From racing simulators to open world adventures, Microsoft’s gaming console offers everything and all things in between

When it comes to car racing video games, it’s hard to find a better console that’s home to as many diverse games as the Xbox One. Microsoft’s pride-and-joy console offers anything your gamer heart desires. Do you want a race simulator that’s as realistic as it gets? How about an open-world racing game? Perhaps you’re just looking for an old-fashioned car racing arcade game, then? Xbox One offers all of these games in spades, and we picked the best ones so you can spend countless hours playing without feeling sorry about it.

Forza Horizon 4

While {Forza Motorsport 7} offers a full-blown car racing video game experience, the {Forza Horizon} series offers something different.

The game is more focused on connected gaming. It offers the most expansive online shared world of any car racing video game. You can race against AI drivers if your friends aren’t playing. You can participate in co-op challenges, race in specific events, and get access to seasonal racing that very few games of its kind even offer.

Then there’s the graphics. Forza Horizon 4 is the latest game in this series, and the detail is incredible. The game even comes with a dynamic lighting system that adjusts the lighting in your environment depending on the time in the day and the season you’re racing in.

Project Cars 2

If there is one car racing video game for the Xbox One that can rival the realism you see in {Forza}, it’s {Project Cars 2}.

The game is a follow-up to the hugely successful, though oftentimes difficult to play Project Cars. Project Cars 2 builds on the foundations set by its predecessor, delivering the kind of realistic racing a lot of us crave for. It certainly helps that the game also includes over 200 cars and race tracks to choose from. But Project Cars 2’s biggest claim to fame is its gameplay. No game, not even the Forzas, can match the attention-to-detail put into the actual racing of these cars. Whether it’s through handling, responsiveness and all-around feel for the car you’re driving, Project Cars 2 does it better than any game on Xbox One.

Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Motorsport 7 is the flagship car racing video game in the Xbox One, and it delivers in the same way the Gran Turismo franchise delivers for Sony and the PlayStation 4. The detail and the realism that you get playing Forza Motorsport 7 is second to none.

Not only that, but it also boasts over 100 cars, more than 150 different race tracks, and pretty much every aspect of car building and motor racing that the real world provides.

Everything about FM7 was developed with the kind of intricacy that you’d expect from a flagship video game. It’s no secret that when you’re talking about the best car racing video games for the Xbox One, Forza Motorsport 7 should be on top of any list.

Dirt 4

Dirt 4 has some age to it — the game was released in 2017 — but it never gets boring, even after you’ve played it for countless hours.

The franchise has always prided itself on its arcade-y feel that’s suited for all types of video game racers.

You can be a hardcore rally lover or just a casual gamer and you’re going to enjoy all of the game’s features. The content hasn’t become dull, even with newer games in the market. The only downside to Dirt 4 is that other games — Rally Dirt 2.0, in particular — offer better graphics on account of being newer releases. Still, that hasn’t changed the “fun” aspect of Dirt 4. You don’t have to be a full-blown rally lover to enjoy all that it has to offer.

F1 2019

{F1 2019} is the rare car racing video game that’s going to demand your full attention when you have the Xbox One controller in your hands.

Part of the game’s appeal is the opportunity for us to live out our dreams as Formula One race car drivers in about as real an environment as we can get. It’s a dedicated game, for sure. It doesn’t offer the same level of variety as Forza Motorsport 7 or Project Cars 2, but it’s that specificity to racing a full Formula One season that makes this game so enjoyable, if not exhausting.

Go through a single race in the F1 calendar and you’re likely to be as tired as the drivers when you’re finished. Combine that with all the technical details and intricacies that come with succeeding in this game and its realistic nature really comes into the forefront.

Redout

If you want real-world racing game realism, you should stay away from {Redout}. If you want futuristic racing — the game is set in 2560, believe it or not — that involves anti-gravity crafts competing in the Solar Redout Racing League, then {Redout} is for you.

The game mixes the out-of-this-world aspects of a fantasy game with the thrill of racing and competition. You can choose from a plethora of race modes, design tracks to include teleports, underwater sections, and anti-gravity surfaces. It’s everything that you can imagine of the future of racing could look like. It helps, too, that you can compete against your friends in this setting. Redout also has some age to it, now that it’s been four years since it hit the market. Fortunately, the dated graphics aren’t so much of a burden since there’s nothing realistic about the game to begin with.

Burnout Paradise Remastered

As open-world racing video games in the Xbox One go, Burnout Paradise: Remastered is as good as it gets. Of course, you can skip this one entirely if you already have the original version that was released in 2008. But doing so means you’d miss out on the crisper graphics, better gameplay, and the plethora of new and modern features that developers have added.

The original Burnout Paradise was one of the first games in the Xbox to explore the open-world element of car racing gaming.

The remastered version builds on that foundation with a lot of new challenges, new cars, and features in stock.

It doesn’t come without its faults, but that’s not too big of a problem, especially since you’re not after all the intricacies of a Forza Motorsport 7 when you’re playing this game. You play Burnout Paradise Remastered because you want to have fun in the fictional world of Paradise City.

WRC8

Realistic rally racing is one of the Xbox One’s advantages over its Sony rival. That’s epitomized by the quality of rally racing games that are available in the Microsoft console. One of those games, WRC8, is about as real as it gets. WRC8 follows the same blueprint of F1 2019 as the official video game of the World Rally Championships.

It’s not as all-encompassing as open-world games or racing simulators, but it does have a clear identity with its gameplay.

It also comes with incredible looks, improved physics, and dynamic weather settings that create a realistic environment on what it’s like to compete in the World Rally Championships. It’s going to take some getting used to — controller settings are complicated — but the overall experience of playing WRC8 gets better over time.

Need for Speed Heat

{Need for Speed: Heat} is the kind of game you want to consume if you want to channel your hyper activeness and aggressiveness into a car racing video game.

It takes the tried-and-tested formula of the Need for Speed franchise using Palm City — the game’s equivalent of Miami, Florida — as the environment of this non-stop, action-packed racing game. There are some irritating qualities to it that are hard to ignore — responsiveness to the controls being one of them — but all of this is tied to the whole experience of playing a game that’s part of the Need for Speed universe.

If you want something more realistic, don’t get Need for Speed: Heat. If you desire something that either tickles your adventure bones or puts you in a position to race for motor racing glory, Need for Speed: Heat isn’t your cup of tea. But if you want to enjoy street racing in your Xbox One and all the excitement that comes with it, Need for Speed: Heat is the game for you.

Dirt Rally 2.0

There’s a specific charm that comes with playing rally racing video games. You’re not worried about looking good and keeping your cars as clean as they can be. You just race in all kinds of environments with no qualms about getting dirty. Dirt Rally 2.0 provides that kind of experience in incredible detail. It’s a difficult game to get down, but once you understand the intricacies of the game, it becomes one of the most fun car racing games you’ll play in the Xbox One. The realism is on-point, too. There are six different countries with courses you have to race in and these courses provide the kind of realistic environment that you normally see in rally racing.

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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