So… What’s Your Favourite Racing Game?

By Jim Rossignol on February 11th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.


Mine is probably Wipeout 2097, or Ballistics. I do like a bit of rallying, though. It’s in the blood, you see. My Dad used to throw a Mini Cooper around the welsh mountains occasionally. I’d do the same if I hadn’t spent all my money on crisps.

Oh, and there’s a teaser video out for GRiD 2. (It’s spelled like that, you see.) That was the real news, before I got distracted. You can watch that below. Also a ballistics video, because nostalgia.

I bet there won’t be any sonic booms in Grid 2.

, .

191 Comments »

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  1. Muddy Water says:

    Burnout Paradise!

    • eightbitrobot says:

      Hell yes Burnout Paradise, I love that game.. not sure if I would classify it as my favorite -racing- game though, since 90% of the +200 hours I played of it was spent doing online challenges. Then again, I can’t think of any other game that can compete with the title.

      Burnout Paradise 2? I need it, directly in to my veins.

    • Dog Pants says:

      I agree, if only for my crash/strip tactic. The game took a reaction photo of you in multiplayer when you were wiped out by another player, assuming you had a webcam. I used this to my advantage by removing an item of clothing any time one of my friends did it. They stopped making me crash very quickly.

      For proper racing games my mind immediately reverts to Need for Speed Road Challenge.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Burnout Paradise is by far, hands down, without a doubt my favorite racing game, and one of my favorite games of all time. There’s so much to do, so much time to spend, such variety and excitement. I even came to love DJ What’s-his-name who I thought was annoying at the time but when I played the latest NFS: Most Wanted I realized I missed.

      I bought three copies of Burnout Paradise for PC and was a houseguest at a friend’s house that only had Macs (but a Playstation 2) so I bought a copy of Burnout Paradise for PS3 as well.

      If Criterion would make a proper Burnout Paradise 2, I’d pay $100 for it. Maybe $200. Today. As a friggin’ pre-order. (God, it’s stupid for me to write that because some game developer might read it and say, “Oh look, we can start charging $100 for games now”. And my answer would be “Not for that POS third-person shooter with the 5-hour campaign, you can’t”.)

      Something about the light in Paradise City really pumped the serotonin into my brain. When it was daytime, it felt like daytime. When it was night, it felt like night.

      Oh hell, now I’m sad because it’s been so long without Burnout Paradise 2. I’m going to go take a spin in my Tesla in NFS:Most Wanted (Criterion-style), but it’s just not the same.

    • Premium User Badge

      icarussc says:

      YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!!! (just to be emphatic) Yes. (To be concise)

  2. brulleks says:

    Flat Out 2 (or Flat Out Ultimate Carnage, given that it souped it all up a little and added more drivers, but Flat Out 2 was the one that captured my shallow heart).

    • Matt says:

      Seconded. Gimme my racing games as silly and fun as you can get, and give me many, many, many, many physicsy things to crash into, any day.

  3. mr.ioes says:

    None really. A year ago I took a look at ~10 different racing games from the past years and I hated them all. Rubberband AI SUCKS. No tuning SUCKS.

    Where’s my NFS Porsche/Hot Pursuit? I don’t get it why there’s no market for those anymore, apparently. Even the popular Burnout Paradise … just terrible in my opinion.

    Also, it seems like all racing games have the same UI designer.

    Ballistics looked cool, never heard of it before.

    • bonjovi says:

      I miss a game similar to NFS Porche. Haven’t played a better racing game since. Sure Burnout, Driver, Grid, etc were fun games, but nowhere near the experience.

    • identiti_crisis says:

      I agree. The problem with racing games these days is the same as it is with FPSs – the variety we once enjoyed is disappearing from the “mainstream”.

