PS4 Racing games come on a wide spectrum between arcade style driving like Need For Speed or Trackmania and titles attempting to simulate real life as closely as possible. Here we have a look at those that could call themselves a PS4 racing simulator and see how they compare.
The main criteria I am using to judge these games are how realistic the driving physics feel and how good the online racing experience is. Please note that when I mention driving experience I refer to the feel of driving the car whereas racing experience refers to the online competitive aspect of these games. So without further ado let’s get into it.
Gran Turismo Sport – Great for racing and competition, not the best physics
Gran Turismo is the grandpa of sim racing on Playstation having been around since 1997. Although their slogan “the real driving simulator” doesn’t really describe what they actually offer nowadays you can still have a lot of fun with this game.
What GT Sport does offer is currently the best competitive online racing platform for PS4. Their ranking system matches you with people of similar skill level. They even have a world tour for the best players in the world based on standings in the online FIA sanctioned races that are open to all.
Alternatively if you just want something more casual they have 3 “daily” races. These are car and track combinations that last for a week before being changed. This helps the quality of the racing as by the end of the week people generally know what they’re doing and you can get some great battles with other drivers. The setups for all the competitive races are the same for everybody so it is all about the driving.
The tracklist boasts 33 individual tracks and the car count comes to 334 meaning they have most cars on this list and no shortage of tracks to try them out on.
The weakest point for Gran Turismo is the driving physics, at least from a sim racing perspective. As it is a showcase Playstation game they have to design physics that are driveable with a controller. This is great news if you want an easy, accessible way of getting into competitive online racing. But if you are looking for a realistic driving simulator you won’t find it here.
Gran Turismo Sport Ratings
Driving Realism/Physics : 2/5
Online Racing Experience: 5/5
Assetto Corsa Competizione – Great for online racing and realism but only for GT racing
As one might guess from the name, Assetto Corsa Competizione focuses on the competition aspect of racing simulation much more than the original Assetto Corsa.
ACC is the official game of the GT World Challenge, a real life GT3 racing series run by SRO. All the cars and tracks in this game are from the real championship. This does mean that if you want to drive anything else there isn’t really an option for you here. As a result there are currently only 24 cars and 15 tracks in the game.
However, this is definitely a case of quality over quantity. They have laser scanned every track to make the racing as realistic as possible. As for the cars, all the 2019 and 2018 GT World Challenge cars are there as well as the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Additionally soon there will be 10 GT4 cars and 3 British GT series’ tracks to be added as paid DLC.
As with its older brother AC, Assetto Corsa Competizione is one of, if not the most accurate driving simulator in all of sim racing. If you want to feel what it is like to drive a GT3 car from the comfort of your own home, ACC as close as you can get.
There are however, a few drawbacks compared to the others on this list. These are namely the graphics, a low frame rate at 30 FPS, a small amount of input lag and some other bugs. These are all issues one might expect when porting a resource heavy PC game to console. Hopefully Kunos Simulazione will be able to iron these out in future updates.
The online racing platform is also a bit rough around the edges and it looses out to GT Sport in this regard due to lack of variety. However it does offer a great ranking system always matching you with players of a similar skill level, making it the second best driving simulator on this list. For a realistic GT racing experience on PS4 nothing comes close.
Assetto Corsa Competizione Ratings
Driving Realism/Physics: 5/5
Online Racing Experience: 4/5
Assetto Corsa – Most realistic driving experience but no online ranking and low track count
Kunos Simulazioni surprised everyone when they announced they would release their PC racing simulator on consoles in 2016. This made it the first hardcore racing simulator available for PS4.
If you want a realistic driving simulator on your PS4 nothing beats Assetto Corsa. All the cars behave just as you might expect their real life counterparts would so if you are looking for realism this definitely ticks all the boxes. This does mean that Assetto Corsa is not very easy to drive with a controller. So in order to really enjoy this game a wheel and pedal set is the best option.
The Ultimate Edition has a decent 178 cars included, but unfortunately only 16 individual tracks to drive. This isn’t anywhere near as many as the others on this list. However, of these tracks, the real ones are laser scanned and very close to their real life counterparts. So if you are looking for realism then this should make up for the low track count.
