The 7 Best Racing Games for PS2 to Buy in 2018

These top titles will satisfy your need for speed

On your marks, get set, go! The PS2 has always been a welcoming playground to some of the console’s greatest racing games ever made. Though the genre may stick to a simple formula, many titles stand out for their fast-paced exhilarating action or realistic animations and features.

Even if you’re not a racing game fan, you are bound to find a title that’s worth taking a test drive with. Games like Burnout Dominator will have you racing, but also joyfully ramming into cars with stunning slow-mo crash effects while other games like LEGO Racers 2 let you build your own car from scratch and race in imaginative settings. The serious factor is up to you, whether you’re looking for pure unadulterated fun or a realistic racing experience unlike any other, you’ll find it all here. Read on to find the best racing games for the PS2. 

Best for Action: Burnout Dominator

Burnout Dominator is full of action and makes crashing your vehicle a blast. Players will not only compete for first place but get points by ramming into rivals, doing tricks and smashing their way to victory.

Burnout Dominator stands out with its multiple different modes. In World Tour, you’ll race on international tracks and be rewarded with new levels as you perform takedowns of other cars, test out drifting skills and placing first. But you can always dial the action up to eleven in Maniac Mode, earning points by driving dangerously and stringing along combos that have other cars crashing, flying over ramps and dodging oncoming traffic. The game’s tight controls, multiple objects, and two player split-screen make an accessible racing game focused more on the fun and entertainment instead of anything serious.

Best for Cops & Robbers Style: Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 lets you choose between cops and robbers as you speed down beautiful tracks and take down cars. The game’s arcade feel lifts from the playbook of the Burnout series with crash-based racing-style gameplay.

In Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2, you’ll be able to select from a handful of police or racer missions, adding a variety of gameplay where you’ll either outrun the cops and win races or chase down speeders, ram into them and disable their vehicles. You’ll be given a handful of weapons to use too, like EMP blasts and spike strips. The game’s varied levels steal the show with beautifully graphical scenic locations, including mountains, rainforests, deserts and beaches, and you'll get to experience them all in a Ferrari, Porche, Lamborghini and more.

Best for Simulation: Gran Turismo 4

Gran Turismo 4 (GT4) prides itself as being one the most realistic racing experiences you can find on the PS2. The fourth installment in the series brings together graphically detailed tracks and cars with a development geared on simulation.

Gran Turismo 4 features 700 licensed vehicles from 80 manufacturers that span as far back as an 1886 Daimler Motor Carriage to future concepts like the Nike One 2022. The 51 tracks include updated versions from previous Gran Turismo titles and real-world detailed additions such as Hong Kong and the Las Vegas Strip. GT4’s physics system was intricately designed, enough to where Jeremy Clarkson of the Top Gear television program reviewed it and compared the real-life car equivalents to their virtual models, noting the game’s uncanny realism.

Best for Stunts: Stuntman: Ignition

For you action movie lovers, Stuntman: Ignition fires up the gameplay with an exciting stunt-based racing game with a focus on intricate stunt runs. Instead of racing other opponents, players will zoom towards checkpoints at high speeds and perform death-defying stunts on various film sets.

The thrilling gameplay of Stuntman: Ignition puts you behind the wheels of jeeps, sports cars, tanks and more as a director yells at you to perform high-pressure stakes, forcing you to make quick decisions. You’ll operate over 25 different vehicles on 36 different runs where you’ll flee from volcanic eruptions, fly over ramps, crash through trucks and more. After you complete each level, you’ll be treated to a movie trailer for the film you worked on with in-game footage of your driving and stunt performances, giving exciting cinematic recaps of your experience.

Best for Off-Road Racing: MotorStorm: Arctic Edge

MotorStorm: Arctic Edge is a wild off-road racing game for the PS2 that immerses players into the cold and unforgiving Arctic climate of Alaska with dangerous tracks. Players will get to select from eight vehicle classes all with different levels of adaptability and features in order to handle the various hazards for each track.

There are avalanches, slippery ice resisting tire’s grips and more. Each of the 12 rowdy courses in MotorStorm: Arctic Edge comes with varied dangers and opportunities, challenging players to pick from upgradable vehicles like bikes, ATVs, big rigs and more in order to tackle each course. Every track is filled with excitement from underground caverns, cliff edges, twisty turns and harsh weather that will put your skills and concentration to the ultimate test.

Best for Kids: LEGO Racers 2

Racing gets creative with LEGO Racers 2, a PS2 game where you’ll start by creating your own LEGO character and then stacking blocks to build your own car. Kids will get to use their imagination by building any type of crazy vehicle they want, with options to upgrade their speed, control and shield powers.

The relaxing gameplay in LEGO Racers 2 allows for the choice to drive freely around terrains with the option to jump into races. Courses take place in five large themed worlds, including a sandy bay, an island filled with dinosaurs and even on planet Mars. The game balances competitive racing by giving those in last place the best power-ups, thus alleviating any frustration for younger players.

Best for Arcade-Style Gameplay: Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition Remix

Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition Remix is an arcade-style racing game set in open world city recreations of San Diego, Atlanta and Detroit. The exciting racer encourages exploration and includes a detailed upgrading system that allows you to alter your vehicle’s performance and style.

Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition Remix features 50 licensed cars with seven vehicle types, including luxury sedans, muscle cars, SUVs/trucks, sports bikes and even choppers. Depending on your selection, you’ll join a car club where you’ll race against other competing clubs and gain special skills, including bullet time power or plowing ability for ramming other cars. After competing in club races, tournaments and other contests, you’ll get cash, cars and unlockable items that give you the ability to customize everything from your car’s decal, paint job, rims, front bumpers, exhaust tips and more.

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