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Racing games have been a popular source of fun for gamers since the first age (yes, that long), and for a genre that you might think to be fairly basic in concept – with the aim being to simply outrace your opponent – it has certainly evolved over the years, that’s for sure. We’re not here to simply talk about the best racing games though, oh no, because we are going to condense the search down to an evolved sub-genre; to look at what are the best off-road games, those games that give you a little more freedom with vehicle choice, variety of terrain, and offering you a lot more excitement in your racing game. So, on that note, what are the best PS5 off-road games? Let’s discuss.
The first game on this list of the best PS5 off-road games is the pretty terrible Overpass. Released in 2020 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC (but can be played on next-gen consoles), this hardcore off-road driving game is focused and compelling at times, but those times are rare, and it is a little bit too austere for its own good. The game was criticized for its in-game physics – which are incredibly frustrating – the unrealistic nature of the game, and the graphics which are just not up to a good enough standard, especially seeing as it’s relatively new too. Overpass falls way short of the level of these other games, which is why it’s at the bottom of this list of the best off-road games.
#14 Monster Jam Steel Titans 2
The number one reason this game is so disappointing is that they don’t utilize these monster trucks – monster trucks are awesome, and this is just a huge, missed opportunity to make a really fun off-road game. The glaring issues from the first game were not dealt with in this sequel, constantly following the same mistakes, and it leads to so much frustration that you’ll want to throw your controller out of the nearest window. The in-game physics are slow and buggy, the smallest things like not being able to reset your truck after flipping – and that’s just the beginning of it. Monster Jam Steel Titans 2 has too many missed opportunities and bugs for it to be even remotely engaging.
#13 V-Rally 4
V-Rally 4 had the potential to be a really great off-road racing game, with this rally game hopefully trying to take the rally genre back to a high standard, rivaling other, more successful rally games. V-Rally 4 starts off pretty good and offers some cool environments, a variety of cars, and some nice visuals, but the game becomes incredibly repetitive after a while, and the events all become a little bit too similar which stagnates the whole thing. Now, coupled with all the gameplay issues, the terrible problems with lag, and finally the issues with the game’s frame rate (it really is a frustrating mess this game), V-Rally 4 falls way short of being a great off-road game.
#12 Dakar 18
The kind of game that just feels unfinished and missing too many details in a lot of different areas. Released in 2018 with great expectations as a return to the Dakar Rally Championship, Dakar 18 is a very misjudged game that can feel refreshingly different, to begin with, but then slowly ends up being increasingly frustrating, behind the pace, and poorly implemented. The car physics are not great, and the navigation isn’t any better, but the map itself is massive (18,000 km²) and incredibly detailed, so it’s not all bad. However, there are far too many bad qualities compared to its good qualities, which is why this game doesn’t live long in the memory of the best off-road games.
The brilliantly named Gravel was released in 2018 for PlayStation 4 and can be played on next-gen consoles as well. It is quite challenging and very entertaining but ultimately can’t compete when trying to battle with other similar titles. The graphics are not the greatest, and it is definitely suited best for PlayStation 4 rather than the PlayStation 5 because they look too dated for the more modern console. It is a shame that this game falters in the end because when you first experience it, you are immediately drawn into this fast-paced world of off-road racing, but soon enough it becomes repetitive and slightly boring.
#10 Riders Republic
Now, this is one of the most enjoyable off-road games and one that is very different from the others on the list. The four main activities available in the game include mountain biking, skiing, snowboarding, and wingsuit flying – yes, that’s right, no actual motor vehicles at all. It really is an impressive game, and you can have hours of fun by yourself or with a buddy, offering a lot of freedom, a great community, and fantastic off-road racing. The atmosphere is vibrant and very realistic, but it is far from the finished article. There are some things that feel largely forgotten about, with other aspects directing most of the favor, and this is what gives it a slightly unbalanced feeling.
#9 Art of Rally
Definitely the quirkiest film on the list, the most vibrant, and possibly the most fun. Art of Rally is incredibly wholesome, has a wonderful soundtrack, and the photo mode is amazing and offers you the chance to routinely change your console wallpapers due to the amazing screenshots you can get. Don’t be distracted by this game’s cuteness though because it is still quite a difficult game to master, but once you do it’s very satisfying. From indie developers Funselektor Labs Inc, it still needs some of its issues ironed out, but that comes with the size of the game, so don’t let those distract you from a lovely little game.
