• PlayStation 2 had some iconic racing games, from arcade thrills to realistic simulations, offering diverse experiences for gamers to enjoy.
  • Titles like
    Jak X: Combat Racing
    , and
    Midnight Club 3
    left a lasting impact on the PS2 racing game landscape.
  • Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec
    stood out as a top-notch racing simulation game, requiring players to strive for excellence and complete various challenges.

With one of the most beloved video game libraries, the PlayStation 2 was filled with all-time hits and lesser-known gems that made it one of the best-selling consoles in history. So many titles across developers large and small made memorable experiences that people look back fondly on.


8 Best Xbox 360 Racing Games, Ranked

The Xbox 360 was home to some incredibly fun, fast-paced, and unique racing games, and these were among some of the best.

One genre that was super popular during the PS2 era was racing games. From arcade experiences to simulations, there were tons of popular racing titles that left an impact, some of which led to many racing games down the line. But while there are a ton that players can choose from, only a handful stand out above the rest.

Updated on April 6, 2024 by Ritwik Mitra: The PlayStation 2 is one of the greatest video game consoles of all time. After the rampant success of Sony’s first console, the company decided to double down in its pursuit of state-of-the-art hardware and mature gaming experiences. This culminated in a console with a wide market appeal that fans loved, with the PlayStation 2 boasting games from multiple genres that were a massive hit. There are many great racing games on the console that fans love to this day, with the act of reaching these breakneck speeds making for a great time.

10 Jak X: Combat Racing

Metascore: 76

Jak and Daxter in Jak X: Combat Racing

Jak X: Combat Racing
October 18, 2005

Any racing game with combat as one of its priorities makes for a great time, and Jak X: Combat Racing is no exception. This brilliant game wasted no time in roping players in with a wealth of familiar characters and racing gameplay that’s incredibly satisfying.

There were times when the difficulty spikes could get rather overbearing, but players who put their heads down and used the tools at their disposal in an efficient manner were able to take out most opponents with relative ease. The story mode was a huge bonus that compelled players to perfect their skills with this game.

9 Splashdown

Metascore: 84

A jet ski racer sitting in fifth place on the water in the middle of the track in Splashdown

November 5, 2001

Rainbow Studios

Water racing is not as widely popular in video games as it once was in the late 1990s and early 2000s. That era saw a lot of major franchises come to fruition, but one that snuck under the radar is Splashdown. However, the Atari-published racing experience is actually one of the best racing games on PS2.

Players take control of professional jet ski racers as they take part in races across many tracks. Much like adjacent jet ski-focused racers, Splashdown has players navigating tracks by staying on the correct side of buoys that are laid out. A penalty is assigned if players do not stick with the correct path.

8 Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition

Metascore: 85

midnight club 3 dub edition cover art header

Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition
April 12, 2005

Rockstar San Diego , Rockstar Leeds

There was a time when Rockstar used to make racing games with a lot of style. The Midnight Club series may be nothing more than a figment of history at this point, but there was a time when players couldn’t get enough of this amazing series and the racing goodness it brought to the table.

Midnight Club 3 was another excellent entry in the series, full to the brim with three amazing open-world environments to explore. The collection of cars is impressive and lets players slowly progress from halfway-decent vehicles to speed demons that leave most enemies in the dirt.

7 Midnight Club 2

Metascore: 85

A woman standing in front of two cars waving her hands to signal for them to start racing in Midnight Club 2

Midnight Club 2
April 9, 2003

Rockstar San Diego

Rockstar is known for implementing some great racing mechanics in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, but they also used to publish their own racing games. During the PS2 era, they published some of the best racing games the console has seen with one of the greatest being Midnight Club 2.


Racing Games With The Best Vehicle Customization

Vehicle customization is a big part of any racing game. These titles do it the absolute best.

One of the better open-world street racing experiences on PS2, Midnight Club 2 builds on its predecessor by unlocking three new locations for racers to explore in: Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo. In addition, this edition of the game is the first to feature motorcycles, expanding an otherwise solid roster to 31 vehicles.