      Back in 2000 I was playing the likes of Driver, Gran Turismo 2, GPL, 1NSANE, Screamer 4×4, NFS IV, Carmageddon 2, GP4, POD, TOCA 2, Rollcage, Interstate ’76 and other, older stuff. Now we have either “hardcore sims for the pretentious” or “story-based extreme racing for the talentless”, with both now bleeding over and poaching from each other. Flatout and Burnout (before it decided to try to take NFS’s admittedly off-balance-to-the-point-of-teetering crown) were interesting, the former having excellent keyboard controls (a requirement for me given my particular arcade-racer upbringing) and both chunky crash physics not felt since the original Destruction Derby game (or a Papyrus sim), but that’s about it from my addled memory.

      Incidentally, I played the demo of Ballistics that came with PCG issue 104 (Christmas 2001) primarily because it had been “making Jim happy”. It was too fast for me, faster than Wipeout, which is also too fast for me :(

      My favourite racer is probably Grand Prix Legends, but I’ve probably put more time into Gran Turismo. Both of those are covered in my near future, so I’d really like to see a new game in the vein of Screamer 4×4 being made, but including tarmac and circuit disciplines like hillclimbs and rallycross, plus a continuously generating, open, branching countryside, forest trail or public road environment. If I had any talent, I’d throw it on Kickstarter or something…

    • ScreenCheetah says:

      I played the heck out of Ballistics. It’s hands-down the fastest racing game ever – and I’m not talking about those games where it says you’re doing 6000kph but visually you’re only doing 100kph. It felt properly-quick.

      Unfortunately Ballistics wasn’t very approachable. Given the limits of human reaction times, to set a good lap time you had to memorise the track perfectly. You couldn’t merely react to an obstacle appearing in your field of vision. You had to know exactly where you had to be a few seconds from ‘now’.

      This made it a very unapproachable game.

      Yet it felt so, so, so rewarding when people at LAN parties would crowd around the PC and stare in awe as the player dodged every obstacle with a Jedi-like foresight and fighterjet speeds. 1000, 2000, 3000kph! “Impossible!”, they would cry. “How is he doing that??!?!” And the player would simply smile.

      ( As for me, Trackmania: Sunshine and Trackmania: United are probably my favourite driving games. Or Driver: SF. )

  4. MrLebanon says:

    Gran Turismo 3!
    Would have love to play 5 but I do not has a Playboxstation

  5. Shivoa says:

    Probably Forza 4 (even if MS are stupid about providing their work for the one true platform, the one they generate masses of revenue for as Windows – the one they could lose to Linux if OpenGL and that drive really ramps up in the future and no one could say they didn’t abandon for gaming well before Valve et al started to wander).

    That gameplay teaser seems to contain very little gameplay.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Yes Forza for sure, although I haven’t tried #4 yet. The semi-realistic driving models, the massive car selections, the ridiculous depth of customization… there’s nothing else out there quite like it. * Forza is also the only game that let me go hooning around ractetracks in the car I learned to drive in!!! Honda Accord for the record, and I can confirm the handling is spot on. The rear tends to slip a bit under heavy acceleration in turns, but it’s really quite sedate even foir a family sedan.

      Really, really wish MS would make a pc version of Forza. I’d even buy all the dlc.

      *except perhaps Gran Turismo, but using the thumbstick for acceleration is silly. Maybe it’s better with a wheel…

    • dE says:

      Rubberband AI. A single mechanic turns an entire genre unplayable for me.
      I get the idea behind it, but a system that forces players to lose, because they drove too well, and vice versa, rewards them for intentionally driving crap, is already flawed by design.

      /edit:
      late note: replied to the wrong comment, sorry

      • Premium User Badge

        Dimonte says:

        There may be some rubberbanding going on, but on professional, AI drives balls-out. Just look at the lap times when paused, you won’t see much deviation between Rossi’s laps when he is in front of you and when he is behind you.

