E3's Forgotten Racer Games

Driving games aren't as popular as they used to be in this shooter-dominated world, but two of the biggest game publishers aim to put players behind the wheel soon, as EA revealed Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and Sony showed off Twisted Metal. This confluence of car-related events relegated a handful of racers to E3's pit stop, but we're hoping to shed a light on some of the show's overlooked (or less attention-gathering) games in the genre.

For the PlayStation 3's entire existence, the Motorstorm series has been the system's standard-setter for gorgeous HD visuals. According to Features Editor Patrick Shaw, it stands a better than average shot at becoming a similar showcase for the console's upcoming 3D capabilities with Motorstorm Apocalypse. At any other E3 without the specter of Sweet Tooth looming, this would have been a blockbuster trade show reveal. As it is, its certainly caught our 3D-glasses-adorned eyes. (Read the E3 Motorstorm Apolcalypse preview here)

After getting re-tuned by the mechanics at Microsoft, Joyride looks like it'll be a much more important game as a result. At last year's show, Joyride was destined to become a free Xbox Live Arcade game, and probably would have been lost in the shadow of Sony's ModNation Racers series. Now, it's become one of Kinect's showpieces. It may have been lost in the pack with the handful new first-party Kinect reveals commanding more attention, but the game managed to surprise Executive VP of Content John Davison with the quality of controller-free (and wheel-free) racing.(Read the E3 Kinect Joyride preview here.)

The original Test Drive Unlimited broke new ground in massively multiplayer online racing on the Xbox 360 a few years ago, and its sequel seems primed to grow even larger. Players will be able to find competitors and allies with a lot more ease, and when they get in touch, they'll get the chance to take part in unique new racing challenges like the cooperative "Follow the Leader" challenge. All of this is served with a side of the series' trademark attention to detail when it comes to recreating popular cars. Reviews Editor Tae K. Kim got to get behind the wheel and was impressed with the amazing engineering under the hood. With the game due out in less than 90 days, you'll soon get a test drive, too. (Read the E3 Test Drive Unlimited 2 preview here.)

Finally, I got a chance to try an upcoming download-only racer, Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition. Releasing this summer to celebrate the movie's 20th anniversary, the game is simpler and more straightforward than the rest of these titles, but with a much lower price tag and a different audience to drive towards (movie buffs and NASCAR fans) it might be able to win at its own race. We'll soon find out, as the flag for this game drops soon. (Read the E3 Days of Thunder: NASCAR Edition preview here.)

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