It’s hard to find good drag racing games. But over the years, there have been a few real gems on PlayStation consoles.
Drag racing is probably the subgenre of racing games that doesn’t get a lot of attention because it’s so easy to play. Even though it seems like these types of races just involve two racers going head-to-head in a straight line, there’s a lot more to choosing not only the car and the track, but also the properties of those cars. For example, shifting is much more important in these races than in others.
Players who want to try drag racing in a video game can look at a few PlayStation games that might suit them. It looks like there have been some drag racing games for different PlayStation consoles over the years that a player might like.
Need For Speed: Pro Street (2015 – PS2, PSP, PS3)
As with other Need For Speed games, Need For Speed: Pro Street gives players a classic NFS experience where vehicle customization takes a more visual front seat and a variety of racing modes give them a lot to do to get the most out of their playthroughs. Pro Street, on the other hand, takes a more professional route by putting races on tracks instead of letting players chase cops around an open world. The open-world part of the game is gone, and players now interact with most of the game through menus. This makes the game feel more like a series of separate parts.
Even though the overall physics of the cars and the lack of an open world are complaints about the Need For Speed game, the addition of drag racing is a nice addition to the series. Even though drag in this game isn’t as deep as it is in other games, the racing mode adds a change of pace to the usual Sprint and Circuit modes in NFS. Also, the game’s version of drag racing has minigames like “heating up the tires” that give newcomers a good idea of what drag racing is like on the surface level. This makes Pro Street a good way to get into the sport.
IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005 (2004 – PS2)
IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005 came out in 2004 for the PlayStation 2. It is one of the best drag racing games for the PlayStation in the early 2000s. The game is as simple as it gets for fans of the sport of drag racing, even though it lacks some of the more visually appealing features that made racing games like Need for Speed so popular.
IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005 is all about buying drag racing cars, making careful changes to them, and making sure everything is just right so they do well in drag races. This game is good for people who have never played a drag race game before and want to try something simple. But, since this is a cheap racing game, players should expect performance to be about average.
NHRA Championship Drag Racing (2005 – PS2)
Even though it came out a year after IHRA Professional Drag Racing 2005, NHRA Championship Drag Racing for the PS2 in 2005 was one of the most complicated drag racing games at the time. Compared to the simpler IHRA version, Championship Drag Racing takes on drag racing in a way that fans of the sport probably liked: each race is a puzzle. Players only have to press the pedal for five seconds at a time, so every second counts.
And in NHRA Championship Drag Racing, players have a lot of chances to change just about everything. Players can change parts of their cars that other racing games don’t let them change. Some of these are the angle of the wings, the choice of lane, the tire pressure, the overdrive sliders, the different clutches, and even the weight settings. All of these settings may only make small changes to the car’s basic stats, but they have a big effect on how well it races. Even though it’s not the best racing game ever, drag racing fans and newcomers who want to learn more about the sport should give this a try.
NHRA: Countdown To The Championship (2007 – PS2)
Given how complicated drag racing is as a type of racing, it’s likely that NHRA: Countdown to the Championship would turn off new fans right away. Those who want to try this rather complicated sport, though, will enjoy the fact that each race is a puzzle to be solved.
As with other NHRA games, Countdown to the Championship lets you change cars in a lot of different ways. But Happy Wheels game was a lot more fun for fans of the series because the graphics were better and it was easier to play. The addition of motorcycles and rocket cars gave the series a unique look and a much-needed change of pace, since it is mostly about cars. Even so, fans of older games who want a different way to solve problems and puzzles could spend hours in this cult racing classic getting the smallest settings of their cars “just right” for the best performance in races.
Street Outlaws: The List (2019 – PS4)
It’s not often that a game is based on a popular reality TV show, but Street Outlaws: The List does just that. The List is based on a Discovery Channel show where people compete to be the “best” at street racing in Oklahoma. Players can be their own version of the winner in this show. Players are more driven than ever to win now that the competition is taking place all over the United States.
Like other drag racing games, The List still requires players to race against each other in tight races to prove that their vehicle is the best. But this racing game is more fun than others because the graphics are much more realistic than in other games, there are Easter Eggs in the form of NPCs from the show, and there are fun minigames that add some excitement to the rather boring drag racing. Fans who want a more modern drag racing game should try The List to see why this type of racing game is so popular.
IHRA Drag Racing (2001 – PS1)
IHRA Drag Racing for the PlayStation 1 could be a good choice for players who want a real “classic” drag racing game. Drag Racing for the PS1 is the first game in the IHRA Drag Racing series, but it is the second game in the series overall. IHRA Drag Racing has a career mode that is similar to the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA). In this mode, players can choose their cars and the tracks they want to race on.
