Best Racing Games for PlayStation 4 iMore 2021
Racing games allow you to go speeding along country roads, veer through turns and ram engine first into walls without the danger of actually harming yourself in the process. PlayStation 4 has a great selection delivering everything from dirty rally races to gorgeous super realistic formula one racing. Out of all of the options Dirt 4 brings the best experience to console with accessible gameplay, great graphics, and features you won't find anywhere else.
- Best Overall: Dirt 4
- Best Arcade: Driveclub
- Best Realistic: Project Cars 2
- Best Formula One: F1 2018
- Best Multiplayer: Rocket League
- Best Rally: Dirt Rally 2.0
Best Overall: Dirt 4
When it comes to racing games, each one has its own goals for the way you play. Dirt 4 wants you to have fun and delivers an excellent package that's enjoyable whether you're a veteran racer, or you've never drifted through a corner in your life. To start, you've got access to two difficulties which make it easy to decide whether you want a more realistic experience, or something close to an arcade racer.
Dirt brings you all the glory of the messy joy that is rally racing. That means spinning into a corner, breaking by running into other cars or walls, and getting filthy in the process. You can feel the difference when racing on different surfaces, which means speeding across asphalt doesn't act the same as when you try to take a tight turn on a packed dirt road. The details shine through in every frame as you race from dynamic weather patterns to the world you are speeding past when you take each hairpin turn.
One of the coolest features that join Dirt 4 is the ability to build your own stage. Using two sliders, you can create a level all your own and then share it with friends and random online racers to see who can win it. It works well along with the procedurally generated racing stages, and a robust career mode. That career mode has gotten major updates too, including team facilities, upgrades, and a good deal of micromanagement that puts you in control of your racing destiny.
All together Dirt 4 manages to bring an excellent rally racer to the fore as the absolute best racing gaming on PlayStation 4. It has superior graphics, isn't too easy or too difficult and with some updates since the last entry in the franchise that raise it from being a merely decent game to something stellar.
- Fantastic graphics
- Two different difficulty settings makes gameplay more accessible
- Ability to build your own stages
- Occasional graphical stutters are noticeable
Best Arcade: Drive Club
Arcade racing games are one of the best ways to enjoy the genre without the greater difficulty that some titles deliver. Drive Club is an older PlayStation release that still provides tons of twists and turns as you race through each course. There are plenty of races to learn set all over the world and a variety of different types of races that ensure that you never get bored.
While the graphics are still shiny and fantastic, it's the various tweak to gameplay that makes the game shine. Each car handles more or less the same, which makes the gameplay easy to pick up even if you aren't usually a fan of racers. You can play through challenges, race against your ghost in time trials, and use photo mode to snag images while you are midrace. A robust online mode also delivers tons of challenges and great races against other players that you won't get anywhere else.
- Fun arcade handling
- Tons of content to enjoy
- Easy to pick up and play
- Gameplay may be too easy for veterans of the genre
- Occasional graphical stutters are a bummer
Best Realistic: Project Cars 2
Project Cars 2 is known for delivering an experience that veers away from the arcade and emphasizes a realistic experience. You can play using a controller or wheel, and in both cases, the handling of every car is better than it was in the first game. Your wheels grip the road beautifully, and steering is responsive and accurate. The graphical updates aren't something to scoff at either. Project Cars 2 uses a dynamic weather system that shows off wet rainstorms, and sunny days alike, with only an occasion stutter to bring you out of the reverie.
Career mode has gotten a boost too. There are new options and more freedom than in the past, which makes the game more accessible for novice players learning the ropes. You'll still need to play through the lower leagues to unlock the best racing tiers, but now the option to skip some races has popped up. There is even an online mode that lets you race against other players rather than sticking to gaming by yourself.
- Excellent career mode
- Over 100 different cars to race with
- Great updates to gameplay mechanics
- Steep learning curve when starting out
- Graphic stutters can be frustrating
Best Formula One: F1 2018
Formula One racing has gotten another significant console update with F1 Racing 2018, delivering 21 circuits and 4 short courses for you to race through on PlayStation 4. With a dozen different cars, it's easy to find the vehicle that works for your play style. The graphics have gotten another significant update across the board, making everything in the game look better than ever.
The most noticeable change is the 10-season campaign mode. The contract negotiation system can give you some serious perks on the track when you meet team goals and let you renegotiate the contract for your driver each season. Post-race interviews also play a part in all of this since they improve morale, which can make future races easier to roll through.
- Races are more challenging than ever
- Great graphics
- Career mode has been updated and expanded
- Mechanics are more or less unchanged
Best Multiplayer: Rocket League
Rocket League mashes together the world of sports with a high octane racing game to deliver an experience unlike any other game available on PlayStation 4. Instead of racing around a track, your goal is to use different vehicles to ram into a giant ball and score goals.
There are modes like exhibition matches, a full career mode, and both local and online multiplayer modes. With unique gameplay, it's a ton of fun to hang out on the couch and play with friends. The game itself has you racing at a ridiculous speed and using fun tricks to score goals whenever possible. The game seems chaotic, but it also requires a higher-level strategy as you get the hang of things.
- 4-player local multiplayer
- Fun frenetic gameplay
- Easy to pick up and play
- Gameplay can be chaotic when learning the ropes
Best Rally: Dirt Rally 2.0
Dirt Rally 2.0 might be the best rally racing game available on PlayStation 4, but it isn't just the racing itself that you'll fall in love with. With tracks that include races wound around mountains and red dirt roads that coat your car in the dust, there is a combination of excellent tracks and beautiful graphics to feast your eyes on. That's a good thing too since the difficulty on this game is ramped up, and you'll want something pretty when you're grumbling about being unable to drift through the next turn. Without a full tutorial to help ground you in the basics, it's trial and error that will let you learn the game, although the settings can help that.
There are some serious updates to both the terrain and the handling when you're driving. You're able to intuitively steer and wind through each track across six different countries. There are also updates to simulate wear and tear on tires and the way that your vehicle handles through a variety of terrain. One of the few downsides is that instead of an extensive catalog of courses, races reuse sections of track which do become repetitive after a while.
- Races all over the world
- Gorgeous graphics
- Great rally simulator
- Lack of a real variety of courses
- Steep learning curve for new players
PlayStation 4's catalog of racing games shows the variety that the genre holds with everything from a mashup of sports and racing to super realistic gameplay. While every last one we've recommended is excellent in its own right, the best of the best is definitely Dirt 4.
It elevates rally racing from something where you get dirty to an excellent experience. With an updated career mode, great options for building your own races, destinations all over the world, and great difficulty settings this is what racing games should be. Best of all, it's easy to pick up and enjoy for both novices and veterans of the genre.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Jen Karner has been playing video games for more than 20 years and has been racing against friends and strangers alike during that time. You can follow her on Twitter
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