Racing games are everywhere in today’s gaming industry. From MotoGP, to off-road racers like the Dirt series. We convened at the end of 2018 to discuss some of our favorite racing titles from the year. These are the best racing games of 2018.
WINNER – FORZA HORIZON 4
I grew up playing a bunch of racing games, including Ridge Racer Type 4, Gran Turismo, and Mario Kart. I wanted to give Forza Horizon 4 a try, mainly because I haven’t played the series since Forza Motorsport 4. I’m glad I came back to the series with this new game.
Unlike the Motorsport series, Horizon is more of an open world type of racing game. I actually do prefer this over the realistic style of racing games. Booting up the game for the first time and racing through the multiple seasons in the different types of cars you can get was a very cool experience. The weather system is an excellent feature. Instead of making the map look a bit different, it actually makes it feel like you’re on a new part of the map that you’ve never seen before.
My favorite part of the game is the variety of missions you can do. This game will have you do a lot. Horizon Stories and Showcases are probably the highlights of the game. The stories are a set of missions that you complete. You can test drive some of the fastest cars in the world, or even become a stunt driver. The best part, however, is the Laracer missions. You are tasked to help a YouTuber count down the top racing games of all time, and you go through some of the most memorable moments in racing history by driving the vehicles from games such as Ridge Racer, Crazy Taxi, and Sega Rally. This was easily one of my favorite gaming moments of all time. The Halo showcase mission was another highlight, since it lets you become Master Chief and drive in a Warthog.
Overall, Forza Horizon 4 is probably the best racing game that I have ever played. The amount of content and character this game has will keep me coming back for more.
Written By: Sean Scalise
RUNNER UP – HELLO KITTY KRUISERS (Nintendo Switch edition)
I am not going to lie. This was memed into the list by yours truly. And now I have to pay the price.
I wish there were good things to say about this game; but there is not. The only thing close to redeemable is the graphics. The cel-shaded look compliments the Hello Kitty aesthetic well; but even that fails at times.
The actual racing in Hello Kitty Kruisers is atrocious. It tries to follow the Mario Kart style with items you can pick up. But there are only a couple of items implemented, and they do not have any impact on the game. Character selection does not matter either, as there is no impact on acceleration, top speed, or agility. On top of the movement, colliding with objects does not actually cause your movement to drop to zero, you just get caught momentarily until you are free to move at top speed without having to accelerate there.
The AI racers are also quite terrible as well. They get caught on random sections of any map throughout the competition. And if the AI do manage to make it through to the end, they do not offer any real challenge. You may even circle a few as you complete the final lap.
Laps don’t take very long to complete on most of these maps either. This is commonly due to their very simplistic nature. The only real variety comes from the levels that offer different vehicles, such as planes and boats. And as you can imagine, they are both annoying to control. The plane makes the map even easier to navigate because you can avoid traps, and the boat puts you in a constant state of déjà vu drifting.
Please do not buy this game.
Written By: Matt Garcia
THIRD PLACE – THE CREW 2
While Ubisoft continues to touch as many genres as humanly possible, their attempt at an “online-only, need for speed-type” game with The Crew hit a snag at launch. It was a fair game, but it wasn’t anything special to deter fans from Forza Horizon 2 or Mario Kart 8. Still, Ivory Tower was ready to take a second crack.
So what was the best way of doing this? By expanding to not just land, but to sea and air too. Also, instead of a straightforward revenge story, you were now an unnamed character who traveled the United States to become a racing icon. The Crew 2 puts a high emphasis on their four themes that offer four different challenges: Street Racing, Off-Road, Freestyle, and Pro Racing. Each discipline had a variety of activities that ranged from getting first place in races to scoring high points in drifting, monster trucks, and air shows.
Best of all, there was no limit to whatever you could do. If you wanted to race, you could hit the streets or the tracks. Wanted to enjoy the water? Race boats instead. Or if you want to fly airplanes, you could take to the skies too. You can jump between the disciplines and take part in any activity you choose while exploring the United States. The races were enjoyable as was the random stories. If you were looking for a good racing game with a fair progression, The Crew 2 has you covered.
Written By: Mike Sol
So, that does it for 2018. What were some of your favorite titles out of the year? We would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below and let us know what you may have wanted to see on the list or what we may have missed.
Anthony is the Owner for Culture of Gaming and he spends his days studying, gaming and working on the site.
Anthony has worked for the past 7 years in the Video Game journalism industry and has worked for over 30 different sites in that time.