Game Review: Real Racing 3 ‘ Super Rip Off Edition

Allan Swann
March 5, 2013

Apple iOS, Google Android
£ ‘Freemium’ ‘ probably around £20 by the time you’re finished with it. Who knows? I stopped playing.
1star 100px


The Real Racing series’ popularity has stemmed from its ‘realistic’ gaming model, similar to Gran Turismo on the Playstation. The first two games, created by Australian developers Firemint, were huge hits, and the anticipation for Real Racing 3 has been huge ‘ and the delays seemingly endless since EA took the studio over in 2011.

Now that its here, its pretty safe to say that in terms of pure gameplay, it is among the best racers available on iOS ‘ and a showcase pretty enough to scare the bejesus out of the video game console makers. While not quite Playstation 3 quality, it is ‘close enough’ ‘ and that has been enough to crush the video game industry under Google and Apple’s heel.

The game basically revolves around buying cars, upgrading them, and racing them in various races and tournaments (such as drag races, elimination, and straight grid races) on famous tracks from around the world. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want ‘ the car accelerates by itself, you change the gears with a flick, and brake by pressing on the screen. It offers steering, braking and gear assists for those that just want to pick up and play. Turning is via turning the device like a steering wheel ‘ which takes some getting used to.

It is good fun, and nirvana for car nerds. As mentioned, anyone who loved Gran Turismo or Forza on their Xbox or Playstation will be happy with this mobile version. For obvious reasons, the iPad is recommended (the screen size helps) ‘ the newer the better. The iPad 3 had a few slight frame rate shudders (I imagine this is resolved on the iPad 4, which uses the A6X iPhone 5 processor).

So all very well and good? No. Not at all.

EA certainly doesn’t do its reputation any favours. EA bought Firemint in 2011 (soon after the release of Real Racing 2). Long considered to be the ‘evil empire’ of the gaming world, the web has been ablaze with rage at the company’s move to make sacred cow, Real Racing 3, into a giant cash cow. Reviews on the App Store repeat this sentiment, just with more abuse.

Basically, EA wants us to go back to the console gaming world it once dominated, where it could charge £50 per game ‘ but unfortunately the market has spoken, the public doesn’t want to anymore.

While previous games in the series were simple ‘pay up front’ games, EA has changed the RR formula to ‘freemium’ and it is one of the most revolting, money grubbing models we’ve seen yet. Instead of asking users to drop £2.99 to £5.99 upfront (which I think is fair for a good quality game) you get the ‘game’ for nothing and pay through the nose from then on.

Basically you can race freely, but every time you make an upgrade to your vehicle (using hard earned race winnings), you are required to wait a few minutes while the mechanics install the new part (i.e. an engine or new tyres). The only way to skip this is to use race tokens, which naturally are available for real world cash purchases. This means if you want to settle in for a proper gaming session of more than a few minutes, you’ll need to pay. And pay. And pay. And then pay some more.

I stopped p(l)aying.

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