With a broad list of racers all making their debut this year, we've picked out our favourites.
We have been truly treated when it comes to racing games this year. On top of the regular list of annual follow-ups, 2023 has also seen the launch of anticipated and awaited titles and fun, arcade sequels. So, with such a collection to choose from, which racing game has stood out the most to us?
5. Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged
Kicking things off is Milestone's Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged. If you told us that the creator of the Ride series would zoom into the arcade racing scene and take it over with the first title in the series a couple of years ago, we likely would've been surprised, never mind to know that the sequel to that first game managed to improve and impress even further. Turbocharged took the excellent gameplay we've come to know and expanded on it with additional mechanics and elements, new tracks, more cars, and a plethora of new ways to play.
4. The Crew Motorfest
Ubisoft has been facing the monumental task of competing with Forza Horizon for some time with its The Crew series, and The Crew Motorfest is the next phase of that battle. Taking players to a lush Hawaiian island, Motorfest combined car culture with a Horizon-esque festival dynamic to create a game where the vibrant environment of Oahu became your playground. While the game lacked in its physics and realism engine, the customisability and broad ways to play elevated and saw this game stand out in a very busy year.
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3. F1 23
Codemasters really nailed it with F1 2021. Then managed to stall on the grid with F1 22. Thankfully, the British developer has learnt from this failure for F1 23, by taking the parts about last year's instalment that wowed, preserving them, and then dramatically improving the parts of last year's game that disappointed. To this end, F1 23 featured a more realistic and bearable tire model and physics engine, as well as having better multiplayer options, all on top of a great track list. Hopefully Codemasters can continue its upward trend and deliver a knockout punch with F1 24 next year.
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2. EA Sports WRC
It's been a huge year for Codemasters, because not only did the British studio deliver the impressive F1 23, but it also debuted its return to the world of rally gaming. EA Sports WRC is the first time that Codemasters has had its hands on the official WRC brand for years, and as our resident rally master will tell you, this game showed a lot of potential. Considering it came from the developer who gave us the remarkable Dirt Rally 2.0, EA Sports WRC proved that it was probably for the best that KT Racing and WRC divorced, because there truly is hope for official rally video games going forward.
1. Forza Motorsport
Xbox Game Studios has only really launched a few big games this year, and one of them was the rather impressive Forza Motorsport. After being in development for years, and with a few delays under its belt to boot, this racing title needed to blow fans away, and while it hasn't quite wowed like many of its Horizon counterparts, Motorsport did debut as a very competent and solid racing experience.
With a monstrous list of cars, a great variety of tracks, and a physics engine and tire model that felt responsive (albeit a little screechy), Forza Motorsport stands out as the most technically impressive racing game of 2023. When you combine this with great performance, wonderful UI/UX design, and quality visuals, you get a game that could just be the industry leader right now for simulation racing titles on consoles.