From realistic simulators to expansive open-world stories, these PS4 car racing games are the best in the industry

Video games have become so intrinsically part of our lives that not a day goes by without us subconsciously playing something, whether it’s on our smartphones, tablets, or other hand-held devices. Gaming consoles, in particular, are the best ones to have if you want the full gaming experience, especially when it comes to car racing games.

This is where the Sony PlayStation 4 comes in. It’s arguably the best gaming console in the market today and there’s no shortage of car racing games available to play on PS4. From realistic racing simulators to story-driven, open-world games, you can get your fill of every type of car racing game that you can get your hands on. Obviously, some games are better than others in a variety of ways. To help ease your burden, we’ve picked out the 10 best PS4 racing games that are currently available on the market. There’s enough variety in this list to satisfy your discerning car racing game urges.

Gran Turismo Sport

Gran Turismo Sport is the PlayStation 4’s flagship car racing game. It’s the latest entry in the long-running Gran Turismo franchise, and it offers everything you want in a realistic car racing game simulator.

The graphics — 4K resolution at 60 frames per second — are second-to-none.

The audio is just as immersive, capable of getting your juices going for a marathon run at the consoles. You’re not getting shortchanged on available cars, either. Gran Turismo Sport offers more than 150 cars, created in such realistic detail you’d think you’re driving the real thing. There are also 18 different locations with 54 different racing layouts to race in.

Beyond all the choices that are available in the game, Gran Turismo Sport’s gameplay caters to gamers of different skill levels.

You can play the game for the first time and learn the intricacies of car racing through driving aids in steering, braking, and throttle control.

You can customize your cars to suit your tastes and preferences. You can even take photos of your creations and share them through the game’s built-in social media features.

There’s no going around the fact that if you’re a car racing aficionado and you own a Sony PlayStation 4, there’s no reason you shouldn’t own a copy — or two — of Gran Turismo Sport.

Gravel

If you’re looking to get your off-road fix in a video game setting, Gravel is as good as it’s going to get. Developed by Milestone, Gravel is about as extreme of car racing game as you’ll get to play. No, I don’t mean extreme in the vein of Twisted Metal. By extreme, I mean extreme elements, as in the environment that you’ll be immersed in when you’re playing the game.

{Gravel} affords you the opportunity to race on four different disciplines. There’s Cross Country, Wild Rush, Speed Cross, and Stadium Circuit.

As you might expect, each discipline offers its own set of unique challenges. Cross Country, for example, offers a huge world to race with different layouts as you compete in various checkpoint races. Wild Rush is a free-for-all donnybrook that challenges you to complete lapped races on courses set in the wild. Speed Cross is probably the most traditional racing discipline in the game, in part because the races are held in real race tracks. Still, you’re going to need to strap your seatbelt real tight for this one. My personal favorite is Stadium Circuit, which combines on-track racing with spectacular jumps, insane stunts, and off-road acrobatics.

Gravel offers a different kind of car racing thrill from what we’re used to on the PS4. The fact that it’s different is the reason why it’s on this list.

The Crew 2

The Crew 2 does not have the same realistic track-to-track racing experience that a game like [Gran Turismo Sport has. But if you want the full open-world racing experience at your disposal, this is the game that you need to get. The open-world nature of The Crew 2 makes it more suited as an online game as opposed to playing it offline.

You can play with up to seven friends in PvP mode, competing against one other in different racing disciplines. Drag racing? Sure. Street racing? Yes, sir. Drifting? The game has that, too.

It also has rally cross, motocross, monster truck races, and even boat and plane races. That’s how expansive the gameplay is.

The game’s environment is also incredible. You’re not limited to hopping from one race track to another. A scaled-down version of the U.S. is your playground. You can race in different tracks, environments, and landscapes. There’s no place — road, water, or sky — in The Crew 2 that you can’t race in.

