The racing game has come along way since the early 90s and the days of F-zero and Top Gear. Today, each console has amazing options for simulation and arcade racers. Here are a few of the best.
Gran Turismo 3-4: Gran Turismo reinvented the modern racing genre as we know it. Polyphony crafted in this games such an advanced realistic physics engine that driving enthusiasts the world over fell in love. And when Gran Turismo 3 released for the PlayStation 2, no one questioned again what the best driving simulator was. Of course, things like online play, in game damage, and more settings for adjustment were craved by fans and when Gran Turismo 4 arrived without the additions, it was considered nothing more than an expansion pack to Gran Turismo 3, which of course doesn’t lessen the game itself, as it’s a bigger badder version of the best. But even now we wait for the features that Sony’s promised for years. Is it hard? Absolutely, and if you actually turn off all you steering assists, put it in manual and try to run the GT endurance race on Cote d’Azur, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Mario Kart – Yeah, Nintendo never really bought into the whole realism and advancement concept that led to the boom of the whole industry. They stuck with their fun above all else format, and it looks like it’s finally starting to pay off. Mario Kart always was one of the greatest examples though. The original kart racer, and at the time one of the best racing games around period. Even though Double Dash dropped the ball a little bit, Mario Kart still remains the big name for Nintendo racing and just plain fun racing.
GTR 2- A very recent release for the PC, GTR is like Gran Turismo with every thing you ever wanted and Sony didn’t give you. It’s harder, it’s bigger, it’s online, and there are so many options, tweaks, and damage controls you could spend a whole day just digging through them. If you have the set up to run this monstrous racing sim, you’ll be behind the wheel of one of the best around. Unfortunately not too many of us can pull that off. So for now, we’ll just have to wait for Gran Turismo HD or Forza 2
Forza Motorsport – And then there’s Microsoft’s entry for the Xbox. Forza did a lot of things right, and a few things wrong. It’s a racing sim through and through, though it tries to not completely abandon its arcade aspirations. It’s easier than the rest, but it’s not weaker. Online play and a huge stable of tracks and cars, along with fairly solid, if not entirely accurate (tire wear I’m looking at you) physics make it a solid, if slightly subpar effort. Though, for a game trying to emulate the best, you can’t go wrong here, and Forza 2, unlike Gran Turismo 5, looks like it might actually be coming out sometime before the decade’s over.
Burnout 3: Takedown – And that brings us to Burnout 3. In my opinion, overlooking the desire for realism or the desire for fun, Burnout 3 is the greatest racing game ever made. And here’s why. It’s so damn fun. Physics be damned, you’re playing for the sole fun of driving, and that means speed, speed and destruction. You crash, bash and tear your way through a couple hundred races and crash events (in which you see how much damage you can make with one run through a crowded intersection) and the speed of the races is absolutely insane. Hundreds of hours have gone into this game and its sequel, Burnout Revenge, and more still probably into the newest Burnout. And the best part, it’s available for more than one console. A must own, must play, must see.