So you finally made the jump from Xbox 360 to Xbox One, and now you want to know what racing games you should buy. Fortunately we’ve played every racing title available for the console, and are happy to pass along our recommendations for the best Xbox One racing games. It might seem obvious what the best racing games for Xbox One are, but with over 20 racing titles on the console, there’s definitely a lot more to choose from than you think.
As of the time I’m writing this, two new racing titles have recently come out- Forza Motorsports 6 and the newest Need for Speed. Although this list is ordered by recommendation level, that doesn’t mean that our number one pick is the game that you should definitely buy. The games on this list made it here because we love them all, so don’t discredit any just because they’re not the top pick.
5. The Crew
Despite it’s many complaints, 2014’s The Crew isn’t an unplayable game by any stretch of the imagination. One good thing about The Crew is the setting, giving the player an extremely ambitious map that represents the entirety of the United States. Cities are obviously miniature of themselves, but The Crew must be commended for emulating what it’s like to drive from coast to coast in America. In fact, I don’t think there’s a racing game out there that really nails this as well as The Crew does.
The vastness of the game does mean there are visual sacrifices though, so don’t expect to see as good of graphics as the other car racing games on this list. It’s really hard to choose The Crew over other games on this list for that reason- you bought an Xbox One because you expect a certain amount of detail in the graphics, and The Crew really is lacking in that department.
4. Need for Speed (2015)
Before we recommend the newest installment in the Need for Speed franchise to you, let us just note that this game wasn’t very well received by critics. If you look at scores and reviews for Need for Speed around the web, you will find lots of 6.5/10 scores that criticize the game because it forces the user to always be online to play, among other valid reasons. The handling feels a little janky, the rubber-banding effect with AI opponents is annoying, and the solo story might feel unfulfilling to some. However some of those things will soon be fixed with a patch, and when it comes down to actually sitting down and playing this game, it’s surprisingly more fun than video game journalists are making it seem.
If you’re into the Japanese car import scene, then you’ll be happy to know that Need for Speed has headed back in that direction. There isn’t as large of a roster of cars compared to the other car racing games on this list, and the game makes that very clear to you by only giving you five spots in your garage. With that being said though, it does seem like the same is more about upgrading and customizing the cars you have, rather than collecting a ton of cars that you’ll probably never drive. Your cars can be customized very deeply, including choosing between a grip or drift setup to allow for your own driving style. Visually the game looks spectacular (when they say photo realism they aren’t kidding), and the new audio effects are the best they’ve ever sounded. Just keep in mind that you do always have to be online to play this game, so if you’re somewhere where internet isn’t always readily available, you might want to go with one of the other games on this list.
3. Project CARS
Developer: Slightly Mad Studios
For those of you looking for a really pure racing simulator for Xbox One that doesn’t come shrouded with noisy soundtracks and over the top police chases, Project CARS is probably the game for you. This is a game that requires you to dive deep into the world of motorsports, but at the same time it is very user friendly, and not too intimidating for gamers who are not extremely familiar with the racing sim genre.
One of the really nice things about this game is the customizability. You can change weather progressions throughout the race, and features like a 0-100 slider for computer difficulty really helps you find the perfect level of competition that you’re comfortable taking on. From a pure simulation perspective, Project CARS takes the cake on realism and just how much it makes you feel like an actual race car driver. However be warned that if you’re playing this game on the Xbox One controller, you will want to tweak your steering and other settings to make the game feel as comfortable as it can.
2. Forza Horizons 2
When it comes to an open world racing game, Forza Horizons 2 sets the bar so high that we may never see something this incredible again. The map and visuals are absolutely amazing, with the game really nailing the feel of Northern Italy and Southern France. You can race off road, which is one of the most fun and enticing aspects of Horizons 2. Barn cars are available to find all over the map, which we won’t spoil for you in this article. Races can be everything from tense to hilarious, depending on whether you’re racing performance cars or SUVs.
The collection of cars in this game is absolutely gigantic, coming in at over 200 vehicles. Whether you want to drives rally cars, trucks, or anything in between, you will find it in Forza Horizons 2. The exploration and discovery aspect of this game really gets it right, and it’s hard to say that it’s not a better open world driving option compared to Need for Speed (2015) which is also on this list. The only way I could really recommend Need for Speed over Forza Horizons 2 is if you’re more into the Japanese import scene, or you’re just not a gearhead who watches Top Gear obsessively and wants to recreate every scenario from the show.
1. Forza Motorsport 6
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Well, here’s the part where we tell you that Forza Motorsport 6 is the best racing game on Xbox One. This is obviously subjective, but if you go by critical reception and overall scores, Forza Motorsport 6 is the racing game you’re looking for. With stunning graphics and very satisfying driving simulation, this is the must have racing game for Xbox One (so far).
As far as innovate gameplay mechanics are concerned, Forza Motorsport 6 introduced wet-weather driving, making it so driving conditions can actually be impacted by the rain. If you take a corner too hard on wet asphalt, you will probably hydroplane and skid into a wall, adding a level of challenge that previous titles in the series did not offer. Some critics claim the weather effect is exaggerated and distracting, but it’s honestly a really great mechanic that was needed after Forza Motorsport 5 didn’t blow everyone’s socks off.
Bonus- Trials Fusion
Trials Fusion is the only motorcycle racing game on this list, but it’s mentioned here for a good reason. For starters let’s just say this game is only $20, which is a bargain when you realize how much is actually there both content-wise and from a re-playability aspect. The concept of the game is simple- you ride your dirt bike through an obstacle course, all while avoiding obstacles that will make you start over if you flub them. While easy in concept, mastering this game is actually very difficult.
The racing aspect of the game comes from the local or online multiplayer, which is addicting and a lot of fun. Trying to make it to the end of the obstacle course before your opponents is really hectic, and even though this isn’t the typical racing game you’re probably used to play, its really does deserve a spot in your library. Honestly you can hate motorcycles and still enjoy this game, that’s how fun the physics and gameplay are.
So there you have it, those are our picks for the best racing games on Xbox One. At this point in time Forza 6 is basically a must have, but there are still many out there who will say that Project CARS is the better game. With a cheaper price tag it just might be the better option, but if money’s no object then I would probably get both.