Racing games are for competitive gamers. Over the years, a lot of underrated racing games hit the market and might have gone under your radar. Today, we’re going to go through the top ten race game titles that you need to try if you’re a fan of this genre.
Note: While many of the games below mention multiplayer mode, a lot of the servers for older games are no longer online.
10 Underrated Racing Games You Might’ve Missed
1. Kartrider Drift (2022)
KartRider Drift was a demo at the State of Play in October 2021, and the game was a massive hit. You play in a free-to-play multiplayer environment that spans cross-platform, so you can play racing games with your friends, even if they’re not on the same console.
You can play up to eight players in teams of four.
Fun, unique characters and carts await. You can customize your kart with your own:
- License plate
If you want to use items, the Item Mode will allow you to join a race that uses gadgets. These gadgets allow you to win races in unconventional ways. Speed Mode is another option and will allow you to test your drifting skills.
Characters each have their own unique emotes, outfits and personalities, which allows you to win races in style. Players will never get bored with the ever-expanding tracks that range from simple to extremely challenging.
Each race lasts at least two minutes, which is the biggest complaint among players. Racers feel like they’re stuck in matches forever, and if you tap a wall, it will lead you to a very unforgiving crash.
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2. Blur (2010)
Blur came out in 2010, so it’s not as graphically crisp as some of the other games on this list. But it’s still an awesome game. You’ll race with real-life vehicles and tracks, and there’s a multiplayer mode, which means endless fun for players.
The game ran on the Horizon engine and was originally on PC, PS3 and Xbox360.
Blur is designed to give you the “ultimate racing experience,” and this is done with:
- Power-ups that allow you to gain strategic advantage over other racers
- 4-player, split-screen racing
- 20 racers on a single track
- Custom groups and objective events
Powerups allow you to hurl enemy drivers, place mines on the track, hit nitro to fly past your competition and even shock nearby vehicles. An in-game reward system made it fun and competitive when winning matches. You can unlock gifts and cash rewards when playing, which adds a nice element to the game.
Sadly, the studio that was working on a sequel to Blur shut down, but a few mobile apps with the same name have licensed the game.
3. Midnight Club: Los Angeles (2008)
Midnight Club is a series of games, and it is by Rockstar, so you know it’s a great game. You can play with up to 16 players in the multiplayer mode, and you also have access to customizable upgrades and vehicles.
The open-world racing game is set in the city of Los Angeles and features:
- 3 motorcycles
- 43 cars
Players enter a 2008 version of LA, but it’s not the traffic-riddled city that you know. Instead, you’ll enter a city that has no rules and no track. You’ll join illegal street races, and race against some of the best muscle cars and exotic vehicles of the time.
Why is this one of the best underrated racing games?
It allowed you to customize your vehicle with kits and aftermarket parts. If you remember the “souped-up” cars at the time with crazy loud mufflers and customizations, you’ll be able to relive the experience in Midnight Club.
Since the game is quite old, you’ll find it on sale for super cheap.
The developer did release a “Complete” version of the game in 2010. One of the standout features of the game was the lack of loading screens. With the game running on old consoles, this was a major advancement in racing games and made the open world feel more realistic.
4. Split/Second (2010)
Split/Second made headlines when it was announced in 2009, and while it excelled in some areas, it fell short in many others. The game offers intense racing with explosive elements that make it a literal blast to play.
The game is considered an “action/adventure” because:
- The city is “made-for-TV”
- Explosions happen throughout the track
- Bridges will crumble
Players will need to hone more than just their racing skills to be able to get through Split/Second. You’ll also need to be agile and change as the track changes if you want to reach the finish line.
And if you think that racetracks are easy to remember and master, you’re going to love the dynamic engine built into this game. The tracks evolve, so you won’t be able to memorize the track and expect the same race time and time again.
Overall, Split/Second is a racing game that was so ahead of its time that it still has beautiful graphics and sound design.
5. F1 2019 (2019)
F1 2019 is one of the more recent underrated racing games, and it is officially licensed from Formula One. The game is all about competition, and the multiplayer mode offers one of the most competitive environments in recent memory.
The game is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
One of the highest-rated racing games, this iteration of the F1 series allows you to:
- Race on real-life tracks, just like your racing idols
- Race in real-life vehicles
Drivers will face off against F1 and F2 drivers. You’ll also have the option of joining the League, allowing you to race in tournaments or even create your own events. There is a story mode, which will allow you to compete to become the champion.
Stunning lighting and controls make F1 2019 a lot of fun.
Players also have the option to:
- Drive in all 21 circuits
- Play as a driver of official teams
- Compete with some of the racing world’s biggest names (Lando Norris, George Russell and more)
You’ll have the opportunity to customize your own regulation car and play solo, or you can join in on multiplayer action.
