Real Racing 3 – The Ultimate Racing Game for Any Platform [Review]

Real Racing 3, one of the most anticipated game releases for iOS for some time, has finally hit the App Store for download.  The photorealistic tracks and cars are real courses, brands and models respectively, making this version of Real Racing the most realistic racing game for iOS available.  Having been a long time racing game player on Xbox – F1 2012, Forza, etc – Real Racing 3 in many ways is better than a console game purely from a graphics perspective.

Interestingly, Electronic Arts has made Real Racing 3 a “Freemium” game meaning that the game itself is free but there are limitations in the game which you have to make in-app purchases to get around those limitations.  This model is nothing new – most of the top games in the App Store have this exact same model and, having played Real Racing 3 for a few hours now you can do a lot of racing without making a single in-app purchase.  But you have to be patience for things like repair times or when a car can become available after you purchase it, etc.

Let’s start with the basics:  Real Racing 3 is a whopping 750MB download.  Yes, all those pretty graphics come at a price, namely storage space on your iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini or iPod Touch.  EA recommends that you have at least 2GB free space on your device to play the game as it will need to do a lot of graphics caching to work properly (i.e. frame rates).  You will have to download it via iTunes or via WiFi from your device directly.  The game is supported on the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, iPad 2, iPad 3rd & 4th generation, iPod Touch 4th and 5th generation, and iPad Mini.  The afore in-app purchases range in price from $1.99 to $19.99.

Racing Circuits of Real Racing 3

One of the big changes to Real Racing 3 over previous versions of the game is the inclusion of real racing circuits.  These race tracks include some of the most famous from around the world and the FireMonkey development team of EA spent hundreds of hours at the actual tracks to get the details right.  That work paid off – for you.  Now you can race on circuits such as Mazda Raceway Leguna Seca (USA), Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Silverstone (England), Indianpolis Motor Speedway (USA), Suzuki Circuit (Japan) and Hockenheimring (Germany) just to name a few.  Having these real course pulls you even further into the racing experience where you get to figure out how to control the car through the almighty

Real Racing 3 has real tracks from around the world

Real Racing 3 has real tracks from around the world

Eau Rouge turn at Spa for example.  If you are a Formula 1 fan, ALMS or World Endurance fan, you will smile when you get to race around one of these circuits.

The work the FireMonkey team put into getting these circuits accurate is evident the first lap you turn at them.  The textures of the circuits are superb and the surrounding backgrounds of the circuits are accurate to the finest level.  Once you see one of the tracks you will quickly figure out where the bulk of the 750MB download came from on the install.  But it is worth it.

There are other little detailed improvements to the game like a working rear view mirror in the cars.  This is thanks to the Mint 3  Engine that is being used to render the graphics being able to keep up with the game play.

Racing Cars of Real Racing 3

In Real Racing 2 there were many of the big name manufactures in the game but there were some noticeable ones missing. It’s hard to imagine a racing game without Porsche for example, or Audi.  Now in Real Racing 3, both of those brands are there along with Bugatti, Dodge and Lamborghini.  In all there are 45 cars in the game from the various manufactures which you can purchase by collecting coins as you play or through in-app purchases.

Real Racing 3 now has Porsche

Real Racing 3 now has Porsche

The various cars have various performance benefits and trade-offs.  Finding the right car for the race is part of the challenge of Real Racing 3 and, of course, there is always the desire to have that super car.  Patience is the name of the game here so you can not overspend in real money to get the cars you desire.

To enhance the game, the cars take on damage as you race them.  Some of the damage can be severely performance impacting while others are not so much.  For example, a broken headlamp is not that big of a deal compared to a suspension issue.  Repairs to the cars take time and gold (the in game currency) so drive carefully but fast.

Time Shifted Multiplayer

Multiplayer racing has been in the Real Racing franchise since its inception.  With Real Racing 3 however a new concept is introduced which fully leverages Game Center so I can race anyone, anywhere at any time even if we are not online at the same time.  It’s call Time Shifted Multiplayer.

Here is the scenario:  I live in London, my son (also a big Real Racing fan) lives in Louisiana.  The 6-hour time difference in the real world makes playing head-to-head difficult.  In Real Racing 3, I invite him to a race at a particular circuit.  I race

Real Racing 3 Time Shifted Multiplayer

Real Racing 3 Time Shifted Multiplayer

my race and that information is stored in Game Center.  When my son comes online, he races against me in the game at that particular circuit.  He sees how I ran the race in real time as he races, including any mistakes I made, where he passed me, etc.  He can even alter my race results.  If he bumps me in a corner and I go wide and slow down, he could add seconds to my final race result.  It is as if he is really racing against me in real time, not just my ghost as other racing games do.  Once the race is over we are notified of who won, prize money, etc.

What makes Time Shifted Multiplayer so great is that you can race anyone in the world but you don’t necessarily have to be online at the same time.  This is a monumental step forward in interactive, multiplayer gaming.

Game Depth

There is plenty to see and do in Real Racing 3.  In all there are over 900 events that range from cup events, endurances events to drag races.   The competition gets more challenging as you go further into the game and you can of course upgrade your cars to maximise performance.   Like previous versions of the game, Real Racing 3 has a little bit of something for everyone when it comes to racing.  I personally like the cup events where you have multiple races in a “mini” season.

Rating:  4 of 5

I really like Real Racing 3.  I think the FireMonkey team has done a phenomenal job with the game and the graphic richness of the game is second to none.  It is without a doubt the most detailed UI game on iOS and some arguments could be made it is the best of any platform.  It is one of those games that sucks you in and you immediately start wanting to play it more and more to “find that tenth” to improve your lap time.

The only reason I didn’t give this a full 5 stars is the lack of being able to make one in-app purchase to eliminate the time restrictions around repairs, car purchases, etc where in-app purchases are used to speed things up.  I get the “freemium” model and I know it works.  But I also like being able to give a developer a Twenty through iTunes and get past all that.

That said, Real Racing 3 is an absolutely must for racing simulator fans.  This game brings console level racing to your iPad or iPhone and regardless if you are a serious racer or a casual one, this game is one well worth the download and time in playing.

Real Racing 3 (Universal) – Free (in-app purchases) – Download Now