(Pocket-lint) – A good racing game offers something that no other genre can match – a sense of true speed, and the urgency of knowing that the slightest twitch of your steering, or a dab on the brake pedal – could spell the difference between first and second place.
The Xbox Series X and S have a huge library of racing games you can pick from, thanks to their stellar backwards-compatibility options. So we’ve gathered some of the very best options for you below. If you want a different gaming genre, do check out our other Xbox lists below.
What are the best racing games on Xbox Series X and S?
- Forza Horizon 5
- Need for Speed Unbound
- Dirt 5
- F1 22
- WRC Generations
Forza Horizon 5
The Xbox’s foremost driving game series is back, and the Horizon festival it offers up is as entertaining as anything you could want. This time the action has moved to Mexico, and where other games have you slowly earning better cars you’ll be showered with them in Horizon 5.
Whether it’s in a high-powered jeep or a genuine supercar, the open world is so fun to explore and there are crazy numbers of races and activities to take part in – that’s before you hop online, where there are loads of events for you to sink your teeth into.
Need for Speed Unbound
Need for Speed returns to its street racing roots, giving you a huge amount of customisation options and loads of challenging races to take part in.
The risk and reward mechanics that worked well in Heat are back and make for a thrilling time if you’re racing away from cops or trying to get to a safehouse without being spotted.
If you’re a particular fan of taking your vehicles off the road and onto other surfaces then the Dirt series has been a great choice for a good number of years now. Its fifth iteration looks great on Microsoft’s latest consoles with great lighting and a fun variety of tracks.
The real star, though, is its arcadey handling engine, which makes sliding around on mud, gravel and everything in between super fun, with the best tracks transitioning between different surfaces on the fly as you race.
Getting back to the tarmac, though, is F1 22, which offers up a hugely detailed recreation of what it would be like to actually race through a Formula 1 season, with all the teams and cars represented in amazing levels of fidelity.
The sense of speed you get throwing one of these precision-engineered cars down a straight as you fight to take the top spot on a podium is pretty much second to none, and the practice it takes to get really good at controlling one is its own reward.
There was a golden heyday when driving games all had great damage engines to accurately reflect any bumps and crashes you got into. That’s now rare once again, but Wreckfest is basically a whole game built around a truly amazing damage system.
It lets you absolutely destroy your vehicles, which come in all shapes and sizes, and its online races are some of the most insanely chaotic fun you can possibly have, therefore. Winning is nice, but taking out other racers in showers of sparks and debris is also pure fun.
Finally, no list of great racing games is complete without at least one title that presents the joy of rally, a discipline that pushes cars to their very limits on trails that might be considered barely a track if you were in a road car.
WRC Generations is the latest in a long series that’s gone from strength to strength, and there’s nothing else out there to compete if you’re looking for long stages that are full of complex turns and formations to ensure your reactions have to be right up to speed.
More about this story
Every game in this list has been tested and played through by our team, to make sure that it merits inclusion.
We’ve played through their campaigns, sunk hours into their multiplayer offerings, and carefully compared them to direct competitors to make sure that they represent the most satisfying and rewarding options out there on their platform.
We aren’t interested in pointless number crunching or extraneous details – we just want to provide an easy to understand review that gives you an idea of what it’s going to be like to play. And don’t for a second think that the games aren’t tested fully because the reviews are concise.
We’ve been covering tech and games since 2003, and, in many cases, have not only reviewed the game in question, but the previous generations, too – right back to the first release on the market. There are also plenty of titles we’ve considered that didn’t make the cut in each of our buyer’s guides.
Writing by Max Freeman-Mills.