There’s no doubt that there is a saturation of video games in the racing genre. In the last decade, let alone from the beginning of time, we’ve seen it all! With every passing upgrade, the resolution has increased and the story lines decreased, making the games more and more skill based.
If you are a regular couch competitor, many of the names on this list won’t be new to you but carry a sense of nostalgia as their predecessors changed the face of racing in some way or the other at their time of release.
For those of us who are only just entering the world of Xbox mania, these 10 games are essential to try for the very same reason.
- 6 Best Xbox One Racing Games 2016 to Unleash Your Inner Dominic Torreto
- 10 Best PC Car Racing Games for that Rush of Adrenaline Sitting at Home
Each of these best Xbox 360 games games differs from the other in that they create a unique outlook of the drive. While some are hyper-realistic with exceptional graphics that affect your race strategies, others are loaded with amazing sound tracks, easier game-play and limitless possibilities to build and share your own circuits.
In fact the one element that has consistently been upgraded in most of these games is the single player to local multi-player to online multi-player ease of use. No matter what level of gamer you are, the lasting appeal of a game is definitely something you factor in to your purchase and also a criterion by which these 10 have been chosen.
So strap yourself in tight, because the road ahead is laden with power, excitement and more heart pumping action than CPR.
#10) Shift 2: Unleashed 2011
Developed by: Slightly Mad Studios
Shift 2: best street racing game for Xbox 360. With a full suite of multi-player options, Shift 2: Unleashed is far from a simulation, unlike what its developers are known for, but rather an exaggerated feel of driving. That’s why it falls at number 10 on the list.
Its light and loose stirring is sure to whip and thrash your car around, especially for the untrained hand but that’s exactly why it’s so much fun! Definitely a step up from the first Shift, the loud engine roars and violent game play makes for a fully immersive experience that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
A rare element is its setting of the French circuit, Dijon-Prenois, which has been home to some of the most exhilarating battles in real-life motor racing.
#9) Forza Horizon 2, 2014
Developed by: Playground Games
A truly well upgraded version of the first version, Forza Horizon 2 takes all the good parts of the first and makes them better. The inventory of supercars is far more extensive and you can actually feel the differences in how they each drive. The staging is every driver’s dream come true (as most Top Gear fans will understand), straddled between South of France and Northern Italy.
The graphics are awesome to say the least and while the handling is mildly nuanced, it doesn’t inconvenience your manual options, including syncing to online multi-player leader boards.
Needless to say that busting through bushes and smashing street lamps has never been more realistic or fun!
#8) Burnout Revenge 2006
Developed by: Criterion Arts
Burnout Revenge goes beyond the normal circuit racing and brings a whole new ferocity to street racing. More than beating your opponent at the finish line, it’s simply about beating up your opponent in the most violent and dramatic way possible. The more horrific the damage and the bigger the pile ups, the more points you are able to rack.
The added bonus of watching and sharing your playbacks online only makes the competition stiffer. And with a choice of new cars in three classes; race, muscle and crash, this thrilling medium of vicious takedowns and mad destruction is not just exhilarating but a great stress buster from the madness of actual traffic jams.
#7) Need for Speed: Most Wanted 2012
Developed by: Sandbox Games
Most Wanted is arguably one of the most seamless open-world Need For Speed games (predated by Hot Pursuit) that practically became a cult at its time of release. While its developers are known for immersive storylines, this is even more so with Most Wanted with short video, phone calls and updated messages from other drivers carrying your plot.
You can opt for shorter challenges to hone on your skills and climb the leader board but for the most part your chosen driver persona is free to roam about in the in-detail-constructed city.
At first this may seem directionless for newer players but as the deviance begins, the chases pick up and the real fun starts.
#6) Grid 2008
Developed by: Codemasters
A perfect blend between hardcore driving simulations and over the top arcade racers, Grid showcases perfect race tracks, seamless drives and intense car crashes that willingly submerge you in to its world. While its list of cars is limited and so are the customization possibilities, the advantage you have of elaborate menus displays and options will make you rethink your race strategies with minimal uploading wait time. The music and car roars are equally stimulating while the dialogue can get a tad repetitive.
But it definitely doesn’t take away from the pleasure of driving. Keep at it as it can be challenging for the new and experienced gamers alike.
And the possibilities in single player and multiplayer modes are endless making it a great game to pull pursue over and over again.
#5) F1 2011
Developed by: Codemasters Studios Birmingham
F1 2011, built solidly over the original version the year before is clean, crisp and unadulterated realism. Its predecessor in 2010 was the first of its kind, causing quite a stir among those experienced players who have worked their way up from rally or circuit racing games.
