This list is in no particular order, but I'm really going to try to convince you here. Hopefully you'll take a look at some of these while the rest of the world panics.
Forza Motorsport 4
Yes, I know it's not technically "this generation" but how could I leave it out. This in my opinion was the last great Forza Motorsport Game, being the perfect blend of everything. I remember picking it up for the first time when I was 9 and thinking it was crazy that it had more than 20 cars (let alone 500). Playing this game even today is surprising with 60 fps frame rates and lively environments. Maybe not as much so as the later games, but at the time it was crazy. There is little to convince me that the career mode of traveling around the world wasn't brilliant. One race you're at Suzuka, and then the next one the announcer tells you you'll be heading to VIR. Not that it's all that difficult, but it sure keeps everything from getting boring like the later games. There's also a lot of incentive to keep playing, as leveling up earns you free cars, and driving certain cars makes upgrades for that brand cheaper or earns you money. The career mode in this is as full as it can get. And when you want to take a break from all the seriousness, there's split-screen to race your friends on. The possibilities are limitless, and the game loads so quickly you won't feel the need to stop and check your phone. So take some time off from reality, and step into a game from 9 years ago with the voice of Jeremy Clarkson there to greet you and talk you through the history of cars. If you can find a copy used or digital I seriously recommend picking it up if circuit races are your kind of thing.
No, not the second one. The first one is the real masterpiece. So often overlooked because it wasn't a household name in racing games at the time. But don't skip this one, people. This game has one of the best stories of any game I've played. While the driving physics aren't great, this game pioneered "always-online" games. The story takes you through the better part of the map, but you can go explore anywhere whenever you want. And boy is there plenty to explore. The map is the ENTIRE United States. Yes you read that correctly. A racing game from 7 years ago had a map bigger than most games that have come out since (and you could fast travel anywhere without a loading screen). And while the car list isn't very large, there is so much variety, and more importantly, customization. Pick a part on this car, any part. There's a very good chance you can customize it, and not just with aftermarket parts. The big thing for this game that few others took advantage of was having custom and manufacturer parts available for cars. When it came to performance though, you'd really have to try to max out your car. Buying parts was a thing of the past, here you had to earn them through races and challenges. So while it was quite a grind to max out that spec, playing online and demolishing everyone else becomes pretty rewarding. The way this game handles cars for different terrains is by having different "specs". There is "Street" for basic street racing, "Perf" (Performance) for high speed street racing, "Circuit" which ends up being on the street half the time, "Dirt" which is very similar to rallycross, and "Raid" which is your huge offroad style. However, these were just in the base-game. For an expansion, the developers gave the game a graphics overhaul and revamped the handling model. FOR FREE. The paid part of the expansion was "The Summit", a game-wide competition for everyone to compete in. You would earn medals in summit events by scoring as many points as you could in each, or by setting the fastest time. People would then be sorted by how many points, and the more points you had, the higher chance you had to earn a free new (to the game) car or a free spec upgrade. The summit also added "Drift", "Monster", and "Drag" specs with corresponding challenges and events. I could go on for days about how much more this game has to offer, but I still have one more game to talk about.
Forza Horizon 2
Good luck trying to convince me this isn't the best game ever made. Forza Horizon 2 has so much to love and so little to hate. Where do I even start. While many people consider this to be a bad game altogether, I encourage you to look closer, watch some gameplay perhaps. It doesn't take long to notice that this game looks better than any Forza game to date. the attention to detail in the reflections, the lighting, and the diversity. Seriously, drive through Castelletto on a rainy night and tell me it isn't breathtaking. The sounds too, some of the best of any game. The cars' engines sound so much better than they do in today's Forza games, and they certainly sound better than those before. Engines aside, the soundtrack to this game, is in my opinion better than any soundtrack to anything in history. There is absolutely everything, from alternative to disco, and everything in between. This game is often accused to being too easy, and in terms of earning money, it really is. But there are so many cars to buy and customize and tune and race, that it's really easy to forgive the game for dumping cash into your pockets. The online is brilliant too. With all sorts of different games to play with your friends, it's hard to get bored. And most of them are the same games they use today in Forza Horizon 4. Even if races aren't your thing, there's the bucket list challenges everywhere, or you could even just go drift around the docks, or even bomb it down a dirt trail in a Ferrari with AWD and offroad suspension and tires. Because why not? And did I mention, FAST AND FURIOUS???This game had it's own little spin off/tie-in game with cars and events from the movies. The stand-alone game wasn't great, the but the regular F&F car packs for the base game were brilliant. Want to drag race Brian O'Connor's R34 GTR from 2 Fast 2 Furious, have at it. Interested in using Dom's Charger to drift around the map, go for it. There is so much fun to be had, and the game keeps it interesting by moving you around for every single championship. You pick where you want to go next, what class of cars you want to race in, and then you get commentary from the radio DJs of what's happening while you go on a high-speed road trip from one place to the other. If speeding down dirt roads next to a bunch of other people in similar cars isn't your idea of cool, then I'm sorry, I can't help you there. And when you get there, the crowds are cheering for you as you pull up. The races too are exciting and original. Say you chose Hypercars as your class, the fastest in the land. Guess what, chances are one of the races you'll be doing is an offroad cross-country race. How's that for a curve ball? I am serious as I can be when I say that the very thought of this game brings a smile to my face, and I'm still waiting for there to be a way for me to play it on PC in 60 fps. Again, there is so much more to say, and if you're still reading I commend you for sticking with this article, and think you're far better at reading than I am. Sadly, Xbox recently took this off the store, but hopefully you can find a copy used somewhere, because I 100% guarantee you will not regret it.
I know that this has been a pretty emotional article, and I'm sure many of you have different opinions, so be sure to leave them down below, and maybe I'll start a poll series to see which is your guys' favorite.