Published on July 9, 2022    Updated on July 9, 2022

16 Best PlayStation 2 Racing Games

The PlayStation 2 system marked a golden era of gaming especially for racing games, the console was full of amazing racing titles satisfying all tastes.

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The PlayStation 2 era marked the golden age of gaming for many of us, with one of the biggest games libraries the mighty PS2 pushed the limit with some of the most incredible racing games ever.

Developers took the opportunity regarding the huge graphical leap between the PS1 and PS2, offering the best racing games with the most amazing visuals at the time. The games offered a decent variation of racing genres including simulation, arcade, sim-cade, and multiple sub-genres.

Today we are here to offer you a selection of our best PlayStation 2 racing games. Just keep in mind that the competition was huge as there are plenty to choose from, we tried ou best to choose the best of the bests.

Midnight Club: Street Racing / II / 3 DUB Edition


2000 / 2003 / 2005
About
Full Name
Midnight Club: Street Racing
Release Date
October 26, 2000
Developer
Rockstar San Diego
Publisher
Rockstar Games
Franchise
Midnight Club
Genre
Arcade Racing
Concept
Modern
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2000-10-26
2000-11-24
2000-11-30
About
Full Name
Midnight Club II
Release Date
April 09, 2003
Developer
Rockstar San Diego
Publisher
Rockstar Games
Franchise
Midnight Club
Genre
Arcade Racing
Concept
Modern
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2003-04-09
2003-05-02
2003-05-02
About
Full Name
Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition
Release Date
April 11, 2005
Developer
Rockstar San Diego
Publisher
Rockstar Games
Franchise
Midnight Club
Genre
Arcade Racing
Concept
Modern
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2005-04-11
2005-04-15
2005-04-15

The Midnight Club series was and still is one of the best racing series games to date, with the amazing rockstar development the trilogy on the PlayStation 2 was amazing. While the first game was a bit rough around the edge the two sequels nailed it with an amazing setting and gameplay.

In each game, the player starts with a basic unmodified vehicle making his way by winning street racing events. The main goal is to defeat a bunch of street racers, including city champions and world champions racers on the way to becoming the new conqueror of the Midnight Club. MD: Street Racing includes a huge map covering parts of New York City and London. Midnight Club II also includes an open-world setting with a map covering Los Angeles, Paris, and Tokyo. The last game of the trilogy includes San Diego, Atlanta, and Detroit as playable open-world locations. In conclusion, the Midnight Club trilogy on the PlayStation 2 didn’t disappoint with the amazing open-world setting, nightly design, and perfected controls.

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2


2002

About
Release Date
October 02, 2002
Developer
EA Black Box
Publisher
Electronic Arts
Franchise
Need for Speed
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Canada
PS2 Releases
2002-10-02
2002-10-25

Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit 2 is an arcade racing game, it marks a direct sequel to Need For Speed III: Hot Pursuit and marks the sixth installment of the same series. Similar to its prequel the player race on a series of events across many course tracks, the goal is to reach the finish line first beating your opponents and at the same time evading the police pursuit.

Two main modes are available: World Racing Championship, in which the player competes in a series of classic racing events against AI opponents, and Hot Pursuit mode which adds the police chase to the race. The game features a decent arsenal of licensed cars including Ferrari, Chevrolet, Ford, Jaguar, Lamborghini, and many more. While the PS2 had a huge Need For Speed library Hot Pursuit 2 is my absolute favorite to this day offering an amazing experience merging a lot of racing game elements into a nicely wrapped package.

Auto Modellista


2002 アウトモデリスタ (Auto Moderisuta)

About
Release Date
August 22, 2002
Developer & Publisher
Capcom
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS2 Releases
2002-12-06
2002-12-06

Auto Modellista is an over-the-top arcade racing game, Capcom made the right choice by choosing the cel-shaded graphics giving the game a style of its own with a unique premise. The game is similar to many closed-circuit simulation racers with some minor tweaks including arcade to sim-cade controls.

While the game might be an arcade racer developers made sure to include a lot of technical details, especially for tuning enthusiasm. Every modification counts including engine, tires, gears, and many more, the modification option determine how well the car will perform under several track types and weather condition. Also, the player has the ability to modify the outer look of each vehicle including color, badges, hoods, and spoiler.

