My Top 5 Favourite Racing Games
Who doesn't enjoy a good racing game every now and then?
When it comes to video-games, my favourite genres include RPG (which you can tell by how much I enjoy Pokémon), party games, action adventure and of course, racing. Racing games are always a lot of fun for me (especially when I win). There's always something so fun about just picking your favourite car and racing around a cool track as you try to beat the A.I. or your friends if you're playing together. Racing games really give you that adrenaline rush that can make games fun to play a lot of the time and I do enjoy a good race every now and then.
As is, I haven't played a lot of racing games out there so this will be a shorter countdown than what you may be used to. This won't be a Top 10 because I haven't played enough racing games to fill a Top 10 list. This'll just be my Top 5 Racing Games. Also I'm not exactly the most die-hard or up-to-date gamer out there so my list might look a little antiquated compared to what most people are playing these days. Don't expect Forza or whatever racing game's popular now to end up on here.
So without further ado, let's strap ourselves into our favourite cars and race into action. These are my Top 5 Favourite Racing Games...
Number 5: Mario Kart Wii
I'm not a Mario fan. Not in the slightest. I never really saw the appeal of the games and the world and characters just don't catch my fancy. I'm a Sonic gamer myself so sorry Mario fans, I'm not a Mario player.
But Mario Kart Wii remains one of the few exceptions out there. I only played it because it's a racing game, not because I like Mario. But I do genuinely think this is a solid racing game and it's easy to see why it was among the Wii's most popular titles. There's something fun about the whole steering wheel accessory for the Wii Remote to go in so you can act like you're driving a real car as a result. Just that little gaming accessory adds a bit more to the experience if you ask me.
The gameplay itself is simple enough and the racing is as fun and exhilarating as you expect a racing game to be. You have different cups you race through each with four races to win and you get a variety of different tracks to race through with some being new tracks exclusive to the Wii title and some being updated (at the time) versions of past Mario Kart games. The tracks are all very cool and creative with some interesting layouts, a lot of scenery to take in as you drive by and some surprises here and there to spice up the race. The fact we have tracks based on old tracks from previous games is also some wonderful fan-service for Mario fans while non-fans like me get to try them out for the first time. Like many, I curse the sheer frustration that is Rainbow Road for how many times I fall off of it. XD Also you get the choice of driving either a kart of a motorcycle which can also add more to the gameplay as karts and bikes play differently to each other so you can try them all out and see which one suits you the best.
All your favourite Mario characters are available to play as, including the then new ones at the time like Princess Rosalina (but she has to be unlocked through a lengthy process). For me, Rosalina, Bowser and Dry Bowser tend to be my favourites to play and I usually prefer to use the karts. I also have fun using the various weapons or road hazards you can set up to improve your performance or slow down your enemies like the red shells or the Bullet Bills. This game is everything a Mario fan could ask for in a racing game and even for a non-fan like myself, it's so fun to play that I don't even care if I'm not into Mario, I still enjoy this racing game regardless.
If you're curious, I have also had a go at the Switch game Mario Kart 8 and that one's neat too, but I've only played it with friends whenever they bring it in, I haven't properly played it myself so I'd need a proper playthrough to be able to judge it fairly.
As is, Mario Kart Wii is a speedy fun kart racer that anyone can enjoy, Mario fan or not.
Number 4: Wacky Races (2000)
You shouldn't be too surprised to see this here given the fond nostalgic memories I have of playing this game. I even did a review on it with my brother last year.
While this game looks practically ancient compared to most racing games both of its time and after it, I still consider it among my favourite racing games out there. It was probably the racing game I was playing the most regularly as a child alongside another entry I'll cover in a moment and as a fan of Wacky Races, how could I not enjoy this game? True as I covered in my review, it has some issues like low difficulty, not all the Wacky Races being available and the Turbo Terrific being terrible to drive, but that doesn't effect my enjoyment of the game.
Wacky Races is one of my favourites mostly from a nostalgic standpoint but I do genuinely consider it a fun and enjoyable racing game in its own right. It stays true to the style and humour of Wacky Races with all the tracks looking like tracks they would race through in the show and the graphical style looking very true to the cartoon's signature Hanna-Barbera style while translating it well into 3-D. There's a decent challenge despite the easy difficulty like some tracks being harder to win than others even with shortcuts so it's not just a breeze to play through it all and the racers (except for Turbo Terrific) are fun to play as with their own signature weapons and ways of flying to gain you an edge in the race. My favourites to play include the Mean Machine, the Compact Pussycat and the Boulder Mobile. Whenever I play this game, I'm most likely to play as either of them.
