Just in time for Christmas, we get the ideal treat from the folks at Firemint — a long-awaited sequel to the hit racing game Real Racing. Since the game arrived on the iPhone a while back (as well as in a high-definition format on the iPad), it’s been taking driving fans by storm, with its high-speed antics and its unmatched presentation. How could it possibly top it with Real Racing 2? Well, it just keeps on keeping on with what worked so well in the first game, while adding tweaks to make it feel like an overall better experience. And, hey, it works.
Yes, it looks this great.
When you start out in Real Racing 2, you’ll go gear first into the game’s shop, buying a lower grade vehicle and moving on through a series of events. As you progress, you’ll gain access to new parts (to upgrade your vehicle’s performance), tracks and cars, widening your racing experience. That isn’t to say you’re going to be too limited at first, as you can still go through Quick Race events to get a hang for the game, and hop into multiplayer for 8-player local Wi-Fi races or 16-player online events. Both work remarkably well, and will keep you doing laps well into the night, provided your online connection is strong enough.
Really, though, Career Mode offers the most reward here, as you’ll unlock all sorts of stuff to sweeten up your garage. We’re talking about cars like the 2010 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500, 2010 Nissan GT-R (R35) and 2012 McLaren MP4-12C, among others. Each of these ride feel great going out on the track, thanks to Firemint’s unprecedented control system. Even if you go with the game’s default auto-acceleration set-up, you’ll find that it handles almost like a dream. The only low point came with drifting, but even then, you’ll get the hang of the steering well enough that you’ll avoid a complete spin-out — unless you suck, of course. If things get too tough, you can modify the difficulty or modify various systems, including the anti-skid, steering assist and sensitivity, as well as brake assistance. Really, there’s so much to tinker with here, even when the game feels perfect, you’ll often try out something just for the hell of it.
Real Racing 2 continues the trend of Firemint’s superb presentation style. This game looks just as good as the original, if not better, thanks to superb car detail, an in-car cockpit view that’s right up there with the ones presented in Gran Turismo 5 and Need For Speed: Shift (seriously, it’s amazing), and a variety of tracks that look great, both day and night. There are only 15 tracks, but there’s so many ways to race them that it feels like more. The cinemas are equally impressive, similar to what you might see in either of the above racing games, with dramatic cutaways and detailed replay angles. It’s a shame Firemint couldn’t prep a high-definition version for iPad, but we’re pretty sure one will be coming in the next few weeks or so.
The only downside is the music. It’s not horrible by any means, as Firemint tries to keep it overflowing with racing mantra. But it does lack is some areas, compared to offerings in other games. Fortunately, you can always shut it off and blare your own tunes. The other sound effects are very good, with no shortage of engines to listen to.
Aside from holding off for a specific iPad edition, we can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t buy Real Racing 2. It plays wonderfully, looks fantastic and has options galore, both for the solo player and fans of multiplayer racing. And it’s only $9.99, a fraction of what you’d pay for the likes of GT 5 or other racing games. You’re getting a bargain for your dollar — and it’s nowhere close to being a lemon.