Road Trip Adventure


2002 チョロQHG2 (Choro QHG 2)

About
Release Date
January 10, 2002
Developer
E-game
Publisher
TAKARA
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS2 Releases
2002-10-26
2003-05-01

Road trip Adventure is an arcade racing game not like any racing game as it’s more of an adventure racing game. The cars in this game are not driven by a driver instead the cars has their own personality. The player competes in races and builds relationships with other cars with the goal of winning the World Grand Prix.

The gameplay is entirely open where the player’s goal is to recruit teammates and participate in several racing events. To be able to participate in the World Grand Prix the player requires two teammates, an A license, required by competing in every race in each license tier, finishing in the top 6. Each race rewards the player’s effort with his teammates including funds to buy parts and upgrades, also doing favors to other cars can reward the player with new parts, more money, or the ability to recruit better teammates. Graphically the game may look childish with the chibi design but the RPGish gameplay and story go perfectly with the graphical style. If you’re into casual racing games with a pinch of RPG elements this game is definitely worth your time and money.

OutRun 2006: Coast 2 Coast


2006

About
Release Date
March 31, 2006
Developer
Sumo Digital
Publisher
SEGA
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United Kingdom
PS2 Releases
2006-03-31
2006-04-25

Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast is an arcade racing game, the game takes part in the sega’s Outrun franchise and marks the ninth game in the series. Coast To Coast is a re-imagining of the first game in the series, completely redone in glorious 3d and adding some extra features to the package.

The game is split into two main modes: Outrun 2 SP which is an almost identical port of Outrun 2, and a whole new mode called Coast 2 Coast where you can complete different challenges and missions ranging from racing events to completing the passenger’s request and many more. Coast 2 Coast feature 15 playable vehicles, including 5 new cars and 15 locations.

Gran Turismo 4


2004 グランツーリスモ4 (Guran Tsūrisumo 4)

About
Release Date
December 28, 2004
Developer
Polyphony Digital
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Franchise
Gran Turismo
Genre
Simulation Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS2 Releases
2005-02-22
2005-02-22
2005-03-09

Gran Turismo 4 is a hardcore simulation racing game, it marks the sixth installment in the well-known Gran Turismo series. Just like other games on the series the game is directed toward simulation fans with closed-circuit racing and ultra-realistic physics and gameplay. The player competes in a series of racing events accumulating A-spec points in A-spec mode. New to the game is B-spec mode where the player takes control of a racing crew chief, managing the team and giving orders to the driver, and also monitoring the vehicle’s stat.

Graphic wise the game is one of the greatest looking games on the system if not the best, with amazing visuals competing even with the early PS3 graphics and the ability to display the game up to 1080i. The content didn’t disappoint as well with an amazing arsenal of cars, up to 721 licensed cars can be unlocked through the course of the game with the ability to fully modify each one of them. Overall Gran Turismo 4 is the pinnacle of simulation racing game on the PlayStation 2 system surpassing Gran Turismo 3 with more content and a more perfected physics and controls.

Downhill Domination


2003

About
Release Date
July 23, 2003
Developer
Incognito Entertainment
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2003-07-23
2004-02-13

Downhill Domination is an arcade mountain bike racing game developed exclusively for the PlayStation 2 system. The game is based on the extreme sport of downhill mountain bike racing, where the player competes in a mountain race starting from the top of the cliff all the way to the foothill.

Two main modes are available single-player and multiplayer. The single-player mode allows you to compete in a series of extreme racing events aiming to finish first, combat is also part of the game letting the player attack other participants either on their right or left side. Up to 14 fictional riders can be playable and unlocked over the course of the game with additional shop content including bikes, upgrades, and exterior modifications. The multiplayer mode is also available for couch co-op fans allowing up to 4 players at the same time. Overall, the game is a blast combining both fast-paced gameplay, decent graphics, and a fine trick system.

Burnout 3: Takedown


2004

About
Release Date
September 08, 2004
Developer
Criterion Games
Publisher
EA Sports
Franchise
Burnout
Genre
Arcade Racing
Concept
Modern
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United Kingdom
PS2 Releases
2004-09-08
2004-09-10
2004-09-17

Burnout 3: Takedown is an action arcade racing game, the game mark the third installment of the well-known Burnout franchise. Actually, no words can describe the greatness of this game, some fans will even go further and consider Burnout 3 to be the best arcade racing game to this day. Honestly, that statement is not far from the truth as criterion games perfected every aspect of the two previous games combining elements of arcade racing, aggressive play, and fast-paced gameplay.

