Best racing PC games

Video Games

Racing games come in all flavors. Some are true-to-life racing simulations while others are set in fantastical worlds with your favorite video game characters.

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What are the best racing PC games?

Chances are that if you’re looking for a racing game, you’re trying to find a gift for your kid. Sitting and take turns or competing and watch the sparks fly and the tires skid is fun for the whole family.

There’s a huge variety of racing games. Some are incredibly technical simulations while others are more relaxing, allowing anyone to pick them up and play. While the more technical simulations are still adrenaline-pumping and competitive, there can be more freedom to simply enjoy the feeling of going fast in games that are less true to reality. A great racing game to check out is is Forza Horizon 5.

What to know before you buy racing PC games?

Graphics

No one likes to look at a blocky, textureless car. They want the hood to sparkle and reflect light and the paint to scratch when you hit a guardrail. There are exceptions, of course. Retro games often have lasting appeal, and highly stylized graphics can be very interesting to look at. But if you know anything about cars, half the fun is looking at them. If you’re a car enthusiast, you may want to look for a game that’s more true-to-life.

Cars

It should be obvious that racing games need race cars, but not every game will have the same ones. Some don’t even use real-world name brands at all, and these may not appeal to those who like to imagine themselves driving the latest Ferrari. However, there are also many games that emphasize customizing cars to express yourself any way you like.

Story mode

A good story mode can immediately elevate a game to cult classic status, but not all racing games will have a story mode. Sometimes story modes will focus on building up your racing career, earning money or raising your racing reputation, and they can feel a little shallow and repetitive at times. Sometimes you just want to go fast, but it can be more fun when you have a reason to race and a goal to achieve. When the stakes are high, the race can be all the more exciting.

Competition

You have to race with people, right? As good as computers have become at racing games, they aren’t fun for everyone. AI racing competitors can sometimes dominate races with pinpoint turning and acceleration or else can they chug along like turtles at a hare race. Look for online multiplayers modes so you’ll always have human competitors. Most games will also offer split screen and other modes that will allow you to race friends and family within your own home.

What are the 6 best racing PC games to buy?

F1 2021

F1 2021 

What you need to know: F1 2021 is a circuit-based formula 1 game that introduces a fully-fledged story mode, the first in the series. 

What you’ll love: The graphics are picture-perfect, the people look real, and the cars feel fast enough to take flight while making hairpin turns. It has a good fictional drama at its heart, and the handling is smooth.

What you should consider: It’s a racing simulator, which means that it may be a bit too technical for younger kids.

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Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5

What you need to know: Forza Horizon 5 is fast, fun and, at times, insane. 

What you’ll love: This gigantic, open-world game has a booming soundtrack and outrageous stunts. It’s fun for everyone because it’s pretty forgiving about collisions. With artists like Kendrick Lamar blaring out your speakers, you’ll be tearing it down the side of a mountain in a monster truck racing a giant amphibious assault vehicle just so you can go off a ramp and do a flip over a fighter jet.

What you should consider: It’s unrealistic to a degree that can break immersion for those looking for realistic simulators. The story mode isn’t well developed and can feel a bit hollow, but the racing makes up for it.

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Need for Speed Underground

Need for Speed Underground

What you need to know: This game for PC was released in 2003 and has graphics that hold up. Its story mode and customization settings make it a classic.

What you’ll love: You’ll be able to completely personalize your car and challenge people to races to increase your street cred. The racing AI is balanced, and making it to the end of a race without hitting traffic is a fun challenge. 

What you should consider: It was released in 2003, so it won’t work on Windows 10, but it can work on Windows 7.

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Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

What you need to know: Mario Kart 8 is the ultimate party game. Race with Mario and the other citizens of Mushroom Kingdom through fantastic tracks.

What you’ll love: You’ll be racing on the ground, walls and ceiling. At times you’ll even be flying. Make sure you dodge all the bananas people are throwing.

What you should consider: Some tracks are recycled from older games, which can be a detractor for those wanting an all-new experience and a positive for those who want to replay favorite races.

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Dirt 5

Dirt 5

What you need to know: This game is all about off-road racing.

What you’ll love: As the name suggests, you’ll be drifting around dirt tracks. It’s an easy-to-play game that feels fast and has you racing to earn sponsorships and unlock new features and cars.

What you should consider: The story mode can be lacking.

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Super Street Racer

Super Street Racer

What you need to know: Super Street Racer is a game for the Switch where you start with a beater and win races to earn customizations.

What you’ll love: The rags to riches sensation as you begin to upgrade your car and win more races is great. There’s also a deep customization aspect.

What you should consider: The car models in this game aren’t real, so it may not appeal to those looking for a more real-life experience. 

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Samuel Bramlett writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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