► The best driving games you can buy in 2018
► Includes both Xbox One and PS4 games
► Plus the best upcoming driving sims
2018 is already a vintage year for racing games, and that’s regardless of if you’ve got PS4 or Xbox One. Forza Horizon 4 has just arrived, but we’ve already seen the release of F1 2018 and titles like GT Sport, Project Cars 2 and Forza Motorsport 7 are still incredible games – and they’re being constantly updated, too.
Hardware has progressed significantly in the past two or three years, with machines like the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro capable of pushing out beautifully crisp 4K, HDR content. That means we’re some of the most realistic graphics and handling we’ve ever seen – with some seriously realistic handling. There’s a lot of good stuff out there right now and more on the way, basically.
So, which driving games and racing sims should you be looking at in 2018? Read on for the CAR guide to the best racing games out right now – whether you've got a wheel or a controller. After that, you'll find a list of the best forthcoming racing games, too.
The best racing games you can buy in 2018
Simply put, Forza Horizon 4 is one of the best racing games you can buy right now. Instead of controlled circuits and conditions, Forza Horizon 4 thrusts you onto the open-roads of Britain in some of the world's most exotic cars. We've played it, and we love it; it's probably the best arcade, or open-world racer since Need For Speed: Underground or Burnout Paradise. The only problems? It's probably not one for motorsport-bods, and it's only out on the Xbox One and Xbox One X, too.
Read our review of Forza Horizon 4 here
When Gran Turismo Sport first came out, it was good – but not great. There could’ve been more cars, more single-player content, and the actual amount of stuff you could do was thin on the ground. Several months and free updates later, however, and GT Sport has become one of the most well-rounded, expansive racing games we’ve ever played. The list of cars and tracks continues to grow, and this month saw the addition of Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 F1 car and a new track, for example.
It looks great, too. If you’ve got a PS4 Pro and 4K, HDR-capable TV, Gran Turismo Sport will deliver some of the best graphics you’ve ever seen – gaming PCs aside.
Handling has also been tweaked, too, with a new tyre model giving you the same sort of feel as games like Assetto Corsa and Project Cars 2.
Unlike other games, there's also a fantastic multiplayer focus and community, so if you're after well-behaved online racing, homemade liveries for your favourite cars, or a forum to show your best driving – you'll find it here. If you’ve got a PS4 and you love cars, this is a game you should probably own – and if you've got a PS4 Pro, it's a no-brainer.
Read our FULL review of GT Sport here
F1 2018 (Xbox One, PS4 and PC)
Codemasters releases a F1 game every year –but the team has polished things further for F1 2018 and it appears to provide a good step over the previous game. Sure, it’s not night- and-day stuff – that’s hard to do at this level – instead, expect more of everything we liked about the previous game: So more classic cars and a seriously immersive single-player campaign. Add new graphics and suspension modelling and the game has a grittier, more visceral feel, too.
You can read our full review here
Project Cars 2 (PS4 and Xbox One)
Following close behind GT Sport, Project Cars 2 is another impressive racing game. Although it might lack the polish of Gran Turismo Sport, Project Cars 2 has a wide range of cars on offer – from old-school BMWs, to classics like the famous Toyota GT One. If you’re a fan of modern-classic racers, this a game you need to buy.
Just like GT Sport, Project Cars 2 also lets you loose on a good range of tracks and there’s also a decent choice of single-player and multiplayer content, too.
And the best bit? Project Cars 2 is a multiplatform game, so it’s available on both the Xbox One and the PS4. However, those with a PS4 won’t be able to play those with an Xbox One and vice-versa.
Assetto Corsa (PS4 and Xbox One)
Assetto Corsa might not have the graphics of other games on this list, but what it lacks in presentation, it more than makes up for in gameplay. Simply put, Assetto Corsa delivers incredible handling detail in every car you drive, and makes you feel like you’re operating a real piece of machinery.
Detailed physics and tyre wear models mean you’ll feel the car squirm and slide over every bump, and every corner seems to change from lap to lap. This isn’t a game for casual racers, but for those who really want to feel like they’re taming some of the fastest cars in the world, Assetto Corsa is a must-buy title.
While Assetto Corsa is fun with a standard Xbox One or PS4 controller, it’s best played with a steering wheel and pedal set-up. That way, you’ll really get all the track surface detail through force feedback.
Despite coming from a relatively small studio, Assetto Corsa has been regularly updated with free content and paid-for DLCs, so it’s improving all the time. And if you’ve still not got it, an ultimate edition version comes with every DLC released so far – for less than the original RRL.
Sure, it might not have as many cars or tracks as most games on this list – and the menus and multiplayer are super rough around the edges – but for pure driving enjoyment, Assetto Corsa is hard to beat.
DiRT Rally (PS4 and Xbox One)
While most of these games focus on tarmac, DiRT Rally is the ultimate game for rally fans. It may not have all the official drivers or cars of this year’s WRC season, but it does have graphics that’ll worry GT Sport, and a good amount of cars to drive. They’re from different eras too, so you can drive a BMW E30 3-series, then a Lancia Group B rally car, and then a Focus RS - all on the same stage.
If you’ve got a PS4 with a PlayStation VR headset, pretty much all of the game can be played in virtual reality, which has to be one of the most immersive racing experiences on console today. Difficulty is very pliable too, so you can go from arcade-like drifting to far more realistic, precise handling.
What’s more, DiRT Rally is available on both PS4 and Xbox One platforms, too.
Best upcoming racing games in 2018
Above you’ll find the best driving games out right now, but there’s more on the way. In this list you’ll find the best driving games to be released in the near future, from arcade racers to dedicated racing sims:
- Forza Horizon 4
- Assetto Corsa: Competizione
Are they worth waiting for? Probably, but that doesn’t stop you getting some of the older games above for a discount price in the meantime. For example, the latest version of Assetto Corsa comes with all the DLCs, and costs less than the game originally did when released.
So, what racing games should you be looking forward to this year? Keep reading to find out about the sims you’ll want to be driving in 2018.
Assetto Corsa is back, but rather than a sequel, Kuno Simulazioni is giving us Competizione. Simply out, Competizione is going to be the official game of the Blancpain GT series, and adds dynamic weather and day/night graphics to the mix – even GT Sport can’t do that. We’re also told there will be a heavy eSports element, too. The only catch? It should be out on PC later this year, but we’re hoping it’ll come to consoles soon after that.