The Best Racing Games In Xbox History
Official Xbox Magazine|Christmas 2019
From Race Driver: Grid to Forza Horizon 3, we try to keep pace with the most thrilling virtual drivers spanning three generations of Microsoft machines
Dave Meikleham
Quick! Somebody check our pulse. We’re coming down with something. Try as we might, we just can’t seem to resist a burning need. A need for all the speed. Xbox has long been synonymous with great driving games, from Project Gotham Racing which debuted on the original Xbox all the way back in 2001, right up to last year’s excellent Forza Horizon 4. Microsoft consoles just can’t shake speedometer-smashing thrills.

Over the next few pages we don’t so much walk down memory lane as nuke its cobbles with a series of speedy dream machines. We celebrate true racing greats spanning three powerhouse eras of Xbox; whether that’s sending the fuzz on a merry chase in Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit or zipping around F1 2019’s Circuit Of The Americas. So don your most fetching pair of racing gloves, check your brakes and prepare to break every single speed limit known to man. Buckle up, as we guide you through the greatest Xbox racers of all time.

FORZA HORIZON 4

PUBLISHER MICROSOFT STUDIOS | DEVELOPER PLAYGROUND GAMES FORMAT XBOX ONE | RELEASE 2018

It may not enjoy the same blazing sun as its predecessor, but Forza Horizon 4’s speedy sandbox still delivers an amazing map for Xbox motorists. Even more intricately detailed than Horizon 3’s Australia, its bite-sized Britain is a brilliant playground. The constant downpours may not do much for your driver’s vitamin D levels, yet when racing in the lashing rain is this satisfying, who needs virtual rays? Whether you want to terrify stags while bombing through fields of heather, or outrun the Flying Scotsman as the iconic choo-choo makes a chugging beeline for Edinburgh train station, every event in Horizon 4 makes its sensational open world sing.

RACE DRIVER: GRID

PUBLISHER/DEVELOPER CODEMASTERS | FORMAT XBOX 360 | RELEASE 2008

Even by the lofty standards Codemasters has set over the years, Grid is an all-time great. It may not have been the first racer to introduce a rewind mechanic, but it certainly feels like the game that cemented it as a podium place-saving staple. At every step and turn of its gripping campaign, Grid brims with personality. Be it horribly tight duels against the dastardly Ravenwest Motorsport or ruining your suspension bombing around Detroit’s street circuit, there’s nothing about Codies’ driver that’s remotely generic. In the gruelling 24 Le Mans event, the racing master also serves up one of the most tense, terrifying driving challenges on Xbox – just wait until the sun starts setting and see how your nerve holds.

MIDNIGHT CLUB 3: DUB EDITION

PUBLISHER ROCKSTAR GAMES | DEVELOPER ROCKSTAR SAN DIEGO | FORMAT XBOX | RELEASE 2005

Before killer cowboys and bank-fleecing trios, Rockstar released an open-ended racer with style and an absolute banger of a soundtrack. With one of the most varied garages you’ll find in any driving game before or since, taming the sandbox streets of San Diego, Atlanta, then Detroit throughout Midnight Club 3’s campaign is an ever-changing blast. It doesn’t matter whether you’re winning street races in a chopper, or scraping through autocross challenges with your bumper barely intact: in Rockstar’s racer, every criminal joyride is a thrill.

FORZA HORIZON

3 PUBLISHER MICROSOFT STUDIOS | DEVELOPER PLAYGROUND GAMES | FORMAT XBOX ONE | RELEASE 2016

Probably the best open-world racer of all time. Playground Games’ wonderfully colourful driving sim sees you taming the Aussie Outback. With an accessible handling model and impeccable cornering, even the most straightforward of A to B journeys in Horizon 3 is a pedal-purring pleasure. Unlike mainline Forza games, this spin-off doesn’t take itself in the least bit seriously. Whether you’re ripping up the baking sands of pristine beaches in Halo’s Warthog, or dipping into choppy streams as you try to outrace a speedboat, Horizon 3 is never less than a silly good time. As essential a racing experience as you’ll find on any generation of Xbox, this is a real Down Under delight.

NEED FOR SPEED: HOT PURSUIT

PUBLISHER EA | DEVELOPER CRITERION | FORMAT XBOX 360 | RELEASE 2010

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