style driving games rather than arcade racing games. It might not be a long list, but these titles have held up incredibly well over the years and are worth playing today.
#8 Driving Essentials
The basics of driving is a unique game compared to some of the other driving simulation games on this list, but it’s a solid choice for those not yet old enough to get behind the wheel. Using The basics of driving, young people can gain a more complex understanding of all aspects of driving. Consider it a teaching aid for those about to take driver training and want to be the star student.
This title offers an overview of different lessons for beginners such as using signals, what different signs mean, driving a certain distance from another vehicle, using your mirrors and checking blind spots. It even shows different accident scenarios that can occur when a driver is distracted. It’s a great way to start teaching young people about the responsibility of driving.
#7 Assetto Corsa: ultimate edition
Active Corsa was originally released in 2014, but it remains a fan favorite when it comes to racing simulators. This game is packed with content thanks to the long line of DLC releases that have introduced over 100 different vehicles into the mix. You’ll find cars of all styles and eras, all incredibly detailed. There’s a lot of immersion here, and finding the right car for the right race is key.
It’s not just about speed and design, but more about predicting how a car will behave once on the road. For a slightly older title in this list, it’s a game we can still recommend if you want something more realistic. That said, it is better to opt for the Assetto Corsa: ultimate edition which comes with all previously released DLC.
#6 DiRT Rally 2.0
Dirt 5 is perhaps the newest mainline installment available – and the last game to be published by Codemasters as an independent company – but those who want a simulation-style game may want to turn their attention to the 2019 release of DiRT Rally 2.0. This is a strict simulation racing game where players have to pay close attention to the course and more attention to their vehicle. If you’re not the greatest dirt rally passionate, maybe it’s better to enjoy Dirt 5 which offers more accessibility options. That being said, DiRT Rally 2.0 still offers a serious simulation challenge.
The courses found in this title are not only stunning to look at, but are designed to mimic some of the cleanest racing out there. Your vehicle will react to every bump in the road and if you’re not careful, you could very well crash out of the race or flip your car. This game offers the possibility to make several modifications to your car and to hire crew members who can fine-tune your driving before the races.
#5 Snow Runner
snow runner is a driving simulator with more emphasis on difficult terrain. Players will take different paths, from muddy mountains to snowy tundras. Although driving around these courses is the main objective of the game, there are also a series of different challenges to try, such as helping another vehicle out of a difficult position or helping a stuck truck that has run out of gas.
Of course, to traverse these different terrains, you will need to ensure that your vehicle is suitable for the task. It may require some serious tweaking or the addition of a few extra bonuses such as an exhaust snorkel. There’s even four-player co-op gameplay, which means you can have a bit more fun driving through those tricky tracks.
#4 Project Cars 2
The Project cars the franchise has three solid installments available, but there have been debates over which is better – the latest installment, Project Cars 3, or the previous version, Project Cars 2. The latest installment gives gamers a more arcade-style feel, so we chose to select Project Cars 2 for this list. Just because it’s an older title doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit. A fantastic simulation-style racing game, it allows players to choose from endless options. With a ton of different vehicles and a wide range of racing tracks from around the world, Project Cars 2 even allows players to change the weather.
Whether you want a calm, sunny morning, an overnight race, or additional chaos with heavy rain and blizzard-like conditions, the sky is the limit. These conditions will alter the driving experience and give players a healthy dose of realism. For those who like to tinker around under the hood, there are options to make a variety of adjustments. Even if you’re not a pro, there are guides to give advice and suggestions.
#3 F1 2020
2020 was a loss in many ways, but at least we got a solid F1 title. F1’s series of video game titles still feature unreal simulation-style racing, but F1 2020 took things to a new level. The simulation is on point and players will find an astonishing amount of realism to give F1 sports fans the feeling of racing on some of the most famous courses.
Where the game shines isn’t just the driving simulation itself, but the management component of its career mode. Players are not only the engine of an organization, but also the owner of an organization. You will create a team and start hiring for various positions. From there, it’s about growing your organization, not just tweaking your vehicle.
Keeping tabs on your profits and securing sponsorship deals is key to ensuring you’re able to compete against other iconic teams. However, if you’re new to the franchise and think this game will be a little too much to handle, there are assist modes to help you through the process. There are plenty of options available to help with different aspects such as fuel assist, DRS and more traditional assist settings such as braking and steering control.
#2 NASCAR Heat 4
Nascar has a strong following and the newest game available is Nascar Heat 5. However, Nascar Heat 4 borders the latest installment for quite a few fans out there. This is a simulator that requires a staggering amount of concentration and that may be a bit too much for newcomers, who might find all of the tweaks and setting options cumbersome. The game features two career-style modes, one of which asks players to control the driver and another that gives you access to building your team. The latter also adds its share of challenges such as hiring staff, ensuring your establishment makes improvements, collecting sponsorship deals, and controlling your finances.
Luckily, players can start the game with any streak they want, rather than having to complete each streak in succession to progress. If you’d rather jump straight to the Xfinity series, you can. In the meantime, as we mentioned earlier, there is a fairly comprehensive selection of tweaks for your vehicle and each course will require certain additions to your car. Players will be able to modify several aspects of their vehicle, including tires, springs, shocks, and weight.
Giving players plenty of realism, those new to the series or perhaps not as knowledgeable about Nascar may find it difficult to adapt to each race. That said, if you want more task-oriented racing, there are also a variety of challenges implemented in the game. These challenges can vary and include things like starting a race with a car that already has a massive lead.
#1 Gran Turismo Sports
The Gran Turismo The franchise has been popular for decades, with all titles available on the Sony PlayStation line of consoles. Each episode showcases the power of their respective consoles with an incredible amount of detailed vehicles, courses and stunning scenery. One of the most recent deductible payments is Gran Turismo Sports, and its creator Kazunori Yamauchi noted that it was the first installment of a whole new era of Gran Turismo Games. There are three main game modes in this title: campaign, sports mode and arcade mode.
While players can race both online and offline with Gran Turismo Sports– much like previous installments in the franchise – this addition lacks dynamic weather and a day-night cycle. One of the main novelties of the Gran Turismo The series introduced in this game was the VR option. Players can engage in a much more immersive gaming experience with a VR headset (although we recommend a fan or chewing gum – motion sickness is a thing).