You know what they say: customizable components make the heart grow fonder. Or at least, they make an otherwise generic asset a little more appealing to the naked eye, anyway. Vehicle customization tugs on a similar heartstring, and anyone who's ever played a racing game will agree that a compelling suite chock-full of tweakable features can make a mediocre game an award-winning work of art.
While customization is more of a luxury for most role-playing games, it's still seen as the bread and butter of any modern racing game. Without a strong workshop and all the gear to boot, such games can come across as bare and perhaps even a little boring. Give players the tools to enhance their rides, however, and that minimalistic game can become a far more appealing and full-fat experience. With all of that said, let's go ahead and delve right into some of the best customization suites on the market.
5. Forza Horizon 4
Forza has a long-standing relationship with in-depth suites and real-life motor brands, some of which have proven to be the very best in the business. Horizon 4, though, hits a new level, and it quite possibly takes the crown for having one of the greatest workshops in not only the racing scene, but gaming, in general. And as much as we adore the idea of being given high-class vehicles right off the bat in its Motorsport series, there's definitely something a little more special about finding them out in the British countryside and restoring them yourself.
Forza Horizon 4 brings one of the most immense creative suites to a fully stocked open world playground that's ripe with opportunities to unlock your inner mechanic. Like its previous chapters, players can collect, race, and customize a mouth-watering variety of vehicles that range from off-road to circuit. From performance to decals, wheel trims to window tints, Horizon 4 grants you the opportunity to toy with just about anything without limits. Almost, anything.
4. Gran Turismo 7
Gran Turismo prides itself on being this all-encompassing driving simulator that puts racing on the back burner, and customization in the driver's seat. Although the series itself has seen plenty of unencumbered thrills and high-octane courses jolt to life during its healthy tenure, make no mistake that its tweakable liveries are the backbone of the saga.
Gran Turismo 7, being the latest instalment to the universally celebrated racing franchise, bears the most in-depth studio to date. On top of it boasting some pretty spectacular visuals and in-game backdrops, it also harbors an extensive selection of performance upgrades, cosmetics, and personalized decals. And that's just the tip of the iceberg to a whole ocean of eye-popping content.
3. Grand Theft Auto V
It's incredibly easy to brush Grand Theft Auto V off as this ballsy open world action-adventure game and nothing more. And in some ways, that's exactly what it thrives on being. But Rockstar, being the jack-of-all-trades that it is, it isn't exactly unusual to see such a game buried in a plethora of other genres, either. Genres, including but not limited to areas like racing.
Thanks to its online counterpart, Grand Theft Auto V has had the chance to truly knuckle down on its vehicular combat and customization over the last nine years. Today, it boasts a lofty selection of perks and parts for players to swap around and experiment with. From the custom paint jobs to the modifiable chassis, GTA V lends you the tools to add flair to any ride of your choice, whether it be a high-powered sports car, or a family-sized box van.
2. The Crew 2
The Crew is a vibrant and dynamic open world racing game that lets you unlock and cruise about in just about anything that has wheels. And with that, of course, comes an extensive range of tools that let you modify each and every bit of plastic and glass that's put on display. Although not quite as in-depth as the likes of Gran Turismo 7, it certainly holds its own, and there's definitely room for growth that Ubisoft can explore in a third instalment.
The Crew 2 doubles up on content and gives players far more bang for their buck. By not only including new types of transport to unlock, but a thicker library of customizable components, the sequel quite easily surpasses every square detail from its original. And so, if you're interested in driving a huge range of vehicles, bikes and boats, all with fully customizable components, then The Crew 2 is an absolute must.
If you've ever pictured yourself building the car of your dreams from the ground up, then you should definitely consider spending some time with Automation, a simulation game that puts a heavy focus on customization and fine-tuning. Unlike other racing games that favor track design and the thrill of the chase, this tycoon-style title puts all of its efforts into building an intense workshop, complete with all the bells and whistles you'd find in your local garage.
The good news is, you can pretty much let your imagination run wild with Automation, as there really is no limits to what you can do. The only real downside, though, is that it's a little heavy-handed, and can definitely stop the everyday newcomer in their tracks with all it has to offer. Learn to master it, however, and the doors of opportunity are endless.
So, what's your take? Do you agree with our top five? Are there any games we should know about? Let us know over on our socials here or down in the comments below.