Also the soundtrack of this game really slaps! No joke, you have to listen to some of these tunes! They rock! (Wacky Races ost - YouTube) A good soundtrack can really make your races feel more epic, believe me. ;)
As much as I have fond memories of this game and even enjoy it as an adult, nostalgia only gets you so far and there are other racing games I consider as higher favourites than this one. As is, Wacky Races 2000 is still an enjoyable racing game and probably the game that may have kickstarted that love of racing games I have. It's a racing game that you'll have some really wacky fun when playing through.
Number 3: Gran Turismo 3
This is another game that's mostly on the list out of nostalgia too. Me and my brothers would LOVE playing this game back in our childhoods and it remains one of my fondest memories of playing on the PS2. And even as an adult, I still enjoy it.
Gran Turismo is among the best selling racing games in history and even to this day it ranks as one of PlayStation's best selling franchises with the games remaining very popular with players. I've only played this one and I have to say if this is my only Gran Turismo game I ever play, I'm glad it's this one. The game already kicks into high gear with an absolutely KILLER intro with Feeder's "Just A Day" roaring over the footage of cars racing across the track. If that's not enough to get you hyped to play this game, I don't know what is!
Gran Turismo is a more realistic racing game than the previous ones I've mentioned with real world locations and cars being depicted here and it all looks fantastic. The graphics have aged extremely well to the point the game doesn't look all that dated despite being a PS2 game and thus the game still looks gorgeous to play through even to this day. There's an awesome variety of cars to pick and choose from and as you win through Grand Prixs and Championships to win more money, you unlock more cars to pick from and can also buy parts to upgrade your other cars to make them even faster and more reliable. If I had to pick a favourite car to race as in this game, I'd say this one. It looks so awesome and is so fun to drive around every time I play this game. The tracks are all varied in layout and will provide a challenge that'll test your skills as a driver so it's not always going to be an easy win for you and you can even do rally races to vary your gameplay whether you like to race on or off road.
The game is really damn awesome to play with its great looking graphics, awesome selection of cars to choose from and providing enough of a challenge so even if you have a fast car, it's not always going to be an easy win and I really have fun playing it whenever I get the chance to. I wonder if I should play any other Gran Turismo games cause I bet they'll be as enjoyable as this one is. Still, Gran Turismo 3 is another nostalgic treasure for me that further cemented my enjoyment of this genre of games. Gran Turismo is easily a grand race to participate in anytime...
Number 2: Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed
As someone who's played a lot of Sonic games, don't be surprised that some Sonic racing games are making it here. XD
There are two games in this series and I have played both of them. When it comes to which one's the best, and also which one's my favourite to play, ASR Transformed wins both times in this case. Not only is this game just better than the first game in every way, it's way more fun to play as a result. S&ASR Transformed takes the awesome concept of the first game, which is a batch of SEGA characters in a racing game, and cranks it up to eleven with even more SEGA franchises represented here and a new transforming gimmick to add more excitement and interest to the game. As someone who's also a fan of the Transformers franchise, I'm up for anything transforming. XD You mostly race on the road but at certain points in the track, you'll either convert into a boat or a plane to go through water or fly through the air to keep up the race and it's so awesome whenever that happens. Every track has at least one area where you need to transform and sometimes you'll have a boat section, sometimes you'll have a plane section or sometimes you'll have both and end up getting to use all three forms as you race along.
The tracks all look amazing to play through and are fun to race in as a result of this transforming gimmick. No lap is the same as the last one and the environments will change to accommodate the transforming gimmick so you never know what to expect. There's fan-service all around for everybody who plays SEGA titles as not just Sonic gets tracks themed after his games here. There's a track for almost any SEGA franchise and I love playing through them as much as I do the Sonic tracks. I imagine many players enjoy going through the tracks and maybe picking up any Easter Eggs they can spot around them. The roster of playable characters even gets very creative and interesting with not just SEGA characters to play as, but some guest characters like Wreck-It Ralph and...real life racing driver Danica Patrick? OK, that one's a little weird I'll admit but even SHE'S cool to play as despite how out of place she is! XD I especially appreciate the DLC addition of Metal Sonic in this game. That was fun to include.
