Review: Real Racing 2 HD (iPad version)
Real Racing 2, by Firemint
$4.99 (iPhone) or $6.99 (iPad, HD version), ****1/2
• Incredibly smooth and crisp graphics
• Multiplayer, career, time trial, and “quick race” modes
• Car damage is limited
Please note, this review is also in the iPhone apps and games forum, as the game is also available for that device.
I remember when Gran Turismo first came out for the Playstation. The stunning, realistic graphics blew everyone away. Even today, many games choose to forego the realistic graphics (at least to a small degree) in exchange for game play. Luckilly, with Real Racing 2, you don’t have to make that choice.
Figure 1 - you get to choose one of two cars when you start.
Real Racing 2 is the followup to the Firemint hit “Real Racing”. Just as with the original game, the graphics blow you out of the water. The photorealism of the graphics is incredible, whether you are playing or watching a replay of your last race. You really notice little effects – like the shadow on your leather racing gloves, the slight reflection of other cars on the windshield, and even the glare you get when the sun reflects off of other cars. And the frame rate doesn’t appear to take a hit (although in fairness I was playing on an iPad Air and an iPhone 5S – older devices may not perform as well). The images in this review are from the iPad Air, but they are just as solid on the iPhone.
Figure 2 - multiple game modes are available.
The game play is similar to most other racing games – the default is tilt the device to steer. With the settings you can choose a wide range of options – automatic acceleration, brake assist, touch steering, steering sensitivity, steering assist, anti-skid, and even horizon tilt. You can even choose the layout (to some degree) of where you want the various pedals or wheel located on the screen. You can select three difficulty levels (and change them later). There are multiple game modes – time trial (with or without the “ghost”), multiplayer (party play, local, or online), career, or quick race. In the career mode (my favorite) the only drawback is that you have to unlock races one at a time – I would have preferred to see multiple options to begin a career, some of which may be harder than others. As you race, you build up “rep” and money, which can be used to upgrade your car, or even buy a new one. Car manufacturers include VW, Volvo, Ford, Lotus, Nissan, BMW, and more. Of course the upgrades are required in later races, as my poor VS Golf just isn’t going to cut it in a later race.
Figure 3 - visuals are stunning, both during racing and watching the race in replay "movie" mode.
One area I was disappointed was the car damage. AS you race, your car can become damaged (in one of my early races, my bumper was hanging off just as I crossed the finish line). Unfortunately this does not appear to affect game play at all, not do you have to repair your car in order to have it work optimally. In addition, I am not sure if damage in a race actually influences your performance or not. It would be nice to see gradual build up rather than damage just suddenly happen (my bumper, when it was hanging there, still looked nice and new – no dents, scratches, or anything).
Figure 4 - my bumper almost fell off in my first race!
The quick race mode required you to unlock tracks before you can use that, so in effect the game forces you to play in career mode. This was fine for me, but people who may just want to race a track or two will be out of luck. The online mode allows you to race against up to 16 other people, which is a pretty intense race, but the party mode allows multiple people to play on the same big screen TV, using the AirPlay feature – I was not able to try this as my daughter was not interested at all, but it sounds pretty nice.
Figure 5 - tracks are locked until you complete them in career mode
All in all, Real Racing 2 (iPhone version or iPad version) is an intense, graphically stunning, enjoyable career racing simulation. With many game modes and settings, lots of cars, and a load of tracks (30 last I checked) the game is loads of fun. However, if you are just interested in a quick arcade-style race, you may be disappointed as many of the tracks will be locked until you beat them in career mode. Despite lacking a “damage” option (although you can see car damage) this is easily one of the best racing games out there in terms of graphics and game play, despite being a few years old. At $4.99 (iPhone) or $6.99 (iPad) the game has lots of replay value, especially if you can convince some friends to play in multiplayer mode. Four and a half out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. All opinions expressed in this review are precisely that – opinions. You may agree or disagree. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.[/HL]