Real Racing 3 hands-on preview: Taking mobile racing to a new level. Apps, Android apps, iPhone apps, iPad apps, Real Racing 3, EA 0

A weight of expectation rests on the shoulders of Real Racing 3, the latest instalment of the popular mobile racing game from EA.

It was developed by the newly formed Firemonkeys studio in Australia, and Pocket-lint sat down with Michael De Graaf, its associate producer, for some hands-on time with the new game before its release on 28 February.

The build we were playing was the final release, the very same that will be rolling out to iTunes and Google Play in simultaneous launch across iPhone, iPad and Android. We played mostly on the iPad, but we also saw it in iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy S III.

They say that first impressions last, and that’s very apt when talking about Real Racing 3, because this game is breathtakingly good looking. When we say nearing console quality, we really mean it. We were blown away by the trailer back in August 2012, but in the flesh it’s a wonder to behold.

Real Racing 3

De Graaf told us that, in fact, there were as many polygons in a wheel of a car in RR3 as there were for the entire vehicle in RR2. That shows, as the game looks fantastic in all areas, from the rich design of the menus, through the customisation and upgrade sections and into the game itself.

But Real Racing 3 isn’t called “real” for no reason: it’s filled with real cars, real tracks and real people, which is the three-pronged message Firemonkeys is pushing.

There are 46 cars available at launch from 12 manufacturers and there are enough to get you excited, with cars at various levels to suit the different races on offer.

You start with just one car and, as the game progresses, you add cars to your garage. If you have the right car, then a range of races for that class of car opens up. Of course you’ll have to win the cash to buy those cars as you go (more or less).

The cars look absolutely stunning and they sound fantastic too, along with the licensed tracks that sit in the background. We picked out the awesome Rusko track Everyday, also used on the trailer, and with headphones connected, RR3 is hugely immersive.

Since we’ve mentioned cash, let’s talk about one thing: Real Racing 3 will be free. It’s a move that’s drawn some debate from the gaming community, but for many gamers this will be appealing. It’s a great quality game and you can get it for nothing. 

Of course, real cash comes into Real Racing 3 if you want to get to something without putting in the time to race and progress that far. Using in-app payments, you’ll be able to buy game cash so that you can have that car you want, or you’ll be able to buy a package, for example, to open up parts of the game you haven’t yet reached.

By Chris Hall