13 Best Xbox Series X|S Open World Racing Games

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The racing genre in video games has been increasing in popularity ever since titles started to grow in scale. Whether it was due to a giant open world to explore, or a racing simulator title that puts you in the seat of a professional driver, gamers all around have become very particular when it comes to the feel of in-game driving mechanics.

There are plenty of times that you jump into a game with a giant world to explore, but the driving mechanics don’t feel good. Now you have a giant open world to explore but you’re fast traveling all over the place because the driving feels wonky, clunky, or straight up not fun to do. On the other hand, racing titles have become very precise; games such as Forza 5, Forza Horizon 4, and others that give players an abundant amount of detail. Not only do we get horsepower specifics, but the developers manage to include traction of the tire, power levels of different engines, and a ton of other details car fanatics will appreciate. 

However, with so many games released each year, you got to ask yourself, which developer does it the best? There are a ton of titles that manage to nail that in-game driving feeling just right, and today we are going to look at the top 11 racing games for the Xbox One/ Xbox One Series X.

#13 CarX Drift Racing

There are a lot of types of racing out there, and many are technical in their own right, but easily one of the toughest out there is that of drift racing. Because you must have perfect control of your car in order to survive the twists and turns, else you’ll spin out quickly.

CarX Drift Racing is a title that fully embraces that difficulty, because the game is built to be an accurate version of drift racing, and you’ll be constantly tuning and adjusting your car in order to make it the best drift machine possible for the tracks you’ll be on.

And then, when you think you’re ready for even steeper competition? Head online and challenge your friends and the world to see who can keep up, and who will get left behind.

#12 Dakar 18

Dakar 18 is mostly centered around offroading. Matter of fact, the whole game is racing off-road so players will be dropped into a huge open world with the sandy dunes, rough rocky terrain, and slippery slopes. Dakar 18 recreates maps from Peru, Bolivia, and even Argentina, each bringing its own unique feel to the game. This game is preferred for drivers who want that off-road experience where there is no real path to follow and the open sandy dunes are yours to explore. Races can be semi-tough when you don’t really know where to go, but that’s the whole charm of Dakar 18.

#11 Snowrunner

Sownrunner might be the most different out of the other titles on this list as it’s more of a simulation for truck driving. Instead of the usual racing game, players will be delivering cargo to locations, towing vehicles that have broken down, and doing other jobs like that. The driving mechanics for this one is pretty nice because it allows you to get a simulation of how this type of job would be.

Instead of racing down a beautiful course like in Forza Horizon 4, Snowrunner is a more slow methodical racer that will have players using their brains. Which path would be the best to drive on, can you hook up the car that got stuck in mud or perform a tight turn around a bend? If you’re into this type of simulation experience, then Snowrunner might be for you!

#10 Assetto Corsa

Assettoo Corsa unlike Snowrunner, is a very straightforward racing game. Similar to Forza 6 Motorsport, players will be participating in races that will be on a track. Developer 505 Games made sure to bring that classic racing feel to the game and for players who enjoy track racing with fancy cars with powerful engines, this is going to be your jam.

Assetto Corsa has a slew of playable modes to choose from, a ton of tracks to experience and it also allows for online racing. Online racing on a track brings a special kind of fun to the table and if you’re competitive, you’re going to want to hone your skills before jumping online as the completion will be fierce.

#9 Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy Definitive Edition

Rockstar Games’ epic Grand Theft Auto series has been notorious in the past two decades. Not only for their crazy stories and lovable characters, but due to their iconic feel of driving around in an open world by their design. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy Definitive Edition was released last year and fans of the franchise have been rejoicing since.

We saw some great improvements made to the original trilogy such as lighting, texture polish, and frame rate improvement. Thankfully, Rockstar Games left the driving mechanics mostly the same, just perhaps a little smoother than its original release on the PS2/ Xbox 360. The lighting on the cars, and the traction of the tires, all add up to give the player a satisfying in-game driving experience.

#8 Burnout Paradise Remastered

Burnout Paradise is an iconic racing that was a major hit on the PS3 and Xbox 360. This game has a special place in everyone’s heart, whether it’s from nostalgia or for its arcade-y gameplay mechanics, Burnout Paradise has stamped its existence in the racing genre.

EA understood that fans loved the game, and to a lot of surprise, they went and developed a remastered version of the game! Released back in 2018, Burnout Paradise Remastered brought both longtime fans of the title, and new ones alike under one umbrella filled with fun gameplay and epic chases!

As I recently mentioned, Burnout Paradise is more of an action-racing title. Unlike titles like Forza 5, Burnout Paradise brings a level of addicting gameplay that can only be there due to its arcade-like nature. The chases from the cops, the epic races from the missions, and the vast world all tie this game up to be one of the best.

