The lights are on
Racing games are always a year-in-year-out staple of consoles, but was it just another year for the genre? Absolutely not. Whether you were looking for a definitive sim-racing experience or wanted to just have some arcade fun, 2011 was a great year for race fans.
Check out some of the deserving games below, and be sure to let us know what you think about the games that won awards – and those that didn’t – in the comments section below.Best Track: Rainbow Road – Mario Kart 7
Rainbow Road is a mainstay in the Mario Kart franchise, but its appearance in Mario Kart 7 and how nicely it dovetails with some of the changes for this iteration, make it a standout experience. Instead of the usual three-lap race, Rainbow Road is just one long lap split into three different sections. This allows the player to experience environmental changes such as racing on planet rings and the surface of the moon, as well as fly through space using the game’s new glider feature. It’s a fun new way to experience an old favorite.
Best Car: Ford Fiesta Gymkhana Car – Dirt 3
We could argue all day about which car among this year’s racing titles is the fastest, rarest, most spectacularly engineered ride out there, but frankly we’re not interested in that kind of pissing contest. No, the car we liked the best was Ken Block’s Monster Energy Drink Ford Fiesta gymkhana car. The game’s gymkhana cars were particularly tuned for gymkhana racing (as opposed to the title’s other rally cars), and Ken Block himself even had a hand in how this particular car was tuned. And it wasn’t just that this car got loose around every corner in some kind of fake attempt to induce gymkhana acrobatics. The car feels different when trying to produce sweeping power slides versus tighter donuts, and using it in the gymkhana events requires a slightly different skill set to maximize its handling. The specialization of this gymkhana car made it all the more fun when ripping of wild stunts in the game’s Battersea compound and events. Gymkhana was a key feature in Dirt 3, and it wouldn’t have felt as cool if Block’s Fiesta was just another car in your garage.
Best Multiplayer: Forza Motorsport 4
This award has to go to Forza 4 for offering the full package of online goodies. The game not only offers up different alluring multiplayer race types like Cat and Mouse and Tag, but also features a fully stocked cupboard of community options. This not only includes things like sharing cars with Car Club members, auctioning cars, and trading customized car liveries, but also a rivalry challenge system that you could spend endless hours in just trying to beat friends and keep up your own times.
Honorable Mention: Test Drive Unlimited 2
Read on for our Racing Game of the Year and more!
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forza is the best
Hey Game Informer, not to sound mean or anything, but where in the world was TrackMania 2, since it wasn't even listed here or anything? Is it because it is a PC exclusive and thus it doesn't count?
Id call this article Driving game of the year, but my Driving/racing game of the year is without a doubt Driver: San Fransisco. So many improvements went into the game and it turned out very polished and fun like the original Driver. MotorStorm: Apocalypse would be my #2, with its insane track designs and craziness. Forza 4 is just another attempt to catch up to my favorite racing game of all time, Gran Turismo 5.
Last year I very much enjoyed Need For Speed Hot Pursuit(Except that It didn't have 2 player offline play which sucked). So I was looking sooo forward to them releasing a new NFS, and WOW what a dissapointment!
fools need to make most wanted 2 thats the last game from nfs that had realy good gameplay that let u drive outside of mision gameplay an get into hi speed chases
Agreed, though I don't believe NFS: The Run to be biggest disappointment. Well of course this is I suppose of the games on this list. I still enjoyed it though.
Not a huge fan of vehicle sims. Mostly because I find it a little boring and little bit because I am not very good at them. Mario Kart and Twisted Metal are more in my wheelhouse.
forza 4 ftw, definitely the best racing sim in a long time, would have liked to see weather and night course as well however
Forza 4 is not only racing game of the year for me, but it's Game Of The Year for me. Why racing games never even get a nomination for GOTY is beyond me.
Why would anyone expect a racing game from 2010 (GT5) to get an award for 2011?
I'm not a big fan of forza I played forza 3 and hated the fact that I couldn't drive my way (keep holding down the gas and hit the other cars)
I completely agree. Except there was no mention for Need For Speed Hot Pursuit.
Not ONE comment on GT4? I'm disappointed. That game is amazing!
I've only played Forza 4 out of this group of game. It is definitely the best racer I've ever played. I can spend hours upon hours applying decals and designs (check out my New Orleans Saints Breast Cancer awareness livery on XBOX. My gamer tag is MEGAWATT5). It took forever to get the fleur-de-lis right.
Shame F1 2011 didn't get a mention. I felt the devs updated it quite a bit from the first game. Made some mistakes in the process, and its still not as good as it should be, but even with all that they did way more than I was expecting them to for a sequel.
I may have to check out Driver after all the staff members discussing it and the articles about it.