In short: RaceRoom Racing experience is a great racing simulator to those looking for cut-throat competitive AI in offline racing. The multiplayer is shaping up to be great, but in its current Alpha state it's not quite there yet. If you're on the fence, try the free content first and if you're looking to spend a few bucks, consider either DTM '92, ADAC GT Masters 2013 or 14, or the WTCC '13 pack. Money well spent.
Look below the review for a comprehensive list of Pro's and Con's after the verdict.Visually
R3E is a competitive title, on par with Assetto Corsa. Track textures and detail are what you expect them to be in a 2014 racing sim. Everything looks quite sharp and well detailed. Car interiors are nicely modelled as well, leaving only very few wishes to be desired. A few upcoming titles might look a bit better, but we'll see to those as they get released.
Ligthing, color and saturation in R3E seem very life-like and real. Lighting conditions can be selected from one of 5 presets: Sunrise, Morning, Noon, Evening and Sunset, with full real-time transitions coming later down the road.
In the Sound
department, R3E really starts to shine. Or roar.
Compared to other simulation titles like Assetto Corsa, Game Stock Car Extreme and rFactor2, the cars and engines in R3E sound like they have the punch they claim to have. The sound has just the right amount of reverb to immerse you and make you think you are sitting in fact inside of the car you are pretending to be driving at your PC.
On the driving
side of thins, there is a lot of good to report as well: The physics feel similiar to other hardcore racing sims like rF2 or GSCE. It becomes immediately apparent whenever you push the car too hard, resulting in oversteer and overshooting a corner or massive oversteer and spinning out - or if you are lucky - just a major slide of the ideal racing line.
The game does communicate what is going on under your car really well through the Force Feedback
. With a little practice you can judge pretty well just by feel if you are about to lose the rear of the car, or whether your rear tyres have just locked up. This is really important in a racing sim, and in this regard R3E is comparable to Assetto Corsa and Game StockCar Extreme, but still a little off from rFactor2. To be fair, the FFB in rF2 is unmatched by any other sim.
If you're not up for racing against other people over the internet, R3E's AI will give you a good challenge. They can be either set to a fixed difficulty level (from 80 to 120%) or alternatively to Adaptive AI, which will ramp up or soften the difficulty depending on how well you do against the AI. In general, Adaptive AI is pretty good at giving you just the right challenge. You have to work really hard for a Victory, but at the same time the AI don't leave you in the dust and you always have some other cars to race against.
In their general behaviour the AI race hard against you, but fair. They don't bump you out of the way, but they will use gaps to overtake. They will defend their position with defensive lines and not just stick to a single racing line. (I'm looking at you there, Gran Turismo.) In comparision to Assetto Corsa, the AI in R3E is more aggressive, but still fair.
Unfortunately the game is missing an AI agression control, like rFactor2 and Game StockCar Extreme have. I'd like to tweak the AI not just in skill, but also in agression.
Now, some time for Multiplayer!
There are no dedicated servers available yet, so you have to hope that your favorite track/car combination is currently running on a server hosted by Sector3 studios. The servers are "jump in and drive", meaning that if you don't pay attention you might end on a server that has just finished Qualifying and you start a race from the back of the grid. Netcode in Multiplayer is really solid. No cars warping around, no ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ contacts and bumps between cars that are 2 meters apart on screen. The community is okay, you get the occasional idiot who wrecks half the field and other people rage quit whenever they lose too many positions for their tastes, but additional features like ranking systems and wrecker bans are on the horizon for the Multiplayer, as well as Dedicated Servers for everyone.
Now for the most controversial part about this simulator: The Store & The Pricing
: Out of the box you have access to two circuit tracks, a hillclimb track and a bunch of cars from different classes. In my opinion that's decent content for a free portion of a game. Some people might disagree, but everyone is entitled to their opinion I guess.
Tracks and Cars can be bought with Virtual Race Points
, and after the latest update with hard earned cash directly. This alleviates my previous criticism about having to essentially give Sector3 free money in exchange for virtual currency.
Prices are not that cheap, but they are reasonable. A new car or track will generally set you back 2€ to 4€. You can get bigger discounts if you buy more stuff in bulk, or if you get stuff in packs: The DTM '92 pack with it's 5 cars and a ton of liveries is ~10€ compared to ~18€ when you buy them all individually.
Additional discounts are granted to everyone who owns cars and tracks of a new pack: For example, I get a huge discount on ADAC GT Masters 2014 pack, because I already own most of the tracks and cars in R3E already. I think that's a fair system.
There is an option to Test Drive
all the cars on the RaceRoom Raceway that is included in the game. You can also take part in the free competitions that are changing regularly. Those competitions feature a rotating set of cars and tracks. You don't have to own them to drive them, and if you're fast you might even win a prize!
Recommendations for your first purchase(s):
* DTM '92 pack (5 cars with a lot of liveries)
* DTM Experience 2013 (3 cars, ton of liveries, 9 tracks)
* WTCC 2013 pack (5 cars, ton of liveries, 3 tracks)
* ADAC GT Masters 2013 (7 cars, ton of liveries, 6 tracks)Verdict
: If you have tried this sim half a year ago, please do come back and try it again! The driving physics and Force Feedback have been vastly improved, along with the new and fairer store pricing & discount system. R3E drives just as well as Assetto Corsa, rFactor2 and Game StockCar Extreme. It has the best single player AI on the market, apart from GSCE and the largest selection of content (sans Modding) of the currently availlable sims.Pro's
* Good Graphics
* Great sounds
* Very competitive AI
* Good driving physics and FFBCon's
* Multiplayer a bit bare-bones at the moment
* Game can get expensive if you want to have everything