With mandatory confinement around the world, you may be considering getting into motorsport … virtual, console or PC. To help you, here is a selection of the best titles at the moment, available on different platforms.
For PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
Assetto Corsa remains a safe bet despite its age, often sold out moreover. It indeed offers a choice of very varied models, modern as old, with circuits faithful to reality, very realistic behaviors convincing users that they are on real steering wheel. On PC, many amateur mods also allow to make it more complete and more beautiful. Too bad the console version is much less successful, even if it remains one of the rare “real” simulations available on PS4 and Xbox One.
Assetto Corsa Competizione
Despite its name, Assetto Corsa Competizione differs completely from its predecessor. It is indeed the official game of the championships under Blancpain license, so that there are almost only cars in the GT3 category, awaiting GT4 at the end of the year, and a fairly small number of circuits. A lack of diversity that can put off, but in return the title offers a very specific experience with very credible physics, multiplayer framed by fairly strict rules and realistic roaring sounds. Please note that it requires a fairly powerful PC and will only be released on PS4 and Xbox One consoles in the summer.
Dirt Rally 2.0
Even if WRC 8 has finally become completely recommendable, Dirt Rally 2.0 remains the best rally game of the moment. It indeed offers a much richer variety of vehicles than its competitor, specials directly from reality, neat graphics and sounds, and even interesting and generally realistic physics. Fans will also find all the official content of the World Rallycross Championship. On the other hand, the title does not have the WRC license and suffers from some faults, such as an unconvincing force feedback on the asphalt, for wheel owners, or sometimes unstable multiplayer. Not to mention the many models and tracks in DLC, but there is now a version “Game of the year” which includes them all, on Xbox One console and PS4, as well as on PC.
With the suspension of the world championship due to coronavirus, F1 2019 has never been more in the spotlight. Many “real” players now compete on the title, at the times scheduled for real races. Fortunately, even if the official game cannot be classified among the most successful simulations, it still has impressive gameplay. Like its very immersive career mode which really puts you in the shoes of a future champion, with the need to manage all the extras: development, marketing, media… Find all the circuits and all the single-seaters in the past season remains as appreciable, while Formula 2 and historic models bring diversity, add variable weather, very good graphics and sounds or a drive that requires finesse, and F1 2019 cannot be accused of relying on its prestigious license. In addition, it is available on Xbox One, PS4, PC, and even on mobiles in a less sophisticated version.
We haven’t been able to test it yet, but Overpass has clearly aroused our curiosity. It is indeed one of the few titles devoted to an often forgotten world, that of off-roading. With obstacle courses on one side, for the most classic part, and “hellish climbs” on the other where you will have to overcome the most pronounced reliefs, choosing your course carefully and playing with blocking differential if necessary. An experience unique enough to be reported, and available on PC as well as on Xbox One and PS4, and even on Switch.
Project Cars 2
After a popular but controversial first episode, Project Cars 2 tried to respond to critics with some success. Very neat graphics, very varied choice of vehicles and tracks, force feedback much easier to adjust than before, very advanced dynamic weather with a day-night cycle allowing to envisage endurance races, especially on the circuit of the Mans: the menu offered could not be more complete. The behavior of the models has also gained in credibility, retains a certain heterogeneity, a quality that is also found on the sound side. The title is therefore still not unanimous but remains attractive, especially on PS4 and Xbox One console where it only faces less realistic Gran Turismo and Forza as well as an imperfect Assetto Corsa. A PC version is also available.
Are you nostalgic for Destruction Derby, this emblematic title of the first Playstation? Good news: Wreckfest is its glorious descendant. It therefore gives pride of place to the destruction of sheet metal and to pile-ups, alone or in groups, and you should not be afraid of seeing your vehicle tattered over the laps! The management of bodywork distortions has been the focus of developers’ attention in order to offer a realistic experience to players. Available for quite some time on PC, then on Xbox One and PS4.
