Ribbons of twisty highways offered up the perfect venue for running the world's most desirable high performance cars at speeds well north of 100 miles per hour, and giving chase in exotic police cruisers, in Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. No matter how fast mashing the accelerator all the way down gets a car to go, the scenery smoothly streaming by and controls that seem almost second nature urge you on faster, faster. Perfectly taking advantage of the game's addictive speed, its 'Autolog' system made single-player racing social by pitting friends against each other in a running battle of one-upmanship. And completing the package, the basic premise of cops vs. racers also perfectly set up competitive online racing.
Runner-up: Gran Turismo 5
Incredibly ambitious plans and years spent on development left Gran Turismo 5 facing nearly insurmountable expectations. Though it struggled under that weight, from 50 horsepower antiques to 500+ horsepower beasts the driving experience felt uncannily right. And while there are fewer of them than we'd like, the premium cars sport near photo-realistic detail.