Burnout 3 borrows a lot from its predecessor offering a fast-paced racing game that rewards a lot for playing aggressively and dangerously. The single-player mode comprises competing in a series of various events including normal races, road rages, burning laps, etc… The career mode is divided into several parts each part contains a series of vehicles such as  Compact, Muscle, Coupe, Sports, and others. Graphic wise the game can’t get any better with a constant smooth 60 fps and amazing visuals and crash physics that still hold up to this day. Generally speaking, Burnout 3 overcome its predecessor’s success with an amazing set of contents, great physics, and outstanding gameplay marking one of the best arcade racing games to date.

Test Drive: Unlimited


2006

About
Release Date
September 05, 2006
Developer
Eden Games
Publisher
Atari
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
France
PS2 Releases
2007-03-16
2007-03-20
2007-04-13

Test Drive Unlimited is an open-world racing game, the main game was released on the Xbox 360 and PC but the PS2 port wasn’t that bad despite the graphical downgrade, the game kept its charm creating an amazing port on the PS2 system.

Test Drive Unlimited offers the whole map of Oahu to discover including free roams, participating in many events across the island (tournaments, single races, time trials, speed trials, etc..), and a huge arsenal of licensed cars to unlock and buy. In terms of graphics, obviously, the game has been downgraded to work on the PlayStation 2, but still, the graphics look impressive for a PS2 game keeping almost all the content including first-person driving with a full interior car look. Altogether, if you are a PS2 collector or a PlayStation hardcore fan this version might be your go-to as it is slightly transcending the PSP version both graphically and in terms of contents.

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity


2008 ソニックライダーズ シューティングスターストーリー (Sonikku Raidāzu Shūtingu Sutā Sutōrī)

About
Release Date
January 08, 2008
Developer
Sonic Team
Publisher
SEGA
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
Japan
PS2 Releases
2008-01-08
2008-02-22

Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity is a hoverboard racing video game, the game uses characters and locations from Sega’s Sonic series. The characters compete in various racing events using some type of hoverboard called Extreme Gears, the goal of each race is to reach the finish line first using a combination of tricks and boosts.

Mostly the game follows the same formula as its predecessor with some new elements such as the Zero Gravity effect, the player can collect gravity points by doing tricks over the course of the race. Collecting enough of these points will give you the ability to use the zero gravity effect boosting the player’s speed. Up to 8 playable riders are available from the Sonic universe including Sonic, Dr.Eggman, Knuckles, and many more. All things considered, Zero Gravity is a nice little change from your typical racing games, with the lovable sonic cast and the captivating hoverboard setting.

Wipeout Fusion


2002

About
Release Date
February 08, 2002
Developer
Studio Liverpool
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Franchise
Wipeout
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United Kingdom
PS2 Releases
2002-02-08
2002-02-18

Wipeout Fusion is a futuristic anti-gravity racing game, the game was developed exclusively for the PlayStation 2 system and marks the fifth installment in the Wipeout series. Wipeout Fusion revolves around a group of teams competing against each other in an anti-gravity racing league.

The player can compete in several modes including arcade mode where the player competes in a normal race aiming to reach the finish line first, Zone Mode where the ship accelerates automatically pushing the player to survive as long as he can without colliding, and the AG league, a form of tournaments including a series of races for each tournament. Furthermore, the game features a variety of weapons both defensive and offensive. Overall, Wipeout Fusion is a solid entry to the Wipeout series, strongly recommended for the fans of the series and also fans of futuristic racing games.

Ford Racing 2


2003

About
Release Date
October 28, 2003
Developer
Razorworks
Publisher
Empire Interactive
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United Kingdom
PS2 Releases
2003-10-28
2003-10-28

Ford Racing 2 is an arcade racing game, the game is a sequel to Ford Racing 1 on the ps1. Ford Racing 2 contains two main modes: the Ford challenge mode and the Ford collection mode. The ford challenge mode consists of several challenges for the player to overcome, basically the main idea of the mode is to collect all fully licensed Ford cars divided into various categories.

