10 Must Play Games for Fans of ‘Gran Turismo’
Gran Turismo is a cult classic series of racing video games that have been around since 1997. Developed by Polyphony Digital, this franchise is available exclusively for the PlayStation consoles. They are known for featuring real-life cars and equally realistic driving gameplay.
The series has been a fan favorite through all of its releases, so it is no surprise that players will look for similar games. This Japanese franchise has sold more than 80 million copies worldwide, bringing attention to other racing games on the map.
If you want to find out which racing games to try next, check out our quick list of 10 must-play games for fans of Gran Turismo.
1. Forza Horizon 4
Forza is an equally popular racing video game series that has its fair share of loyal fans. Just like Gran Turismo, Forza also puts emphasis on immersive gameplay and accurate vehicle models. This includes creating a realistic driving experience and having actual car modifications. With the same level of attention to detail, this series will certainly appeal to Gran Turismo players.
Starting with Forza Motosport in 2005, the Forza Horizon 4 is the 11th installment in the franchise and the fifth of the Horizon series. This game was developed by Playground Games and published by Microsoft Studios in 2018 for Windows and the Xbox One and Series X/S.
Forza Horizon 4 is set in fictional Great Britain and includes areas like Edinburgh, Bamburgh, and Broadway. Unlike Gran Turismo, this game features an open-world environment so players can use their vehicles to explore the map. You can also create your own races by forming routes of your choice. Because Forza uses servers, there can be up to 72 players at a time in each world.
For the first time in the series, this game introduces a dynamic weather system that is simulated to imitate the Great Britain climate. There will be weekly weather updates on all servers. With more than 750 licensed cars available, this is one of the largest rosters in the racing video game industry. Forza Horizon 4 is one of the highest-rated racing games ever and has garnered over 24 million players since its launch.
2. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit Remastered
The original Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was published in 2010 by Electronic Arts. It was released for the PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, iOS, and Android. It is the 16th installment in the Need for Speed franchise and was one of their best-selling releases. Because of its popularity, a remastered version was released in November 2020 for Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit features the classic gameplay of previous installments like Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2. You can choose to be a racer or a police driver and start a whole career in either field. Racers and cops each have their own advantages that you can use to outplay the other. That said, police cars are generally stronger, while racers have faster vehicles.
This game is set in a fictionalized version of the Southern California, Colorado, and Arizona regions. This open-world also allows you to explore the large map area, similar to Forza Horizon 4 or even the Grand Theft Auto series. However, unlike Gran Turismo or Forza Horizon 4, the driving mechanics in this game are much simpler and less realistic than real-world driving. All the cars are still real-life licensed vehicles, however.
With very positive reviews across the board, this game is one of the highest-rated installments in the Need for Speed franchise. The original game and remastered version have since sold more than five million copies worldwide.
3. Burnout Paradise Remastered
Burnout Paradise is another cult classic. This game was even featured in the Greatest Hits library of PlayStation games and Platinum Hits for the Xbox series. Due to popular demand, Burnout Paradise was remastered and released as Burnout Paradise Remastered in March 2018.
The original game was first launched in 2008. It was set in an open-world environment that allowed players to get creative in their gameplay. You can also customize your cars for aesthetics and performance, but the ones featured are not licensed real-life vehicles, only inspired by some of them. You can even refill your boost meter by driving to a gas station. Repair shops are also available in the open world.
This game features arcade-style driving mechanics that may feel extremely different from that of Gran Turismo or even Forza Horizon 4. There is the option to customize race routes, settings, and even the traffic for a personalized racing experience. Multiplayer mode is based on a streamlined system so you can invite your friends or play on public servers.
It won several awards during its initial release, including Best Driving Game from GameSpot and Spike TV. It was even put on the backward compatible list for the Xbox One in 2016 due to its popularity.
One of the newest games on our list, Wreckfest was published by THQ Nordic in 2018 for Microsoft Windows, and later for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It features several gameplay types including a demolition derby and banger racing. The game’s mechanics are inspired by Gran Turismo and Need for Speed, while its damage mechanics resemble that of the Burnout series.
For the demolition derby mode, the objective is to be the last car standing. You can choose your vehicle beforehand and also sell it if you wish. Customization and performance upgrades are also available for career mode.
This game is more combat-based compared to Need for Speed so be prepared to change up your play style a little bit. Wreckfest received generally positive reviews across the board and was even nominated for several awards.
5. The Crew 2
This 2018 release is the sequel to Ivory Tower and Ubisoft’s The Crew. Its open-world environment is a fictionalized version of the continental United States. Unlike most racing video games, The Crew 2 also features other types of vehicles like boats, airplanes, and motorcycles.
You can switch between these vehicles instantly, with each having its own physics and mechanics. There are several worlds you can explore with themes like pro racing, street racing, and off-road racing. This game is best known for its multiplayer mode because of the cooperative option, where players can take part in any event.
