After many hours (and quite a few dollars) spent racing in the world of Real Racing 3 (Free), I can confindently say it is a legitimate contender for the coveted award of Best iOS Game of 2013. This game is so visceral, especially the way I race it using the first-person, helmet cam/cockpit perspective.
Between the visual eye candy and the realistic sound effects, I'd say this game blurs the lines between iOS gaming, console gaming, and real life more effectively than any iOS game I've encountered. Where’s a good Virtual Reality headset when you need one?
1. Stunning Graphics
With the arrival of Real Racing 3 in the App Store February, I was reminded of the stunning gaming capabilities of the iPad mini! I’ve spent hours racing the tracks and examining car choices and the graphics are simply amazing.
I clearly needn't feel any pressure to buy the new iPad mini with Retina display when it comes out later this year! Even with the non-Retina display of the mini, Real Racing 3 is on par with full-fledged console based racing games, but with the obvious added advantage of being totally portable and iOS-based!
2. Time-Shifted Multiplayer Racing
While I miss the race replay feature common to previous Real Racing iterations, this version makes up for it with its Time-Shifted multiplayer racing. While you can no longer review your races from multiple camera angles, the ability to race against real people is a most welcome addition to this hit racer.
In a nutshell, with Time-Shifted racing the AI engine of Real Racing 3 studies your lap times and driving style and effectively pits you against other racers. Even though you may not be racing them in real time, you can still interact with their vehicle (to shrieks of crunching metal and shattering glass) and you can still affect their lap times. So just because so and so got lap times under 2:18:952 minutes, doesn't mean you can't drift around the corner and pull off a spectacular upset, even if your lap time averages over 2:20. It's very cool technology, and some of the in-game lead changes get VERY exciting indeed, as there can be lots of back and forth as racers jockey for position!
3. Freemium Game Model
So, does the introduction of the freemium game model serve this particular game well or is it an annoying limitation? One thing's for sure, I imagine Firemonkey will rake in the big bucks with this game! I know I didn't mind spending some money to expand my racing career within the world of Real Racing 3!
I bought some Real Racing coins (a whooping $20 worth, which for the record, didn't go very far) and purchased a few cars that top out well over 200 mph. I don't regret spending a penny! While you may be able to advance through good old hard work, the need to repair your vehicles regularly translates to spending at least half of your winnings on repairs. So advancing can become a somewhat tedious and arduous affair. Nonetheless, I would say Real Racing 3 shines as a stellar game regardless of whether you spend any real world money or not. You’ll just need patience to make it to the super cars, freemium or not.
4. Win More Through Social Gaming
The social gaming element is also a great twist to the game. The more Facebook friends you race the better, as the game will pair you up with folks you are familiar with and also let you know when a “friend” has beaten you. Plus, you can win more money when you race against friends.
I would love to have the ability to sync this game across devices. When I’ve worked hard to advance in a game, it would be much appreciated if I could access these achievements on any iOS device I happen to be playing on. That said, with its eye-popping graphics and accessibility to everyone, Real Racing 3 is certainly an early contender for iOS game of the year.