For the racing game ultra, it’s all about detail. The genre has been pushing boundaries on the gaming experience for years and continues to do so, now offering pin-sharp 4K quality and elite driving for the most immersive and visceral experience ever.
Diverse and colourful, the market is jam-packed full of titles to sate every interest in the sport, from hardcore simulation rallying on DiRT 2 to true-to-life racing careers on F1 2021 - spliced with cheery arcade titles for letting off steam every now and again. If you’re currently running the Xbox side of the gamer-verse diptych, you’re very well catered to.
Here are CAR’s picks of the best racing games on Xbox right now.
Forza Horizon 5
After 17 years, Xbox Studios’ in-house racing title remains one of the juggernauts of the genre, reinforcing its rank in 2021 with Forza Horizon 5. Set in a fictitious representation of Mexico, the game features a vast open-world of high-octane top-speed chasing and wheel to wheel action.
We are particularly impressed by the map itself - 50% larger than the game’s predecessor - featuring a plethora of different attractions including an active volcano, ancient Mayan temples and miles of beach line; go for red lines or stop at red lights - the world is yours.
Codemasters’ flagship Formula One game returned last year with a brand new dual-player career mode, allowing participants to race alongside each other as teammates or as rivals should they wish.
We particularly like this edition of the series for its narrative-centric career mode ‘Braking Point’ - similar in style to Fifa’s The Journey - as well as the My Team feature, that allows players to create their own Formula One team with custom liveries, race suits and sponsors. If you’ve ever wanted to play Ron Dennis, now you can.
Read more about the best F1 video games in CAR's roundup.
DiRT Rally 2.0
Baby brother to the Codemasters F1 series, DiRT Rally 2.0 is the ultimate choice for simulation rallying. With realistic immersion in mind, this game focuses heavily on driving physics, sparing cheap gimmicks and scintillating graphics for an enthralling rally experience.
Although the game emphasises rallying, the range of vehicles and stages available is rich and diverse, travelling across the globe with some stages taking over 10 minutes to complete.
Forza Motorsport 7
As the Forza Horizon series continues to make waves within the arcade racer market, we’ve chosen Forza Motorsport 7 for its simulation gameplay, pin-sharp realism and extensive car list - from Mille Miglia winners to arctic trucks and quite possibly everything in between.
Despite getting on in the gaming world - this title turns five this year - it still resides at the cutting edge of race simulation, running 4K resolution and a rate of 60 frames per second without breaking a sweat.
The latest GRID instalment arrived earlier this year with the new Legends title. The game features a heavily narrative focussed campaign to really put the player in the mind of a professional racing driver, including world-renowned actors such as Ncuti Gatwa of Netflix fame to race alongside.
The game features over 130 different tracks to race on, from fictitious street circuits to some of the most legendary tracks in racing history, and over 100 vehicles, including drift cars, EVs and trucks.
The Crew 2
Another open-world racing title, we’ve picked The Crew 2 for its versatile and dynamic gameplay across an immersive map. This title allows players to roam freely across the scaled-down United States, racing a range of different cars along the streets of some of the world’s most iconic cities in a gritty campaign.
Not only cars, but players are also able to control - and race - many different vehicles, including motorbikes, boats and planes. If an action-packed thrill ride is what you’re after in a racing game, this is the one for you.
Prefer your consoles from Sony?
If you're a fan of Sony's PlayStation, then head over to CAR's round-up of the best PS5 racing games. This article features everything from the latest Gran Turismo to the comedy-chaos of Hotwheels Unleashed.