The Top 9 Racing/Driving/Car Games You Must Have if you’ve got St

Steam has a ton of car games. Simply going to the store, clicking the Games tab, clicking the Racing tag, and seeing the pages upon pages of car games tells you as much. However, I believe Steam is in relatively short supply of quality car games. Sure, it certainly has no shortage of choice, but those choices often seem to be mediocre at best. Thinking about this whilst also reminiscing on how much I enjoyed my recent time with Automation and Assetto Corsa, an idea popped into my head: What were the best car games on Steam that any self-respecting petrolhead should have? This, obviously, led to this list. Which isn’t in any particular order, by the way, these are just my favorites to play overall (with some thrown in that I haven’t played for good measure). Starting with…

9: The Crew/The Crew 2

Say what you will about The Crew’s flaws, handling physics, and glitches, but I can’t think of a better game to do road-tripping in. The map is massive and while some features were removed in The Crew 2, it’s still a very enjoyable map to explore. Unlike Forza, where cruising at 120 MPH gets halfway across the map in 5 minutes, cruising at the same speed in The Crew/2 doesn’t get you to the other side of the map in under 20 minutes. Which means you can actually enjoy the journey of going from coast to coast, rather than blinking and already reaching your destination.

With all that said, racing –a necessary thing to do for upgrades and car purchases– aren’t as good as the ones in Forza and Need For Speed. Due to the awkwardness of the physics, doing any sort of serious racing (campaign or otherwise) is more of a chore than a pleasure. That puts a bit of a damper on the experience considering that you need to do a serious amount of racing to afford the really exotic stuff, but just take that long road-trip from Florida to Oregon and all those pains wash away in the tarmac as you carve your way through America.

8: Car Mechanic Simulator 2018

This is one of those games I was talking about where I haven’t played the game but have watched enough videos to feel safe in including this game on the list. I did play the previous game (Car Mechanic Simulator 2015) and found that game to be very enjoyable (if a bit of a grind). Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 builds off the 2015 iteration of the game by making even more detailed parts mechanics, more cars, more repairs, and some more things to do in the game. If you’ve got the itch to wrench on some cars but don’t feel like getting your hands dirty or getting exhausted by the labor then Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 is definitely the game for you. Or perhaps you’re a novice to vehicle mechanics but want to learn more, Car Mechanic Simulator (ideally 2015 to start out) can help with that too.

If there’s one thing I wish they’d change in 2015 (and hope they did change in 2018), is how long it takes to make enough money and earn enough experience to start really having fun. Buying cars at auctions and upgrading them only really becomes possible once you earn a certain amount of money and get past a certain amount of experience points (you know, XP). If you’re patient enough to stick through all the sometimes repetitive repairs though, then Car Mechanic Simulator 2015 or 2018 should be pretty fun to play for you.

7: American Truck/Euro Truck Simulator 2

An unconventional choice I know, but one I truly believe should be at least considered for anyone’s Steam library. Whether you choose American Truck Simulator or Euro Truck Simulator 2, you’re in for a surprisingly pleasant and relaxing experience driving through Europe or some states in America (with the devs adding more). When I said I couldn’t think of a better game for tripping in than the Crew 2, I kind of lied. For a base game with a decent array of vehicles it certainly is, no doubt about it. However, both the Truck Sims do an even better job of making road-tripping a delight. Trips take even longer in both games (mostly because you’re going the speed limit and driving trucks) and there are a few really good roads to enjoy too! If, of course, you know where and how to find them.

You can, if you so choose, even enjoy those roads in normal cars as well! Thanks to the modding community in both games, you can drive some of your favorite cars from the likes of Fiat, Dodge, Chevrolet, and more!

So if you want a game that makes journeys even more enjoyable and you want to drive either a truck or car to that destination, then both truck simulators are perfect for you!

