You have not played any game recently!

Remove ?

You are removing the game from your account and My Games . Depending on the developer, your game progress may be permanently deleted.

Note: may still retain some data you shared with them directly or during game play. Please visit () privacy policy for details about having your data deleted.

Plugged In

Speed Thrills: 2011′s Upcoming Racers

Plugged In

Waiting for a good racing game is like waiting for a bus: you sit there for hours, and then
suddenly three come along at once.

And let's be honest about it: outside of a few standouts, the last couple years haven't been kind to racing fans. But things are about to get better, because 2011 is lining up
to be a banner year for the genre. Bringing gamers new titles in a diverse
range of franchises -- from Super Mario Kart to Forza to Twisted Metal -- 2011
promises to be packed with high-octane variety. Here are just a few of the
titles to watch for.

Shift 2: Unleashed

View gallery

.

Shift 2: Unleashed

Where better to start than with the Need for Speed franchise? It's a trendy name these days,
thanks to last year's superlative Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. But the latest
game in the series, Shift 2: Unleashed, opts to drop the NFS moniker
altogether. Why? According to statements made by the game's producer, it's to
differentiate Shift's more realistic experience from Hot Pursuit's arcadey style.

Still, Need for Speed or not, Shift 2 is looking fantastic. It'll bring together Shift's
ultra-realistic graphics -- plus its equally lifelike racing physics -- with
the class-leading Autolog social online experience from Hot Pursuit, and that
sounds like a winning recipe to us. London developer Slightly Mad Studios, the
brains behind the first Shift, are once again in the driving seat. Look for it
in stores next week.

Check
out History's Greatest Racers

NASCAR The Game: 2011

View gallery

.

NASCAR The Game: 2011

But perhaps your idea of racing is more in line with the turn-left thrills of NASCAR. If so,
you're in luck: the latest NASCAR game will be screeching into stores alongside
Shift 2. This year the license is in the hands of Activision rather than EA --
and if you played any of EA's more recent NASCAR efforts, you're likely to
consider that to be good news. We're hoping the new pair of hands will mean a
brighter future for this oddly neglected marque.

Motorstorm: Apocalypse

View gallery

.

Motorstorm: Apocalypse

Racing fans are accustomed to being overtaken by competitors, but poor off-road racer sequel
Motorstorm: Apocalypse has been overtaken by recent events. Set in a city amid
the throes of a massive earthquake, a series of real natural disasters -- first
in New Zealand, and lately in Japan -- have rendered its theme considerably
less appealing than it might have looked six months ago. Consequently, the
game's original March/April launch window has been delayed, and presumably it will
be along a little later this year. Sorry, Motorstorm fans, but count your blessings,
eh?

Twisted Metal

View gallery

.

Twisted Metal

Once upon a time, the smash-em-up racer was one of the stalwarts of the genre, as exemplified by the likes of PC classic Carmageddon, Psygnosis hit Destruction Derby, and
15-million-selling blockbuster Twisted Metal on the Playstation. Of late, this
cheerfully violent subgenre has taken a backseat to more serious racing forms,
but it's making a return in 2011 -- and it's about time, too. Naturally,
leading the charge is a new version of Twisted Metal, in development for the Playstation
3 at the hands of David Jaffe, the brains behind the original game. It's still
without a fixed release date, but we fully expect it to blow up this summer or
fall.

Dirt 3

View gallery

.

Dirt 3

Rally aficionados will recognize this as the latest in the long-running Colin McRae series of
realistic off-road racing games. But whereas the last Dirt game took in all manner of off-road events (losing some of the rally faithful in the process), this year's release is putting the focus back where it belongs -- on the
point-to-point dirt, gravel, and tarmac time trials that made the series such a hit. Top American driver Ken Block features prominently in the absence of the  dearly departed McRae, and the game
gains a split-screen mode, a series first.

Mario Kart 3DS

View gallery

.

Mario Kart 3DS

Another Nintendo system, another Mario Kart. Due to hit streets March 27, Nintendo's innovative, three-dimensional 3DS is bound to be a big seller. While this 3D update of the
classic kart racer -- the classic kart racer, we should say -- isn't due until later this year, press reports already tip it as one of the new
platform's most promising games. We're still waiting for more details about exactly what tracks, characters, and powerups will make the cut, but somehow we doubt the new version will veer too far from the staggeringly successful trail blazed by the earlier games in the series.

Forza Motorsport 4

View gallery

.

Forza Motorsport 4

The latest in the acclaimed Forza series will likely be the year's biggest news in racing
games  -- at least, if you own an Xbox
360. Those equipped with Microsoft's smash-hit Kinect motion control system will be especially pleased as they'll be able to use the camera to  "virtually" poke about inside their cars.
Further details remain tightly under wraps, but we do know that developer Turn 10 Studios has employed the services of the U.S. version of snarky British car show Top Gear in the quest to make the game into what they're calling "an automotive experience unlike anything before it." We're not quite sure what
they mean by that, but if the British show is anything to go by, we'll be
strapping rocket engines to Minis and turning Toyota trucks into
Channel-crossing boats at Forza 4's release this fall. We can't wait.

View Comments