Although this holds true for most genres, racing games are truly an acquired taste, especially when it comes to sims. Even though franchises like Need for Speed and Gran Turismo have often ranked among the best-selling properties on consoles, both licenses have lost a step or two in recent years, at least when it comes to mass appeal.
Nowadays, racing games tend to attract a dedicated audience that knows exactly what they are looking for out of a title. With arcade racers, sims, and simcades not in short supply on Sony's PlayStation 4, newcomers looking to dip their toes into the genre may be somewhat at a loss on which titles to buy. In order to provide some guidance, let's take a look at some of the most underrated and overrated racing games on the PS4.
10 Underrated: Trackmania Turbo
With the exception of a handful of franchises, most racing games tend to be lost in the weekly game drops, as they rarely take top priority. Trackmania Turbo dropped in 2016 and comfortably ranks among the most entertaining arcade racers on Sony's console, offering an expansive array of tracks that toe the line between rollercoasters and racecourses.
There is a decent campaign and a fun multiplayer, even if the fanbase is not excessively active nowadays. Nevertheless, Trackmania Turbo's stunt-driven gameplay allows it to stand out from its contemporaries.
9 Overrated: GRID
It is no exaggeration to say that 2008's Race Driver: Grid is one of the greatest racing games ever, one that stands the test of time surprisingly well. While the sequels never quite reached the same heights, there was hope that 2019's reboot would bring the franchise back to its glory days.
While reviews have been decent but not great, Grid is particularly disappointing for those familiar with the developer's work. With the Dirt and F1 titles, Codemasters is arguably THE definitive studio when it comes to racing games. Unfortunately, Grid is a lackluster offering that implements a half-hearted "Nemesis System" and lacks much in the way of content or depth.
8 Underrated: Redout
Wishing for a new F-Zero game? Well, Redout is probably the next best thing. Taking place in the year 2560, Redout sets up a special league featuring seven different racing teams, each coming with their own unique vehicles that can be customized and upgraded along the way.
The base game offers extremely fast-paced gameplay and stylish visuals that suit the setting and premise, while the post-game DLCs greatly expand upon the tracklisting, each adding a further five tracks. The Nintendo Switch version is the definitive game, but the PS4's Lightspeed Edition is well worth a try.
7 Overrated: Need For Speed Rivals
Need for Speed Rivals benefitted from being among the earliest racers released on current generation consoles and also being followed by two of the franchise's worst entries, particularly 2015's self-titled release. Now, Rivals is a perfectly decent outing for EA's storied license, one that harkens back to the far superior Hot Pursuit.
That said, Rivals is still little more than a mediocre racer, one that feels rather derivative of past releases.
6 Underrated: Gran Turismo Sport
Describing one of the best-selling racers on the PS4 as "underrated" may seem like somewhat of a stretch, but Gran Turismo Sport primarily received middling reviews upon release. While this reception accurately reflected the game's rather barren launch state, Gran Turismo Sport routinely received updates to its single-player content, eventually developing into one of the best racers on Sony's console.
Nowadays, GT Sport is cheap, brimming with content, and boasts some of the best racing mechanics in the genre. If Forza is not an option, then GT Sport is the next best thing.
5 Overrated: The Crew
The Crew is strange, as neither entry in the franchise managed to impress critics. In fact, The Crew has a shockingly low aggregate score of 61 on Metacritic, which is by no means inaccurate. Despite largely being given the cold shoulder by critics, Ubisoft seems adamant to push this franchise, and the first game sold reasonably well.
Like with most games, playing with friends does provide some enjoyment, but The Crew is a contender for one of the most empty open-world games on the market. Unless available for peanuts, there is no need to give this one a look.
4 Underrated: Assetto Corsa: Ultimate Edition
Assetto Corsa is not going to be for everyone. As a sim racer, the focus is on providing as realistic of an experience as possible, with entertainment being given second billing. Assetto Corsa is the type of racer that requires players to dedicate countless hours to learn the ins and outs of a single car, which are split into multiple brackets.
The campaign basically amounts to a collection of exhibition races arranged in some semblance of a difficulty curve, but the multiplayer component is Assetto Corsa's main appeal.
3 Overrated: Driveclub (Single-Player)
Due to a version being given with PS Plus, Driveclub was probably the first racer most PS4 owners tried. With graphics that are still among the prettiest on the console and a satisfying online component, Driveclub is a decent entry-level racer that includes some sim elements while remaining accessible.
That said, the single-player is trash. Obviously, the controls are good, but the aggressive AI and charmless presentation make this one an absolute slog to play. Driveclub is only for the multiplayer.
2 Underrated: Driveclub Bikes
As a standalone expansion, Driveclub Bikes has many of the same strengths and weaknesses of the base game; however, as bike racers are not overabundant on the PS4, Bikes earns a recommendation. Compared to MotoGP's realistic gameplay, Bikes is far more adrenaline-pumping, offering a beginner-friendly bike racer in a time when very few exist.
Also, few situations compare to shooting down a rain-soaked night-time track while seeing through the helmet cam. It is exhilarating.
1 Overrated: Team Sonic Racing
Team Sonic Racing has sold well since debuting earlier this year. Sega's hedgehog has had a rough go of things in the last decade, but Sonic's racing games have marked some rare highs for the license. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is in contention for being the greatest kart racer of all time, but the same cannot be said for Team Sonic Racing.
This time around, the focus is on team play, as finishing first means little if the rest of the player's team fails to perform. It is an interesting mechanic that adds an element of strategy to the experience. It is just a shame the single-player campaign is so devoid of personality, as Team Sonic Racing could have been a pretty great racer rather than just another title that is not Crash Team Racing or Mario Kart.