After it launched on iOS a few weeks ago, Electronic Arts yesterday announced that Real Racing 3 has crossed the platform divide and is now available on Google Play. Real Racing 3 was developed in Australia by FireMonkeys, a Melbourne development company who are behind some of the biggest titles available from EA Mobile such as Mass Effect, Need for Speed Most Wanted and of course Real Racing 2.
In order to try and create one of the best driving games for mobile, EA has licensed cars from manufacturers such as Porsche, Lamborghini, Dodge, Bugatti and Audi offering players the chance to drive 46 vehicles across 3 different classes. 22 car grids are on offer where you can race other drivers from around the world in a unique time-shifted multiplayer mechanic on real world tracks such as Laguna Seca, Silverstone and of course perhaps most importantly our very own Mount Panorama.
Eight event types have been integrated into the game giving players access to a grand total of over 900 events all of which ads up to hundreds of hours of gameplay. EA has also made some lofty claims regarding the graphics, claiming they are ‘console like graphics’.
All of this technology and awesome of course isn’t free, unlike its predecessor Real Racing 2 which currently costs $5.30, you can install Real Racing 3 for free. Real Racing is a Freemium based game and EA is looking to recoup costs on the game by utilising in-app purchases.
In-App purchases in Real Racing 3 are either R$ or Gold Coins, R$ are earned by racing and are awarded based on how high you place.
You can purchase R$ in varying amounts:
- R$50,000 – $2.08
- R$140,000 – $5.18
- R$300,000 – $10.36
- R$700,000 – $20.72
- R$2,000,000 – $51.80
- R$5,000,000 – $103.61
R$ can be spent on purchasing cars – you start the game with R$35,000 but need to purchase a car to start racing. At the end of each race you will need to repair your car or service it which will cost you R$ so you will need to try and drive as well as possible to avoid damage and thus avoid having to spend your accrued R$ on repairs.
You start with 20 Gold Coins and accrue more throughout the game as you increase your driver level – this is done by gaining Fame points in events.
Gold Coins can also be purchased via in-app purchase :
- 10 Gold Coins – $2.08
- 30 Gold Coins – $5.18
- 65 Gold Coins – $10.36
- 150 Gold Coins – $20.72
- 400 Gold Coins – $51.80
- 1,000 Gold Coins – $103.61
Gold coins can be used in the game to remove time limits imposed on certain functions like repairs or services being performed on your car. Don’t want to wait for 5 minutes for your car to be services? Pay 2 Gold coins and it will be done instantly, the amount of gold coins required does drop as the timer runs out on your repair.
EA has also made a a number of packs available for sale which offer the ability to unlock combinations of cars, events and Gold. The packs vary in price and content depending on which style of racing you are looking at.
Gameplay is amazing. Real Racing 3 uses accelerometer based controls so you literally steer with your phone, braking – when you want it – is achieved by touching the screen in the lower left. There are driving assists built into the game which you can adjust according to your driving style, Steering Assist, Braking Assist and Traction control are all options and you certainly notice the difference when they’re turned off.
With car damage built into the game, you’ll definitely want to avoid damaging your vehicle at all costs. When playing car games the style of driving I tend to employ is that of the pinball method, rely on bumping into cars to stop me. With the cost of doing damaging your car now being measured in real money terms if I want to progress further this forced me to re-think my driving strategy which has actually made me into a better virtual driver.
Looks good, sounds great
The game runs smooth as silk on the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10, with the colours and graphics mostly living up to EA’s claim of console-like graphics — at least for this generation of consoles. Lighting effects are well-executed, and the cars look fantastic however I felt the graphics for things like windows could have looked a little better. Damage looks fantastic and begins appearing as soon as you start hitting cars, walls or other obstacles around the track.
Real Racing 3 matches high quality graphics with high quality audio. The sound of the engines is fantastic, and you get a real sense of acceleration as your car surges down the track and the engine builds up to speed. The guttural growls of the engine sounds real, as are the crunches and smashing of glass that are emitted as you bounce of objects around the course.
Menu systems for Real Racing 3 are pretty much standard for EA Games which seem to have developed their own style. Being a game I tend to not see the need for implementing Holo guidelines as once you’re in the game you’re very much disassociated from the Android experience anyway. Settings and navigation is very easy with no difficulties arising.
Real Big Download Racing
The game is a 6.1MB download, but don’t be fooled – on first load of the game you’ll be required to download almost 1.3GB of extra data, making the alternate name Real Big Download Racing quite an apt description.
You will need a connection just to play the game – every time I was in a poor reception area without Wi-fi or 3G, the game kept insisting that it required a 0MB file be downloaded to continue. This could be a part of EA’s DRM requirements.
While I’m not a huge fan of Freemium gaming, I had one interest in this game: Mount Panorama. While you can race around the circuit fairly early on in the game, the dream of most Australian motor racing fans is to drive thehallowed mountain track at full speed, as opposed to the sedate 60KM/h speed limit enforced at the real track and most importantly in a V8 racing car. Spending a little real world cash will give you the chance to do this without wasting hours of down time while your car is repaired or serviced.
Real Racing 3 is a lot of fun to play, and as a Freemium game you can try it out for yourself with no commitment. You’re not forced into purchases and the you’ll get excellent graphics, sound and gameplay even if you only play with the free components of the game.
Overall, it’s well worth playing. Check it out in Google Play and see what you think.
Update: Sorry folks, apparently we linked to the wrong version of the app. It’s been fixed now! [Jason]