Racing games are quite popular these days, no matter what kind of game you like. The Gran Turismo series, as well as the prior Forza Motorsport games, really nail down the feeling of simulation like no others before them. Likewise, the arcade scene has shifted quite a bit, with the online friendly Need For Speed: Most Wanted and Forza Horizon getting a healthy dose of traction from the community.
For every best-selling racing game, there's one that's been left in the dust, either because it didn't receive enough support from the publisher (in terms of hype and advertising), or it just faded away in favor of the newest rides on the block. It happens, people like to move on to the "next big thing," especially if it's unprecedented in quality. That doesn't mean we should just brush them off, however.
For our latest compilation special, we've decided to look back at some of the better races we've seen over the past few years, and why we think they deserve a second chance at success, whether it's as a repackaging in its current form, or a tie-in for a sequel that we may never get…but keep wishing for anyway.
Let's rev up and take these babies for a test drive again…
Burnout 3: Takedown
Honestly, the Burnout series reached a phenomenal peak back in 2008 with the release of Burnout Paradise, an online-oriented racing game with a whole city full of challenges. But we can't help but yearn for the older days of the series, when things really took off at full speed with Takedown. Featuring a phenomenal new Road Rage mode, where the name of the game was destroying cars by ramming into them, and a reimagined Crash mode with online challenges galore, it was the true essence of fun arcade racing. If EA was smart, it'd give the green light for Criterion to do a new HD version of this game, with online play and tons of unlockables. And we do miss Crash mode. We do.
Disney Interactive has seen better days when it comes to this generation of games, having to shutter a number of studios and close down projects before they even came into fruition. Unfortunately, among the casualties was Black Rock Studio, the creators of the fun off-road racing game Pure, and the stylish follow-up Split/Second. This chaotic racing game was better than most, mainly because the rules…well, there were hardly any. Building momentum over the course of each event, you could activate "triggers" that would cause things to happen in the environment, forcing others to crash and giving you the lead. Ranging from blowing up a building on the side of the road to causing a big crane to swing its claw across the track (and smashing into anyone near it), the destructiveness was unmatched. You can find this game for pretty cheap nowadays ($20 or so), but it definitely deserves a second chance at success. Sadly, it probably won't get it at this rate…but check it out anyway.
When Activision picked up the development team at Bizarre Creations, it definitely got its money worth out of it, especially with the popular Geometry Wars games. But the team wanted to create a new kind of arcade racing experience, separate from what it founded with the Project Gotham Racing franchise. And so Blur was born, introducing a simple yet thoroughly entertaining arcade-style system with power-ups and fun events to race through. Sadly, the game didn't get the proper marketing push, and, shortly following its release, the development studio was shut down. That's too bad, because, to this day, Blur remains an awesome little racing delight, especially if you've got friends to go up against.
You probably owned a GameCube for several reasons back in its heyday – Metroid Prime, Super Smash Bros. Melee and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess probably come to mind – but one of the best games to ever grace that console was Sega AM2's take on the classic F-Zero franchise. Featuring outstanding 60-frames-per-second graphics, mesmerizing track design (just try to take your eyes off the amazing lava level) and solid controls, the game was a true gem from the Nintendo camp. However, since its release, we haven't heard anything from the franchise. If the big "N" is smart, it'll find a way to re-release this game on the Wii U with GamePad support, online play and even more cars and tracks. Call it a director's cut if you want. Just give it to us.
Back in the mid-2000's, Sega attempted – and succeeded – in giving one of its older racing franchises a second chance at life with Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast, a game that did wonders for both the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. And then, a few years later, the company trumped itself again by releasing a version for Xbox Live Arcade – as well as the PS3 overseas – with additional online play and smooth gameplay. But then, suddenly, the game vanished from the market, and many people were left wondering just where it went. It's probably the marketing of Ferrari vehicles, and the expiration of its license, that got the game removed. However, we would like to see Sega re-release it down the road – even with unofficial cars – just so we can feel the power drift and watch our car flip out aimlessly after a collision, only to end up back on its wheels. (Followed, of course, by being abused by our girlfriend.)
When Excite Truck made its debut on the Wii years ago, it was a formidable, above average racer, with changing terrain and plenty of aerial high speed thrills to please new buyers of the system. However, when that same team released the spiritual sequel Excitebots, it really took creativity for a loop. Featuring better tracks, some imaginative vehicle designs, and lots of multiplayer action, the game became nothing short of a cult classic. Like F-Zero, however, Nintendo kept this series dormant since that time. We can't think of a better time to bring it back, especially considering the Wii U is in dire need of a terrific racing game to go along with Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed.
What are your favorite underrated racing games?