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GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, Mobile, iPad

Keeping it real

Product: GT Racing 2 | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: iPhone | Genre: Arcade, Racing, Sports | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0.1
GT Racing 2 iPhone, thumbnail 1
The Real Car Experience, eh? That doesn't sound too good.

In my dozen or so years of driving, "the real car experience" involves dodgy electrics, oil spillages, head gasket failures, and limping home from Cornwall in engine safety mode. Twice.

Fortunately, GT Racing 2 is far more about motorsport wish-fulfilment than it is the pains of everyday car ownership - but it does feel a little like hard work at times.

Really real racing

Of course, Gameloft couldn't call this sequel to its 2010 original "The Real Racing Experience", because that would make it sound too much like Real Racing.

It might as well have, though, because this is very much in the mould of Firemonkeys's high-end racing simulator. Right down to the fact that a probably divisive freemium payment structure takes the shine off an otherwise pristine racing experience.

Handle with care

Here too you take control of a vast roster of sporty cars, each superbly rendered, and guide them around a series of beautifully lit console-esque tracks.

The handling is fine, with a range of control options providing an almost-good-enough experience regardless of your preference.

We say almost, because it never quite feels like you're using the ideal setup once you deactivate the assists (which any serious gamer should do post-haste). The accelerometer works well for nippy front wheel drive cars with improved handling, and it also opens up the possibility of taking over the accelerator as well as the brakes, if you're feeling dextrous.

However, controlling some of the rear wheel drive cars with tilt controls somewhat exposes the slight disjuncture between motion and reaction - it can be very tricky to correct your course when the back swings out.

The tap-left/tap-right control method, meanwhile, feels jittery, and makes manipulating the brakes a complete chore. Let's not mention the frantic mini-steering-wheel option, which is simply made for fish-tailing.

Pick a car, any car - not that one

GT Racing 2's range of cars and tracks is truly impressive, as is the range of race types it throws at you throughout career mode.

IAPs explained
GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience is driven by IAPs.

200 credits can be yours for just £1.49 / $1.99, which is enough to buy you a Tier 2 car outright. But the top-end Tier 6 cars cost you around 4,000 to 5,000 credits. It's £13.99 / $19.99 for 2,800, or £34.99 for 7,500.

It maxes out at £69.99 / $99.99 for 16,000.
There are traditional multi-car races on dedicated race tracks, one-on-one duels through tight street tracks, and point-to-point time trials containing off-road sections.

You'll get to experience these in more than 60 licensed cars, too - and you can really feel the difference between a buzzy front wheel drive hatchback and a precariously powerful rear wheel drive sports car.

So much so that, as mentioned, you might find yourself switching between control systems depending on the car you're racing.

Holding onto the keys

The trouble is, GT Racing 2 is just too stingy with these cars. It takes hours of playing to work your way up to the more exotic cars on offer.

At the very least, we would have appreciated an arcade mode to get a preview of what awaits us later in the career mode, or the odd one-off challenge mode featuring a choice supercar to fulfil the same role.

Of course, you can gain access to all of these cars straight from the off - provided you plough in some of your own cash. Fancy the Ferrari 599XX? Yours for 5450 in-game credits, or £28 in real terms. Ouch.

Of course, it can be attained through good old-fashioned graft. But you'll need an awful lot of it.

The cost of running a car

The game nudges you towards making smaller IAPs at several points. You'll need to purchase upgrades for each of your cars as you progress to tougher levels of races.

It's a bit annoying, actually, as you can be struggling to make headway even with a mostly clean run, then upgrade your straight-line speed and blunder your way to a simple victory.

These upgrades don't have to be bought directly, but the temptation to shortcut the process of acquiring the game's currency, or to speed up the upgrade process (which takes longer the higher grade the part) is always there. It's actually not the most aggressively offensive of freemium systems, but the sense of constant coercion is a little wearisome.

Still, at least you're not charged to repair your car in between rounds, unlike a certain other racing game of the real persuasion.

GT Racing 2, then, is a slightly less dazzling, fractionally less tight Real Racing 3 with a marginally less obnoxious IAP system. It's a very good racing game, and a great showcase for newer Apple hardware.

But, as any car nut will tell you, "the real car experience" tends to involve plenty of toil alongside the simple pleasure of driving.
GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 20 November 2013
An attractive and vast racing simulator that largely holds its own against the Real Racing series, but which requires an awful lot of hard work (or expenditure) to make any progress with
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