6: Automation – The Car Company Tycoon Game

Another unusual addition to this list, but one that –once again–is more than worthy of making an appearance. Automation may be an early access title but it’s definitely one of the most comprehensive “car-company” “car development” type games out there. The car designer has a lot of depth and parts for you to make a vehicle look however you want it too look and you can even change the proportions of the body if so you choose! It may not be a “ground-up” designer like making a model in Blender, but this is a much easier way to design a car for your company.

The engine designer is more of the same as well. You can change the bore and the stroke of the engine, how many cylinders it has, what degree the block is (60 degree V or 90 degree V for example), how many valves an engine has, and MUCH more. I mean, I didn’t even get into the Cam Profile tuning or Fuel Mixture tuning for crying out loud!

All of that means it’s pretty safe to say Automation has you covered for Automotive development. It’s not an exact simulator for real-life (perhaps not in the way Assetto Corsa is for driving) but it has the perfect mix of being easy enough to learn for the average player to understand and complicated enough for more experienced players to really get intricate with their designs (both for cars and engines).

Ironically though, Automation only recently got the Tycoon part of the game (which is the campaign). For the longest time Automation was basically just a vehicle sandbox with a promise of providing a real campaign eventually. Not a terrible thing considering how entertaining the Sandbox is, but when you have” The Car Company Tycoon Game” in your name and one of the main selling points if the campaign then you’d better darn well have a campaign then!

That aside, Automation really is a brilliant game that lets your creative juices or “I like making stupid, insane cars” juices run wild.

5: BeamNG Drive

If you’ve been around the internet for a while, you might’ve heard and even played a small game called Rigs of Rods. RoR was a soft-body physics game that was pretty bare but wildly entertaining thanks to the ridiculous physics, modding community, and interesting maps.

Well, after that some of the devs from that game moved on and decided to do something different…

No they didn’t. They decided to move on and do a new game that was more of the same, but far more polished than RoR and with far more features in the base game. The result was BeamNG Drive, a modern take on the soft-body physics loved in RoR. It started as an early access game but even a few years ago it was easy to tell the game was more modern than it’s spiritual predecessor.

Cars were added, maps were added (with some getting removed), features and even some game modes were added! BeamNG Drive may look roughly the same visually from when it started out but it’s a vastly different game than it was back then.

If you like watching car crashes on YouTube (or even BeamNG Drive car crash compilations on YouTube) then it’s a must that you pick up this game! Some of the crashes are both terrifying and wildly entertaining and, if you’re good with free-cameras and editing, you might be able to make a crash compilation of your own. Or, if that’s not necessarily your thing, you can craft a story like my friend FrIzErIs.

But wait, there’s more! Thanks to a crossover nearly as big as Endgame, you can port a car you create in Automation and drive it in BeamNG! The crashing physics aren’t as impressive as they are on the in-game cars but you can’t tell me that driving your creation doesn’t sound awesome!

If there’s one downside to Beam though, it’s that the driving physics for RWD cars is a bit slidier than they should be, so pay a little more attention to oversteer when messing around in the game.

Overall, BeamNG Drive (especially after the Automation collab) is a very versatile game that offers you the opportunity to see cars contort in funny ways, create a very entertaining YouTube series, or drive cars you made in Automation. If that doesn’t appeal then I don’t know what does.

4: Wreckfest

Unlike the last game I never played in this list, I did get my hands on the tech demo of this game a long time ago. Unfortunately, that was when I had my crummy laptop, but the game (despite being only a tech demo) impressed me even then. Since then, I’ve watched multiple videos by Failrace and it seems that the game has come along nicely. I remember that development for the game had sort of stalled out a few years ago but since BugBear Entertainment got bought out by THQ Nordic, development has resumed once again and thank god it did, because they’ve created a proper successor to the FlatOut franchise.

