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Real Racing 2 Review: Quality at its Finest

People who have already played Real Racing 2 will probably be reading this review to see what score I gave it; if it’s lower than a Must Have, then I’ll probably receive mountains upon mountains of complaints such as “this reviewer sucks” and “this review is absolutely horrible”.

And good news for all of you just waiting to pounce on me, you don’t have to.

Real Racing 2 is quite frankly one of the best racing games I have played on the App Store.  Being quite a Gran Turismo and Pro Gotham Racing fan for consoles, I’ve always played the racing genre on the App Store to see if, one day, the quality would soon be up to par with some of the best PSP racing games.

And sure enough, here we are nearing the end of 2010 and almost two and a half years after the launch of the App Store, we have a PSP-quality racing game.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some flaws in Real Racing 2.  It’s by no means perfect and leaves enough room for their to be a third Real Racing, etc.  But honestly, looking at the level of quality and production values, this is one of the most complete games on the App Store.  I believe I said that (or just thought it in my mind) when the first one was released, and they’ve taken that completeness and completely rebirthed that ideology.

This is one game, folks, that you definitely don’t want to miss.

Likes

Graphics: Wow, how fast does time really go?  I played the original Real Racing a few days ago and thought to myself, “Wow, these graphics suck.”  No seriously, I did.  And I’m pretty positive that everyone of you—including me—that have played Real Racing when it was first released thought they were the best graphics ever.  I remember being mesmerized by the fact that there was a sun in the sky following your car, shining so brightly that it actually hurt your eyes.  Hurt your eyes, imagine that!  But fast-forward to present day and you see games with graphics like Aralon or Infinity Blade; my eyes are just completely spoiled now.  With that all said, Firemint did a terrific job of updating the graphics for Real Racing, and I honestly don’t know how it happened or when this transition from Real Racing looked amazing to Real Racing looks sucky happened (talking about the first one here, folks).  But wow.  I’m impressed.

Content: I’ve been playing for three and a half hours, according to the game clock, and I’ve finished 50% of the game.  And for all you math majors out there, that equates to around seven hours of gameplay.  And if that still has you questioning the amount of content, think of having to buy every car, get some achievements, and playing online multiplayer to increase even more your playtime.  It should be somewhere around ten hours before you’re completely finished with the game.

Options: You really can’t complain about anything when it comes to lack of features or having something wrong with the controls.  Like the first one, Real Racing 2 contains seven control options, sensitivity options, and brake assist options (i.e. 0 is no brake assist, 10 is basically the game drives for you).  There’s on or off vibration, anti-skid on or off, steering assist on or off… the options are countless.  I guess this like also falls under the category of controls, and heck, I can’t complain.

GameCenter: We here at NoDPad have fallen in love with GameCenter.  It’s fun, and while not perfect, it certainly does centralize a lot of our achievements into one place.  Real Racing 2 contains GameCenter leaderboards, achievements, and online multiplayer; you literally can’t expect more.

User interface: The first one didn’t have a horrible UI, but the one here feels much more professional and Need for Speed/EA-like.  That may not sound like a good thing—that a small company is going corporate-ish—but I would say it is when referring to the user interface.  It looks professional, fresh, and very clean.

Dislikes

Repetitive: Racing at its finest is actually quite boring when put into game form.  I can’t play this for more than 30 minutes at a time, mostly because of the repetitive nature of the game.  Race this track, race that track… the racing never really ends.

Balancing issues: I thought the beginning was a bit confusing, as I beat all the races that were in the start of the career mode only to have to re-race a track to earn enough money to buy another car.  I also think that it’s a bit unnecessary to have different speeds and engines for different races, as you should be able to race whatever you want as long as you have enough money and worked hard enough to gain that money.  I can see why they did it: for a fair racing experience and such, but I think you should be allowed to race any type of car on any career event.

Along with that, the difficulty balancing is a bit off.  The easy is way too easy, but the medium is too challenging (for me, personally).  On my first race I received 9th place (note I didn’t know what I was doing), but when changing my difficulty to easy, I received first place with 20 or so seconds to spare.  Maybe it was just that one instance or maybe I’ve improved drastically, but there does seem to be an unbalanced gap.

Real Racing 2 is basically what you thought it was.  It’s awesome, the graphics are great, and the gameplay isn’t too shabby.  Sure, there’s room for improvement.  And if you didn’t like the first one, you definitely won’t like this.  But honestly, compared to the competition, you really can’t ask for more.

Real Racing 2 was developed by Firemint, and I played through version 1.01 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $9.99.




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