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Real Racing 3 review

Sam Loveridge



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Real Racing 3
  • Real Racing 3
  • Real Racing 3
  • Real Racing 3
  • Real Racing 3
  • Real Racing 3
  • Real Racing 3
  • Real Racing 3


Our Score:



  • Stunning graphics
  • Real cars on real tracks
  • Great motion controls
  • Free to download


  • Expensive in-app content
  • Long delivery times
  • Few rewards

Key Features

  • Free to download
  • Available on iOS for iPad and iPhone
  • Motion controls
  • Fully licensed cars and tracks
  • Manufacturer: Electronic Arts
  • Review Price: free/subscription


Real Racing 3 presents a mobile game that is graphically more akin to an Xbox 360 or PS3 title than most others, providing stunning visuals and fairly realistic handling. However, the third game in an already popular series, Real Racing 3 is the first to be offered as a free download, generating its income via freemium in-app purchases. Does the game’s constant money-begging negate any progress it makes in visuals, thus making the game entirely flawed?

Real Racing 3 Review

Graphics and Gameplay

From the outset, Real Racing 3 is the most aesthetically pleasing of Firemint’s deservedly popular racing series. The game offers graphics more reminiscent of home than handheld consoles, which look very impressive on the small screens of mobile devices. It’s no wonder that this title is often used to show off the graphics capability of new handsets like the Sony Xperia Z.

EA has worked hard to increase the “real” aspect of Real Racing 3, now providing fully licensed cars to race on real-world tracks such as Silverstone or the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Each car definitely feels like it handles differently too, and car repairs must be made too when necessary. The motion controls are great, with braking, steering and traction control modifiable in-game, allowing players to personalise their driving style.

Real Racing 3 Review

The handling is realistic and accessible, making Real Racing 3 settle comfortably somewhere between arcade and simulator.

Instead of AI racing rivals, the game implements a multiplayer system called “time shift”, which works by recording the laps made by other players to then overlay on the player’s current race. This means you’re always racing against real people, just not in real-time.

It also means that each race is different, because you’ll be competing against other players, but it can often present quite a steep learning curve as other players could have mismatched vehicles and leave you in their dust.

Pay to Play

EA claims that there are over 900 events to complete within the game, but to access some of the cups available, you must purchase a specific vehicle. This is where Real Racing 3 begins to come adrift. Frustrating in-app purchases or frequent excruciatingly long waiting times are the two options for dedicated players.

Real Racing 3 Review

As the game works on the freemium mobile app model, players can earn two types of currency. The first is the main in-app currency called R$, which will allow you to make repairs to your current vehicle, buy car upgrades, service your car or buy a new set of wheels.

The latter three options will force you to wait whilst the relevant service is delivered. You can either wait for the actual time to elapse or choose to spend some of the game’s second currency - the golden helmet coins - to fast-forward the clock. These are not earned through completing races, but rather can be bought for actual money via the in-app Real Racing 3 store. Real Racing 3 Review

It’s certainly tempting to make an impulsive purchase (we’ve found our fingers hovering over the purchase button several times) as those waiting times really ruin the game’s pacing. The only way to combat these without spending any dosh is to have several cars on the go, which takes a lot of time-investment and race wins.

The minimum spend is £1.49 for 10 gold hemet coins or R$50,000, which doesn’t go very far, whilst the top end of the in-app purchases could see the truly addicted forking out £69.99. Players can also buy car packs, which can currently cost anywhere between £1.49 and £13.99, to unlock new vehicles and associated tracks.

Therefore, to unlock the full potential of the game, players must spend money as well as being forced to suffer unnecessary wait times when they are doing well. The most irritating of these is the forced servicing that your car must undertake every couple of races.

Even if you are the best driver on the track, your oil, engine, brakes, suspension and tires all need servicing and changing every so often, which will enforce a wait at least 5 minutes long. While this may not seem that bad, when you’ve just got started and only have one vehicle, it is very frustrating.Real Racing 3 Review

Thus, despite the freemium model working for other games, Real Racing 3 seems to use it to create a barrier between the player and a great racing game. It feels like it disrespects the gamer, especially when you need to spend more than the average newly-released AAA console title to unlock the full game.


There is a good game buried deep within the costly freemium content and punishing waiting times of Real Racing 3. There are plenty of free-to-play games that prove the freemium content model can work, but we constantly found that with Real Racing 3, we were left waiting for our cars to be repaired so that we could carry on playing as we were unwilling to constantly fork out for those golden helmet coins.

Freemium issues aside Real Racing 3 is still definitely worth playing, if for nothing else than the stunning visuals and great handling that makes it a triple-A mobile game. It's just a shame the game couldn’t have been offered for a one-off price and then cut down on the amount of in-app fees.

