Name: Real Racing 2 HD
Release: 12 October 2011
Price: $4.49 – BUY NOW
Who wants some silly, fake racing where you get fancy rockets, nitrous blasts, and cartoon avatars? Not I, I said as I picked up REAL Racing 2 HD. Where the racing is REAL and the graphics are highly defined. So how does it feel to race REAListically? And does it measure up to those other fancy racing games?
The first impression you get of Real Racing 2 is a cut scene where all these REAL, pretty cars are storming down a racetrack. And boy do they look good. Perhaps this game doesn’t have the extras of other racing games, but it does have some good looking stuff going for it.
Real Racing 2 HD lets you control your car pretty much any which way you’d like, turning the device, using the subtle twists of your thumb, or tapping the left/right side of the screen (although this is not recommended, each tap results in a jerk of the wheel by the driver and there’s absolutely no finesse to it). You’ve got auto and manual options for accelerating and braking, brake assistance, sensitivity, anti-skid, the list goes on and on. Real Racing 2 obviously wants you to feel comfortable with what you’re doing. Personally, I picked the tilt-steer control, I found it was just the easiest way to move smoothly without the random wobbles or jerkiness of the other controls.
There are a few different modes for racing, career, quick play and time trial. However, you’ll probably be playing career mode most of the time. Quick play is good for a quick game where you don’t want the outcome affecting your career, while time trial is just for those of you who really want to perfect each corner. Needless to say, I pretty much just played career unless I was kinda curious as to how the other controls panned out, or I just liked seeing myself as a ghost car.
I’m not great at racing games, I think they’re fun and I will play them, but I’m not great. I’m the kind of person who laughs at the people that read Gran Turismo hintbooks to get just the right angle on a turn, sometimes I spin out and lose my edge that I’d just gotten, sometimes I crash into walls, sometimes I do all these things on purpose. And then there are the times I accidentally let my thumb rest on the edge of the screen and then wonder why my car has stopped going (seriously though, make sure you keep your thumbs well clear of the screen).
Despite all these things, I am sometimes quite good at racing games. Real Racing 2 HD was one of those games that made me feel like I was good at racing games. I started off on easy, found myself continually coming first, congratulated myself on being totally awesome, and then sought more of a challenge.
I noticed a few things when I shifted difficulty. Firstly, a bunch of the AIs took turns differently; they suddenly turned more smartly (so smartly in fact that my grammar falls apart when I think about it). Secondly, there weren’t so many first place trophies due to some not so great turns. Thirdly, I discovered that this is what a REAL racing game feels like on normal. Like you’re actually expected to have finesse and skill and not accidentally brake at the wrong time during a turn and narrowly miss hitting the wall.
Easy was fairly easy, but normal was a noticeable step up which will leave Real Racers happy. Hard was also another step up. Here’s what I think they did. For easy they made the AIs clueless, for medium half the AIs know what they’re doing and the other half remain clueless, so hanging around the middle of the pack is easy but placing is more difficult, and for hard all the AIs know what’s up and they don’t really care about playing nice for you.
You can race on tracks in quick play and time trial once you’ve unlocked the tracks in career, which depending on the difficulty may be quickly or not so much.
The game also has Twitter and Facebook connectivity, prompting you to update your social sites with each improved racing effort on your part.
The visuals are totally beautiful to look at. The cars are gorgeous, the tracks are good (considering there’s not that much to the REAL tracks), and it is a real joy to look at. Even the steering wheel in the car is done in such detail that it’s lovely to look at. Plus, if you crash against someone or into the sides you will find that you lose parts of your car.
For instance, I backended this Volkswagon on one track, knocking the back bumper loose and then a little while later it gave up and fell off completely. Although the bumper didn’t appear on the track, I appreciated the effort. A car missing a bumper will look odd, like the underneath parts have been painted onto a piece of glass that has replaced the bumper, but again the effort is appreciated.
The stats and icons act as if they’re stuck to the windscreen as you’re driving, shifting when you turn left or right, and it’s this little detail which immerses you just that little bit more in the game. Firemint have really made an effort with Real Racing 2 HD, and it is clear in the small details.
The audio is the one place I think that Real Racing 2 is let down. The soundtrack in the menu is like the thinking music you’d expect from a television game show, except slower paced. During the race the only sound is the car engines. Although, I guess that fits in with the whole ‘Real’ racing bit, a little bit of music would have been nice. Just pretend the radio is on or something?
Real Racing 2 HD is a pretty game with smooth controls and a good level of gameplay. It’s one downside is the disappointing music, however this can be overlooked for the rest of what it has to offer. It truly is a fun game with some gorgeous cars to play around with.
I give Real Racing 2 HD