5 retro racing games we want on PlayStation Plus Premium

Sony’s PlayStation Plus subscription service is getting a major revamp. On 23 June, the new PS Plus Premium tier will bring hundreds of classic PS1, PS2, and PSP games from Sony’s back catalogue to PS4 and PS5 at no extra cost. Select PS1 and PSP games will benefit from higher resolutions, faster load times, and new menus enabling players to save at any time and rewind.

With hundreds of titles available at launch, PS Plus Premium is a great excuse to revisit retro racing games from PlayStation's past. So far, Jak X: Combat Racing is the only confirmed classic racing game available at launch. The PSP arcade racer Ridge Racer 2 is also rumoured to be part of the lineup.

From Gran Turismo to Destruction Derby, the PlayStation library has an illustrious history of racing games. With that in mind, here are five retro racing games we want on PlayStation Plus Premium.

Gran Turismo 2

With this year marking Gran Turismo’s 25th anniversary, there’s no better time to revisit the original GT games that started it all on PS1.

Released in 1997 in Japan and 1998 in Europe and the US, Gran Turismo is undeniably one of the most influential racing games ever made. Featuring 178 licensed cars, extensive tuning options, and revolutionary 3D graphics for the time, it changed racing games forever. But Gran Turismo 2 takes our pick.

Gran Turismo 2 screenshot PS1 BMW
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Gran Turismo 2 featured around 650 licensed cars - a number unheard of in racing games at the time.

GT2 expanded on the original game with over 600 licensed cars, new tracks including the legendary Laguna Seca, and the introduction of dirt racing to the series.

Right now, the only way to play GT2 is on original hardware, an emulator, or a launch-day PlayStation 3 with PS1 compatibility caked in dust. It’s about time Sony re-released the original GT games on modern hardware to show how far the series has come.

Ridge Racer Type 4

Ridge Racer is one of the original PlayStation’s most important games. Part of the original launch lineup, it brought arcade racing to the home in 1994. A near-perfect port of the original arcade game, Ridge Racer was an astounding technical achievement, ushering in a new era of 3D racing games.

Ridge Racer Type 4 screenshot PS1 1999
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Ridge Racer Type 4's graphical prowess gave Gran Turismo a run for its money back in 1999.

Released in 1999, Ridge Racer Type 4 is arguably the pinnacle of the series, with hundreds of cars, fun and satisfying drifting, and a pumping soundtrack. It was also one of the most graphically impressive games on PlayStation, giving Gran Turismo a run for its money.

Ridge Racer Type 4 was re-rereleased digitally for PS3. It was also bundled onto the PlayStation Classic mini console, so there’s a strong chance it will be part of Sony’s Classic Games Catalogue on PS Plus Premium.

Let’s just hope Sony does a better job with the emulation, as the PlayStation Classic version was plagued with performance issues.

Destruction Derby

One of the first PlayStation games to achieve Platinum sales, Destruction Derby was a smash hit when it collided with the original PlayStation in 1995. Its combination of 3D graphics, chaotic no-rules racing, and revolutionary damage modelling made it an instant classic.

Destruction Derby screenshot PS1 1995
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Destruction Derby was one of the first racing games with damage modelling.

Developed by Reflections Interactive, Destruction Derby was part of the PlayStation Classic console games lineup and was released digitally on PS3, PSP, and PS Vita.

If it releases on PS4 and PS5 via PS Plus Premium, you won’t have to pay extra if you already own Destruction Derby digitally on PS3, PSP or PS Vita. Wreckfest is technically superior, but it owes a debt to Destruction Derby.

Burnout 3: Takedown

The first two Burnout games were sleeper hits thanks to their metal-crunching crashes and high-speed street races with heavy traffic that tested your reaction times. A unique boost system encouraged dangerous driving, where near misses with oncoming traffic earned players a speed boost that charged during the race.

2003's Burnout 3 introduced a new Takedown mechanic, rewarding players for slamming into opponents and nudging them into walls or other cars, resulting in some spectacular movie-style crashes. Takedowns were also the focus of Road Rage, a new mode requiring players to wreck as many opponents as possible within the time limit.

Burnout 3 artwork PS2 2003
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Burnout 3 is one of the PlayStation's most beloved arcade racers.

This combined with a terrifying sense of speed and tracks filled with traffic to dodge made Burnout 3 one of the most fun, intense, and addictive arcade racers ever made. Modern arcade racers can’t match Burnout 3’s relentless intensity.

Burnout Paradise took the series open world and was given the remastered treatment on PS4 and Xbox One. But many fans prefer Burnout 3’s traditional circuit racing and are clamouring for a remaster or remake. As one of the most acclaimed arcade racers of all time, Burnout 3 deserves a place in the Classic Games Catalogue on PS Plus Premium.

Pursuit Force

In truth, there weren’t many original PSP racing games. Most racing games on Sony's portable system were ports or spin-offs based on PS2 games like Need for Speed Underground Rivals.

Pursuit Force, on the other hand, was an original IP that stood out in the PSP’s launch lineup. It may not technically be a racing game, but most missions centred on thrilling high-speed car chases.

Pursuit Force PSP artwork 2005
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Pursuit Force let you jump onto moving cars in thrilling high-speed pursuits.

A modern take on Chase HQ, you play as a police officer bringing gangs of ruthless criminals to justice. High-octane action set-pieces see you leap onto roofs of moving cars, throw the driver out, and shoot bad guys in the face.

While the difficulty was frustrating at times, Pursuit Force was successful enough to receive a sequel called Extreme Justice in 2007. Sadly, developer Bigbig Studios was shut down in 2012. If you like action driving, Pursuit Force is worth a playthrough if it releases on PS Plus Premium.

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