Top 5 Open World Driving Games of All-Time
When it comes to making automotive driving something anyone can enjoy, nothing does it better than a solid open world driving games. Huge worlds ready to be explored become playgrounds for man’s ferocious machines.
What are the best open world driving games in video game history? Well, we’ve compiled what we think are the top 5 based on the reception by critics and users, as well as our own opinion. You can find out what these games are in the gallery below.
1. Forza Horizon 2
Forza Horizon 2 is everything you could want from an open world driving game. Set in France and Italy, its world is beautiful. Made better, there’s a day/night cycle improved upon from the previous Horizon release, as well as weather, something driving games rarely include. Simply driving around taking it all in is fun in and of itself.
Forza Horizon 2 packs content while making sure that the content is as exciting as possible. A few facts: Forza Horizon 2 has 210 vehicles, over 700 events, several online game modes hosted on dedicated servers, car meets, 10 hidden vehicles, 5 showcase events, Bucket List challenges, over 140 musical tracks across seven radio stations, and more. Playground Games thought of everything and managed to cram it into this extraordinary masterpiece that isn’t just fun for car enthusiasts, but anyone who enjoys an exciting game with cohesive gameplay.
2. Burnout Paradise
Burnout Paradise was the first open world driving game to deliver a fully polished experience. That came in the form of a large world packed with detail and variety, filling that world with more content than most would ever see, and making sure that the minute-to-minute driving experience was excellent.
Cars felt great in the hands, and crashing them was almost just as fun as driving them thanks to an impressive damage model. It was the first Burnout game to feature an open world, and was destined for success given developer Criterion’s talent which was put on full display in the previous Burnout games.
Out of this list, Burnout Paradise has the best progression in terms of car unlocking. It was tuned perfectly, methodically moving you from slower cars up to the frightening V12 beats. Using the takedown system, it would present an exciting way to get these new cars instead of just heading to a shop and pressing a button.
Burnout Paradise would get even better with time, having content such as the addition of motorcycles layered in post-release.
3. Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit (2010)
Usually when a game looks to revive an old release, it struggles to meet the standards previously set. That wasn’t the case with 2010’s Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit, a game with the same name as one of the PS1’s best driving titles. That might be due to the fact that it was developed by Criterion Games, a studio that had monumental success with its Burnout series.
Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit was great in many ways. It knew how to send you flying down roads with beautiful graphics, and boasted a strong list of vehicles. Most notably, it incorporated police vehicles in a way that actually benefited the experience. Being chased by police was an intense affair, and being behind the wheel of an interceptor trying to take out targets with several options at your disposal was a blast. It also found ways to integrate social interaction in a novel way with the use of Autolog
4. Midnight Club: Los Angeles
Midnight Club: Los Angeles was a pioneer for big-budget open world driving games. It was invested in heavily following the successful release of Midnight Club 2. Rockstar San Diego would push graphics to a level open world racers had never seen before, with high polygon counts on vehicles, and high levels of detail in the environment. Even with that it managed to maintain a solid framerate.
The game had a ton of things to do, even including a race editor to make tracks and share them with others online.
Many might remember the game for its frustrating difficulty, though. Truthfully, it wasn’t tuned well. There were some races required to progress that were outright insane. As unfortunate as that was, it’s still considered one of the greats by driving fans.
5. Need for Speed: Underground 2
For tuner fans, Need for Speed: Underground 2 is a dream. Here’s a game that was rooted in the culture unlike the world had ever seen before. Nitrous Oxide, 4-cylinder rice rockets, and blur effects at high speeds that make you feel like you’re in the Milennium Falcon; this is a game that knows its audience well.
While its style may not have been for everyone, it was an immensely fun game to play. This is one of the first open world driving games to have a good sense of reward. You would earn credits quickly that could be used to purchase new cars, or upgrade existing ones in endless ways.
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