Favorite racing games?
July 11, 2009 9:37 PM   Subscribe

I need a new driving/racing game to play on my computer. What are your favorite racing games, and why?

I'm a huge fan of racing games, but I've played the crap out of the ones that I have. Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed, Gran Turismo 1 and 2 (emulated), and the Colin McRae series are all familiar enough to me that I'm not enjoying them as much as I used to.

So does anyone else enjoy driving and racing games as much as I do? Which games have you spent countless hours playing? What did you like about them?

(I'm looking for something a little more realistic than, say, NFS: Underground, but more arcadey than the likes of Grand Prix Legends and Richard Burns Rally, but I'd love to hear about games from all parts of the spectrum.)
posted by clorox to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
GRID's quite good.
The sense of speed is great.
Barrelling through some cities.

Playing FUEL right now.
A little punishing seeing as you have to come
in first or you get nothing.
The world is inhumanly large.
It's fun to drive forever, but it
gets boring.

If you've not played DIRT, you are
missing out.
posted by Sully at 9:43 PM on July 11, 2009

Burnout Paradise is great fun if you like crashing. And even if you don't think you like crashing, it makes crashing fun.

There should be a demo out there somewhere.
posted by pts at 9:49 PM on July 11, 2009

I love the Wipeout series. It doesn't meet your be-realistic criteria, because you're racing the hover-jet version of F1 cars, but they go a lot faster than real cars, and the tracks have good flow, the music is great, the environments are nice, and the progress and unlocks keep it interesting for a long time.
The handling is pure arcade, but there is no gear-shifting. (More braking options though).

The Wipeout games are available on PC, Playstation 1, 2, 3, & portable. Maybe other platforms too.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:07 PM on July 11, 2009

Seconding GRID, not as unforgiving as a total sim, but overall pretty lifelike and the cars definitely feel like they should.
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:27 PM on July 11, 2009

I'm having a great time with Midnight Club: Los Angeles. Wonderful graphics even on the Xbox 360, realistic-seeming handling (having not driven an Audi R8, I couldn't really tell you), a great range of (real) vehicles, plenty of customisation, plenty of races of varying difficulty, an open-ended world, basically GTA IV but with the evisceration excised. Be warned, though: depending on your frame of mind, it can either be amazing fun, or incredibly frustrating. But it looks and sounds and feels good enough for you to just want to keep going. I've made all my cars look like Transformers. Go me!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:37 AM on July 12, 2009

FYI, GRID is currently $15 on Steam.
posted by ConstantineXVI at 4:45 AM on July 12, 2009

Just a warning: definitely stay away from NFS offerings later than Underground 2 (their peak IMHO). They get more cartoonish and less physics-based as time goes on.

Other than that I mostly prefer "silly" racing games like FlatOut 2 (even less realistic physics, but much more fun to play, especially at LAN parties).
posted by PontifexPrimus at 6:28 AM on July 12, 2009

I love the Burnout games, though they're about as arcade-y as you can get without adding blue shells. Great sense of speed, pretty good course design (less so with Paradise than with earlier iterations--Revenge is the best of the franchise), best-of-breed multiplayer and party game options (Crash Mode!), excellent ratio of time spent driving to time spent buying lightweight clutch plates or fixing your car post-race or putting gold rims on it (the Midnight Club games excel here) or whatever.
posted by box at 7:58 AM on July 12, 2009

Project Gotham Racing 4 currently has my attention and is a great balance between the slow realism of Forza Motorsport and the way-too-fast "GRID" (seriously, HTF can anyone play GRID without smashing into corners all the time? It's like you're driving at 500mph.)
posted by wackybrit at 5:26 PM on July 12, 2009

Response by poster: GRID seems like it's exactly what I'm looking for -- except the demo doesn't work for me. The same thing happened with DIRT, so I'm assuming Codemasters has switched to an engine that doesn't play nice with my computer.

wackybrit and turgid dahlia: Oh, how I envy your Xbox 360s! I've been drooling over the PGR and Forza series for some time now. I can't wait until PC technology becomes cheap enough to reliably emulate 6th- and 7th-gen consoles.
posted by clorox at 10:56 PM on July 12, 2009

Ack, I could have sworn Midnight Club was available on PC, my bad.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:09 AM on July 13, 2009

clorox: I was a hardcore PC-only guy until a few years ago and I caved (mostly because I already had a good HDTV setup anyway and I realized I only buy a couple of games a year..) :) Getting a Mac also didn't help, so now I never use the PC at all.
posted by wackybrit at 5:44 PM on July 13, 2009

Best answer: Well, I've got my answer: TOCA Race Driver 3. It's the direct precursor to GRID.

There are a few things that I don't like about it (over-aggressive AI, poor menu progression in some modes, restrictive car/track pairings), but no deal-breakers. Thanks for leading me down the right path, everyone.
posted by clorox at 9:27 PM on July 26, 2009

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