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Pole position

LiveMint logoLiveMint 30-05-2014 Vishal Mathur

Gameloft’s GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience and EA Mobile’s Real Racing 3 have forever been trading the best lap times as the two leading racing simulations on Apple’s App Store and Google’s play store. Both games have their sets of fans, but it comes as no surprise that most racing game enthusiasts end up downloading both titles on their iPads and Android tablets.

GT Racing 2 received a major update recently, both on Android and iOS. We tested the game on an iPad, and the experience has improved dramatically. There are a host of new features—tweaked tracks, the introduction of the W Motors Lykan Hypersport exclusive car, the new team modes, and the ability to resume the game from where you left it the last time. The new team mode also offers additional advantages in the championship, with quicker repairs and performance boosts.

The biggest change is the user interface. The previous layout focused more on rectangular boxes, and in some cases, too many took up screen space at the same time. This has been tweaked to offer a more open layout that doesn’t overwhelm the user. The mind-boggling varieties of event options have been categorized better, within broader heads. The same is true for car categories.

The new campaign mode is linked directly to the car categories, and you have to steadily climb through these to get to the likes of the Nissan GT-R and the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.

What remains, though, is the freemium packaging of GT Racing 2, which means that while the game is free to download and play, you can buy in-game cash (currency and points) to progress quickly through the levels. The Rookie Cash category costs `120 and the most expensive Legendary Cash bundle costs `6,200. The in-game currency gives you access to better cars, and also reduces the wait time for regular service and repairs—you cannot race while your car is being worked on, and that wait can get annoying after a while. There is, of course, always the honest, persistent way of progressing through the game’s levels, but that will really test your patience in this case.

The tilt controls provide a sense of weight that brings the experience closer to reality. The car handling is fairly consistent and easy to get a hang of, something that increases the game’s appeal with casual gamers. Each car has unique driving characteristics, which means that you cannot throw a muscle car like a Ford Mustang around the track the same way as a German sports car.

The cars are extremely detailed and realistic, since the licensing deals with auto brands allow game developers to replicate the cars in the game and give them real design characteristics. The tracks and the landscape beyond the stands look rich, with a variety of elements standing out.

There is, of course, the inevitable, direct comparison between GT Racing 2 and Real Racing 3. And there is no clear winner. The driving characteristics, gameplay experience and graphics are slightly better in GT Racing 2. However, despite the tweak, GT Racing 2’s user interface is inferior to that of Real Racing 3. For the casual gamer, Real Racing 3 feels slightly more fun, while GT Racing 2 has a seriousness about it which will appeal to the hard-core racing lover.

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