While you cannot fault its quality of graphics with incredible weather effects and car detailing, you can ever so slightly doubt the story or context around it as it can get a little repetitive.
There’s also limited sound effects with the ferocious engines and wind gushing past but what more is there in reality as well? F1 2011, like its first version gives you the option to choose from all the famous circuits around the world with the most recent additions being Germany’s Nurburgring and India’s Buddh International circuit. Known for its challenging maneuvering, it’s definitely one game that needs keeps you determined for hours because every real driver/gamer knows the more challenging it is, the bigger the sense of accomplishment.
#4) Dirt 3, 2007
Developed by: Codemasters
The ultimate rally experience for all racing enthusiasts, Dirt 3 stages a truly beautiful set of seasons in which to play the through. The graphics are top notch and cover rains, snow falls and night driving testing the head lights, wipers and tires as part of your driving skills.
The handling response is tight and sensitive while also having six manual tuning options that allow the cars to balance out in any type of terrain. And the sounds are equally in tune. With the scrunching of leaves, rain, tires skidding and much more, the sounds are deep and enriching to the staging.
There are numerous events offered including Gymkhana where cars can be driven to large abandoned areas and really opened up with tricks and short bursts of speed makes it quite unique from other rally games, and not to mention, a hell of lot of fun! And of course the multi-player options and smart, easy displays can prolong the play as much as you want.
#3) Project Gotham Racing 4, 2007
Developed by: Bizarre Creations
The PGR (Project Gotham Racing) series has always been widely known in the racing gamer circuits because it also helped launch the Xbox 360 console. However, since then it has been updated several times but keeping its race motto constant. PGR 4, like the others in the series has also stayed true to this; winning races in style.
Like previously, the game gives you Kudos for any tricks and drifts you may perform with your car while simultaneously trying the win a race event. The big addition here though is motorbikes. You can actually race motorbikes and cars against each other, which can be super fun but it does have a couple of drawbacks on the realism of handling the vehicles.
The graphics, however, are gorgeous especially with the added weather simulations. And while it is tougher maneuvering with more events and challenges compared to the rest of the series, it’s sure to keep you hooked till you get it right.
#2) Trials Evolution 2012
Developed by: Red Lynx
The predecessor of this game is Trials HD that was released in 2009 and was a top selling game as well as voted the best arcade game that year. Trials Evolution is, as per namesake, the evolved version of its past in every way. With better music, sounds effects and graphics, Trials Evolution takes its motorcycle stunts to the next level. Sure the physics is exaggerated but the accomplishments come steadily.
Thanks to replaying a particular event or stunt as many times as you want, this is great of the gamers who love to sit perfecting every move. The later challenges do become increasingly difficult but it’s still definitely a game that forces patience and perfection for any player, no matter how amateur or professional.
#1) Forza Motorsport 4, 2011
Developed by: Turn 10 Studios
The undoubted reigning champion of this list and racing games (by far) is Forza Motorsport 4. In comparison to the previous games in its series, Forza 4 takes every element to the next level. Its presentation, start-up and tutorial video clips as well as smart displays are incredibly well put together with a level of sophistication (practically fit for The Queen) and ingenuity.
Its graphics are unparalleled with extremely attention to details of curbs, drains, to the interior of its lost list of licensed cars. Everything from Classic American Muscle, German super sedans, JDM favorites, timeless British breeds, Italian thoroughbreds and even an Australian icon are all part of their inventory and can be customized.
The music and sound effects are majestic and again designed to enhance your experience like never seen before. The handling is tight and sensitive and once you give this a go, there’s just an endless amount of racing to be done here.
Despite the varying degrees of graphic quality, features and inventory of cars, most racing games created in the last decade tend to have had one thing in common; the user’s ability to connect online and share scores on leader boards world-wide as well as have multi-player options locally and online. This has opened up the world of gaming ten-fold and not only given the player a chance to complete at different levels with various people but also helped the longitivity of the game.
The long lasting appeal, and hence the factor that has chosen them to be on this list (among others) is this. A multi-player game, particularly online, along with unique features in some like creating your own circuits has allowed the racing game world to be far bigger and better than ever before.
Of course with new entries being added all the time, the coming year also has some much anticipated race games that are sure to be upgraded versions of these. Already games like Forza 5 and Need For Speed Rivals that have been one of the most popular, and overall outstanding games of 2013-2014.
Not to mention older games from this decade those have not made it on to the list but have had a significantly impactful effect of the racing game world, such as Test Drive Unlimited.
Minding that the criterion remains the same, are there any games you would add or replace these with?
[Featured Image Source: Sergey Fevralev]