Cars, those accursed monstrosities that rule the roads in place of civilian walkways, sure are beauties, huh? Yeah, they’re weapons in the wrong hands, but they’re also a mechanical marvel. All those moving, intricate parts that zoom you around the place. Games are a bit of a technical marvel too, so cars are a good fit!
Games are all fiction though, so you can have as many cars as you want! But why restrict yourself to what’s humanly possible? That’s boring. No, there are plenty of games with boring cars but this article is going to celebrate the fun ones. The ones that don’t just feel good but look good. The ones that feel like they couldn’t exist anywhere else.
Twisted Metal is having a bit of a resurgence at the moment, though maybe not in the way many people may have wanted. Though a live-action series is on the way at the time of writing, what fans are really clamoring for is a new entry in the dark demolition derby deathmatch series. Dreams are nice to have.
None of the Twisted Metal games really have you customising your vehicle at all, but choosing from a selection of unique vehicles. They’re wonderful creations, taking that scrapped-together feeling of something like Robot Wars into vehicular destruction. Who doesn’t love an ice cream truck that’s packing extreme heat from a flaming clown?
7 Rocket League – Rocket Cars
When Rocket League appeared, it was like a revelation in gaming: sports games didn’t need to be boring. Maybe an extreme statement, but when the alternative is a yearly numbered entry, Rocket League feels special. Its rules are like what an outsider views the rules of football as. Two teams, you get the ball in the other’s goal. Oh, and you’re a rocket-powered car.
With the number of collaborations and content packs Rocket League has, it’s pretty hard to pick out a singular “best” car. They’re all great! Jumping around the pitch with a quick thrust, driving along the walls to chase someone down, and performing mid-air tackles in cars that look like the kind you might have played with as a child is just silly fun.
6 Mass Effect – The Mako
Bioware is renowned for its RPGs, from Baldur’s Gate to Dragon Age, but Mass Effect holds a special place for its incredibly well-realized companions you spend such a long journey with and wonderful aliens. Of course, the crowning achievement of the entire series is obviously the Mako, planet rover extraordinaire.
Now, you could argue that the Mako isn’t strictly a car but a rover. Thing is, this is a video game, and you do drive it across the surfaces of planets, so whatever, it’s a car. That clunky movement is infuriating, yet part of its charm. Roaming a distant planet while your team chatters and you try to shakily shoot down obstacles in your great white vehicle is wondrous.
5 Mad Max – The Magnum Opus
Though more recently Mad Max may be remembered for the Tom Hardy flick, it actually began way back in 1979 with the very first film. Since then, it’s become a massive media machine and even stretched into video games. The 2015 Mad Max by Avalanche, the developers of Just Cause, is perhaps the greatest, hiding a shining core behind that grimy exterior.
What can initially be looked down upon for a drab world and derivative combat and a style severely lacking in comparison to the film released so close to it, it glimmers brightly in its vehicles. The Magnum Opus is Max’s vehicle of choice, the core of the whole game. You spend it constantly upgrading, customizing, swapping weapons, and paint jobs. It’s a crude machine, but it’s yours. And it helps that vehicular combat is genuinely riveting.
4 Halo – The Warthog
Halo as a series has a complicated history, especially post-Bungie. Starting in 2001, it showed how far first-person shooters could go with lore and depth of gameplay while revolutionizing how FPSs were played on consoles. Of course, it also has a treasure trove of incredible vehicles.
There are so many vehicles across Halo that play so differently, individually or as a team, but none surpass the Warthog. The pure joy of dashing through the map, one person haphazardously drifting as another fires the machine gun, and the last in the passenger seat desperately trying to aim. It’s the stuff teenage late nights were made of.
3 Mario Kart – Mario’s Kart
Mario is not a pleasant person. He has the look of someone who knows how much fame they have and the power they hold but tries to act modest about it. If his name is attached to something, it will sell – no matter what. The man is a plumber by trade yet has gained some of his greatest fame from kart racing. He doesn’t even need to be a plumber anymore!
So yes, again, a kart is not strictly a car, though if you take away the last letter it sounds the same and does the same, so it’s not big deal, actually. Link brings a motorcycle instead of a kart anyway. The thing is, though, Mario’s kart, though somewhat overall basic in design (despite the rather ego-centric giant “M” emblazoned on the front), it’s also iconic. The striking red paint job, the much-too-tiny steering wheel for his giant hands, and so on.
2 Batman: Arkham Knight – The Batmobile
Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham games are historic now. They’re quite literally the stuff modern games are made of. Don’t have a unique combat system in your own right? Just use Arkham combat, apparently! Amazingly, they improved upon all the core tenets in the sequel. Somehow, they did it even more in Knight with the introduction of the absurdly detailed Batmobile.
Arkham Knight has plenty of its own pitfalls that can be acknowledged, and the Batmobile is part of them. Looking at it individually, though, its design is immaculate. A mechanical monster that transforms from car to tank with ease, an industrial workhorse that tears through the streets of Gotham leaving only smoke and debris in its wake. It’s ostentatious and violent, just like Batman.
1 Final Fantasy 15 – The Regalia
Final Fantasy is a very storied franchise, and oh boy is FF15 a storied entry. It’s an almost unfair point to argue at this point because that game was never going to be what it originally was and its developers simply made the best of a bad situation. What’s most impressive, though, is that they made an incredible journey about a bunch of guys traveling the world, something at its heart that Final Fantasy is all about.
This joyous journey takes place across the vast land of Eos in your much-too-regal Regalia. It’s such a surprise the Empire keeps ambushing you. In truth, the Regalia is as much a companion on that journey as the rest of you. You tune it up, taking it across land and sea and eventually even the air. You grow an attachment to that damn car that no car should have the right to. It’s such a good car it’s even in FF14 as a mount!