The Crew 2 offers the kind of racing diversity that few games in the PlayStation 4 can offer. You’ll lose out on the incredible graphics and intricate attention-to-detail that games like GTS provides, but you make all that up with a game that takes you anywhere you want to go.

Project CARS 2

As the follow-up to the highly successful Project CARS game, Project CARS 2 is the closest comp that you can get to Gran Turismo Sport. The level of realism in Project Cars 2 is staggering. There’s no other way to put it. One of its most fascinating features is “variable weather.”

We’re not just dealing with weather conditions on the track. Certain factors like track temperature, ambient temperatures, location, time of the year, wind and speed direction, track gradients, and even height above sea level all affect the game in some form or fashion.

The level detail is so intricate that even the sun’s angle impacts the track temperatures in the game.

Project CARS 2 isn’t just realistic. It’s also loaded with cars — there’s 189 of them and growing — that make up the whole spectrum of performance-oriented competitive vehicles. You can drive any type of performance car, ranging from supercars, hypercars, go-karts, and your choice from over a dozen race cars from GT, LMP, and Rallycross series. Play the game online and you open an entirely different world of competitive video game racing with the new Racing License Accreditation system.

Go far enough in the game and you might even find yourself competing in the SMS-R World Championship or even the weekly ESL Cups. Yes, folks. Project CARS 2 doesn’t just provide as realistic of a car racing game this side of Gran Turismo Sport; it’s also the game you need to have if you’re serious about competing in e-sports.

F1 2019

Formula One is one of those sports that most of us can only dream of competing in. It’s not like basketball, football, baseball or any other kind of sport. We can play those, but we can’t drive like a Formula One race car driver.

The closest we can get to driving an F1 car is through F1 2019. It’s the official video game of the 2019 FIA Formula One World Championship, and in addition to having the entire roster of drivers and teams available to you, you can also dip your toes into the world of Formula Two for one season before making the jump to the big leagues the following year.

There’s nothing more exciting than picking from the entire lineup of Formula One race cars that saw the starting grid during the 2019 season. If you want to be more adventurous, four classic F1 race cars — the 1990 Ferrari F1-90, 1990 McLaren MP4/5B, 2010 Ferrari F10, and 2010 McLaren MP4-25 — are available as part of the “Legends Edition.“ The game can also tap into your creative juices. In addition to driving the race cars, you can also create your livery and share your best racing moments with your friends through the game’s social platform.

It also comes with a robust e-sports platform that makes it easier for you to create your series and race against your friends in your own version of Formula One. F1 2019 is a great game for all the reasons I just mentioned. It’s dated, though, so that’s a bummer. You can still buy and enjoy the game or you can just wait for its follow-up, F1 2020. That’s likely to shit shelves sometime in June 2020.

Need for Speed Heat

There’s a reason why the Need for Speed franchise has lasted as long as it has. Whereas other video game franchise has struggled to reinvent itself, {NFS} has managed to do it countless times to great success

.

The latest installment in that franchise is Need for Speed: Heat, a story-driven racing game that takes place in Palm City, which you might recognize as a fictionalized version of Miami, Florida. In keeping with the theme of the NFS, your character in Need for Speed: Heat is often at the crosshairs of law enforcement authorities. The game’s objective follows that template. You can participate in sanctioned race events in the daytime and unsanctioned ones at night. Make enough money and you can score better cars along the way. Just don’t get caught by the po-po because that’s a headache you don’t want to deal with in the game.

Gameplay aside, Need for Speed: Heat comes with an expansive garage of cars — 127 cars from 33 different automakers — that includes the return of Ferrari. The Italian automaker was noticeably missing in the franchise’s previous title, Need for Speed: Payback, due to licensing issues.

The Need for Speed franchise has a tried-and-tested formula that has worked throughout the game’s lifetime. There’s a reason that after 23 installments not counting Need for Speed: Heat, the NFS franchise is still going strong.

