Real Racing 3: Looking Forward, looking back

Real Racing 3 is a game that is near and dear to my heart. I started playing it over a year ago, and have blogged on it on several occasions. I almost quit when they “broke” the game and I had to start again. Since then I have spent — or wasted, if you prefer — over 20 days of my life on this game. Also since that time there have been several major updates to the game, adding cars, tracks, series, events and features to the game.

I had been content to play the same old version (1.1.12) that I had played from the beginning. However, a few weeks ago, I finally “completed” the game, having purchased all 53 cars and won every race. With no more worlds to conquer, I decided to look at some of the later versions and see what was out there. I took a backup of my profile — 56 cars, R$3 million and 500Gold — and checked out the various upgrades that are on offer.

Before looking forward, a brief look back might be in order. The earliest version that I have is 1.0.56, which has 46 cars, with Cup, Elimination, Speed Snap and Speed Record Races, and support for social racing (“race-against-your-friends’-virtual-bot-lookalikes”) via Facebook. 1.1.7 was the “Chevrolet” upgrade, adding the Camaro ZL1, and the Cobalt SS to the lineup, as well as “Hunter Mode”, a one-lap race where you attempt to pass a slower car that is given a head start, and are graded on how far ahead of them you are when you cross the finish line.

The next version — 1.1.11 — was the “Dubai” update, adding New cars by Lexus and Dodge (Lexus IS-F, Lexus LFA, Dodge Charger RT, Dodge Charger SRT8), along with a collection of new circuits at the Dubai Autodrome. Which brings us to 1.1.12, which adds the Corvette ZR1, bringing the roster up to 53 cars. This is the version that I have played, eschewing all updates, for over a year.

The next version — 1.2.0 — known as the “Prestige Update”, added five more cars (Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, SL 65 AMG Black Series, SL AMG GT3 G140, and Bentley Continental GT Speed and Continental Supersports), bringing the total to 58. It also added two new Series — Prestige Powermatch and Euro Supercar Duel, along with a new event — Time Trials.

Menu All Full shrunk

Time Trials are both a blessing and a curse. The idea of a timed lap with a worldwide leaderboard is a stroke of genius; a chance for drivers to test their mettle against all comers. However, the implementation has cause a bit of an uproar, due to another new feature: “Drive Points”. You start the game with two drive points out of a maximum of two. Each Time Trial uses up a drive point. If you run out of Drive Points, you have three options:

  1. Wait for your Drive Points to regenerate, which they do at a rate of one every eighteen minutes.
  2. Refill your Drive Points, at a cost of two Gold pieces.
  3. Raise your Drive Points maximum. The first upgrade — from two to three — costs 50 gold. To raise the limit further to four costs another 100 Gold, and to raise it to its highest level — five — costs an mind-numbing 200 gold.

Drive Points Half

This was perceived my many, quite rightly, as a money-grab by the publishers, as gold is the most scarce resource in the game. Their hope is that they can entice you into spending all of your gold, in the hope that you will head over to the store where they will sell you Gold Coinage at prices ranging from 10 for $1.99 (20c per coin)  to a jaw-dropping 1000 for $100 (10c per coin). While I have no problems with In-App Purchasing, they are overpriced by a factor of 10 in my opinion. Asking a game player to fork out the equivalent of $50 in real money to buy ONE high-end car (and a similar amount to upgrade it fully) is ridiculous. If they ever offered me 1000 gold coins for $10 I would jump at it — but $100? — surely you jest. Rant over.

In previous versions, you could buy any car you wanted, as long as you had the R$ and Gold to pay for it. You could complete series in any order you wanted, and skip a series and return to it later. This is what I did; starting with road cars, moving up to sports cars and then on to supercars, then circling back and doing the GT cars, before getting the Lexus LFA and finishing up with the “Orphan” cars in V8 Naturals, that were not used anywhere else. As of the Prestige Update, this was no longer possible; your progress was laid out as a linear “Career Path”, where you had to complete the basic series before you could move on to the more advanced ones.

Menu All Full

This was annoying because it forced you to buy cars that you didn’t want — like the Lexus LFA — in order to “Unlock” the cars you actually wanted — like the Koenigsegg Agera R. “Locked Cars” and “Locked Series” were the main reasons for me avoiding this update for over a year.

I did find one minor bug – one of my cars had a funky paint job. As soon as I tried to race with it, the game would crash.

Funky Paint Job

Re-spraying the car fixed the problem.

Another gripe is what they did to the repair-and-maintenance screen. After each race, you had the option of repairing the bashed and broken bits of the car. This had to be done manually, and took no time at all, but it showed you the cost of each repair. In the new version, the game goes ahead and fixes your car out of the “Clean Race Bonus”. This is not so bad — the game giveth and it taketh away.

The maintenance system, however, was ruined. Prior to this, you had the choice of five different types of maintenance — oil change (acceleration), engine rebuild (top speed), brakes, suspension (grip) and tires (grip). You could choose whether or not to perform maintenance, so you could put off tire replacement, running on bald tires at the expense of lost grip. Depending on the car, an oil change could take 5 to 20 minutes, while an engine rebuild could take from an hour to almost a day. They replaced this with a single all-or-nothing scale; easier, to be sure, but less “real” — and an unnecessary “dumbing-down” in my opinion.

Repair

Another change was that your view from the Car has been lowered to a more realistic level. Personally I find this change to be quite irksome, as it has the effect of making it much more difficult to see the field of cars ahead of you. It also makes it more difficult to judge the width of your vehicle, which makes it easier to inadvertently stray from the track (Off-Track Penalty!). In addition, the track has been rendered in a lighter, silver-grey color, which is more difficult to distinguish and is reflective in places.

As of this version, the game also adds support for Sina Weibo in addition to Facebook.

Perhaps the worst thing about this upgrade is that the payouts have been lowered, which means you get less money for most races. But it’s not all bad news; one neat new feature in this version is the “Daily Race Bonus”. Once a day, you get a bonus for your next race. This bonus starts at 20% on Day 1, then on subsequent days goes through 30%, 40%, 50% to 100%, and stays at 100% as long as you race at least once a day.

Daily Race Bonus

Here’s the TL;DR version:

The Good:

  • Daily Race Bonus
  • Upgraded Graphics
  • New Cars: Three from Mercedes-Benz, two from Bentley
  • Time Trials

The Bad:

  • “Career Mode”
  • Lowered View
  • Automagical Repairs
  • View Hotspot Enlarged
  • Drive Points

The Ugly:

  • Locked Cars
  • Locked Series
  • Dumbed-down Repairs
  • Ridiculously Expensive to upgrade Drive Points.

The Bottom line: I was so underwhelmed when I saw what they had done to the game that I skipped this version and went straight to the next version along: version 1.3.0, “Classic American Muscle”. More on that next time.

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  • By Muscling In | Wizard Prang's Blog on June 19, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    […] newer versions had come out, and so I decided to upgrade, one version at a time, skipping over the truly awful V1.2 “Prestige Update” and moving on up to 1.3, also known as the “Classic American Muscle” […]

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