      • Shivoa says:

        Just as well that’s something Forza doesn’t suffer from. Set it too hard or drive slowly and you can watch as the sharp end of the pack goes of to an unassailable lead and eventually laps you, set it easier and once you’ve overtaken the pack in the first 1-2 laps you will be driving in pure clean air and thinking about the online leaderboards and your friends times for their clean laps (a nice indication of the type of game, all clean laps rank higher than even the fastest dirty ones on the tables and assists are clearly marked) rather than the competition until you see the stragglers that need lapping on longer races.

        I’ve had times where I’ve completely lost it on a final lap and didn’t reach for the rewind because there wasn’t a car anywhere near me. Recovered to the track, mutter about my hot clean lap being lost, drive on in to the finish line in first, think about maybe being time to ratchet the enemy level up so they don’t hold back.

      • dE says:

        Oops, that reply was actually meant for another comment. I’m sorry, didn’t notice until your comments. I can’t comment on Forza and Rubberbanding.

    • Premium User Badge

      Dimonte says:

      Yep, it’s probably the best simulatory racing game right now. Fun to play with a gamepad, awesome with wheel, hard enough to challenge serious racer, forgiving enough to race your little brother in split screen.

      Now the important thing. You can get something like that on the PC. It’s called Project CARS, currently in buy-in beta (orders are closed right now but are expected to open soon), simply beautiful, here’s the community-made trailer http://youtu.be/Tug6rRMqYuc and main site http://www.wmdportal.com/projects/cars/ . It’s a bit thin on content right now, but it’s pretty. And awesome to drive. And unbelievably beautiful. And it supports up to 60 players in one race. And it’s stupendously gorgeous. And you can have night races in heavy rain.

  6. phelix says:

    FlatOut! Not sure it’s technically a racing game or a carnage simulator, but it’s crazy fun with friends either way.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Waverace 64!
    No, really.

    (I don’t play that many racing games)

  8. tobecooper says:

    Colin McRae Rally 2 and NFS: Porsche, because nostalgia.
    Carmageddon, because because.

    God, I haven’t played a racing game in a long time.

  9. Splynter says:

    Racing games are a genre I don’t tend to play much on PC, so my favourite comes from the Gamecube: Fzero GX.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Steed says:

    The old Wipeout on Playstation was pretty damn good, but of the more modern racers it’s gotta go to Grid. Just the right balance of arcade and simulation, dial it up or tone it down depending on your fancy. Only thing I really disliked with Grid were the Le Mans races that popped up in the season…

    Very excited for Grid 2.

    Oooohhhhh, Burnout on the Gamecube! Split screen, was immense.

  11. Haplo says:

    Mario Kart.

  12. ethone says:

    rFactor 2. Now go google it. ;)

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      I’m so, so disappointed in ISI over rF2.

      The first rF was all the work of modders. All the actual content that came with it was useless and you never saw it after putting the mods on (hell, you even had to swap out its original FFB system). Arbitrarily tying rF2’s MP to their servers so they can charge a subscription for it is just so, so underhand given that undoubtedly once again unpaid third party modders will drive sales of their game.

      Just a bit scummy, really.

      • sidhellfire says:

        Also rF2 does not meet modern standards. Of course it is an improvement over original. Huge improvement. But that should happen 3 or 4 years ago.

  13. iucounu says:

    Burnout Takedown / Revenge.

  14. Premium User Badge

    piphil says:

    With respect to rallying, I’ve never really found a game that felt better than Richard Burns Rally. I mean, I’ve never driven a real rally car, so I’ve no idea how they actually handle, but RBR felt less arcadey than the majority of rally-based “simulations”. It felt hard without being unfair – if you crashed, it was because you’d misjudged a turn, or tried to drive too fast.

    I used to feel physically drained after finishing long stages at speed, balancing risk/reward by pushing or holding back through the stages as your next couple of turns are called out by your co-driver. I’m not that great at wheel-to-wheel racing, preferring solo time trailing, so I’d love a more modern take on “serious” rallying, although the WRC is so weak these days I guess there’s no commercial push to do so.

