Racing games have a universal appeal. It doesn’t matter if you’re an obsessive motor head, a casual racer or someone who craves a sense of speed; this genre has a little something for everyone. Last year was pretty good for racers and 2011 looks no different. So let’s take a look at five racing games that we feel could satiate the speed demon within.
Shift 2: Unleashed (Xbox360 PS3 PC)
With Shift, developer Slightly Mad Studio tread the fine line between Sim and Arcade with positive results. Although you couldn’t go around wrecking opponents during races a la Burnout, you could however enjoy a technically solid game without getting frustrated. For the sequel, the developers have expanded on core gameplay to include night time races, an in-helmet camera and AutoLog. In case you missed out on last year’s Hot Pursuit, AutoLog is EA’s new social service wherein players can race against each other, beat one another’s time and set new records.
Driver: San Francisco (Xbox360 PS3 PC)
Screw the five-0
After being introduced to the world nearly a decade ago, the Driver series is back with the emphasis strictly on driving. The last few Driver games strayed away from this ideology and were rather poorly received as cheap GTA clones. For San Francisco, developer Ubisoft have implemented a brand new mechanic called Shift where players will be able to car jack any vehicle they see, without actually leaving the vehicle (it’s like carjacking for psychics). Also included for the first time in the Driver series is the inclusion of multiplayer, the details of which aren’t exactly known yet.
Motorstorm Apocalypse (PS3)
Run, run, run from the ghetto bird
At the time of an Apocalypse most people would pack their bags and leave but a demented group of racers actually find such a situation ideal for some cut-throat racing. This is pretty much all the story you’ll get with Apocalypse. But then again you’re not playing a game like Motorstorm Apocalypse for a cohesive, engaging plot; you’re playing it to race in environments that are constantly breaking, blowing up or crumbling around you. Besides providing a sense of urgency and excitement, this environmental degradation will factor into gameplay as well ensuring the fact that races don’t feel repetitive.
Twisted Metal (PS3)
Vehicular combat FTW!
Shrouded in secrecy for a while now, Twisted Metal was announced at E3 2010 by the man behind the God of War series himself, Dave Jaffe. For all those who’re unaware of this series, Twisted Metal was a vehicular combat game that generated a massive cult following for itself on the PS2 with its high octane gameplay and over-the-top characters. For its 2011 iteration, the game will retain all the gameplay aspects fans grew to love, expanding upon them with even more destruction, weapons, diverse multiplayer modes and lots more.
Test Drive Unlimited 2 (Xbox360 PS3 PC)
Now that's a drive
If you enjoyed long drives over vast expanses of the gorgeous island of Hawaii, Test Drive Unlimited did not disappoint. Even though the game was a racer at heart, it featured quasi RPG mechanics where players could grind their way – through races – to buy better houses and clothes for their character. Taking a page from MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games), TDU allowed players to race around a persistent world where they could mind their own business and complete certain races or challenge other players. Gameplay in TDU 2 will more or less stay the same but the action this time round has moved onto Party destination, Ibiza.