NASCAR Heat 4

NASCAR Heat 4, as you might expect, is the official video game of NASCAR. Similar to F1 2019, there’s a certain limiting factor in NASCAR Heat 4. All the races you compete in sit under the NASCAR umbrella. To its credit, developer Monster Games has done a great job making NASCAR Heat 4 enjoyable, even for those who aren’t dedicated fans of the series.

Part of the game’s appeal is the ability to compete in a variety of series, including the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, and the Xtreme Dirt Tour.

All told, NASCAR Heat 4 comes with 38 different race tracks and over 150 official NASCAR teams and drivers. Even if you can’t race outside of the world of NASCAR, you can at least play the game as any of the famous NASCAR drivers. NASCAR Heat 4 also comes with a suite of new features that should make playing more enjoyable for everyone. You can put your creative hat on and dress up your NASCAR racer to your preference. Track maps, enhanced career mode, and a smarter and more competitive AI are also part of the game. The latter should come useful in sharpening your racing skills.

If you have your eyes set on qualifying for the NASCAR Heat Pro League, NASCAR Heat 4 is the only way you can qualify in the esports league. Oh, and how many games come with a $50 NASCAR race ticket as part of your purchase? Only one, I assume.

Burnout Paradise Remastered

Burnout Paradise Remastered is a different kind of car racing game than most titles on this list. It’s not the most realistic simulator and it doesn’t have as expansive a world as The Crew 2 or Need for Speed: Payback.

But there’s an appeal that comes with playing a car racing game that throws proper driving etiquette out the window.

In Burnout Paradise Remastered, you take the open road with the goal of setting as many speed and destruction records that you can on your way to laying waste to the fictional locale of Paradise City.

Those who remember the original Burnout Paradise — it was released in 2008 — will have a great time enjoying the remastered version, which is set in 1080p on the PlayStation 4 and in 4K at 60 fps on the PlayStation 4 Pro. It’s fun enough to play the game with crisper graphics and better gameplay. But you don’t have to enjoy the game by yourself, too. You can round-up seven of your friends and play the game online. Have fun choosing from all the playable vehicles in the game. There are over 150 of them that you can race and destroy to your heart’s content.

Crash Team Racing - Nitro-Fueled

There’s nothing realistic about {Crash Team Racing - Nitro-Fueled}. There are no expansive open worlds to discover in the game, either.

Instead, Crash Team Racing-Nitro-Fueled offers what most of us really enjoy about all these titles: racing. That’s it. There’s nothing fancy about it.

Those who are familiar — who isn’t? — with Mario Kart will come to enjoy Crash Team Racing - Nitro-Fueled. It features Crash Bandicoot and friends engaged in the same racing experience that we’ve all come to love. Power slide your way in your favorite karts and tracks while enjoying new characters, power-ups, weapons, and more. Like most games on this list, Crash Team Racing - Nitro-Fueled has an online element that lets you race with friends and compete against online leaderboards.

Crash Team Racing - Nitro-Fueled is not on the level of Mario Kart, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s fun and enjoyable in its own way, something that it has in common with all the games on this list.

Wreckfest

Speaking of a “different” kind of racing game, Wreckfest immediately tells you what it’s all about.

There’s nothing sexy and glamorous about this game. It’s all about destruction, or at least the kind of destruction that involves epic crashes and all-around mayhem.

There’s a segment of the car racing video gamer population that enjoys the thrills and destruction of a demolition derby-style game. Wreckfest gives that in spades.

There are no rules in the game so you’re left to your own devices on how you can stake your claim in it. In keeping with its theme, Wreckfest also gives you the opportunity to beef up your cars. There are enough upgrades and customizable options — from reinforced bumpers, roll cages, side protectors, and more — to get your car ready for the all-out crashes that you’re going to be a part of, or cause in some cases.

You can even upgrade your engines with air filters, fuel systems, camshafts, and more. Take the experience online and you can take all your real-world frustrations out on your friends.

The opportunity to destroy everything on your path is Wreckfest’s biggest selling point. There’s no need to say anything else after that.

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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