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Real Racing 3 for iOS needs to fix its payment model before it can shine

Chris Holt | April 1, 2013
Real Racing 3 is the franchise's best installment yet, but the "freemium" payment model really inhibits gameplay, making it a frustrating experience.

The issues I have with the gameplay are pretty minor: the price point for new cars is initially quite high, making upgrading your car a far cheaper option but also limiting the races you can enter. The initial download size of the app is also massive: I had to delete three other games just to fit it on my iPhone. The upgrade system is intuitive, but very linear and doesn't give you the personalization that gear-heads demand. Not to mention that the racetracks and backgrounds are still generic and pixelated, while the soundtrack (and lack of commentary) reveal that the series has room to grow. 

But this is still a very authentic, exceptionally well-designed game. If you enjoy racing against your friends, you can invite them to race against you through GameCenter or Facebook, and I'm a big fan of the Time Shifted Multiplayer feature, effectively populating your races with ghosts of other players' times. Interestingly, they're not illusions on the course, as you can jockey for position and run them off the road (which is pretty much the best way to win).

Bottom line

Real Racing 3 handles like a dream and is one of the biggest, most feature-rich, and deepest racing games I've played--it's truly a worthy successor to Firemint's first two titles. Unfortunately, EA has taken the air out of the tires of Real Racing 3's lightning quick gameplay, effectively turning one of the best iOS games on the market into a frustrating, stop-and-go test on your patience. Though SimCity's debacle of a launch will likely get the most press, EA's atrocious wheel lock of a payment system is equally deserving of ridicule. 

 

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