Games like Need for Speed – 5 racing games to play if you like NFS

Games like Need for Speed – 5 racing games to play if you like NFS
Talal Musa Updated on by

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Need for Speed is one of the most recognizable names when it comes to racing – spanning across video games and movies.

With a die-hard fan base, and a variety of games under the NFS hood, it’s not hard to see why EA’s Need For Speed series has sold more than 150 million copies since first arriving on the scene in 1994.

NOW READ: Here’s when you can play Need for Speed: Unbound

Despite the series taking a few detours during its lifespan, notably with Need for Speed: The Run – an almost movie-like experience where racing was very much secondary to the story, fast, thrilling races coupled with stunning cars has been at the core of the Need for Speed franchise. This is certainly the case for the upcoming entry, Need for Speed: Unbound, which very much takes the series back to its basics.

But what else is out there? And if you like Need for Speed’s typically arcade-style racing mechanics with a dash of cinematic flair, what other racing games would you enjoy?

That’s where we come in. Here are five racing games we think you’d enjoy if you like Need for Speed.

Forza Horizon 5

The Forza Horizon series added a completely different spin the more serious ‘Forza’ series, sacrificing pure realism for sheer driving fun. You can read our full Forza Horizon 5 review here

Despite the very first game, Forza Horizon, being incredible, developer Playground Games has continued to build and tweak the winning formula – resulting in what many believe is one of the best racing games ever made in Forza Horizon 5. For starters, as Josh Wise says in our review, the opening feels as though you’re playing through an opening to James Bond.

NOW READ: Check out our full Forza Horizon 5 review

But it doesn’t stop there. Soon you’ll be racing gamers all around the world through a stunning recreation of Mexico – taking in the local sights one minute and racing across the sun-drenched beaches another.

Need for Speed fans here will feel right at home, with a vast array of supercars to play around with, while it’s beautiful graphics and stunning open world help create the perfect balance between realism and arcade fun.

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The Crew 2

Ubisoft’s ambition The Crew 2 may have been out for a while, but it still has a loyal following. You’re able to traverse one of the biggest game world’s ever created in a video game. You can read our full The Crew 2 review right here.

The good news is that you’re able to transform your vehicle from a car into a plane and boat. This leads to some incredible races, where you can be dodging traffic in busy city streets one minute, then soaring into the clouds another.

The Crew 2 is a unique experience that has to be seen to be believed and praised for its ambition.

Mario Kart 8

For those who prefer arcade style racing, then look no further than Mario Kart 8. It has none of the realism that Need for Speed has, but in terms of sheer replayability and fun, Mario Kart wins the race every time. You can read our full Mario Kart 8 review right here.

Drifting, weapons, the simple to learn yet hard to master handling – all of these are key elements making up what is a truly special racing game.

It’s constantly being updated with new tracks, with a third wave set to be released in December, so there’s plenty of life yet in one of the Nintendo Switch’s best games.

NOW READ: Here’s when you can play Need for Speed: Unbound

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Hot Shot racing

Visually, this will take you back to the days of Virtua Racing, with its stunning, cell-shaded and blocky graphics.

Developed by the acclaimed Curve Digital, you’ll be able to race through 16 racing circuits taking you into lush jungles, deserts, winding coastal roads and even the Las Vegas desert. Expect an incredible sense of speed as well as super fun drifting mechanics in this vibrant 80s-inspired gem.

GRID Legends

An underrated gem of a racing game, developed by arguably some of the best in the business, Codemasters – who were acquired by EA earlier this year.

Leaning slightly towards realism but with an arcade twist, GRID Legends sure to satisfy fans of Need for Speed, with a variety of cars on offer, and stunning driving mechanics that capture the feel of every vehicle.

Despite being superseded by Grid Legends, Grid remains a quality racing game that can be snapped up for peanuts. You’re also able to get a 10 hour trial on EA Play.

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Games like Need for Speed FAQ

What other games are like Need For Speed?

Need for Speed games are varied but all offer incredibly frenetic racing that leans more towards arcade style handling than ultra realism. Our top pick would be the Forza Horizon series, notably Forza Horizon 5. This captures all the speed and visual nous associated with an NFS game but arguably offers more freedom via its open world.  

What is the most liked Need for Speed game?

This all depends on who you ask, but generally Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Need for Speed Underground are considered the most iconic games in the series. The least popular NFS game for many is Need for Speed: The Run – which, despite having a few good moments, was too much of a step away from arcade-style, fun racing the fans had come to expect.