The online segment is not the best as there is no ranking system at all. This means that unless you join a league you will just end up in random lobbies with people of varying skill levels. If this is an issue to you then I would suggest looking at Assetto Corsa Competizione.
However, If you are looking for the best, most realistic driving experience (beyond GT cars) then the original Assetto Corsa is for you.
Assetto Corsa Ratings
Driving Realism/Physics: 5/5
Online Racing Experience: 2/5
Project CARS 2 – Content rich, physics second only to Assetto Corsa on PS4 but lacks online ranking system
Project CARS started life in 2012, C.A.R.S. standing for Community Assisted Racing Simulator. Since then Project CARS 2 has become one of the most popular racing games on console.
The game contains an unrivaled 60 individual tracks along with 189 cars to drive. Included in the car list are rallycross cars and karts as well as many traditional circuit racing and road cars making sure that there is certainly no lack of diversity.
All of this variety is presented with graphics that are right up there with the best on this list. The range of weather effects are especially impressive with even options for blizzard and snow.
The physics replicate the feeling of driving a car well but fall short of AC in this regard with some odd handling behaviors here and there. A wheel is the superior option for this game but pad users will be happy that this game is playable after some adjustment of the controller settings.
Like the original AC the online experience is very hit and miss as there is no ranking system. You can get lucky with some good races here and there but not on a consistent basis. This leaves you to race against the AI which is actually quite good and it is the best way to consistently have good races in the game.
Overall Project CARS 2 is a great selection if you like variety and want to try out a lot of different forms of motorsport with a good amount of realism.
Project CARS 2 Ratings
Driving Realism/Physics: 4/5
Online Racing Experience: 2/5
F1 2019 – Arcadey physics but great F1 experience
Since acquiring the F1 licence in 2010 Codemasters has updated the official F1 game every year to keep up with the current seasons. The focus on one series helps deliver the best and most realistic PS4 F1 racing simulator.
As an F1 game, the car and track choices are limited to only those seen in the real life series. In addition you can find classic cars from past seasons and the F2 car (which only really counts as one).
The online multiplayer segment contains a decent ranking system. You will be matched with a lobby of random players of a relatively similar skill level to you. Then you get a single lap of qualifying followed by a 5 lap race. This is great if you just want to hop online and have a quick competitive race. However if you want longer races you will have to join a league or race the AI.
The offline career mode is where this game really shines compared to the others on this list. The way the game simulates an F1 weekend is very immersive. It is very easy to get invested in helping the team upgrade the car or to focus on nailing a lap to get you into Q3.
The driving physics are a little floaty and they don’t give you a realistic sense of driving a F1 car. The focus is instead on playability as the game has a very broad appeal. Controllers work well on this game and come very close to wheel users in terms of outright speed.
In conclusion, if you want to simulate an F1 experience then the official F1 game is for you. The physics may not be the most true to life of all the options available on console but it is a great place for F1 fans to live out their racing driver fantasies.
F1 2019 Ratings
Driving Realism/Physics: 3/5
Online Racing Experience: 3/5
Overall Rankings: So which is the best PS4 racing simulator?
PS4 DRIVING SIMULATOR
DRIVING REALISM / PHYSICS
ONLINE RACING EXPERIENCE
Gran Turismo Sport
Assetto Corsa Competizione
Project CARS 2
Assetto Corsa Competizione comes out on top in the overall ranking. It has an incredible handling model and good online racing platform. However there are a few bugs in the launch edition which do not show up in these ratings and should be taken into account. Nevertheless, if you are looking for the best PS4 racing simulator, this is your game
Driving Realism / Physics Rankings
- Assetto Corsa/Competizione
- Project CARS 2
- F1 2019
- GT Sport
Assetto Corsa has its rivals beat here, the cars feel just like their real life counterparts. If you want to experience pushing a car to its limits on PS4 this is the game you need.
Online Racing Experience Rankings
- GT Sport
- Assetto Corsa Competizione
- F1 2019
- Project CARS 2 and Assetto Corsa
For online racing on PS4 GT Sport beats out its competition. Sure there are problems with the penalty system which can be frustrating at times but the online racing platform makes up for that. You will always find someone of your skill level to race against, consistently giving you some really great, close races.
This concludes the PS4 racing simulator comparison. If you are also interested in iRacing check out the article I wrote about Which iRacing Cars to Buy For 2020 Season 3.