But what makes IHRA Drag Racing stand out is how well it takes care of cars. Aside from being able to buy parts, players can also look at other statistics that may affect how well a car does during the race. IHRA Drag Racing is fun to play despite its technical problems because it has a “classic” look that makes it feel like an arcade racing game.
Gran Turismo 7 (2022 – PS4, PS5)
Gran Turismo 7 is a racing game that lives up to expectations. It has to follow and beat 12 other games in the series, which is no easy task. Not only does the game have 19 locations that can be set up in up to 27 different ways, but it also has 177 different kinds of cars. On top of these, the game has a large Campaign Mode, a detailed Sports Mode, and an Arcade Mode.
Gran Turismo 7 is not necessarily a “hard” drag racing game, but its “free-for-all” focus is a welcome sight for people who are new to drag racing or who want to try a drag racing game with beautiful graphics. Gran Turismo 7 has a simpler drag race mode that people who want a simpler drag race can enjoy before moving on to more complex drag racing games.
Dirt Rally 2.0 (2019 – PS4)
Fans of racing games would be interested in Dirt Rally 2.0 because it is a very realistic take on the genre. Since the series is mostly about rallycross and rallying, it makes sense for the games to be very physics-based. In turn, players can choose from up to 50 cars, and each match has a dynamic weather system that affects how the car performs, as well as road surfaces that change based on pressure, which requires them to pay close attention.
So, it makes sense that Dirt Rally 2.0 has active drag racing parts, even though that’s not its main focus. Because the game has different stages and matchmaking options, players can play against each other in ways that are similar to drag races. Not only that, but Dirt Rally 2.0’s physics system is perfect for people who want to experience a very realistic drag race match.
Need For Speed (2015 – PS4)
The underground racing culture has become a big part of the Need For Speed series, and drag racing has become a big part of many of the games in the series. This is still true of Need for Speed, which came out in 2015, and its drag racing may have been the most customizable part of the series so far. The game’s take on urban car culture gives drag racing a much-needed “stylish” update, thanks in part to EA’s focus on the “Speedhunters” style.
In terms of how the drag itself works, the 2015 game is similar to other games in this genre. Aside from the main racing part, Need For Speed Drag Races require good burnouts, keeping the RPMs in the right range, and getting a “perfect” launch to get a head start.
The Crew 2 (2018 – PS4, PS5)
The Crew 2 looks like a typical racing game at first glance. But, like the first game, The Crew 2 lets players become “the best of the base” in many different types of racing. Players can control vehicles other than cars, like powerboats, motorcycles, and planes, in the game’s persistent open world. But where The Crew 2 really shines is in its racing modes, such as Freestyle, Off-Road, Pro Racing, and Street Racing, which let players play drag racing matches.
Like other drag racing games, The Crew 2’s drag racing requires players to pay attention to how they time their shifts. Unlike other racing games that pay a lot of attention to realism, The Crew 2’s drag races have a more “casual” feel to them. This gives the game a lighter, more straightforward feel that’s perfect for people who just want to drag race without having to deal with complicated controls.
Project Cars 2 (2017 – PS4)
The Crew is a more “casual” multi-racing game, but Project Cars 2 ups the ante by taking players to different pro-racing tracks while focusing on realism and intense physics. Project Cars 2 lets you race touring cars, rallycross cars, prototypes, GT cars, and open-wheel cars. This gives you a lot of options for different types of races, especially drag racing.
Project Cars 2 is one of the best ways to drag race as realistically as possible because it has different types of surfaces that change depending on the weather. Not only that, but players can try drag racing with some of the maddest cars, like open-wheel cars and prototypes that look like they came from the future. With these features and the game’s punishing physics, Project Cars 2 is a great way to simulate drag racing without having to deal with the more intense parts of the sport.
NHRA Championship Drag Racing: Speed For All (2022 – PS4, PS5)
It’s not a surprise that a drag racing game for consoles is based on one of the most popular drag racing organizations. The most recent one is NHRA Championship Drag Racing: Speed For All, which gives players the chance to experience the same thrill as in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) races, but this time they are behind the wheel. Unlike other racing games that include drag racing, Speed For All puts drag racing in the spotlight.
Fans of the genre, both new and old, would like how the game is more realistic than other racing games that focus on street racing. In addition to having 38 famous NHRA drivers, the game uses real-world tracks and a physics-based engine. Not only that, but the game does a great job of teaching people who are new to drag racing how the sport works, making it a must-have for people who are just getting into it.