Version Reviewed: 1.10
Device Reviewed On: iPad 1
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Game Controls Rating:
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I had no fun playing Real Racing 2 HD. Oh, the game is technically well-made; it controls well, it looks beautiful, it has online save synchronization, and online multiplayer. I ultimately played through enough of the game to say that our review of the iPhone/iPod touch version is accurate, and sim racing fans will likely enjoy this one on the iPad as well. I just don't think that this game is meant for me. I loved the first Real Racing game and had none of the issues with difficulty that I had with this one. There was just something about the experience that never clicked with me, and I felt like I was crazy while playing it.
Real Racing 2 is one of the most difficult games I've ever had to force myself to start playing. It starts on the initial app launch; the game gave me $25,000 to spend on a car, to choose from a variety of manufacturers. Well, I look through the first brands it gives me, and everything is out of my price range. There is no car that can be afforded with the initial $25,000 until the penultimate brand is shown, Volkswagen. Did no one play this and think that maybe there was a better way to organize the cars at initial launch, to show more affordable brands initially to users, instead of going in purely alphabetical order?
Second, the Medium difficulty is a lie. I've tried dozens of times to win the first race initially on Medium, and I just don't think that it can be done. Am I wrong? I expect someone to prove me wrong, and maybe I'm just not that good at racing games. However, I've played dozens of them on iOS alone, and when a game says that a difficulty is for players who have played racing games on iPad before, I want to believe it. I kept trying at it, until eventually I sucked up my pride and went down to Easy, where suddenly I was winning by 15 seconds, and could afford upgrades beyond the mere pittance I was getting for finishing in the middle of the pack. After this, I went back to that first race, and set the difficulty to Medium...and suddenly this race was easy, and I won comfortably. Perhaps every other time I played I was just terrible? I reset my save game, and started over. Nope, same mediocre finishes. Perhaps if I kept grinding at it, I could shave enough time off to get a first-place finish, but why bother? In that time, I could have played so many other games that didn't make me question why I wasn't having fun with this.
The best games know how to hook players. They don't have to go full blast right away, but they know how to keep people interested in the game, whether it be from initial fun, or from offering enough intrigue as to the prospects of what the game will offer in the future. Games that throw frustration initially at the users, especially in the mobile space where titles are so disposable, aren't necessarily my favorite. If users aren't hooked quickly, then they won't come back because there's so much else out there to play that will hook them instead. Why did I keep coming back to Real Racing 2 HD? Obligation, not entertainment. I felt like I was fighting the game, not playing it. If I have to question why I am playing a game for reasons beyond "it is fun to play," and if I have to work as hard as I did with this game in order to enjoy it, well, it probably isn't worth my time to play. I will delete this game, and I will not look back. I never quite got why this game didn't click with me, or why I couldn't enjoy it, and why its initial difficulty was insurmountable for me, but I'm done with this game.