For PC and Xbox One
Forza Horizon 4
If you want a racing game that allow you casual gaming experience rather than taking yourself for a professional driver? Then the Forza Horizon saga is ideal. By exchanging Australia for the United Kingdom, this fourth episode certainly loses exoticism. But there is no shortage of breathtaking decorations, and the arrival of the season cycle spices up the experience. Multiplayer is also becoming more open than ever, welcoming up to 72 people on the same map, while the challenges are always more crazy and numerous. As for driving, it is close to realism, it remains much more pleasant and rich than that of competitors like the last Need for Speed . What make it the king of arcade games, but only on Xbox One and PC.
Forza Motorsport 7
A bit old now, the latest Forza Motorsport remains one of the most beautiful racing games on the market. While offering a good balance between the realism of the piloting and the accessibility, which allows to play it easily with the joystick. The wide choice of vehicles and tracks or the fairly well thought out career mode can also arouse interest. On the other hand, if it is the most complete and pointed simulation of the market that you are looking for, forget, especially if you are the happy owner of a steering wheel: the title remains a bit arcade on certain points, with behaviors and a force feedback not always convincing. It remains more essential on Xbox One, where competition is weaker, than on PC.
Only on PC
With an early access release on March 31, Automobilista 2 is the most recent game on this list. Its predecessor suffered primarily from dated graphics, a defect here corrected using the engine of Project Cars 2. There are multitude of very exotic vehicles and circuits. A pleasure reserved for PC owners and unfortunately quite expensive with all DLCs.
iRacing is a bit like the Rolls-Royce of PC simulations. With the same concern for finish as the British limousines … and prices that may seem dissuasive to ordinary people, especially since the subscription imposed is accompanied by the purchase of circuits and single cars. But if you are looking to be able to challenge players from all over the world at any time, in very realistic conditions, with very credible driving and with often strict compliance with the rules of fair play, the title remains a benchmark, which further benefits from constant improvements.
Raceroom Racing Experience
Raceroom Racing Experience, alias R3E for fans, is one of many simulations reserved for PC owners only. Released a long time ago, it is still very much alive thanks to regular updates and additions of content. If its graphics are a little dated, they are still pleasant to the eye and very colorful, while the sounds of the racing cars offered are among the best on the market. The return of force and the behavior of the vehicles are also very pleasant, while many competitions are organized and help to make forget the absence of the night or the rain for now. However, be careful with the particular economic model of the game: unless you opt for packs, you will have to buy most vehicles and circuits individually.
Like iRacing or Raceroom, Rfactor 2 is only available on PC, and for many years already. Like its rivals, it also takes advantage of regular developments to try to keep up with the competition. We will therefore adopt it more for its very successful force feedback and easy to adjust or for the very complete experience it offers, including the day-night cycle and the rain, than to take advantage of graphics as flamboyant as those of ‘a Forza. But in addition to the official content, most often convincing, the game can also count on an argument that has become rare: it is the last, with Assetto Corsa, to offer many amateur mods, more or less relevant, which allow adding a multitude of vehicles and tracks, most often free of charge.
Only on PS4
Gran Turismo Sport
With its multiplayer gliding above all, its career mode placed in the background and its list of vehicles and fairly weak tracks at the start, Gran Turismo Sport never acquired the aura of the first episodes of the saga. But beware not to bury the pioneer of consumer simulation too quickly: thanks to numerous additions of free content, it is today much more convincing than when it started, while still being among the most beautiful games on the PS4. Too bad that some downsides remains rigid, an artificial intelligence of opponents still quite basic or the absence of a day-night cycle and a dynamic weather.
Only on Nintendo Switch
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Your only console is a Nintendo Switch? Bad pick if you are fond of simulations, or even racing games in general, as these are rare. To play with family, or with friends online, the latest installment of Mario Kart remains a safe bet, even if it is a simple porting of the version released on Wii U before. With tracks filled with traps, banana skins and other turtle shells to project to your opponents, as well as gameplay that always manages to be both accessible and technical, the title remains a model of conviviality.