First-person shooters may be the headliners when it comes to the best new games but driving games provide just as much thrill from behind-the-wheel – or controller. The latest consoles have pushed the performance levels which means better graphics and frame rates creating ever the more real environments.
It's this enhanced realism that offers the most promise for driving games. Combining high-quality scenery along with believable vehicle response is intensive on any processor but with the likes of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X available, the possibilities are huge.
For fans of racing simulators and car-based entertainment, we have already seen the release of Forza 5 towards the end of 2021. However, there's plenty left in the tank, so to speak, when it comes to offerings for 2022. Here's our current pick for the games I'm most looking forward to playing this year.
This Codemasters title now comes under the EA Games umbrella and looks like it will provide a slick new gaming experience to the legacy title. GRID Legends is a racing game that includes real-life circuits and city races along with an assortment of vehicles to race.
There's more here though. The game also intertwines a story mode that uses real life actors, such as Ncuti Gatwa (from Netflix's Sex Education) to bring the world to life. The previews both of the driving and the live-action look great. I just hope it will create the playability that driving fans desire.
The official launch date for GRID Legends (opens in new tab) is scheduled for February 25 with pre-orders already open on both PlayStation 4/5 and Xbox Series X/S. I can't wait to give it a go.
Gran Turismo 7
The car enthusiasts choice, Gran Turismo has always offered a wide choice of cars and tracks and this next release promises to be the greatest ever. Gran Turismo 7 promises 420 cars and over 90 tracks to race on, as well as the return of the License Center, which is as addictive as it is frustrating.
Graphics look next-level and you can expect incredibly accurate handling and performance from each of the vehicles. A new GT Café provides a new way to appreciate your collection of bought cars while there's a choice of Brand Central and Used Car Dealerships to purchase additional models.
Despite not having the narrative that comes with many racing games, Gran Turismo is a world in itself that can envelop you for days. This is one game that I feel really benefits from a proper racing wheel too, and there's a new model PS5 wheel from Fanatic (opens in new tab) that's designed especially for the game.
Gran Turismo 7 (opens in new tab) is due for release on March 4 with pre-orders open now.
Need for Speed 2022
EA originally promised a new Need for Speed game by March 2022 and though that now seems highly unlikely, there's still hope we might get one by the end of the year. This will be the 25th game in the series that started in 1994 – not to mention the additional spin-offs.
Need for Speed has always had more of an arcade feel to a racing game than other titles. While there's still a wide assortment of cars and tracks, the focus tends to be on the fast and the crazy. Police chases, burnouts, street racing, drifting and more. It's a hugely fun experience that has made the series so popular.
So far we know nothing about the upcoming title. We can assume that it will be designed exclusively for next-gen consoles, so it should look great and it will offer more of the popular tuning options and wild rides.
Until we get any more confirmation, there's still Need for Speed Heat (opens in new tab) to enjoy.