Okay, so you've soared past the iconic checkered flag and conquered the Horizon circuit — so what's next for your racing career? Will you submerge into the death-defying off-road underworld? Perhaps take a spin through the drag scene and ascend the local ranks? Or will you settle for something a little more simplistic and less threatening — like a standard Sunday drive? Wherever your true north lies, it's clear that you're hungering for another few hours behind the wheel.
While Forza homes some truly outstanding chapters in both its circuit and experimental spin-offs, there are still several alternative franchises that ooze just as much originality. And they're all open for the taking, of course. So, with that in mind, it's only right that we put this into sixth gear and drop you on the starting position for your next ride. And yes — the ridiculous puns will end here. Just as soon as we shovel these five racing games into your pockets.
5. RISE: Race The Future
As we start off at the lower end of the spectrum, it's fair to say that RISE: Race The Future isn't the most Forza-like experience. That said, it is just as manic and visually pleasing as the Horizon monster. Although the open-world aspects haven't been implemented in the bulky RISE entry, the game itself does make up for the loss with some genuinely riveting tracks. And when all is said and done — isn't that the whole point of a racing game?
Sort of like filling the shoes of an action hero — Race The Future gives you the keys to a spool of death-defying circuits that you almost feel inclined to conquer. With speed being your only strategy, RISE gifts you some of the fastest, albeit most unusual futuristic cars on the planet to help pave the way to the podium. All in all, this arcade-style chapter keeps the racing scene thriving like never before — and it truly is a credit to the genre as a whole.
4. Project CARS 2
If you're content with gawping over a few high-end cars and nothing more, then Project CARS 2 will pretty much satisfy that appetite, to be honest. Although the Xbox One and PS4 editions are beautiful in every way — high-spec PCs truly do burst through with some of the most enchanting visuals we've ever seen in a racing game. Oh, and the actual racing isn't exactly an insult to the genre either. In fact, thanks to the fluid physics and lifelike mapping, this entry is far more than your box standard lap traveller.
Bundling in shifting weather patterns, glossy tracks and smooth controls, Project CARS 2 truly outshines its predecessor and ramps up the benchmark to a whole new degree. While it may not be open-world with 10,000km of untouched roads to explore, it is a fantastic entry with about as much realism as you'd expect from Slightly Mad Studios. All in all, Project CARS 2 is the perfect starting point for any gamer who's simply hunting for a rich experience on the track.
3. Need for Speed Heat
Despite the Need for Speed franchise suffering the odd blow in the past from previous instalments to the series, Heat was definitely a turning point for the racing timeline. With a Miami-inspired focal point, Heat captures the neon lights of the big city and clashes it with some of the more well-rounded physics from earlier entries. And, well, it actually makes up to be a pretty fun game, to be honest.
Not only does Need for Speed Heat boast concrete gameplay with fluid controls and addictive tracks — but also a pretty intriguing storyline too. Thanks to EA's devotion to breaking the monotonous protocol of racing games, Heat brings a lot more to the table than your everyday circuit spin. With a genuinely striking plot that lures you in through colorful personalities and captivating hooks, this major frontrunner does far more than it says on the tin. And then some.
2. The Crew
If you've ever wondered what it'd be like to blaze across the United States in 40 minutes flat, then you're in luck — because you're about to experience it for yourself. From coast to coast, New York to California, you, the wannabe wheelman, will be left to journey from landmark to landmark in search of eternal glory within the racing circuit. With 10,000km of crooked roads, cobblestone walkways and towering cityscapes to dominate — The Crew hands you an entire country for the taking on a shiny chrome platter.
Apart from the impressive portrayal of the United States and its boatload of iconic landmarks, The Crew also homes some truly fantastic game modes. With a toe in almost every pool across the racing genre, this Ubisoft classic is a must-play for anyone who's ever dabbled with four (or even two) wheels. Whether it's drift, drag, or straight-up circuit lapping — The Crew caters to your racing needs without ever letting up on the throttle. And that's why we love it.
1. Burnout Paradise Remastered
If you're hungering for the bright city lights and endless vehicular carnage — then you're probably going to want to sink some hours into Burnout Paradise. Plus, seeing as it was recently remastered for Xbox One and PS4, now seems a good a time as any to enter Paradise City and claw your way to the apex of street racing. And as far as Burnout goes when next to the likes of Forza Horizon 4 — there really is no greater sibling rivalry out there.
From the open-world exploration to the death-defying stunt locations, Burnout Paradise has it all — and then some. Paradise City is a beautiful front for balls-to-the-wall racing and cruising the crooked slopes and narrow alleys have never been more satisfying. And hey, even crashing is a visually stunning experience, you know, for what it's worth. Overall, Burnout Paradise Remastered is a top-notch entry to the racing scene and an absolute essential to any gamers library.