Real World Racing is a top down, overhead racing game that offers little more than precision driving on real life maps. Its a game with misleading cinematic trailers that show you more of the game’s menus than the actual racing itself. I was shocked to discover this is top down. I suppose looking at screen shots would have told me more than two trailers did. When the game itself shies away from its own sub genre, there’s something wrong with it. The game still does it well enough, but its more focusing on turns and following the guiding line than it is fun.
The cities look good, even if its from a top down perspective. There are details like crowds at the finish lines, trains passing by and even famous monuments are marked on your map. Its good to see so much real world detail, but I suppose that’s the help from real world cities and a satellite view. You’ll be racing in Prague, France, London and other locales through four lane highways, tight city streets and next to waterways and harbors. For the people that want more, there are cheap DLC packs for Miami, Amsterdam and Oakland. There’s standard weather effects, day and night cycles and the night feels the best because a lot of things are highlighted with neon.
Because its a strict top down view, your vision can be obscured by tunnels and bridges. Going through them you can see the cars highlighted with a faint glow, but I think the bigger problem is it looks like a dead end for a split second, so I began scanning for where there’s a turn. It takes my eyes off the action. Speaking of turns, there is an optional turn warning, which would be helpful, but its a second too early even at top speeds. I’d see the signal and turn before I was supposed to.
Of course turning before you’re supposed to is never a problem when you have the optional green guiding line on. I highly recommend this green line and I’m thankful that its included. Looking down at a city of concrete with several streets, it can mess with your eyes and all blend together. Sure there’s still a mini map, but again that just takes your eyes off the action. One problem I had was hitting a center median of one map when other maps have medians painted red and white. This green line also disappears under tunnels when it should be over them. The line also turns yellow and red depending on the suggested speed of turns.
You’ll find several styles of events in the game in both open circuit make it to the finish and closed circuit lap format. There are simple races that have you in eight or sixteen car matches. Knock out races where the one in last place is eliminated. One on one races are narrow and tighter. This is where your driving skills can really shine. Time trials and checkpoint races are similar where you beat the clock. These both have you racing in an open circuit by your lonesome.
Its the time trials and checkpoint challenges that I notice a glaring problem. The game itself runs smooth, there’s no issue there, but these two specific event types seem to skip frames. That is they skip them until after the second or third checkpoint, then they return to the game’s smooth play. Restarting or replaying the same event will be smooth as long as you stay in the event. If you exit, then return to the event, it skips again.
The career mode has you participating in six tours, championships and series. The first two are unlocked from the start, those being the junior series and the optional tutorial driver’s license which is a bit on the difficult side while winning actual races is still easier and more enjoyable. Each of these series has several event. When you place third or higher the next one unlocks. Its a tried and true formula, why reinvent the wheel. One thing I do have to say is the list of events only goes down so far, before you need to select the scroll bar to proceed further or back up. Having the list keep scrolling would be a time saver.
The menus look slick, but a little cumbersome to use with a 360 controller. Using the controller snaps the mouse cursor to different menu items without doing too much to highlight the item itself. Some of the menus have items in so many different locations that I found myself needing to scan around for where the mouse cursor went and where the light white menu is highlighted. It gets into a cumbersome level on a controller, but only in the menus.
It plays like others from the genre with left and right to steer your car no matter if you’re facing, north, east south or west. You have a forward and a backward like a trolley which feels better than a flat out brake and accelerator. There is no nitro, but there is both drafting and drifting. Doing those two tricks and placing the top three in events will earn you more cash to buy better cars.
I’d say that the game is 90% your car and 10% of your skill at least in the early fifth of the game. There’s no way to upgrade your cars, so instead you just purchase new ones. Each one has its own stats for top speed, acceleration, handling, drifting and braking. You can also paint your car a preset of colors. Let me recommend something other than blue, because during night races, everything has a sort of shadowy blue tint. Even with the optional player vehicle highlight, that’s the color of your paint job.
These cars are easy enough to purchase even for big money. They are relegated to five classes, which could be for later championships. Its a struggle to stay interested in the game enough to make it through even the first series. I tried, but each of these events feels more like a chore to get through than an enjoyable experience. its just too real for me even with all the frills to make things more accessible..
For those that want it, there is a multiplayer feature with quick races and online challenges, but two years after the game’s initial launch, the online is as you’d expect; dead. From the look of the challenges, you get to select from specific cars I suppose to keep challenges and races balanced.
The majority of the game’s problems stem from its perspective and city street maps. The perspective takes away from the intensity. Going through tunnels can be an issue. The game does what it can to quell the issues with the optional guiding line and arrows, but its more of an apology for the game. There are games out there that have more fun where the challenge becomes the racing, rather than even seeing where you’re going.