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Best Open-World Games For Vehicle Customization

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Open-world gaming has become all the rage nowadays. Most titles strive to include quality sandboxes where players can genuinely get lost for hours on end. This is especially true in the case of games where a fair bit of driving is involved since there’s no better place to go all-out with a vehicle than a vast world where players can go anywhere they want at the fastest speeds.

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Players who are serious about perfecting the art of driving in video games that allow for the same want to have total control over the vehicle they commandeer. This means that players would ideally want an in-depth vehicle customization system in these games to add to the immersion of driving around in these vast open worlds. Many games have received the memo and did a great job of incorporating the same.

Updated March 4, 2024 by Ritwik Mitra: Open-world gaming has become all the rage in modern times. Developers try to combine this genre with many others, to make games that everyone can enjoy. Driving is an act players enjoy in any video game, so it’s easy to see why so many games feature compelling driving mechanics that let players customize their vehicles to their heart’s content. Most open-world racing games come to mind, but there are a fair few games that feature in-depth customization without considering racing to be its sole priority.

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9 The Crew 2

Metascore: 64

the crew 2 vehicles

The Crew 2

Released
May 31, 2018

Genre(s)
Racing , Action , Adventure

Ubisoft has developed and released its fair share of racing titles, with The Crew 2 being their most impressive release to date. The game’s rendition of the United States allows players to explore a wealth of unique landscapes and get engrossed in these massive worlds as they win race after race in spectacular showdowns.

As is the case with most open-world racing games, The Crew 2 features a wealth of vehicles that can be customized to their heart’s content. The game doesn’t limit itself to cars, either. Players can also drive planes or boats, allowing for fresh changes of pace that make each race and event a blast to explore.

8 Mad Max

Metascore: 69

Mad Max Explosion

Mad Max

Released
September 1, 2015

No one expected the Mad Max game to do as well as it did. Most people assumed it was just another throwaway title trying to market itself by using a well-established IP, only for the game to reveal some of the best vehicular combat ever seen in a modern video game. Given how rare this type of gameplay has become, Mad Max was a breath of fresh air in many ways, even if the game’s take on Arkham combat wasn’t all that revolutionary.

The vehicular customization in the game was another pleasant surprise. Fans loved the many ways in which the car of their choice could be altered. This led to vehicles looking and feeling different, focusing on speed, damage, or a combination of both in a great open-world game that is full to the brim with many neat ideas.

7 Need For Speed Heat

Metascore: 72

mustang need for speed heat

Need for Speed Heat

Released
November 8, 2019

Developer(s)
Ghost Games

Genre(s)
Racing

The new Need for Speed games have attained a bit of a mixed reception. Unbound’s striking art style couldn’t make up for the hours of grind that players have to subject themselves to if they want to drive the car of their choice. However, amidst all these mixed opinions, there’s one game that was warmly received across the board — Need for Speed Heat.

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The game’s driving mechanics are as great as ever, and the mechanic of racing in the day or night makes for a bold choice and a fresh change of pace whenever players want it. The grind in this game has been mellowed down with post-launch support, making it arguably the best modern Need for Speed game that fans can check out, especially if they want to customize the fastest cars in whatever manner they desire.

6 The Crew Motorfest

Metascore: 76

The Crew Motorfest discount

The Crew Motorfest

Released
September 14, 2023

The Crew Motorfest continues the tradition of the games in this series improving with each successive entry. Many people thought that Ubisoft had given up on this series after The Crew 2 overstayed its welcome. However, it didn’t take long for a new game in the series to dispel this notion.

It helped that this new game addressed most of the complaints players had about the previous game. Players who want their machine to sing in every race will love customizing each and every aspect of their vehicle, both cosmetic and otherwise.

5 Need for Speed Unbound

Metascore: 77

Need for Speed Unbound Launch

Need for Speed Unbound

Released
December 2, 2022

After Need for Speed had stuck to the same old artistic design for a long time, fans were more than pleased to see Need for Speed Unbound try something new with their visual style. The cel-shaded visuals made for a fresh change of pace and fit right at home with the street racing shenanigans in this title.

The grind in this game can be unreal at times, but players who look past this fault will enjoy a decent entry in the NFS series. As one would expect, fans can enjoy a lot of options when it comes to customizing their vehicle.

4 Forza Horizon 4

Metascore: 92

Saleen S1 in Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4

Released
September 28, 2018

Forza Horizon 4 is considered by many to be the best game in the series, which is no mean feat. The game’s setting of Great Britain helps everything stand out in each season, making it a blast to race through these visually stimulating locales.

Many consider the Forza Horizon series to be a simcade racing series, and the sim side of things comes out when players want to customize their vehicle. The sheer suite of options is overwhelming. Most players won’t be faulted for just trying out cosmetic changes instead of tweaking the slider for something that they don’t understand.

3 Forza Horizon 5

Metascore: 92

Supercars race through a town

Forza Horizon 5

Released
November 9, 2021

Genre(s)
Racing

The latest entry in the Forza Horizon series made for a monumentally successful launch, even if the fanbase had its fair share of issues with this title. However, no one could deny that it was just fun for players to get the luck of the draw and attain a powerful car that they could customize to their heart’s content, allowing them to zoom past racers in scintillating races.

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Forza is a game where players should definitely upgrade and customize their cars to measure up to the rest of the pack. It helps that the wealth of customization options that players can enjoy is immense, allowing them to develop cars that are truly unique in every way and let players run rings around the open world with wide smiles on their faces.

2 The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

Metascore: 96

the-legend-of-zelda-tears-of-the-kingdom-giant-car

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Released
May 12, 2023

Developer(s)
Nintendo

Genre(s)
Adventure

Most people never expected Tears of the Kingdom to be such a massive improvement over Breath of the Wild. The first game was already a mind-blowing title that revolutionized how open worlds could be approached from a design perspective, and it’s pretty much every other department that Tears of the Kingdom improved upon.

Tears of the Kingdom features a wealth of runes that are all extremely imaginative and useful in their own scenarios. Ultrahand is easily the biggest accomplishment of this game, letting players create amazing structures that help them do everything from solving puzzles to creating incredible vehicles. The manner in which players can customize their mode of transport is truly unique and makes for one of the most robust open-world sandboxes of all time.

1 Grand Theft Auto 5

Metascore: 97

Overflod Entity XF in Grand Theft Auto 5

Grand Theft Auto 5

Released
September 17, 2013

Developer(s)
Rockstar North

Grand Theft Auto 5 is one of the greatest open-world games of all time, featuring a wealth of gameplay loops that are so polished that players still can’t get enough of this game to this day. Granted, the majority of this popularity stems from the Online component of this title, but that doesn’t take away from just how well the core gameplay of this title is executed.

The driving physics and mechanics are so good that they put many dedicated racing games to shame. It’s a testament to just how engaging this game is that each and every car can be customized to a ridiculous extent, giving players another reason to spend hundreds of hours in this amazing game.

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