    It could also be in the blood as my Dad also used to get thrown around the Welsh countryside as a co-driver in a Ford Escort Mexico. :-P

    For other racing forms, Grand Prix Legends and Race 07 tempt me back every so often, although I’d suspect the former has died by now online, and the latter was always full of participants who used to forget that cold tires + heavier fuel load = you need to break a few yards earlier into the first corner… >__<

    • Nic Clapper says:

      Cool to see RBR getting mentioned around here. Such a great rally game! Arcade games like Dirt2 are fun too, but nothing has really compared to the experience you get with RBR…

      And yea I hope someday we’ll see someone do another rally thats comparable. RBR has held up surprisingly well I think, but it’d be nice to get a new one with updated visuals and more cars etc.

      Also, hopefully these things become affordable heh http://www.force-dynamics.com/401/

  15. Mud says:

    iRacing and Richard Burns Rally.

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    Makariel says:

    Gran Turismo 5, too bad it’s only on the playbox.

  17. Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

    Grand Prix Legends! Still awesome after all these years, and every bit the equal of iRacing thanks to the community’s work.

    Other ones; NR2003 (primarily with the GTP mod), netKar. There’s copies of Live for Speed, RBR, GTR2 around but they don’t come out that often.

    ‘Grid’ always seemed pretty underwhelming to me – it sits in that ‘semi-sim’ genre with Gran Turismo and Forza but manages to be pretty pale against them. If you want a PC racing game playable with a gamepad pick up Race ’07 and have a good deal more fun driving the cars about than you ever will in a Codemasters game.

  18. Dowson says:

    Crash Team Racing counts enough for me to say it, even if it is a cart racer.
    Also F-Zero GX I have very fond memories of it, mainly because it was hard, but I enjoyed it. Good sound track as well.

    Anyway GRID was a very good game, I can’t wait for the sequel, if its half as good as GRID it’ll still be a day one purchase.
    That been said I do hope its not half as good, I hope its much improved.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Grid was pretty well done, but the single-player side of it felt unfinished. The seasons were structured sort of awkwardly and the LeMans races felt like a chore instead of the fun they should have been.

      I hope they put a little more care into the actual campaign as the driving model and car selection was great.

      The game also needed more demolition derbies. What a great, unexpected bit of fun that was.

    • GameCat says:

      Crash Team Racing ftw. Especialy deathmatch mode for 2-4 players on split screen.

      Split/Second – all that demolition of race track was brilliant.

      Colin McRae Rally 2 – imo the best rally racer.

      Dotstream (GBA) – racing stripped to core. Briliant game, like all from BitGenerations.

      Carmageddon TDR 2000 (yes, that one). It have great atmosphere and level design.

  19. Premium User Badge

    emotionengine says:

    The WipeOut series is my favourite by far. WipeOut 2097/XL deserves a special spot of its own because of the soundtrack alone, although the PC version didn’t come with the star roster of licensed tracks the them lucky Playstations got (it wasn’t too bad though) – at least it had far superior graphics.

  20. Gnoupi says:

    Oooh, I’m not the only one who loved Ballistics, nice!
    Now that was a crazily fast game.

    Here is another video, to get an idea of how you could go when knowing the track: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WX3J4ob6uY

    In general, always preferred futuristic fast games: FZero, Wipeout series, Rollcage…

    The only game which was giving me the same speed feeling, more recently was Burnout Paradise. Nitronic Rush isn’t too far either.

    • tungstenHead says:

      I only ever had the demo for Ballistics. It only included that one track and I played the ever living crap out of it. It was rare to get a run that smooth, but I managed it a couple of times. Also, I totally remember that music.

    • El_Emmental says:

      Same here ! Loved Ballistics so much, it’s a shame it didn’t worked.

      I still have the dvd case on my shelf, sadly it had its flaws and never got anywhere in sales – in my dreams an indie dev makes a similar game (through KS or not) and we’re all happily going at mach 4.