Wreckfest might seem like a marginally different game to BeamNG –what with both being about crashing– but Wreckfest (formally “Next Car Game” for those of us who remember when it was called that) is about a slightly different kind of crashing. Where BeamNG drive is about normal and choreographed crashing, Wreckfest is about the sport dedicated to crashing: Demolition Derbies. BeamNG does have demolition derby capabilities of its own, but they’re nothing like Wreckfest’s. Wreckfest has tracks, Ais capable of actually racing with you and very much crashing into you like those infamous Forza Rammers, and multiplayer! BeamNG is more of a sandbox type game where you can do what you please, whereas Wreckfest is much more structured.

If there’s one word that sums up Wreckfest, it’s “chaotic”. Seriously, watch any Failrace video on the matter and you’ll see just how crazy things can get quite quickly if you’re not paying attention. Now normally, this is the part where I’d talk about one or two drawbacks with the game, but I haven’t had enough first-hand experience with the game to know what the drawbacks are, so I’ll be skipping straight to the end for this game.

If you’re into demolition derbies and wish there was a modern rendition of the FlatOut games then don’t worry, because Wreckfest is exactly the game you’ve been waiting for. It’s got the cars, crashes, car deformation, multiplayer, and tracks to satisfy the needs of the discerning demolition derby enthusiast (or anyone just looking for a huge laugh).

3: Dirt Rally

Come on, did you really think I was going to get away with a list like this without including Dirt Rally? You should have more faith in me! Joking aside, Dirt Rally shocked racing gamers of all creeds with its introduction. Dirt 3 fans were bewildered by the immense change to the handling system and sim-racing fans were struggling to figure out this whole “driving fast on dirt” thing. However, for those wanting a proper Rally Sim, Dirt Rally was a gift from God. It’s handmade stages, awesome engine sounds, difficult but rewarding handling, and good wheel support meant that Dirt Rally was the game for those who thought Dirt 3 was far too easy.

Dirt Rally was another game that was, initially, a Steam Early Access game. This meant the community could give feedback on the development of the game, and cars/stages were being added with some updates. Nowadays the game is finished and Codemasters is working on Dirt 2, so the only way to get more cars is through mods, but at least there’s that.

Dirt Rally was a step in the right direction for the franchise and proved to be incredibly popular with fans and newcomers to the series. In fact, Dirt 4’s handling system reminded me of Dirt Rally in a lot of ways, even though it wasn’t as hardcore.

With that being said, you’ll notice that I mentioned a few times how “challenging” or “hardcore” the physics system is. There’s just no getting around the learning curve this game has and if you’re on the slightly impatient side of things then this game might make you blow your temper a few times.

In a similar vein, if you’ve got no experience whatsoever in a rally environment then perhaps you should consider going to an easier Dirt game like Dirt 3 or 4. Dirt Rally is punishing if you get things wrong and it’s important to know how to drive a stage and listen to your co-driver. Both of which can be accomplished by playing the aforementioned Dirt games.

If neither of those things is an issue for you though then proceed with joy to Dirt Rally. It really is one of the best rally games out there and it’s definitely the safe choice out of all the modern Dirt games.

2: Rocket League

By far the most unusual entry in this list, some of you might not even know what Rocket League is. Unfortunately, because there’s really only one easy explanation that captures what RL is about. In short, Rocket League is a game with cars the size of 1/24th scale RC cars with gymnastic abilities and boost and the game is played like soccer (or European football). Yeah, it makes much more sense if you watch a video, but that is the gist of the game.

Why is it included then? It’s so far removed from everything else on this list that it could, no, should appear in a different list? Right? That’s the thing though, everything in this list is so similar in one way or another that I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a game that was more abstract than the others. A little variety is good!

Is Rocket League fun then? Is it even worthy of being on this list in the first place? Simply: Yes. Rocket League has a pretty steep learning curve, but it’s also insanely rewarding if you pull shots off (whatever those shots are). Learning the mechanics, like the gameplay itself, has a learning curve but is very rewarding when done correctly. I guess that’s kind of the mantra of the entire game: “Difficult, but rewarding when done correctly”.