The fun part for me of course is playing as the various Sonic characters and testing out their cars but some others like Wreck-It Ralph and Danica Patrick are fun to play as too with their own cool cars and creative transformed designs for them in plane or boat mode. This adds much to the enjoyment factor of the game for me and guarantees I'm always going to have a good time playing it.
Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed is easily among the coolest racing games ever with its unique transformation gimmick, fun roster of characters and awesome track design making for a sensationally fun experience every time. It's one transformation I enjoy playing through every time.
So with how much I love this game, you may be curious as to what game could possibly be my most favourite racing game if it's not S&ASR Transformed? I'll tell you.
And my Number 1 Favourite Racing Game is...Team Sonic Racing
I always knew this was going to be Number 1 when making this list. Of all the racing games I've played, this is the one I enjoy playing the most. My love of Sonic the Hedgehog I admit is probably making me a little biased towards it above other racing games but keep in mind, this list is about my FAVOURITE racing games, not the best so naturally a racing game involving Sonic characters is gonna rank high on a favourites list.
It was a close call between this one and All-Stars Tracing Transformed but in the end, I slightly gave the win to this one. So why is this my most favourite racing game of them all? I'll try to explain as best as I can. For starters, it being a purely Sonic-focused racing game already makes it more appealing to me as a Sonic fan so that'll put it up a bit in terms of favourites. And second, it's the racing game that I find the most exciting and enjoyable to play through. I love the roster of Sonic characters on offer (Except for some. Why have Amy and Big but no Cream to complete Team Rose? Why is Vector with Silver and Blaze instead of Espio and Charmy? Why is Zavok even here?!) with my favourites to choose from being Tails, Shadow, Blaze or Metal Sonic. It's so fun getting to play as some of these characters, especially ones like Rouge, Omega, Silver and Blaze that haven't been playable in a Sonic game for years! And by that, I mean a pure Sonic game so the Olympic Game series doesn't count. That's some awesome fan-service for a Sonic fan such as myself and that of course ramps up the enjoyment factor.
The game also has the return of Crush 40 with an awesome new song we get to hear in the opening. Any Sonic game with a Crush 40 song is always a good thing in my eyes. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous thanks to the incredible power and technology of the PS4 that allows for them to look as good as they do and the cars all have their own unique designs to them that makes them all stand out from one another and makes them fun to play around with. I love how they all fit the characters from Sonic and Shadow having sports cars to Silver's streamlined TRON-style car to fit his future dwelling, Blaze's car having an almost regal look to it befitting for a princess and Omega's looking more like a powerful off-road buggy than a car. But the fun part REALLY comes in when you can not only play as these characters and race around with their cars...you get to customize them too! No joke, one of the most fun parts of the game for me was easily customizing the cars. I would spend hours just playing around with different parts and seeing which ones gave me the best stats and also altering the paintjobs to make the cars look even better. You unlock more parts and pain decals for each car the more you play so as you go along, there's always something new to try and it's just so enjoyable getting to do this.
The team racing aspect is also fun too. It kinda calls back to Sonic Heroes in that sense. Heck, this game could be considered "Sonic Heroes: The Racing Edition" with how you play as a trio of characters in a team to beat the bosses and if you gain enough power, you can use your team ability. While you're often left doing all the work while the A.I.'s not being so helpful, it's still a fun idea regardless and adds something else to make this racing game more unique. The tracks are also well-designed with a lot of detail and cool layouts to them and they're so enjoyable to race around as a result.
Team Sonic Racing is a thrilling racing game that I find massively enjoyable and I have such a blast playing it. It looks great, it's got lots of fan-service for Sonic fans, it's accessible to non-Sonic fans as just a fun racing game, the cars are enjoyable to race around with and customize and it's overall just a great time to play through. This is a race I'm always happy to participate in. Team Sonic Racing, my Number 1 Favourite Racing Game...
And that's all I've got for this list. I hope you enjoyed it and I invited you all to share your thoughts down below. What are YOUR favourite racing games? I'd love to hear about it. Next week, we race away from video-games and back to Disney as I list 10 more facts about them. See you then everyone!
Honourable Mentions: Cars the Video Game, NASCAR 06 and Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games