iPhone review of the day: Real Racing 2 - let's get our Gran Turismo on... ;again

On iPhone
Real Racing 2
Price: $4.99 / £2.99 (at publish time)
Size: 303 MB
Get it now at the iTunes store:US/UK

iPhone games are easy buys at a buck, but when a developer throws a game out there for $10, the fire-and-forget impulse turns into wary scepticism. Real Racing released at this atypically high price in 2009, but it was such an astonishing game that we all caved under its impressive visual tech and great tilt-to-drive controls. Real Racing 2 comes in at half this price (at press time - no telling how long that'll last), but delivers an even deeper experience. It’s not as arcade-styled as something like the Need for Speed games or the Asphalt Racing series (or even the first Real Racing), but it’s big, deep, and tuned to near perfection...

The few things Real Racing 2 changes from its first go-around could change fans’ adamant intentions toward purchasing it, although these adjustments achieve developer Firemint’s original ambitions much better. The first thing you’ll notice is that Real Racing 2 is much more of a simulation experience, with a larger focus on physics than speed. Weighty cars lumber around corners in a way that’s less fast-and-fun and more like a Gran Turismo or Forza clone. And that’s exactly what Real Racing 2 is: a viable, portable proxy for the simulation-obsessed gamer.

This isespecially true if you’re big into first-person driver cams. RR2’s is excellent, and, even though we usually prefer a third-person perspective, the driver cam is the way to play this particular game. The more refined racing challenges your ability to take sharp turns and overtake other racers because it’s not as simple as rocketing past on a straightaway anymore. RR2 is about precision, and as you ease off the brake and steering assists, you’re better able to make complicated maneuvers – with the increased risk of blowing a corner and spinning out, of course.

Real Racing 2's career is also a bit slow, forcing you to nickel and dime your way to more cash and a higher reputation to buy increasingly expensive licensed cars and join in on tournaments with larger payouts. It’s a necessary early-game grind, though, since completing cups later on is tougher, and often requires sportier, faster cars to accompany your skill growth.

Real Racing 2 is among the iPhone’s sharpest-looking games, and it fills the sim-racing void expertly. Its impressive list of bullet points – 29 cars! 15 tracks! Online multiplayer for 16! –offers enough to warrant its higher-octane price tag. Some people are satisfied with regular. This one’s for the folks who prefer to fill their tanks with a premium experience.

Feb 07, 2011