The events include: single race, driving skill (where the player passes through specific gates spread over the track), time attack, racing line (where the player follows a green line on the road the score is determined by how well the player followed the racing line), drafting challenge, and eliminator. In terms of content, the game includes over 302 fully licensed Ford cars and 5 different race tracks. Graphic wise the game looks very beautiful for a ps2 game, with outstanding reflection physics, accurate cars model, and a colorful environment.

WRC: Rally Evolved


2005

About
Release Date
October 28, 2005
Developer
Evolution Studios
Publisher
Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre
Simulation Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United Kingdom
PS2 Releases
2005-10-14
2005-10-28

WRC Rally Evolved is a full-fledged simulation racing rally game, the game marks the fourth entry in the WRC video games series. Rally evolved is based on the 2005 WRC rally season with accurate location, cars, and teams.

Honestly, the game is as simple as it looks a full-fledge rally game, with authentic content and physics but the selling points here is the brilliant use of details including random events such as rockfall during the rally, an animal crossing the road, a blown water pipe, another competitor wrecked car and many more. The number of small details put in this game both in terms of car physics, environment, and co-driver instruction makes this game a true hidden gem among rally fans. Graphic wise the graphics can’t get any good with an amazing and unvarnished car design, a full-blown first-person view, and realistic rally locations.

MX Unleashed


2004

About
Release Date
February 17, 2004
Developer
Rainbow Studios
Publisher
THQ
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2004-02-17
2004-02-17
2004-03-26

MX Unleashed is a motocross racing game, the game mark the third and final entry in the THQ MX trilogy. MX Unleashed sticks to the same formula as the previous games with some additional content including mini-games, new modes, and machine races.

The career mode is your typical freestyle racing experience, finishing in the top 3 of each race allows you to move on to the next one and so on. The freestyle mode is considerably different giving you the freedom to roam into a big map accepting challenges and mini-games scattered across the map, upon completing any challenge a new one unlocks with more difficulty. Visually the game is fine nothing fancy but the graphics get the job done. To wrap it all, MX Unleashed is all about fun, the gameplay is made for that with unrealistic stunts, amazing challenges, and over-the-top jumps, casual gamers will find themselves right at home playing this game.

Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild


2003

About
Release Date
August 05, 2003
Developer
Rainbow Studios
Publisher
THQ
Genre
Arcade Racing
Players
Multiplayer, Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United States
PS2 Releases
2003-08-05
2003-10-17

Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild is a jetski arcade racing video game released exclusively on the PlayStation 2 system, the game is a sequel to the original game released both on Ps2 and Xbox. The game borrows the prequel formula and adds more to the package with a theme park setting, new characters, and new vehicles. The career urges the player to participate in several race events, reaching first is rewarded with points that can be used to upgrade your jetski or buy new ones.

In terms of gameplay, besides the typical racing mechanics, a trick system is also available. Doing tricks mid-air in the race will fill the performance meter, the highest the meter goes the fastest the vehicle can move. The tracks in my opinion are the joy of the game, with an amazing presentation of theme parks varying from, dinosaur parks, flooded cities, frozen parks, and many more. In addition to the amazing tracks, the developers made sure to keep the things exciting offering a change in the race tracks after every lap. To wrap it all Rides Gone Wild took everything good about the first game and made it better, the gameplay is a joy to all gamers of all ages and skills, the graphics are stunning, and the cast is hilarious.

Colin McRae Rally 04


2003

About
Release Date
September 19, 2003
Developer & Publisher
Codemasters
Franchise
Colin McRae Rally / DiRT
Genre
Arcade Racing
Concepts
Modern, Realistic
Players
Single Player
Monetization
Buy to Play
Country of Origin
United Kingdom
PS2 Releases
2003-09-19
2003-09-19

Colin McRae Rally 04 is an arcade racing rally game, the game marks the fifth entry in the Colin McRae series. The player competes in six different championships, located in several countries around the world. Different from the previous games due to licensing issues WRC team license was removed and replaced by other championship licenses.

The game offers over 50 stages to compete in, the stages are spread across eight countries including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Greece, Austria, Finland, Japan, Australia, and the United States. Over twenty fully licensed cars are available with totally new physics and handling systems compared to the previous 03 version. Overall, the game offers the best of the Collin McRae series on the system with both amazing physics and controls, huge content, and an amazing presentation.

Freecs

A casual gamer who loves everything Nintendo, and swears by arcade racers, platformers, and hack 'n slash games.

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