2023 has been a whirlwind year for fans of racing games, characterized by a mix of high expectations, exciting releases, and some disappointments.
The racing genre has seen a significant influx of titles, each promising a unique blend of speed, strategy, and style. Among the most talked-about were the Forza Motorsport reboot and WRC’s return, both setting the community abuzz.
The year also witnessed the emergence of a new Forza Horizon challenger and a surprising sequel to a beloved arcade racer, adding to the thrill and competition of the racing genre. Yet, it wasn’t all smooth driving.
Table of Contents
- The Peaks and Valleys of Racing Game Releases
- Celebrating the Best of Racing: 2023’s Standout Titles
- The Crew Motorfest: A Festive Foray into Racing
- Forza Motorsport: A Challenging Return to the Track
- EA Sports WRC: A Rallying Cry for Quality
- F1 23: A Course Correction for Formula Racing
- Disney Speedstorm: A Divisive Yet Promising Entry
- Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 – Turbocharged: Keeping Arcade Racing Alive
- LEGO 2K Drive: A Whimsical World of Racing
- A Year of Passionate Racing
The Peaks and Valleys of Racing Game Releases
While the genre expanded with several notable releases, it wasn’t without its share of roadblocks. Many of the year’s most anticipated titles stumbled at the starting line, marred by quality control issues that led to game-breaking bugs and glitches.
This dampened the excitement for many players, who had eagerly awaited these games. Additionally, Test Drive Unlimited Solar Crown, a highly anticipated game, saw its release pushed further to 2024, reminding fans of the unpredictable nature of game development.
Despite these setbacks, 2023 wasn’t devoid of moments to celebrate. The year brought forth a collection of racing titles that stood out for their innovative gameplay, immersive experiences, and technical achievements. Let’s dive into some of the titles that made waves this year.
Celebrating the Best of Racing: 2023’s Standout Titles
The Crew Motorfest: A Festive Foray into Racing
The Crew Motorfest made its mark by offering a richly diverse experience that goes beyond just car racing.
Set against the picturesque backdrop of Oahu in Hawaii, the game offers players a dynamic world to explore, from sandy beaches to dense jungles and volcanic slopes.
While initially dismissed by some as a mere imitator of Forza Horizon, Motorfest has proven itself with its thematic playlists, vast vehicle variety, and engaging world.
Its ability to let players switch between cars, boats, and planes adds an innovative twist to the racing genre.
Forza Motorsport: A Challenging Return to the Track
After a significant hiatus, Forza Motorsport made a return, bringing with it high expectations from the community.
Although it faced a rocky start with bugs and glitches, it managed to reaffirm its position as a leading title in the racing genre. With its stunning visuals, expansive car list, and improved driving physics, it offers an immersive racing experience.
The game has particularly been praised for its revamped career and multiplayer modes, despite calls for more variety in career events.
EA Sports WRC: A Rallying Cry for Quality
EA Sports WRC encountered its own set of challenges at launch, particularly on PC. However, looking past the initial technical issues, the game has been hailed for its deep and challenging stages, variety of classic and modern cars, and the innovative option to build a custom rally car.
Codemasters, known for their pedigree in racing games, has taken the series to new heights with its move to Unreal Engine 4 and the addition of the European Central Rally.
F1 23: A Course Correction for Formula Racing
After a less-than-stellar performance with F1 22, F1 23 has been seen as a much-needed return to form for the series.
The game has made notable improvements in handling, offering a more refined and enjoyable driving experience.
The introduction of F1 World, aimed at casual players, along with other live service updates, has enriched the game with new challenges and content, signaling a positive direction for the series.
Disney Speedstorm: A Divisive Yet Promising Entry
Disney Speedstorm entered the scene as a divisive title, with some technical issues and controversial features.
However, its strong gameplay, polished graphics, and thematic tracks set it apart from other kart racers.
As a free-to-play game, it offered an accessible way for players to enjoy racing, capturing the essence of Disney films in every race.
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 – Turbocharged: Keeping Arcade Racing Alive
As a testament to the enduring appeal of arcade racing, Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 – Turbocharged brought a high-energy, fun-filled racing experience.
With new environments, vehicle types, and gameplay mechanics, it offers a fresh and exciting take on the arcade racing genre.
The game’s focus on high-speed, accessible gameplay has made it a hit among players looking for an energetic and entertaining racing experience.
LEGO 2K Drive: A Whimsical World of Racing
Finally, LEGO 2K Drive provided a colorful and engaging racing adventure that appealed to players of all ages.
Set in the vibrant world of Bricklandia, it combines racing with exploration and creativity. The game’s car builder and lighthearted story mode are highlights, offering a fun and accessible entry into the racing genre.
A Year of Passionate Racing
2023 was undoubtedly a mixed bag for racing game enthusiasts. It brought a variety of new and exciting titles, each contributing to the genre in unique ways.
Despite facing technical setbacks and delays, the racing community has plenty to look forward to as developers continue to innovate and improve upon the thrilling world of virtual racing.
As we speed into the future, the anticipation for next year’s titles builds, promising even more immersive and exhilarating racing experiences.