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Racing & Car Tuning Simulation Games: Choosing What's Right For you

Updated on November 22, 2012
Forza Motorsport 4
Forza Motorsport 4

If you're a gearhead in today's world, chances are you've owned a few racing or car tuning games in your life. People that are not into motorsports or videogames may see all racing games as more or less the same thing, however, there is a large variety in this genre. If you're looking to pick up a fun new game and get absorbed into an automotive fantasy, then it helps to know what you're looking for before you spend your hard earned cash.

Types of Car Games

There are typically three different types of car games out on the market.

  1. arcade racing games,
  2. simulation racing games,
  3. and games that offer car tuning and customization (these can be either arcade or simulation in style)

Each of these types of games has their place, and most people have their preference. Die hard motorsport enthusiasts tend to gravitate towards simulation style racing games such as Forza or Gran Turismo. Those looking for a plot driven, entertaining experience enjoy arcade style games like Need for Speed (excluding the Shift series) or Burnout. The new Forza Horizon series seems to strike a common ground between simulation and plot-driven gaming. Depending on who you are and what you want from a racing game, it's probably a good idea to start by deciding which type of video game experience you're looking for.

Customization & Tuning

Many people play racing games for hours without doing any actual racing. I myself, have spent countless hours tuning and tweaking my virtual car to my liking. For this reason, many games can be rated independently of the racing gameplay and based on the level of customization offered. The type of customizations offered can be different as well, however. Mechanics, engineers, and car nerds typically prefer games that let them tweak camber, spring rates and gear ratios whereas the typical gamer may want to customize body styling and car aesthetics.

Ultimate Decisions

Finding the car game that is right for you involves rating each game on the criteria listed above and comparing this to what you're looking for. If you're looking for simulation racing experience that offers unparalleled levels of both performance and styling tuning, then Forza is probably your best bet. If you have a PS3 and want a simulation driving experience, but styling customization isn't a factor for you, then you may also want to consider Gran Turismo. As for the more unrealistic, arcade style racing games, few are better in quality than Need For Speed. The Need For Speed franchise has been around for a very long time and has learned a few things over the years. These games offer a plot line and levels of customization not seen in many other racing games. If you're interested in arcade style racing but are more of a rally or offroad fan, you may also want to consider the Dirt series.


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