6. Project Cars 2 (2017)
If you love realistic racing simulators, you’ll love Project Cars 2. It’s a vast improvement on the first Project Cars release, and the handling is impressive, whether you’re playing on a pad or wheel.
Project Cars 2 kicks it up a notch in the immersive department to make driving as realistic as it can get. Everything will affect your driving experience, from the weather to the time of day.
On rainy days, puddles form in real-time on the track and slowly disappear in the sunlight. Seasons change, too, adding a new dynamic to the gameplay. The same tracks never feel the same because the environment is constantly evolving.
No detail has been overlooked in this game. From the squeak of the wiper blades to the thump of the aero hitting the car, the devs really went the extra mile to make this game look, feel and sound like the real thing.
Players will find that the car selection is excellent, and the music completes the experience. Solo and multiplayer options will give you endless hours of entertainment.
7. Driver: San Francisco (2011)
Ubisoft’s Driver: San Francisco takes a different approach to the racing genre. It’s a car chase playground, and you’ll be taking possession of other cars to race through the streets of San Francisco. Drive through more than 200 miles of roads, passing over the Golden Gate Bridge and through some of the most famous locations in San Francisco.
In this game, you’ll play John Tanner, the driver. It’s your job to take down crime lord Charles Jericho, who is on the loose on the streets of San Francisco. You’ll be making high-speed pursuits in dense traffic and crashing Hollywood-style. The game has more than 130 muscles and supercars that are completely destructible.
Multiplayer mode is where things get chaotic and fun. The game boasts 10 multiplayer modes and six online modes. With the SHIFT feature, you can be anywhere at any time. All bets are off. You can tail, ram and even overtake friends. Play in offline split-screen or online mode.
Driver: San Francisco is storyline-driven, which is why this title appeals to a larger audience of gamers. But it doesn’t neglect the racing mechanics that players love, and the open-world experience makes this a game you won’t want to overlook.
Even more than a decade later, Driver: San Francisco is a blast to play and gives you unlimited gameplay with its online options.
8. Dirt 4 (2017)
Offering a mix of rally and off-road racing, Dirt 4 is a racing game that you won’t want to miss. It puts players in the driver’s seat to create a truly immersive experience.
Real-life tracks and conditions make the gameplay as accurate as it can get. The vast range of customization options and vehicles will make this game appealing to all players.
The career mode offers endless opportunities for racing, and the sounds and visuals are truly stunning. With the Your Stage tool, you can choose from five countries: the U.S., Australia, Sweden, Wales and Spain. Each location has its own set of terrain challenges.
If you plan on getting all of the achievements in Dirt 4, you’re looking at an impressive 60-80 hours of gameplay.
9. Wipeout Omega Collection (2017)
Wipeout Omega Collection didn’t perform well in 2017 when it was first released, which is why it made our list of underrated racing games. It never got the same buzz and attention as other games, but that doesn’t mean you’re not missing out on some seriously fun gameplay.
Wipeout Omega is an anti-gravity racer. In this futuristic environment, you’ll be racing anti-gravity ships. The levels are beautifully designed, and the soundtrack is awesome.
Responsive handling makes it a joy to race around tight turns and challenging obstacles. Single-player and multiplayer modes also allow you to play how you want, when you want. Online matches will pit you against up to seven other players.
Along with the usual racing options, Wipeout Omega Collection has other activities to keep you busy. With Detonator, you’ll be dropping EMPs and shooting down mines to score points.
10. Grid Autosport (2014)
Despite being nearly a decade old, Grid Autosport still ranks as one of the most underrated racing games ever released.
Grid Autosport is a highly realistic racing simulator with multiple modes that let you enjoy the game however you want – solo or multiplayer.
Players can choose from a range of events and disciplines. Progression is divided into five major categories (disciplines):
- Open wheel
You’ll need to play through all of these categories to unlock the Grid Grand Slam events. But how you get to this point is entirely up to you. Non-linear progression allows you to reach goals and milestones how you see fit.
Autosport takes a more realistic approach to visuals and gameplay compared to previous iterations of Grid. For example, a first-person cockpit view is available. As you race, your car experiences wear and tear, suspension damage, performance decreases and more.
There’s also the option of playing in multiplayer mode and competitive racing. Quite a few real-life circuits are featured here, including Mount Panorama, Indianapolis, Spa-Francorchamps and the Yas Marina Circuit.
If you love racing games, you’ll love these 10 underrated titles that most players miss. Whether you’re looking for a real-life racing experience or something out of this world with unique mechanics, you’ll find something you love on our list.
Don’t forget to check out gameplays and streamers on Twitch or YouTube for more updates and playthroughs. This is one of the best ways to improve your skill when playing any of these racing titles.
Looking for more underrated games? Check out our guides on underrated indie games and roguelites.