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Best of 2023

Top Gear’s alternative gaming awards of 2023

TG's look at the best, worst and weirdest of 2023 in videogames

Alternative Gaming Awards 2023
  • Crew Motorfest

    The end of a year is a natural moment for reflection, so it's around this time that many publications like to collate a rundown of the best games of the last 12 months. And while that's absolutely valid and worthwhile, we here at TG thought we'd also celebrate the less frequently appreciated aspects of the 2023 crop of driving games. Some might argue that there's a reason they're less appreciated, to which we'd respond: how are we supposed to hear you when our fingers are in our ears?

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  • Weirdest Name

    Super Woden GP 2

    Super Woden GP 2

    'What in blazes is a Woden?' you might well ask when presented with Super Woden GP 2. Well we're still none the wiser having sunk tens of hours into this PC racing game, which combines classic isometric arcade driving with a campaign mode ripped directly from the old Gran Turismo games. It's a winning combination, it turns out, making this independently developed PC title an instant cult classic.

    Perhaps the races and championships are all organised by Woden, the chief god of Germanic mythology? That's currently the best we can muster in terms of a theory...

  • Best Forza Horizon Game

    The Crew: Motorfest

    The Crew: Motorfest

    With its exotic open world map, automotive themed festival and seamless online multiplayer, this year's best Forza Horizon game is undoubtedly The Crew: Motorfest. While previous games in the series were an arguably more ambitious attempt to condense the entire continental US into a playable space, Motorfest slims down its sandbox in favour of a more polished, slick experience.

    It may have lost some of the quirky charm of the previous two games, but for Xbox owners suspiciously eyeing the more straightlaced Forza Motorsport, or for PlayStation loyalists who may never have played a Horizon game, Motorfest is a highly capable tribute act and well worth your attention.

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  • Least Physically Painful Game

    Lego 2K Drive

    Lego 2K Drive

    If the mere sight of a small plastic building block sends a shooting pain up your leg, you'll be pleased to hear that Lego 2K Drive allows you the chance to play with several Christmases worth of Lego pieces without the ever-present threat of treading on an upturned piece in bare feet.

    In fact, the game lets you build your ideal Lego vehicle in a surprisingly comprehensive car design mode, then tear around an open world in your custom ride competing in races and challenges. We just wish that our mates were as impressed with our building skills as they were when we were eight years old.

  • Most Unexpectedly Essential Game

    Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

    Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name

    We were all but ready to dismiss this action adventure title as yet another game with an unhealthy fixation with getting around on foot. After all, the narrow streets of Yokohama where the game is set aren't conducive to drifting, Tokyo or otherwise. What we didn't realise until shortly before release is that the in-game arcade would include a playable version of one of Sega's greatest ever arcade racing games. What's more, it would be the first time that game would ever see an official home release.

    Sega Racing Classic 2, as it's known in the game, is actually a license-stripped version of Daytona USA 2 Power Edition, the sequel to one of the most popular arcade racers of all time. Daytona 2 is a feast for the eyes and ears that stands up remarkably well today, particularly running in crisp high definition. The only shame is that it lacks the multiplayer that made it such a threat to our pocket money back in the late 90s. It might seem foolish to buy a full priced game in 2023 and ignore 99% of its content just to play an arcade game from 1998, but do you know what's more foolish? Not playing Daytona 2.

  • The 'If It Ain't Broke, Fix It' Award

    Qualifying - Forza Motorsport

    Qualifying - Forza Motorsport

    For a game with 'Motorsport' in the title, Forza Motorsport made the decision most likely to enrage motorsport anoraks in 2023: binning off the time-honoured concept of qualifying. Forza's single player Builders Cup instead allowed you to choose how far back on the grid you wanted to start, in exchange for a greater reward if you win from the tail end. Somewhere, all the people who watch F1 with the live timing on a second screen howled out in anguish.

    In spite of the fact that this is the most nakedly videogamey concept in a driving sim we've seen for some time, whisper it, but we actually quite like the concept. It forces you to gamble on your own abilities and ensures that in every race you're likely to be fighting for at least some positions, rather than just qualifying on pole and scampering away Verstappen-style. Besides, qualifying is still absolutely part of multiplayer for all the real hot-lap heroes out there.

  • Most Actual Driving

    EA WRC

    EA WRC

    If you buy your driving games to, well, drive, then you could do worse than to pick up EA WRC which crams a staggering amount of stage mileage into this officially licensed rally title. If you count every variation of every stage, both forwards and backwards, it adds up to a staggering 1668 miles of competitive routes. This being a rally game, that means more slides than an entire year's worth of PowerPoint presentations.

    If you're curious as to the figure in terms of truly unique sections of road, there are over 390 miles of them in the game, which is still just shy of the distance between London and Edinburgh. And judging by the number of potholes we have to dodge on our commute, the only difference is that the road surface is better on the rally stages...

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