Best Racing Game of 2021 - ArticleChristian Evans , posted 5 days ago / 1,824 Views
With Gran Turismo 7 slated for early 2022, and no sign of a new mainline Mario Kart thanks to the continued ‘insane’ sales of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Xbox flagship title Forza Horizon 5 emerged as the clear favourite as the pinnacle of 2021 racing games. Despite being denied a titanic battle between the platform holders' racing jewels in the crown yet again, a number of other titles showed up to compete.
Hoping to give one of the genre's behemoths a run for its money were the officially licensed editions of F1 2021, WRC 10, and MotoGP 21, banking on their faithful recreations of motorsport's current finest tracks and drivers. Keen to surprise these well-established racers were the ostensibly more playful, arcade racing experiences of Riders Republic, Cruis’n Blast, and Hot Wheels Unleashed, who were themselves pushing for a podium finish.
Forza Horizon 5
Hot Wheels Unleashed
Forza Horizon 5
Runner-up: Cruis’n Blast
If we’re being honest this race was won before it even started, and this was reflected in it being the most one-sided award category win this year by quite some margin. Such is the quality of Forza Horizon 5 compared to the competition, the only obstacle to taking the 2021 racing crown was Michael Masi tallying the votes, ignoring them, and deciding to ‘bend’ the rules at the last minute to make it exciting. Perhaps the only surprising result here is the lower podium finishers not including any of the more established franchises, maybe pointing to yearly release fatigue and people favouring fresh experiences.
Now in its fifth iteration, the open world format of Forza Horizon is indeed as fresh as a homemade pico de gallo, thanks to complete relocation, this time to Mexico. Hosting the most diverse ecosystem the franchise has taken on, be it skirting around a dormant volcano, ploughing through jungles in a watery deluge, or taking on sandstorms that are whipping up across the desert, Forza Horizon 5 is the driving playground. No matter how you like your driving game, pretty much everybody is catered for here, and the multitude of modes are delivered with aplomb.
It may not have been challenged in winning this award, but make no mistake, its win is not by default; Forza Horizon 5 is one of the best driving games ever made. Deserving of this award, and indeed a potential challenger for the overall game of the year award, Forza Horizon 5 has well and truly earned its time in the sun.