If you make a purchase after following a link on our site, we may earn a small commission. Learn more.

Classic Racers Elite Review – A Budget Racer That Takes Us Back to Simpler Times

Classic Racers Elite review 1 (1)

As much as we love the likes of Forza Horizon 5 and Need for Speed Unbound with their open worlds and deep car customisation, we miss the days of the simple arcade racer. With their purposefully-created tracks, they offered short bouts of high octane action that you could jump into time and time again. Nowadays, you can often spend more time just getting to an event than you can actually completing it. Enter Classic Racers Elite, a game that wants to take you back to those simpler times.

Jump into Classic Racers Elite and you’ll find that it doesn’t have an open world for you to explore. Instead, it simply has a range of events for you to unlock and partake in. Unusually, there are no actual races here, either; all of its events simply pit you against the clock. This is a game fully focused on time trial events, then: it’s just you versus the track. Beat the target time and you can proceed. Fail, and it’s time to brush up your skills and try again.

As you’d expect, you start in the game’s slowest cars (on a side-note, none of the vehicles are licensed here, so while you might recognise a car as an old Escort, its manufacturer will be shown as “Fred” rather than Ford). The tracks you’re tasked with mastering are the most lenient, too. With each vehicle having its own unique handling and parameter when it comes to things such as top speed and acceleration, you might want to change your vehicle depending on the course, or simply master one and stick with it.

Classic Racers Elite review 2 (1)

As you progress through the events, you’ll unlock new championships, offering faster cars and more advanced tracks. Needless to say, the further you progress, then, the more you find yourself challenged. You’ll need to brake more, wrestle your car to keep it on the track, and find the best racing line in order to succeed. This is especially the case in slalom events, which are frequently thrown into the mix to test your driving skills even further.

Related: The Best Racing Games on PS5 (2023)

On paper, this all probably sounds quite good, albeit rather basic. Though while there is some fun to be had with Classic Racers Elite, it’s unfortunately brought down with some troublesome issues. There’s the handling and physics, for example; neither are terrible, but they’re not exactly impressive, either. For most, though, it will be the game’s presentation that’s the real killer. This looks basic for even a PS4 game, and playing on PS5 for review, there’s an abundance of screen-tearing and pop-in that makes it an eyesore at times.

Hopefully the screen-tearing at least can be fixed with a patch, as with it gone the experience would be much better. We should also point out that Classic Racers Elite is also available on Switch where the issue might not be present, and is due to be released on Steam at some point. There you should be able to force V-Sync, eradicating the screen-tearing without any fuss.

Classic Racers Elite review 3 (1)

If you do find yourself enjoying Classic Racers Elite, there’s another disappointment instore: you’ll likely blast through all of its championships in just a few hours. Additional gameplay can be eked out of Free Run mode, where you can take on any event at your leisure. But even more attractive for some will be the inclusion of global leaderboards, allowing those with a competitive streak to show off their skills in pursuit of hitting the number one spots.

Ultimately, Classic Racers Elite does indeed take us back to simpler times. It’s just a shame that there’s not a lot to it and that it’s lacking polish. If you can look past the serviceable physics and unstable visuals, there’s a good few hours of fun to be had here at least, but it’ll be a big ask for some. Those longing for the return of the great arcade racer, then, will be waiting a while longer.

Classic Racers Elite Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Classic Racers Elite is based on the PS4 version (played on PS5), with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4 and Switch.
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!