  21. James Allen says:

    NASCAR Racing 2003 Season
    followed closely by
    Richard Burns Rally

    • Guvornator says:

      Ah, sweet, sweet NASCAR. The first one was the driving game I ever bought. Loved it, and also the paint customization tools that came with it. Those crashes were amazing…

  22. Uberman says:

    Fuel. I don’t know why. I’m fully aware of its deficiencies. But there’s just something about it. I like the Codemasters’ racing games in general, but Fuel is by far the standout for me. Real dirty offroad racing. Ridiculous shortcuts resulting in fantastic risk / reward decisions. I love it.

    • brulleks says:

      Oh yes, I loved Fuel as well. The racing was a bit poo, but just charging around the amazing rolling landscape, hurtling off the edge of ravines and landing crazy jumps was fantastic.

      Such a shame there won’t be a second one to improve on what they started.

    • peterako1989 says:

      in case you didn’t discovered it yet, go to moddb and search for the FUEL:REFUELED mod. currently is the only mod for fuel and it really makes the game a completely new beast, fixing a lot of stuff like handling, bugs and collision detection.

      No, im not spamming and im not the modder

      • brulleks says:

        I installed that once but could never get it to work properly – just kept getting an error whenever I started the game. Does it work with the Steam version?

        • peterako1989 says:

          i know. V15 was somewhat of a chore to install. vetron released REFUELED R2 which is more stremlined. you just copy the contents of the mod to FUEL’s main directory, you run JSGME, you activate what you want and you are good to go.

    • The Random One says:

      Same here! Fuel is the only racing game I actually enjoyed, I think I was playing it on and off for like two or three years.

    • zeekthegeek says:

      There was a really good post mortem by the Dead End Thrills guys about FUEL development. It’s really intereesting to see that this work-for-hire dev worked part time for like 10 years on building this crazy terrain and such, and THEN made it into racing routes through touchup. Very procedural.

    • Magnetude says:

      ROLLCAGE! I recall there was a project to remake it for PC, but it looks like it might have died :(

    • Gnoupi says:

      Ah, Rollcage, it was really great in the gravity defying context.

    • Flint says:

      Came here to say this. Rollcage truly is the greatest of all time in this category.

    • Fataleer says:

      Rollcage.

      The game that forced me to buy proper 3D card.
      TNT2 if you need to know.
      To this day I have two copies in close proximity of computer. I actually bought second copy because could not wait for warranty process of my non-working CD to finish.
      Good times.
      4 people around tiny 17inch 4:3 CRT having sooo much fun in Deathmatch, my friend destroying my gamepad (and buying second one, for me to destroy it month later).
      Good times.

      There sure is a market for this. I would gladly pay several tens of money for something like that.

    • lordfrikk says:

      I love me some Rollcage, one of my favourite games on PC.

  23. db1331 says:

    Mario Kart 64
    NFS Underground 2

  24. Lewie Procter says:

    F-Zero GX, hands down.

    • Guvornator says:

      It is awesome! Shame no-one would play it with me because of how bastard hard it was. Was the first game I played on a TV over 14 inches, after 10 of which i had to have a little sit down in a quiet room to calm down.

  25. Mr. Mister says:

    Since last update added LAN multiplayer, I guess Nitronic Rush finally meets al the requirements to not be excluded from the “racing” category.

    So yeah, Nitronic Rush, been playing it for as long as other people have been playing Skyrim. I think it’s about time to get a world 1st score again on some level, squishy Skirmisheer must have taken it again by now.

  26. PearlChoco says:

    Dethkarz. Still the best arcade racer imo.
    Oh and Grand Prix 2 of course.

  27. rockman29 says:

    Gran Turismo 5 without question, pure car porn.

  28. Magnusm1 says:

    Burnout: Paradise.
    No contest.

