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A race in GTA Online (Image via Rockstar)

5 open-world video games with some of the best driving mechanics

While dedicated racing video games exist to liven up serious racing enthusiasts, most casual players have fun driving around in an open-world video game from a limited selection of cars. Sometimes, players may choose to take a break from all the missions to go for a late-night drive.

That’s not to say that open-world games do not have great driving mechanics. Far from it, in fact. Games have shown in recent years that even in large-scale sprawling open worlds, there is still space for a decent driving experience.


Intuitive driving designs have been implemented in many open-world video games for an enjoyable and complex driving experience. In this list are five such examples of open-world video games where driving was not as simple as pressing a single button to go forward and then another to take a left turn.

Explore these open-world video games where driving was fun


1) GTA V


Rockstar Games has been in the business of making large-scale modern open-world games for years now, and GTA V was the culmination of all the experience gained from the games that came before. So naturally, driving was also a significant improvement.

Driving has always been a constantly developing factor throughout the GTA games, and GTA V delivers greatly in that regard. This video game is arguably the best open-world with the most realistic driving mechanics in recent years. This video game features an excellent intuitive driving control with proper brake times and acceleration.

Weather also plays a great deal in how a vehicle will perform on the road, with going too fast during rains resulting in skidding. Accidents visibly affect the vehicle, with too much damage to the engine resulting in the vehicle stopping working. Little touches like this result in GTA V and GTA online still being a fun experience to play today.


2) Watch Dogs Legion


While not as realistic as GTA V, Watch Dogs Legion has a decent level of driving mechanics to benefit its open world. As this video game series centers around hacking, players can hack other cars and electronics on the go, enabling them to take control and use it to their advantage.

Thus, driving in this game is a more straightforward, easier experience so that players can hack other devices while driving. This allows for an overall more fun mechanic of players hacking another car or bike while still driving around in their vehicle.

Driving is also a significant improvement from the previous video games, with each vehicle feeling heavy and weighted, resulting in better turning and an overall more realistic experience. While controls are still relatively simple, this is mainly done, so controlling a car via remote hacking is a fun task rather than a cumbersome experience.

3) Days Gone


Days Gone was not a great video game, with a story that left a lot to be desired and underperforming in sales. However, the driving in the game was quite enjoyable. Rather, it would be ridden since players can only access protagonist Deacon’s bike as a mode of transport.

One of the game's core features, the bike has to be maintained and tuned to keep it in prime condition, with fueling being the main concern. Despite these maintenance requirements, the actual riding around felt smooth and looked cool. The handling might take a little used to by players, but it's mostly smooth sailing from there once that hurdle is over.

The bike can be further modified and improved with better handling and equipment to give it an offensive element, helping keep the freakers away. Performance upgrades can also increase speed, durability, carrying capacity, and overall acceleration and speed.

4) Mafia: The Definitive Edition


Mafia: The Definitive Edition’s driving was seemingly received poorly by fans as an example of when realism might be a detracting factor. This resulted from the developer’s dedication to making the drive feel realistic for the setting of the game’s story.


As this video game is set from 1930 through 1938, the vehicles present in the game were historically appropriate and thus moved slowly, compared to the more modern vehicles players were used to in games like GTA and Saints Row. As a result, many players have condemned the game for its design choice.

However, those who looked past these inherent expectations praised the game's driving as era-appropriate. Vehicles felt accordingly heavy, and turning circles were slow, as in real-life vehicles of those times. Combined with the stunning graphical overhaul of his remake, driving around the city was a surreal experience.

5) Batman: Arkham Knight


The final video game in Rocksteady’s Arkham Trilogy saw the addition of a fully functioning and usable Batmobile, serving as the final piece to give the players the full experience of ’being the Batman.' While this vehicle tank has a battle mode for taking on armored tanks, its pursuit mode is a true highlight.

As the name suggests, pursuit mode allows Batman to freely use Batmobile to move about Gotham city, giving chase when required. The car has full driving controls in this mode, with true acceleration and a deceleration button. In addition, rocket propulsion allowed for quick lane changes and sharp turns.

Game design also heightened the experience as clipping into building walls slightly did not put a halt to the movement, as the walls would crumble under the tank’s weight. While vehicles ridden by thugs were quickly taken out with a well-placed sideswipe of the Batmobile. Only time will tell whether Rocksteady will add a similar driveable vehicle to their Suicide Squad video game.


Note: This article reflects the writer's opinions.

Edited by
Srijan Sen
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