Launch these Xbox, PS5, Switch games

Whether you’re a car enthusiast or just want a temporary escape from today’s disturbing headlines, racing games can be a very rewarding virtual getaway.

No matter your skill level and desired platform, today’s racers amp up the immersion with near-photorealistic graphics and sound effects, optional accessories to capture the action, and multiplayer maps to battle it out. for the finish line with or against friends online.

From light arcade racers to detailed simulations, here are some great driving games that let you (safely) live out your driving fantasies.

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Not to mention the 2017 version (Gran Turismo Sport), PlayStation players have been waiting for this long-awaited sequel for nine years.

Developed by Japanese company Polyphony Digital and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, “Gran Turismo 7” once again lets you compete in white-hot races on many of the world’s most respected race tracks – from the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace (Interlagos) in Brazil at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey County, California. (and several fictitious courses too).

Ride in over 420 authentically recreated supercars, each with unique handling, with multiple modes including GT Campaign, Arcade and Driving School, or the deeper GT Simulation mode, which lets you buy, tune, race and sell your way through a rewarding single. player campaign (as you unlock new cars and new challenges).

Multiplayer GT Sport mode (PS+ account required) challenges you to compete against other human opponents from around the world.

With support for 4K resolution and smooth 60fps, the PS5 version offers better graphics and faster frame rates compared to the PS4, as well as amazing haptics on the DualSense controllers that add more immersion and realism.

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Xbox and Windows PC players, on the other hand, can climb into the driver’s seat of “Forza Horizon 5,” to take command of hundreds of customizable cars and other vehicles, and race through an open world at Mexico – from historic cities and vast deserts to sunny beaches and ancient ruins.

Younger or less experienced players can tackle some single-player modes first and race against the game’s AI, but it won’t be long before you’ll be tempted to race against others. on the Internet and with cross-platform support between PC and Xbox. users. Speaking of multiplayer, new to the franchise is Horizon Arcade, a collection of minigames scattered across the map.

Developed by Playground Games and published by Xbox Game Studios, you can also complete several challenges, such as the “On Top of the World” treasure hunt challenge or take some good photos in “Through the Looking Glass”.

While $59 on its own, Forza Horizon 5 is also part of Xbox Game Pass, a $9.99/month subscription service that lets you play over 100 high-quality games on Xbox or Windows PC. , or $14.99/month for an “Ultimate” plan (both platforms).

A Piranha Factory awaits you at a gate in Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit.

Much more arcade than a deep racing simulation, Nintendo’s “Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit” lets you race a Mario Kart in your own home using augmented reality (AR) technology. Use the Nintendo Switch console to control your kart and watch how it reacts to what’s happening in the game as you boost and drift to victory.

You can place gates and virtual objects to customize courses, then see them come to life with different play environments, like jungles and snowscapes, and obstacles like Piranha plants.

Great idea and appropriate for players of all ages.

Also available for Nintendo Switch is “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe — Booster Course Pass”, a collection of 48 remastered courses that will roll out throughout 2022 and 2023, available as downloadable content (DLC) for the popular game Mario Kart 8 Deluxe ($59).

Courses include Tokyo Blur and Paris Promenade (taken from the mobile game Mario Kart Tour), as well as fan favorites like N64 Choco Mountain and Wii Coconut Mall, playable on Nintendo Switch for the first time.

This DLC is included in a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription ($49.99/year), which gives you access to classic Nintendo 64 games (with newly added online play) and retro SEGA Genesis games, plus to certain DLC content, such as “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe – Booster Course Pass”, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Happy Home Paradise” and “Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion”.

Mobile games too

Everything is racing, but without a game console to play on? A few games are also available for smartphones and tablets.

Available from Eden Games, “Gear.Club: Stradale” (available through Apple Arcade for $4.99 per month) is set in Italy – mostly in the beautiful region of Tuscany – and lets you buy, upgrade and to race supercars among the biggest car manufacturers in the world. brands such as Porsche, Bugatti, McLaren, Alfa Romeo, Lotus, Nissan and Bentley.

In addition to solo matches to hone your skills, you can compete against friends in various races, take part in special events (daily, weekly and monthly), participate in global competitions and climb the ranks of the world ranking of the best players.

And while it’s a few years old, Gameloft’s gorgeous “Asphalt 9: Legends” is available for Apple and Android devices (and hey, Windows PC too). This is a “freemium” game, meaning there is no cost to start playing, but there are optional in-game purchases.

In over a dozen real-world locations, you can collect, customize and race over 150 vehicles (like Ferraris, Porsches or Lamborghinis) and compete in over 900 single-player career events or live 8-player races.

Follow Marc on Twitter for his “Tech Tip of the Day” posts: @marc_saltzman. Email him or subscribe to his Tech It Out podcast. And receive weekly tech news, tips and insights by subscribing to the Talking Tech newsletter.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

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