Real Racing 3 is an Android/iOS/Blackberry freemium game developed by Firemonkeys studios, a subsidiary of EA. It is a critical success with over 100 Million plus downloads. And we can see why at the start.
The graphics are stunning for an Android/iOS game as is the richness of content. There is an astounding amount of depth in this game. There are more than 9000 racing events in the game making it the most comprehensive racing game I have ever played in terms of race number. Furthermore you get to unlock a whopping amount of over 200 cars in career and even more since a lot of content is hidden behind a download wall. Meaning you have to download to play some races or series.
And there are more game modes outside of career with even F1 and A1 cars. These cars handle completely different from Career cars so one has to be careful and take time to get used to each series and mode.
Real Racing 3 does an awesome job at simplifying racing for people without much knowledge of it. You do not have to be a car nerd or a sophisticated mechanic to learn this game or even upgrade your car, and it is for an audience of all ages. Your goal is to unlock as many cars as possible, win as many races as you can and otherwise become a pro driver.
There are three earnable game resources. One is race dollars, the other is gold and the last is fame. Though you gain race dollars in each race, regardless of whether you win or lose (you gain less if you lose though), gaining gold is a little more complex. To earn gold you need to successfully complete specific challenges (called achievements), login regularly, and grow in driver level. You also gain gold, for, say, completing 50% or 100% of a particular series in Amateur mode which itself is in career mode. The third resource, fame (which levels you up), corresponds with, and increases your driver level, which in turn is used to unlock new race modes.
But it is clear how massive this game is from the start. There are thousands of virtual races waiting for you to test your grit. Almost always the races are remarkable. Sure, your first few races will be easy and Real Racing 3 will settle you in. But don’t get too complacent. You race against a progressing set of odds and the difficulty can quickly escalate. In fact I even had trouble fully completing the Pure Stock Challenge, which is the first series in Amateur mode that you unlock after the tutorial.
But there’s a solid reward system in place for each race and series, where even losing gives you driver experience and cash. Though obviously, the better you play, the more race dollars and experience you will earn.
Though I easily beat a lot of the starting rounds the Melbourne track was principally the most grinding, particularly because the car does not brake automatically at one of the curves (You can turn with brake assists low or off though it can be extremely challenging without them). The other problem was that it can be tough to maneuver on narrow tracks, especially when there are seventeen other cars that usually get in your way. At the start it was mostly these races I ever had a real problem with.
Since there was no qualifier I would always begin at last position when racing with many other cars, which was exasperating. Clearly in these races your opponents have an advantage over you. And the cars in front of you actually slow down when you are behind, particularly at the road twists, which are usually the best places to overtake. And they form a mass of cars blocking the road (making it difficult for you to go past) and since the tracks are constricting, particularly the Melbourne track, you will have some difficulty.
But there isn’t just one type of race. Tired of racing seventeen AI cars which are ahead of you from the start? You can try the time trial. Too boring without any opposing players at all? You can choose a head to head race with only one other driver. If even that doesn’t satisfy you, choose a drag race. There are also speed snap races, endurance races and much more.
But if you are a completionist guru of car racing, wishing to unlock all tiers and races, there is no easy respite for you. You have to race again and again on the track you are having trouble with and come at first position. The only solution to achieve this for some races is turning assists (There are steering, braking and traction control assists) off.
The racing is simple for beginners if you don’t mess with assists. The car automatically accelerates and pulls its brakes based on the type of road. For example when there is an open, straight road the car will accelerate and when there is a turn or swerving road the car will automatically pull its brakes.
All you have to do is keep your device still and straight when on a straight road and tilt your device left or right accordingly when making turns. Of course how much you have to tilt your device and how you handle turns will come with experience and as you play, you will improve.
But this is just for the start. Eventually the game will start pushing you to change your play-style. As you progress Real Racing 3 starts encouraging you to turn assists on low or off completely. In fact in the later stages you simply cannot win races at all if you have assists on, particularly the best assist, the braking assist. This assist is great and saves you from countless crashes, but as you will find out later in the game it actually slows you down too.
This is where I had problems. Because I had grown so accustomed to assists and the race approach changed completely, even when setting the brake assist on low as a go-between for none and high, I found it extremely difficult to race.
But some people are actually used to the late game difficulty and racing without assists. And they tend to score high on the leader boards. One advice though. At the start do not add them as friends or join a race team, especially one with high-ranking members.
The races are never too long. I remember playing Gran Turismo 6 and this was one of my biggest problem with that game. This game handles the length of each race well and keeps in mind that the player is using a mobile or tablet to play, which he cannot hold for too long.
One thing that annoyed me is that there was no custom mode or other mode to test the cars we have unlocked with so much sweat and pain. The cars can only be used in game-defined races rather than any custom race. Let’s say you buy a Ford Focus. That Ford can only be used in a number of the games career races. Initially it will be useful. But once you beat Pure Stock challenge and Road Car international series in Amateur racing (which itself is in career and you can gauge from this how many thousands of races there are) it will no longer be needed for other series at all. After that it is almost useless. This was my beef with this game.
You can also customize your car though. There are a number of paint jobs and vinyl’s to select from, however there is a cost to make your cars look amazing. It takes up lots of gold if you want your car to look aesthetically astounding. But there is a solution. All visual upgrades are unlocked fully for that particular car the moment you upgrade it, tuning (or performance/upgrade) wise, to the maximum limit.
