Real Racing 2 Review: Polished to Perfection
Firemint practically defined racing on iOS last year with Real Racing. With Real Racing 2, they’ve redefined it for the next generation of iOS devices. RR2 is simply the best racing title on iOS, period, and the one racing game that any racing game fan should own.
Real Racing 2 is a street racing game, just like RR1. This time, there are cars available from an excellent selection of both domestic (Ford, Chevy, etc.) and foreign (BMW, McLaren, etc.). The goal of the game is to race your way through several championship circuits (Career Mode), though you can always choose to run a Quick Race or even challenge a friend in multiplayer. Though in the beginning you’ll only be able to afford a VW or Volvo hatchback, you’ll eventually be able to win your way into whatever vehicle suits your fancy (I like the Lotus, myself).
The first thing that will strike you are the graphics. RR2 outshines its predecessor in terms of gorgeous shading, smooth scrolling, and photorealistic ambition. We’ve seen some awesome graphics on the iOS lately courtsey both the Unreal and Infinity Blade engines, and Firement’s Mint 3D engine stands toe-to-toe in terms of visual appeal. Concrete glitters; car bodies shine; the sun flares off the lens of your screen. It’s really a treat to look at; I have fun just pulling up my vehicles and looking at them from all angles. And while the level of detail isn’t quite so deep and subtle once you get into race mode, it’s still the best looking racer in the App Store (the runner-up being, of course, RR1).
And while the visuals are stunning, the game play is also tuned like the engine of a high-end sports car. There’s nothing truly innovative about the way you drive — tilt to steer, tap to break, etc. — it’s just that it all works so well here. The AIs are devious, but not beardy, and racing feels fluid and realistic.
RR2’s game play is also great for its scalability. There’s not a single gamer who can’t find a level of control here that will allow them to succeed. On its easiest settings, all you have to do is steer and brake, and the AIs are beatable; on its hardest settings you’re controlling all aspects of your car and the AIs are like NASCAR champions. I’m a casual racer, so I prefer letting the game take more control. In fact, everything about RR2 is customizable to your user experience: the control scheme, steering sensibility, level of difficulty, level of assist, type of car, color of car, modifications to the car, your POV as you play, etc. RR2 wants to be a racing game for everyone, and it delivers. Casual players and hardcore racers alike will find a setting here that suits them.
The only downside to this release is that they didn’t release RR2 HD for iPad at the same time. I really prefer racing games on that device, and I can’t wait to see RR2 on that larger screen! Some might also quibble with the multiplayer mode, which lacks some imagination — only head-to-head matches, no evident leaderboards, etc. As I am not, personally, a fan of online racing, these didn’t bother me; and anyway, I’m willing to bet Firemint will beef this mode up in the future.
As I write this review, there’s currently a glut of pre-Christmas sales in the App Store, including several popular racing games, all available for around a buck apiece. But frankly, if you want the best racing game on iOS, you’ll skip them all in favor of Real Racing 2. It might not be 99 cents, but in this case, the game is worth the price of admission.
Our Score: 5/5