6 NASCAR Thunder 2002

Metascore: 85

A car labeled with "Citgo" driving on a race track in NASCAR Thunder 2002

NASCAR Thunder 2002
October 15, 2001

EA Tiburan

While games around the popular racing product continues to come out, it has been years since NASCAR has had a consistent series of games coming out from a major publisher. The biggest name to put out NASCAR games is EA, with NASCAR Thunder 2002 being one of the best PS2 racing games EA has put out.

The first NASCAR game to have the moniker “Thunder,” NASCAR Thunder 2002 features many modes for those who either want to have a quick race or those who want to play an entire season’s worth of races. There is also an extended career mode where players can compete in multiple seasons as well as a create-a-car mode that allows players to customize their own vehicle.

5 Need For Speed: Underground

Metascore: 85

A vehicle driving at night in Need for Speed: Underground

Need for Speed: Underground
November 17, 2003

EA Black Box

Another popular EA racing series is Need for Speed, a franchise that made a name for itself on the original PlayStation before releasing on more platforms and becoming such a massive success that it got its own film adaption. When looking back on the series, many fans point to Need for Speed: Underground as one of the best.

While not coming out long after its previous entry, Need for Speed: Underground is considered a reboot by many as it shifts the focus of the franchise from high-end sports cars to vehicles in the import scene. The game is the first in the franchise that has a career mode with a substantial story to it.

4 Colin McRae Rally 3

Metascore: 86

A vehicle sitting in the starting position on a dirt road with "Ford Focus" printed on the back in Colin McRae Rally 3

Colin McRae Rally 3
February 18, 2002

Codemasters has long been a game developer known for its racing titles. They have been the creators of many known racing franchises that continue to get entries today. While they have done more rally games since, one of the best rally games on PS2 is Colin McRae Rally 3.



The Best Street Racing Games of All Time, Ranked

Street racing games let players enjoy an adrenaline-pumping thrill from the comfort of their homes.

Taking place after the 2002 World Rally Championship, players are able to utilize most of the vehicles used in the massive tournament. In addition, there are numerous customization options to make the vehicle as sturdy or speedy as you would like. In terms of modes, there are both quick races and three-season tours that players can choose between.

3 Burnout Revenge

Metascore: 90

Car Drifting Around A Corner In Burnout Revenge

Burnout Revenge
September 13, 2005

The Burnout series combines high-octane racing with spectacular crashes to make for a compelling gameplay loop that never ceases to be engaging. Burnout Revenge aimed to improve the established gameplay of the series, letting players perform a wealth of mind-blowing moves to take out opponents and rack up points.

The improvements to the series’ formula were well-received, with players being able to perform more flashier takedowns than ever before. Burnout Revenge‘s tantalizing gameplay made it a hit on the PS2 that most fans couldn’t get enough of.

2 Burnout 3: Takedown

Metascore: 94

Three cars colliding in a massive, explosive crash in Burnout 3: Takedown

Burnout 3: Takedown
September 7, 2004

Criterion Games, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts, has also made a name for itself making racing games. But no game by this UK-based developer is looked back on more fondly than Burnout 3: Takedown. While there were a handful of Burnout games during the PS2 era, none felt as good as a game all about literally destroying the competition.

The arcade racer has many modes with different objectives that can all be played together in World Tour mode. But the primary gameplay mechanic of Takedown is how players can race against their opponents while simultaneously trying to drive them off the road or destroy their vehicle. From Road Rage mode to Crash mode, the game is all about creating as much destruction as possible with highly detailed collisions that had never been seen in games before.

1 Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

Metascore: 95

Two cars racing alongside each other with the words "Tommi" written on the red car and "Castrol" on the white car in Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec

PlayStation has not had a lot of first-party racing franchises, but there has been one that has stood the test of five console generations. The Gran Turismo franchise is a racing simulation series meant to be a celebration of cars with realistic gameplay. The best Gran Turismo on PS2 is Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec.

While most games don’t force the players to try for 100 percent completion, Gran Turismo 3 almost demands it with the game tasking players to complete as many tournaments and individual races as possible to keep earning new vehicles. There are two major modes in the game: Simulation and Arcade.


6 Best PS1 Racing Games, Ranked

The PS1 was home to several popular racing franchises. These games tend to stand above the rest.


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