However it does not have the option to change car hoods, add side skirts and add spoilers to your car which I would have enjoyed. Some of the Vinyl’s look extremely basic too. But there is only so much a developer can do. The file size is more than 1 GB without the added modes and all races and additional modes have to be downloaded before they can be played. I can understand that they simply could not add more content.
There is also a particular time you have to wait during delivery, car repairs or installation of upgrades. It can be a slight annoyance and it encourages the player to play slowly, choosing items to unlock as he goes and then waiting. Sometimes when you buy or upgrade a really good car you have to wait for many hours. This is indirectly the players tacit clock. It means it’s time to leave the game for a while and wait for the car to be delivered or upgrades to be installed. In this way I have never sunk more than two hours straight into the game at any one time. It can be useful for kids who tend to get addicted, if they manage to get so far into the game when unlock, repair and delivery times are remarkably high.
The car tuning or upgrade menu is simple. All you have to do is choose the upgrade and then add whether you want to upgrade your car with Race dollars or Gold. I usually pick the Race dollars and wait, even though gold can get the task done instantly. I usually save the gold for a disaster. It’s my own unique play-style.
Now it is good to be able to get to know new people while playing a game. I have already struck some friendships on the multiplayer shooter, PUBG. But the multiplayer options are weak in Real Racing 3 with no multiplayer custom race option (you can’t select a circuit, one of the cars you unlocked, and compete with friends there in a single race) and Real Racing 3 tries to compensate for it by using an annoying feature.
Your races in career and other modes add the previous best speed record of your friends or race team members, so if they came first in that racing event, they will be first when you play that event too. The developers do this without even asking for the players consent. Adding friends is clearly a double-edged sword or possibly even a sword held in reverse. Especially if your friends are pro-racers. While I was winning 70% of all races without friends, I was constantly losing when these friends automatically joined the race.
You have no option to turn these pesky “friends” and competing with them off in the menu. It messes up my whole game and you learn this game in stages (I am talking about assists). At the start you cannot compete with proper (virtual) racers who have been playing for an year or more. At least the game could match you up with racers with equal skill or level. Instead my game is beyond salvation because of this.
Now there is a solution which does not work anymore. The work-around was that you can avoid this by playing offline. Yet even if it worked I have no wish for the complications that come with this work-around.
Finally I wanted a little more freedom with the cars I unlock. Instead the first car I bought, (The Ford Focus in my case) is lying in the garage fully upgraded, without being of any use at all anymore. This is what will happen with the other starting cars too as I progress in the campaign. I know it’s a good thing that you get new cars but wouldn’t it be better to revisit racing with your old cars on custom tracks? In this way the game does not let you feel that your car is your baby. Instead it’s a shabby car-mat for your 100,000 dollar car. It will soon be obsolete and you will be relying on new cars.
I am talking about the ability to choose one of your car from your garage and race it on custom tracks, with custom players (possibly choose between multiplayer and AI both) and with custom settings. This would reward the player for unlocking cars. Need for Speed did this remarkably and they could learn from it.
But despite Real Racing 3’s limitations there is always something to yearn for. You always have your next cars, series and races to unlock. The racing is marvelous, at least without pro drivers being added as friends who out-drive you all the time. And you can customize your cars to make them real beasts in the arena of racing.
Even though the poor multiplayer options and its compensation method prevent it from being the best racing game, Real Racing 3 is one of the better racing games I have ever played and is stiff competition to other Android/iOS titles like Ashphalt 9 Legends, Drive and CSR racing 2. Even PC titles like Need for Speed were not as thirst quenching with their races, quantity of racing tracks and racing series. This game has the largest number of races than any racing game I have ever seen. Yet there is little to do with your unlocked cars once you have exhausted their use on the standard pre-defined race modes. And there is no way to use these cars on custom, player-defined races.
But a player who even has a minor interest in car racing games, will even wait on the middle of a sun-scorched asphalt race track in Dubai heat to unlock his favorite race-car and improve it. Both visually and performance wise. I recommend Real Racing 3 to people of all ages and particularly car or race lovers. And it features a cool Dubai race track too!
Review Platform: Android
- Simple setup for tuning upgrades where the player does not have to know about cars, engines, tires or other car paraphernalia to upgrade.
- This game has the highest number of races in any racing game I have ever witnessed. There are literally thousands of races.
- You get to race with, and unlock over 200 cars.
- Races are engrossingly entertaining.
- Many rewards for each race. There’s gold, there’s race dollars and there is driver experience (earned by fame)
- The races are neither too long, nor too short. The developers take into account that you will be holding a phone or tablet for a long period of time and will need regular breaks.
- No qualifier on races with seventeen or twenty-one other opponents, and you always start last.
- Doesn’t want you to get too used to full assists. The transfer from assists to no assists can be an exigent one. Yet you have to get used to racing without assists if you wish to win even in the Pro/Am competition, the second series in career.
- No custom race option. Single player or otherwise. Nothing to do with your cars either, once they have been exhausted in the developers self-defined races.
- Multiplayer seems to not be a priority for Firemonkeys studios in this game.
- Tries to compensate for its weak multiplayer by making you compete against your friends and team members top scores on each round. Without any concern for the experience of the drivers and creating an even playing field. This can destroy your game and it sure did the same with me.