The Crew 2 also introduces new DLC each year, including the Chase and the Hunt in Year 3 and the US Speed Tour East in Year 4. It was awarded the Best Sports Game in the 2018 Ping Awards and was also nominated for several others.
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6. Dirt Rally 2.0
Dirt Rally 2.0 is also a popular sequel to a cult classic franchise. Its first game, Colin McRae Rally, was released in 1998 and has since produced 13 other installments. Just like Gran Turismo, Dirt Rally 2.0 puts a lot of emphasis on realistic driving mechanics and physics.
The gameplay includes timed stage events on both off-road and tarmac routes. Races can take place in different types of weather with locations including Australia, Argentina, Poland, New Zealand, the United States, and Spain. Most of these are taken from the original Dirt Rally and were remastered for better gameplay.
You can choose from 50 different cars in the game, including World Rallycross Supercars, modern rally cars, and vintage rally cars from the 60s to the 80s. Fans of rallying and rallycross will love this realistic racing simulator. The game was nominated for several awards like Racing Game of the Year from the 23rd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards and Best Sports/Racing Game at The Game Awards 2019.
7. F1 2021
The official 2021 Formula One and Formula 2 Championships video game, F1 2021 was released by gaming giant EA Sports. It is the 14th installment of the F1 series and was the first one released for the new PlayStation 5. The game is also available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Microsoft Windows.
The game features the famous Marina Bay, Melbourne, Montreal, Suzuka, Jeddah, Imola, and Portimao circuits. Fans of Formula One can now play in these race tracks if they missed out on the real-life versions that were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can opt for Career Mode, Grand Prix, Braking Point, or Time Trials.
Braking Point is the new story mode that stretches across the 2019 Formula 2 and 2020-2021 Formula One Championships. You can choose from five teams and play as Aiden Jackson, who is a British F2 star who dreams of becoming the Formula One world champion someday. F1 2021 also features Formula One champions and legends like Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nico Rosberg, Jenson Button, Felipe Massa, and David Coulthard.
8. Trackmania (2020)
This soft reboot of a classic title was developed and published by the renowned game developer Ubisoft. The Trackmania series grew in popularity and has since released 10 installments from 2003 to 2016. The rebooted title was released in 2020 with vastly improved gameplay and graphics.
This is one of the most unique games on our list as it does not feature real-life cars or tracks. Arcade-style racing and stunts also play a large role in the game. The gameplay is a standard time trial race where you must finish a track as quickly as you can. The seasonal campaign features 25 tracks that rotate every three months with a training campaign of 25 tracks that are permanently available.
Metacritic gave Trackmania (2020) a rating of 74 out of 100 while Eurogamer and IGN both gave it 7 out of 10. A new matchmaking mode called Ranked was released in 2021. Community events and tournaments can also be organized in-game, with the TrackMania Grand League as the official tournament organized by the game developer Nadeo.
9. Assetto Corsa Competizione
This racing simulator video game was published by the Italian video game development studio Kuno Simulazioni. This is the official video game simulation for the 2018 and 2019 Blancpain GT Series Sprint and Endurance Cups. It also features the Total 24 Hours of Spa annual endurance racing event held in Belgium.
Assetto Corsa Competizione’s gameplay includes an offline career mode, custom championships, and races. The online multiplayer mode was designed with the goal of establishing an esports scene. Some game modes available include Practice, Hot Stint, Quick Race, Superpole, and Practice. In addition, the Sprint Race Weekend and Endurance Weekend are special event modes in multiplayer.
The game was one of the first to support the new Nvidia RTX real-time ray tracing and Nvidia Ansel RTX. Famous cars like the Audi R8 LMS EVO, Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO, and Porsche 911 GT3 R (991 II) were added in 2019. Circuits like the Circuit Zandvoort and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya were also featured as part of the 2019 Blancpain GT Series season.
The SRO E-Sport GT Series was played in the Autodromo Nazionale Monza during the 2019 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup weekend and the winners were even awarded on the actual competition podium after the real races were concluded. Several other esports events for this game have taken place since.
10. Midnight Club: Los Angeles
Developed and published by Rockstar Games, Midnight Club: Los Angeles is the fourth installment in the Midnight Club series of racing video games. It is set in present-day Los Angeles, California, and features the largest open-world environment of the series. It was released in 2008 for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, and Xbox 360.
Open world maps have become a signature of Rockstar Games, as you can freely explore the city of Los Angeles in this game. For added realism, a 24-hour day and night cycle with a weather system that affects driving mechanics were introduced. Traffic is also a prominent element in the game. The story mode follows the main character in his quest to defeat the best racers in Los Angeles and become the City Champ.
Motorcycles like the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-14 and Ducati 999R are also available to use in the game for motorcycle enthusiasts. There are more than 10 race modes in Midnight Club: Los Angeles and four different race difficulties that are color-coded for your convenience. Also, the multiplayer game mode supports up to 16 players in the same lobby. Midnight Club: Los Angeles received favorable reviews following its release. The world design and gameplay mechanics were praised by both critics and players.
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