To ensure they end up with a worthy racing sim, one very common question people ask is what racing sim they should buy. There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed according to your level of expertise and for identifying what exactly you are going for.
For example, if you are looking for a sim that gives you a real-life feel of what it would be like to sit in a GT racer or a formula one car, you need a sim and a rig that reflects the same. Then there is the matter of graphics and the hardware you can connect.
A console, in general, offers a much more constrained gaming experience compared to what PCs offer. Normally, people are concerned with which racing is best for them based on their expertise and hardware constraints.
You can play sims like Forza Motorsports and DiRT with your controller as well, but you can’t get the best of Assetto Corsa when you are playing with your keyword or an Xbox controller. In this article, we will answer what racing simulator you should buy to make the most out of your hardware or personal constraints.
What Racing Sim Should I Buy?
For beginner simmers with a basic setup, we recommend that you buy:
- Forza Horizon 5
- Project Cars 2
- Trackmania 2
- MotoGP (if you are into motorcycle racing)
- GRID Autosport
For advanced simmers with an average setup, we recommend that you buy:
- F1 2019 and above.
- DiRT Rally
- Assetto Corsa: Competizione
- Forza Motorsports 7
- Gran Turismo Sport
For expert simmers with some serious hardware and skills, we recommend that you turn off all the assists on the following to make your racing sim truly worth it:
- Project Cars 2
- Assetto Corsa
- Ride (if you are into motorcycle racing)
- rFactor 2
- RaceRoom Racing Experience
Most of the racing sims mentioned here can be played with your controller or keyboard, but the experience simply won’t be as amazing. Remember, shooter, FPS, and RPG games may give you a great time when playing with a keyboard and mouse; racing games and sims today just aren’t made for that anymore.
For the sake of this article, graphics aren’t something we are considering that intensely. The game should simply have a setting that allows you to use VR and truly sit in the driver’s seat. Graphics are important but aren’t the determining factor for this review.
Things That A Good Racing Sim Should Have
Physics, Physics, Physics
No racing sim can have the same level of driving physics as the real thing – but it can come very close. For beginners and advanced players, Forza Motorsports 7 and F1 2020 (and beyond), with and without assists, respectively, are among the best sims, in our opinion. From rain to dirt, road conditions, tire wear, fuel capacity, damage, and more, everything is considered with utmost reality to ensure that you get an experience mimicking the real thing.
Driving physics gives your car life (literally) in the sim. The biggest issue in most sims is, unlike in real life, cars aren’t made to be as heavy. Furthermore, the car moves in a very predictable way. This isn’t the case in Forza, though. In most cases, the cars stick closely to the ground unless you manage to exploit some sort of bug.
In-game options allow you to optimize the game concerning your racing rig. For example, you can turn on manual shifting if you have a gear shift or leave it in automatic mode. You also have the option of choosing whether you need the clutch or not.
These functions are necessary to ensure realism in your sim. For the question of whether racing sims are worth it, these in-game options play an important role. If you are creating a rig on a budget, these options allow you to create an experience tailored to your rig.
The realism also includes brake balance, traction control, accelerator control, weight distribution, and other settings to make it more realistic.
Cars & Tracks
While this doesn’t necessarily make the sim more realistic, it does add greatly to your simming experience. A sim racer with the biggest roster of cars includes Forza and Gran Turismo. However, the number isn’t as important as their drive, road grip, and overall representation. While at first, it is about the aesthetics but as you spend a few minutes inside the virtual car, you will understand just how important it is that the car feels as it ideally should on the road.
The Best Racing Sims to Buy
We have listed a number of racing sims in this article concerning their skill level and the type of rig you have. However, that’s not the end of it. Here is a quick review of some of the best ones and why we have listed them here.
This sim is for those looking for a more serious experience with their racing simulator needs. It is available on PC (Windows), Xbox, and PS4 and boasts an amazing level of focus on the realistic side of simming. All cars are laser scanned for realism, and their drive is mimicked closely on the road.
However, this difference may not be as apparent when racing with a console controller or with a keyboard. You can customize your car as you like – even make customizations that would render the car illegal for racing in motorsport – just for kicks!
This sim is limited to PC (Windows) but is considered one of the best sims for experts. There is a reason why it is often considered for racing team training. The sim is famous for its realism behind the wheel and the overall physics that it boasts.
From the aerodynamics to road grip, tire pressure sensitivity, and even fuel weight – everything needs to be considered in this game. The tracks are dynamic and offer a versatile racing experience concerning how the racing track originally behaves.
A sim made for fans across the board, you can play this Microsoft-exclusive sim either just for fun or to get serious with your driving. There are many realistic factors that you may need to consider once you start turning the assists off.
Our other top choices include:
- Project CARS 2
- Gran Turismo 6/ Gran Turismo Sport (both of which sound AMAZING)
This list shows that there are many racing sims that you can choose from, each with its own set of pros and cons. Of course, what you make out of your experience is also reflected in the hardware you have and the sim you choose to play. However, there is no doubt that racing sims are worth your investment and time.