#8 Dirt 5
Another off-road racing game with an adequately chosen name. Dirt 5 is chaotic and flashy but it kind of works, and it lets you have epic races on a multitude of tracks and surfaces. The game is nowhere near perfect, but arcade racer fans will absolutely love this because it does exactly what it sets out to do. The changing weather is a really great feature of this game, with the mud, water, and snow being a lot more realistic than earlier arcade games. One of its biggest plus points is the fact it isn’t overcomplicated, and you can relax and enjoy the carnage without it being too difficult.
#7 Mad Max
A lot of people love the Mad Max series, they are some of the best action movies of all time, so when a game was announced, the excitement started to bubble up even more. The game itself is a great one, although it can feel very repetitive for the most part; the similar action and the objectives get a little tiresome. However, we’re here to talk about the racing aspect, and that is one of the best parts of the game. Off-road racing is a major part of the franchise, and in this game, you can utilize it brilliantly, competing in violent races with the coolest-looking vehicles, and battling other drivers at every opportunity.
#6 The Crew 2
The first thing to think about when playing this game is the poor graphics because if you can get past them, you can play a great immersive game that’s full of fun. You have the freedom to cruise around on your own or in a crew (hence the name) whilst trying to complete several activities as well. The really great thing is the persistent open world environment with full free-roaming across a scaled-down recreation of the United States – now that is quite the thing. Along with the huge map, players also have access to a range of vehicles, with them all being as fun as the previous one.
This off-road simulation game was praised for its epic visuals when it was originally released in 2020 (2022 for next-gen consoles) and it’s hard to argue against that praise. The pacing also felt very authentic, as the player controls over 60 different off-road vehicles whilst traversing locations to complete all the objectives. This is the sequel to MudRunner and features largely the same kind of thing as its predecessor, and yet, this sequel feels ever so slightly inferior to the first. There is a huge market for these trucking simulators, and this one is definitely up there in terms of immersion.
It feels very adequate to position SnowRunner’s predecessor just ahead of it after everything I just said, so here it is. MudRunner is another off-road simulation game that forces players to drive through muddy unpaved roads in old Soviet vehicles, with nothing but a map and a compass. The aim is to transport logs to their destination without depleting resources (such as fuel) or damaging the vehicle. You can play this game either on your own or with a buddy, and both modes use six main maps. It is just another great simulation game that you can relax whilst playing, but one you can also get truly sucked into.
#3 Dirt Rally 2.0
One of the most realistic rally racing games and the sequel to the original Dirt Rally (another great game). This is a really phenomenal rally game and with its super cheap price these days, it is incredible value for money as well. It is super slick, has great attention to detail, and there is a proper sense of speed that you don’t get from a lot of other racing games. The Dirt series is probably the best rally game series out there, and this is the best of the series, which is no easy feat. There is a brilliant selection of venues to choose from, the cars range from Mini Coopers to Ford Fiestas, and it is also licensed by the World Rallycross Championship, which gives it another helping hand.
#2 Grand Theft Auto V
This is one of the greatest games of the 21st century, and definitely one of the most iconic of all time. The sheer amount of people still playing this after 10 years just shows how popular it still is, and as we all know, you can do pretty much anything you want on it. The racing and the ability to go off-road in basically any vehicle of your choosing is a wonderfully fun aspect of the game, but the reason that you can pretty much do anything in GTA V is the reason it isn’t top of this list because the driving part is just one of several areas you can have fun in. The car mechanics will always be a fun feature of this game; with the number of vehicles and specific driving missions all being fantastic.
The number one game on this list of the best PS5 off-road games is the wonderful, remastered version of Wreckfest from 2021. Very highly received by fans and critics because it has everything you would ever need from an off-road racer. It is fantastic fun, incredibly realistic (which a lot of games lack), the gameplay is smooth, and nothing ever feels repetitive. The car physics, the damage modeling, and the feel of transitions as you go from dirt to pavement are perfect, and the car sounds are just as perfect. This isn’t just the best off-road game, but it also rivals the likes of Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport for the title of the best racing game full stop. A brilliant game and one truly worthy of winning many a list.