Rocket League has a few additional game modes beyond the simple soccer with cars, but I’ll let you find out what those game modes are for yourself (if you choose to pick up the game). For now, let’s keep things simple.

RL is a game that heavily focuses on competition. Whether it be through the hardly used single-player tournaments or the various modes online, RL is definitely the game for the competitive type (me). It’s so focused on competition, in fact, they even have an E-Sports league for the game (RLCS, Dreamhack, etc).

Much like the other games on this list, Rocket League has an extensive modding community. So if competing online –in casual or ranked– isn’t your thing you can still have fun in Steam Workshop maps that range from easy and mild to hard and insane.

The real fun in RL, for me, comes when you play with friends. Laughing your way through a match your losing or dominating some scrubs in 3s, RL is a lot better when you have people you trust on your team.

Which, eloquently, brings me to some of the drawbacks of the game. If you’re not very dexterous with your hands you might find that pulling off certain moves in the game is nearly impossible. Furthermore, it takes quite a few hours (like 100+) of playing the game before your game-sense for positioning and judgment starts to become accurate. Again, RL is a competitive game after all.

Another sore of the game is that it might get a bit repetitive. There are different game modes outside of the main focus of the game but even playing those for a while might get boring. There are “objectives” and “achievements” to get in the game but past a certain point both of those become getting new wheels or decals from the not-crates.

However, easily the worst sin of the game is the toxicity of the player base. Not everyone is a colossal jerk, but they’re not hard to find. Halo, CoD, Battlefield, or CS:GO players probably won’t be affected by this, but I suggest getting a bit of a thick skin if you plan to play online on your own.

Rocket League might not technically be a racing game, and calling it a “driving” game is stretching the definition of what a typical driving game is, but it is indeed a car game and one that is vastly different from all the others listed here. If you’re a little bored of the typical driving/racing experience that you’ve had as of late then give Rocket League a try. It’s nothing like your Top Gear’s car soccer and perhaps it’s better because of it.

1: Assetto Corsa

The holy grail of modern racing not named iracing, Assetto Corsa stands on the shoulders of games like rFactor, a good chunk of Simbin titles, and it’s actual predecessor: netKar Pro. AC is a proper-sim “dumbed down” a tad for more general audiences. Don’t let that fool you though, saying they “dumbed it down” would be like Bugatti saying they removed 100 horsepower from the Chiron. AC still feels like a genuine sim-racer with deliciously realistic physics that I just can’t get enough.

Adding to AC’s ability to appeal to a more casual audience, the game’s car list isn’t just full of race cars. What AC arguably lacks in race cars it more than makes up for in having production cars. Cars like the Ferrari LaFerrari, the S550 Mustang pre-facelift, the Alfa Romeo Giulia QV, the Fiat 500 Abarth, the C7 Corvette Stingray, and many more cars besides allow you to drive, out of the box, production cars without Forza-like physics. I don’t know about you, but I’ve hoped for a game like that ever since Race 07.

If, however, you’re a little disgruntled that AC is light on race cars then fear not, because like rFactor, AC has a booming and vibrant modding community.

Cars from GT Legends, more production cars, F1 cars, or even Rally cars, the modding community allows you to tailor how you prefer to race in your simulation racing game. There are even a few open-world maps to enjoy! Like the LA Canons made famous by MotorTrend, or the Shutoko Revival Project (basically a Japanese Highway popularized by street racing). If Assetto Corsa Competizione is the Forza Motorsport of the AC franchise, then the normal game is Horizon with mods.

Despite being a game from 2014, the multiplayer aspect is still alive in AC as well. There’s even a Nurburgring Touristenfahrten server that I frequent (called Dr.Slow: Nurburgring Track Day for anyone that wants to hit me up and drive a few laps). Of course, that isn’t to say that “attendance” is slowly dwindling on AC servers, but they’re not completely empty either.