Overall Score



March 12, 2013, 4:50 pm

Freemium:: Well, looks like I'll not be buying any more Real Racing apps :( , can't stand the Freemium model.

Another game I recently played, and thought was really good "Hay Day", but then the freemium model just started annoying the hell out of me. What gets me about this model is that to do well you have to be an "idiot" who is willing to pay. IOW: you can do well, not because your good, but because your willing to pay. How sad is that!!?, I see it been no different to cheating hackers.

I really hope this type of gaming model is not going to become the norm, and it dies a death quickly.


March 12, 2013, 5:47 pm

It's a shame about the freemium model, would have been a high scoring app if there was an option to buy it outright.


March 12, 2013, 10:23 pm

I guess I really don't understand all the strong emotions this has generated. Punishing wait times? Within a handful of races I had two cars and shortly therafter 3. The wait time is 5 minutes to a max of like 15 if you have to repair everything. I find I can get at least 5 or 10 races in before anything needs service and with only 3 cars there is no waiting at all. I haven't even been tempted to bypass a timer. What kind of an instant gratification society do we live in that you can't wait 5 minutes for your car to be repaired while you drive another car?

It's the best looking game on a console, features very entertaining racing with real cars and tracks and...wait for it...it's FREE. But it's complete junk because you might have to drive another car while you wait for your BMW to get serviced? Take a step back and think about it for a minute.


March 13, 2013, 9:43 am

Why can't we just buy the game?, it's not the waiting that bothers me with these sort of schemes, it's the competitive aspect. eg, People who are going to do well, are not those who are good at the game, but those who are willing to pay. Sorry, but that in my eyes is not the spirit of Sport!! saying that maybe money is the spirit of the game nowadays, when you look at the money that goes into Premier Football. So yes, it's most likely very true to life in this respect, money counts for everything nowadays. Oh! well..


March 13, 2013, 1:50 pm

How to kill a game.

I feel sorry for the devs who put so much work in only to have it ruined by marketing.

Unfortunately this is the future for EA; they've said IAPs will be in all of their new titles, and I don't just mean mobile ones.

I might install it just to check out the graphics, but once I've done that it'll be removed. I certainly won't be handing over any money, whereas if I could have bought the game outright I probably would have.

Dave Wood

March 13, 2013, 1:52 pm

I don't think it's as bad as it's made out to be here. I have 6 or 7 cars, all but the most recent is fully upgraded, and I haven't needed to spend any real money. You get golden helmet coins each time you reach a new level - I'm at about level 45. The repair/upgrade/delivery times do get longer (I have had some of 1.5 hours), but I usually have enough working cars to keep playing. I find that my eyes need a break, or the battery in the Nexus 7 needs recharging, before I run out of cars to drive.

David Easthope

March 14, 2013, 5:17 am

If anything, the wait times for upgrades to be delivered and for maintenance to be performed add to the realistic intentions of the game. In a real race environment, professionals could be out for hours while their vehicles are serviced. Waiting five minutes for an oil change reminds me to put down the game for a while and go do something productive, and I receive a handy push notification when the maintenance is complete.

While the "pay to win" concept may be appealing to some with a short attention span, I prefer to take my entertainment at a slower pace, properly earning the things I achieve. I've bought my third car now, with nothing more than hard-earned race money, and it's very rewarding to feel that sense of accomplishment.

David Easthope

March 14, 2013, 5:24 am

I'll be fine with it so long as it doesn't cross into true multiplayer gaming. In RR3 it's acceptable, because any player who works hard enough can earn the same engine as a "pay to win" player. EA also has microtransactions in Dead Space 3, a primarily single-player title, but all these upgrades are, are cheats and cosmetic improvements, and as a result, do little to actually change the flow of gameplay. Any player can still get full enjoyment out of the game without spending a dime. Now, if they made the top-tier weapons in a future Battlefield title only available for cash, THAT'S a problem, to me. Fortunately, I'd like to think a company like EA has enough drones crawling the numerous gaming forums to know that a move like that would be TREMENDOUSLY STUPID.


March 14, 2013, 8:09 am

That's what worries me, if this becomes the norm,. Although currently Battlefield when you become a Premium Member at least it doesn't appear to give you a gaming advantage, saying that didn't BF Bad Company have some special gun unlocks for certain players? . The Hay Day game is kind of multi-player (social), and here spending money gives you an advantage.

