On paper, 2021 should've been a massive year for the racing video games genre. However, things haven't panned out that way. Delays to major franchises have meant that we've missed out on a lot of triple-A titles. That being said though, there have been some excellent racing games this year.
There are our picks for the five that we've enjoyed the most in 2021! Please note that there are still some games that haven't been released such as Forza Horizon 5 that could well make this list.
#5 - RiMS Racing
If we're talking purely about the level of simulation on offer, this tops the list all day long. RiMS Racing may be slightly let down by the lack of content on offer. Bike for bike, this is the best racer around on two wheels. However, a measly total of eight rides available won't endear it to the average motorcycle gamer.
Bike enthusiasts love RiMS though and we enjoy playing it as well. It's also a game that caters well to the novice too, as its variety of tutorials help ease you into the world of bikes. Definitely give this a try if you liked the likes of RIDE 4.
#4 - Hot Wheels Unleashed
Milestone is a developer that is best known for creating excellent motorcycle games. So, it came as a surprise that they were the ones tasked with creating the new Hot Wheels game. We're so glad they did though because Hot Wheels: Unleashed is an absolute blast.
To our knowledge, this is the first Hot Wheels video game since 2013, but we have had Hot Wheels racers in games such as Forza Horizon 3 since then. There was a lot that could've gone wrong with this one, but Milestone nailed it. Everything from the fun gameplay, to the beautiful graphics, work so well.
#3 - WRC 10
While it doesn't quite hit the heights of some of its predecessors, this year's World Rally Championship game is still a fine game. WRC 10 probably has the best racing experience on four wheels to offer in 2021. The physics model, graphics, and sound and are all top tier, as we've come to expect from KT.
The issue with WRC 10 is that it's hard for newcomers to get into, due to its extremely steep learning curve. For experienced racers, it's one that's an extremely rewarding one to master. However, novices will struggle and it's potentially a bridge too far.
Despite that though, this is still the best rallying game that money can buy and the only one that has the full WRC licensing.
#2 - MotoGP 21
Milestone makes excellent bike games and the jewel in their crown delivered once again in 2021. MotoGP 21 is the best motorcycle game of 2021 and arguably the best the series has ever seen. It's arguably not quite the leap forward we expected from next-gen, but it's definitely an improvement over 20.
The official game of the MotoGP series comes with all the tracks and bikes from the real-life series. That's in addition to support series like Moto2 and Moto3 as well. The addition of Managerial Mode into MotoGP is also a game-changer, as you can finally own your own team.
The gameplay too is just as exciting as it's always been, even if the learning curve is steep for beginners. Overall, we think that Milestone have handled the jump to next-gen very well for MotoGP.
#1 - F1 2021
Before this year, we were wondering how well the official Formula 1 game was going to make the transition to the next-gen consoles. The answer: seamlessly. F1 2021 built upon the very solid foundations that were laid in 2020. This is yet another fantastic F1 game from Codemasters. It's also the first of the new partnership between EA and Codies.
F1 2021 introduced new game modes such as Braking Point's story mode to the series. The game handles and plays better than ever before too. Content-wise, this is the biggest game in the series' history, and there's more on the way in the coming months!
One of the few downsides to this year's game is that Classic Cars have made an exit. We've got a feeling that they'll be back sooner or later though. Codies continue to ensure that the F1 game remains fresh and innovative and we can't wait to see what they do next year!