#7 Need for Speed Heat

Need for Speed Heat is supposed to act as the spiritual successor of Need for Speed Underground and for the most part developer EA Gothenburg did a good job. The racing gameplay is fun and the map has a unique feel to it. However, a big feature that must be present in racing games is a world that seems lived in and NFS Heat doesn’t feel like it. There will be times were the driving could get boring, dare I even say tedious.

Thankfully, NFS: Heat has some redeeming factors. If you’re into arcade-like racing games, this will keep you interested for quite some time. Drifting, high-paced races and underground-like races will keep you on the edge of your seat.

#6 The Crew 2

The Crew 2 is a different type of game for Ubisoft to develop. They’re more of a publisher that releases story-heavy games with massive open worlds like Assassin’s Creed, The Watch Dogs Series, and The Division franchise. However, since the launch of the original ‘The Crew’, fans of the racing genre became interested in seeing what Ubisoft can bring to the table.

The Crew 2 builds upon the first game with new race modes, different vehicles to choose from and a ton of new features and fixes that players welcomely embraced. Not only does The Crew 2 include car racing, but players will get to race planes, boats, and even motorcycles! Ubisoft brought more to the table and the fans were delighted to say the least.

#5 Need For Speed Hot Pursuit

Need for Speed Hot Pursuit was personally one of my favorites in the franchise. The choice between playing as the cops or the racers brought a new layer into the game that just worked for me. Outsmarting the cops or making a hard turn to escape them was equally fun and developer Criterion Software managed to bring the magic into the remastered version almost a decade later.

NFS Hot Pursuit also keeps the system of the game generally simple for their players. There are no complex upgrades, mods to install, or car mumbo jumbo the causal racers won’t understand. The balance between keeping it realistic, while arcade-like is beautifully done and mends the two genres very nicely.

#4 Need for Speed

EA’s reboot of the iconic racing franchise — Need for Speed, set off a new spark within the racing community. However, at the time of the release of the titular reboot, gamers had mixed feelings. The racing mechanics were solid bringing back familiar driving features for longtime fans well building upon new features like customization, online play, and mission types. But the game launched with some issues that had players scratching their heads. The overall main story of the game, which features FMV cutscenes, got pretty goofy quickly and the “always online” feature was annoying for those who are looking to just play the game in their world.

Some of these issues were solved throughout the year, but some remain. On a better note, Need for Speed 2015 brings some very addicting in-game racing mechanics. Races vary for each mission and the world is a joy to race through. A big seller is the lighting in this game as its places you into a dark underground racing circuit in a fictional California city and the way the light bounces off the cars, the roads that have been wet due to rain, and the neon signs at night set the mood. And of course, the racing itself is tight allowing players to make hard cuts, epic long drifts, and chases that will keep even the experienced driver on the edge of their seat.

#3 Forza Horizon 5

Microsoft and developer Playground Games just know what they’re doing when it comes to racing games. Forza Horizon 5 is another prime example of that. As you may already know, the Forza Horizon series is a balance between arcade-like racing and simulation. This series allows players to explore a vast open-world that will have them completing missions, racing online against friends, and unlocking new cars/mods along the way.

Playground Games solidifies the fun factor when it comes to Horizon 5 as it brings mostly everything players loved from the previous iteration and somehow makes it even better. From the selection of the cars to the new open world to explore, Forza Horizon 5 should be on your list for one of the best.

#2 Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V brings one of the best in-game driving experiences to the gamer and that’s partly due to the developer’s attention to detail and its robust open world to explore. For games like Grand Theft Auto, the open world has to be interesting to explore for the player. Los Santos is exactly that. The map is massive spanning a ton of different regions with different terrain, roads, and density of other NPC cars.

Rockstar Games have a special touch when it comes to driving in their games and Grand Theft Auto V brings the heat. Especially during the racing missions. Thanks to Franklin, one of the main 3 playable characters, slow-down ability while driving can create some epic car chases in the game. Hitting that slow-down ability can create an epic moment where the player cans squeeze between oncoming traffic, cut across the highway, or even set up a jump that will bring the epicness of Fast and the Furious to the game!

#1 Forza Horizon 4

What can we say about Forza Horizon 4 except all good things? Developer Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios have been knocking it out of the park when it comes to these open-world style racing titles and Forza Horizon 4 just hits that sweet spot. The array of different cars to choose from, completing races to unlock cars, and modifications keep the player engaged, and of course, we have to talk about the different playable seasons.

This is one of Forza Horizon 4 biggest features and it allows players to experience different seasons throughout the game. Driving through the Fall compared to Winter will create two separate experiences both bringing their unique driving conditions. The winter will bring slipper roads, the spring can bring rain, and the Fall leaves can create traction against your tires. This might be a small detail for some gamers, but you have to appreciate the commitment to bringing a unique driving experience to the game of the developers.