  29. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Don’t think I’ve played a racer since Gran Turismo 3. Don’t think I’ve played a PC racer since Grand Prix 3…

  30. Magnetude says:

    Hoping against hope they put splitscreen in this one (racing games are pointless without it). GRID the first had a destruction derby mode that was better than nearly any dedicated destruction derby game, sadly limited to just the one track & car. That + splitscreen would make this the king of games.

  31. Revolving Ocelot says:

    Not played many racing games, but F-Zero GX stood out for me. Actually felt like you were going 2000 km/h when the speedometer said you were going that fast. I remember having a mean custom vehicle that could go about 3000 km/h quite easily.

  32. CaLe says:

    Funnily enough, it’s GRID. I loved the car handling so much in that game. It just did exactly what I wanted it to do, like it was an extension of my mind and fingers. Forza Horizon is the only game to come close since.

    • Pictoru says:

      Grid helped me on my drivers exam …i used to play cockpit view and the feel of the cars was really accurate (tho a bit arcade-ish), it’s a huge shame 2 won’t have the feature…i’m hoping for a post-launch patch with it, i want to believe!

  33. Land says:

    Live for Speed (No, NOT Need for Speed…)

  34. skyturnedred says:

    Flatout 2 (or UC) is probably my favourite. Either that or Carmageddon. Basically, what I want from my racing games is the option to completely obliterate your opponents.

  35. FMAN71 says:

    Star Wars Podracer fo sho!

  36. demondays says:

    Definitely Flatout 2! (Too bad 3 was such a garbage…) and maybe old NfS Most Wanted.

  37. Saarlaender39 says:

    That’d be Richard Burns Rally for me, then.

  38. gwathdring says:

    Trackmania: Nations. I’m enjoying Shift 2 even though I’m terrible at it, enjoyed the demo of Burnout: Paradise and I’m extremely fond of Blur with four player Split Screen on my friend’s Xbox.

    Ooh, Mario Kart is a really close second.

  39. AlexV says:

    Killer Loop! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVcM-HXBtgc
    On the PC it was fast, it was futuristic, and it had nice mechanics (magnet thingy, powerups). Just the right balance of penalty for hitting the side of the track, and possibly, but not too easy, to fly off of it if you screw up.

    I’d love a modern-ed up version of that to play…

  40. cyan says:

    Blur, man. Blur.

  41. Engloutie says:

    Trackmania, anyone? :)

    • brulleks says:

      The original, yes. Not so much the others for some reason (although I quite enjoyed Nations). I think the online scoreboard element of United really put me off, as it suddenly became a game about competing (and looking shit) against other people, rather than just beating the game itself.

  42. Synesthesia says:

    Rollcage and Burnout 2! Damn, i’m gonna go play rollcage right now. Such good music!

  43. jellydonut says:

    Apparently there isn’t even cockpit view in this new Grid/GRID/GRIDFACE thing. What?

    I did enjoy Live for Speed. That’s the last one I played.

  44. Commander Gun says:

    Fatal Racing! I’ve had so much fun with that game.
    At the moment, it is Trackmania (1). i’m looking forward to TM2 though, as soon as they launch the stadium edition.

  45. Premium User Badge

    yhancik says:

    I actually really liked POD. The ambience, design and music was fitting the futuristic trend of the time (I still love the soundtrack), and I liked the driving. Maybe it was actually shit, but I liked it.

    I also enjoyed Carmageddon 1 and Flatout 2. Wipeout was pretty but I was shit at it.

    • fish99 says:

      POD was actually awesome, cool car designs, imaginative tracks with multiple routes that went all over the place, outstanding visuals for the time (being part of the first wave of 3D accelerated games), really nice handing, it also had loads of free cars and tracks released by Ubi, and it had online multiplayer.

      I’d love to see a modern version.

  46. ArtyFishal says:

    Richard Burns Rally
    Need for Speed Shift
    Trackmania