However, for as much as I love AC, it’s not without faults. As I mentioned earlier, the game does seem a little light on full-blown race cars. This is where the old Simbin titles –and iracing– have Assetto beat. Even Competizione has more GT race cars than it’s normie sibling (then again, that title is dedicated to those cars). There’s also no day-night cycle in the base game. This means you’re going to have to get one of the various mods on the matter if you want to experience a true 24-hour race experience. Or, alternatively, get AC Comp. Then there’s the graphics. I don’t personally have an issue with them but someone used to the Forzas and Gran Turismos of the world might be left wanting a little. Nothing that can’t be fixed with a few mods, but still.

However, there’s just no getting around the fact that AC is one of the best “build-your-game” type sims we’ve seen since rFactor. The possibilities the game presents with it’s modability is very enticing and even the base game has a lot going for it (something that couldn’t be said of rFactor). The handling physics are realistic, fun, and deliciously rewarding when you string together some heel-‘n’-toe downshifts through three corners. AC is right up there with some of the best racing games ever released. A bold statement I know, but one I stand by wholeheartedly.

Before we end this, let’s go through a few –short– bonus games that didn’t quite make the list.

Bonus Round!

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SpinTires:

All of my off-roading fans were probably disappointed that SpinTires didn’t make the list, but rest assured it has. Just not in the way you were perhaps hoping. SpinTires is another one of those old-but-gold games that can still cut it even today. If off-roading is your thing then you must’ve heard or even played SpinTires by now.

Why it wasn’t included: I know it’s weird to say this considering I added Rocket League of all games into the actual list, but SpinTires seems like a fairly niche game. As far as popularity goes, on-road driving is far more popular in the video-game world than off-road driving (save for Dakar and Rally disciplines). There are off-road games out there for gamers who want that, but how many big off-road titles are there compared to big on-road titles? Even rally racing has SpinTires-style off-roading beat in this aspect. For that reason, it didn’t make the cut.

Turbo Dismount:

A popular game with YouTubers a few years ago, Turbo Dismount now lies in the Steam store forgotten. It’s five minutes of fame are up and I for one am sad that Turbo Dismount still isn’t popular on YouTube. Yes it’s another game about crashing but even then it’s different to Beam and Wreckfest. Turbo Dismount was much more cartoony in design and, in some ways, funnier than both previously mentioned games. It may look like fairly lame indie title but Turbo Dismount can provide just as much entertainment as its triple-A brethren/

Project Cars 2:

This game really should’ve been on the list. If AC was the “not completely hardcore but still hardcore” game, then PC2 would’ve been the easier, GT Sport-like alternative. Thing is, I’ve never watched any videos on this game and I only played the demo once. It was a good demo, the handling physics were very much of the sim-cade creed but still enjoyable and the graphics were what you’d expect of a modern title. We’ll just give this game a consolation “should’ve been on this list” prize.

Motorsport Manager:

I’ve never watched a video of motorsport manager nor have I played the game. I think it probably would’ve made the list if I had done both, but seeing as I haven’t, it didn’t make it.

Street Legal Rally Redline:

I love this game. I used to watch Failrace videos of this game for hours on end as he’d try to modify a car and then race on the streets and, fairly often, attempt to evade the cops. However, this game is old and from I remember from those videos, the game is a bit fiddly to mod. It has insane modification potential, but I don’t think there’d be a massive amount of people willing to get a really old game and then deal with mods breaking. For that reason, it didn’t get included in the list.

That’s it! You’ve made it to the end of an unexpectedly long article (even by my own accounts). Which game do you enjoy the most, did I miss any? Tell me in the comments below! As always, I’ll see you all next time.

Videos By:

Car Mechanic Simulator 2018, Wreckfest, Turbo Dismount, Street Legal Rally Redline: Failrace

SpinTires: TC9700Gaming

Project Cars 2: Viperconcept

Motorsport Manager: Aarava

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