Jack Westrop

March 14, 2013, 4:03 pm

wow sounds ridiculous, I played the first real racing game on my ipod when I was on a coach, or on the tube, or anywhere i wanted 5-20 mins max to kill time while on the move - the main purpose of a mobile game! If it told me I had to wait 5 mins, like a child, go and wait until the game is ready, man, no way

Jack Westrop

March 14, 2013, 4:05 pm

What if you just want to play the next damn race before you get off the bus. Your idea of realistic is being told to wait while the fictional car has its oil changed. Get a life bro

Jack Westrop

March 14, 2013, 4:10 pm

Waiting time for the cars servicing adds nothing to gameplay, it is there purely to aid its freemium market strategy. If your a person who likes getting a game for free and paying through micro transactions then thats cool, but don't be fooled into thinking that the waiting times and 'pay to win' is an effort by EA to improve gameplay. Its a bout economics. Foolish! If you play this game very often for lets say 2 years... and you make several purchases at £8.99 each, think about how much money youve spent. It used to be the case you would spend £8.99 (or MUCH LESS) and the game would make it viable to attain your goals without spening a single added penny. Wake up man, what if you really love the game, spend £160 on it over its life. thats messed up.


March 14, 2013, 10:47 pm

That's fair. I do I agree the prices are outrageous...IF you plan to pay. I have no intention of giving them 1 dime. There's nothing in the game that I need so badly that I can't wait. I have 7 cars now and several are always ready to race. If it gets to be too annoying, I'll just delete the app knowing that I paid nothing. For now, I'm having fun and it isn't costing me a dime. I don't disagree with your assement of the prices, just with the idea that you can't play the game without paying. I am. YMMV.

Peter Edwards

March 15, 2013, 12:27 pm

Get multiple cars, been playing this game for a week now have seven cars and can say it designed great, Love that damage costs money and takes time makes you drive properly. I also turned off all assists at the start of the game and have not paid a penny

Henrik Andersen

March 15, 2013, 12:52 pm

It's obvious that whoever reviewed this game didn't spend more than 5 minutes before concluding that freemium is destructive. Had he spend enough time to enter a new driver level he would have realized that there is no need to spend any money as you earn gold coins when you progress. And with two or more cars, you just swap and play with the other car until the service is complete. Again, no need to spend money. It's a stunning game and hopefully you will all realize that the freemium model is not compromising the game play.

Tiffany Alekov

April 3, 2013, 1:24 am

I also fail to see what the big deal on wait time is... This is a great game, possibly one of the best free games out there.


June 13, 2013, 8:35 pm

Is there awaiting time for credits to be added when purchased? This is our first inapp purchase since we made a few mistakes when we first bought the ipod so we are real novices.

Stefan Dumitrache

July 19, 2013, 11:25 pm

"... that's not the spirit of Sport".
This is not Sport. This is business. If you want the Sport, as in the spirit of it, go out there and drive a real car.

Alex Doster

September 3, 2013, 5:53 am

It's a ridiculously time consuming never ending game all this in app purchase is crap also you can never save enough gold or money cause if you don't have a pr rate you can't race and always having to buy cars so u can complete each section a 100% and I have never ever known any game so draining annoying or to be never ending it looked great on the iPhone 5 launch but in reality it is crap I'm still waiting to unlock a Porsche with real racing 3 I find I have to re race from the start to the point where I can't go further because of the pr etc

Blake Harris

December 24, 2013, 6:14 am

I just bought the Lamborghini Venenu, it was 900 gold... Yes... 90$ of real money and then probably another 200$ of real money to fully mod it. The game had a bug when I installed and I ended up with 600 million in gold so I have the whole game unlocked with all the cars and I'm kidding you not it cost probably 25K of REAL MONEY!!! If i were to actually pay. Now it's not even a challenge because NOBODY has the more expensive cars in the higher classes. I raced the fastest Porche against all the other Porches, I finished a minute and a half faster than 2nd place on Laguna Seca. In a 2 lap race.. I think they created this game as a social experiment to see how long you'll run the maze for the least amount of cheese.


March 29, 2014, 2:04 pm

Henrik, you obviously haven't been playing very long.....or you have used a cheat and gotten unlimited gold. How in the world do you expect to get 600 gold..yes 600 to buy a car without spending real money? THAT MY FRIEND IS BULLSH@@!!!!!!!

Pajor Ádám

January 25, 2015, 1:48 pm

The game itself would be pretty good. The physics are OK for a mobile game. Nothing special, far from realistic, but at least, it's playable for everyone. The graphics are amazing and the car selection is great, but ruined with the expensive micro-transactions and lots of waiting.

I would buy the game for a fixed price (after playing a demo) and maybe I would support the paid DLC concept for some cars. I agree with the rating. It's a fun game ruined by that shitty EA freemium model.

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