From high profile releases like Forza Horizon 3, the resurgence of rally games with DiRT Rally and the start of the console sim racing saturation with the long-awaited arrival of Assetto Corsa, 2016 was a transformative year for racing games. To celebrate, we’re hosting our first ever Team VVV Racing Game of the Year Awards (something we’ve been meaning to do for years) to recognise achievements in racing gaming, from best graphics and sound, to car lists, handling and indie titles, we’ve got everything covered.
Best online multiplayer
For some, the online multiplayer in a racing game is a crucial factor when making a purchasing decision. The advent of racing leagues, car clubs and eSports has made online multiplayer more engaging, keeping us playing some racing games for months, or even years after release.
The whole point of licensed motorsport games is to make you feel like you’re competing in the real-life championship. WRC 6 allows you to do just that with its online eSports championship building on the success of its inauguration in WRC 5, coinciding with the official 2017 WRC calendar as it progresses. Wisely, it’s also included with the main game, so you don’t have to fork out extra for DLC or special editions to participate this time.
Rocket League is a classic case of an online multiplayer game where a quick five-minute session can very easily turn into a lengthy five-hour one. It’s one of this generation’s greatest gaming success stories. Its success lies in its simplicity. The cars are easy to control, but it takes skill to master some of the advanced techniques. Team work is essential in Rocket League too, which elevates the online experience and makes it truly addictive.
Since its debut on PS4 in 2015 as part of Sony’s Instant Game Collection, Rocket League has evolved into a very different game today. It migrated onto the Xbox One in 2016 to further expand its player base and also got a physical Collectors Edition re-release on PS4, while free updates have added a slew of new maps and modes included basketball and ice hockey. It’s a commendable move when you consider that most developers would charge for similar updates. Two years on, Rocket League is still one of the best and most addictive online driving game experiences since Driver: San Francisco’s manic multiplayer.
Winner: Forza Horizon 3
With its massive map, huge selection of cars and extensive campaign, Forza Horizon 3 isn’t short on content, but its well-implemented online multiplayer fleshes out the experience and takes it to the next level. In truth, the single player experience can get repetitive, but invite a few friends to your road trip, and it’s a completely different experience. Cruising the map becomes more involving with other players, and careers can now be played cooperatively with up to four players which works wonderfully well.
Competitive modes return in the signature Online Adventure mode and weekly Forzathon events keep you hooked, but where Forza Horizon 3 really excels is how it caters to the community: you can join Clubs, design and share your own car liveries, bid on car auctions for the first time since Forza Motorsport 4, or challenge players to custom Bucket List challenges. It all combines to make Forza Horizon 3 the most comprehensive and compulsive online racing experience in a long time.