Reckless Racing 2 Drives Home a Winning Sequel
Movie sequels generally donít have a good track record when it comes to topping the original. Video games, on the other hand, are a decidedly mixed bag often times delivering outperforming sequels that provide superior gameplay. So where does Pixelbitís Reckless Racing 2 rank? The similarities between the two games donít extend beyond the name as the sequel is significantly different than its high-falutin predecessor and in many ways, much better with more of a focus on racing, track design, upgrades and customization. If youíre a fan of top down racers, then RR2 is arguably one of the best in the genre on the iOS platform. While some may argue about the physics within the game, RR2 provides a top flight racing experience along with plenty of content that should keep gamers entertained.
Visually, RR2 is all about the details and the visual depth when it comes to the tracks. The tracks are very detailed right down to the barriers, orange cones and surrounding environments. RR2 is the details especially during races. Whether itís mini sand storm that gets kicked up on skids or the shadows that cast themselves along the track, RR2 does not disappoint on that end.
Unlike the original, RR2 does away with the hillbilly theme so gone are banjo tunes and ďYee haws!Ē that were humorous to some and irritating to others. Racing among 24 tracks, the objective in RR2 is to earn money which can then be used to purchase cars and upgrades. With the Sansiban XL as the default, RR2 offers a total of 18 cars, each with customizable attributes in speed, acceleration and handling. These cars include Vico Tourado V6, Maxima Ventri, Trumper M2, Yoshma Rally, Phantom GTS, and Textor V2-R to name a few. There are number of upgrades for the engine, handling, and tires as well paint, rims and window tint. Also a garage is included where purchased cars are stored.
While the vehicles look great in the garage, one thing to point out is that the vehicles donít seem to have as much texture or depth as the original game during gameplay. For me, this is a mixed bag that ultimately doesnít impact gameplay, but itís something I miss.
The devs do a nice job of including steering control options: Full Wheel, Half Wheel, Standard (directional arrows), Tank, Tilt. From here, players also set auto gas, steering sensitivity and even adjust the placement of controls. Personally, I found all the controls extremely usable, although my personal preference is the Full Wheel with auto gas turned off.
If that werenít enough, players can also adjust assists and the difficulty. The game uses dynamic difficulty where the game gradually increased the difficulty so races will start out relatively easy and will become harder as races are won. If youíre in the mood for road rage, turning off dynamic difficulty will allow you to set your own difficulty level.
These options are some of the most extensive available for this type of game so players should be able to fine tune the game to their liking.
RR2 has several gameplay modes: Career, Arcade, Single Event and Multiplayer. Within each of these modes, there are a number of variations for the 24 tracks. In Career, players race in a number of tournament cups: Roadrunners (Rookie), Reckless Cup, Swoop Cup, Moto Sprint, Crowley Cup, Red Rocket, Super, Golden Rim, Roundhill, Tropic Breeze, Framstupa, and Outer Peak.
Arcade offers 40 challenges where the objective is to finish in the top 3, earn gold stars, and win prize money. Challenges are unlocked with a top 3 finish, and prize money can be used to purchase vehicles and other upgrades.
In Single Event, 3 event types are offered: Race, Hot Lap and Elimination. Hot Lap is basically a competition against yourself to beat your best track time. I actually find this to be a good practice event before engaging in Career or Arcade modes. Elimination is a race where the goal is avoid finish in last place for each lap. Note that these tracks must be unlocked in Career and Arcade mode before they are available in Single Event.
Aside from the vehicle animation mentioned earlier, the gameplay in RR2 should make racing fans happy with an engaging and intense racing experience. The early races start out relatively easy with other cars slow and docile. I had no problems speeding right by them without much interference. Part of the difficulty early on is that the vehicle will have very little handling which makes the controls feel loose and subsequently adds a degree of difficulty. The races do become more difficult as players progress, and of course, the track terrains alter racing strategy. A number of obstacles such as dunes and ramps add to the overall experience. But, so does the smoke from engaging the brakes or the sparks from swiping across metal barriers.
Where the game does excel to a certain degree is in the actual driving experience. The controls are responsive although they do have a small learning curve depending on the selected option. The power slides around curves are actually pretty entertaining once you get the hang of it. And, sideswiping and ramming other vehicles adds to the fun. Tailgating right up against the car in front is even possible right before swiping them aside. However, unlike the original, there isnít a sense of weight shifting, for example, when making a quick turn which may be due to the reduced vehicle animation.
While mentioning customizations and options, a mini map and green guide line are also options. One of things players will notice is how extensive and long some of the tracks can look and feel. A green guide line appears on the track showing track direction which is useful early on. But, as players become more comfortable with the tracks and desire a bit more difficulty, the guide line can be turned off.
As money is earned, purchasing and upgrading is relatively straightforward. For those who are impatient, RR2 does have IAP where players can buy credits that can be applied to picking new wheels and other gear. What should resonate well with players is that IAP are by no means necessary to progress in RR2.
Itís worth pointing out that the physics can sometimes feel a little out of whack. There are times when the cars donít seem to shift such as on a quick turn and as funny as it sounds, in crashing. Vehicles sometimes donít behave the way they should when crashing into each other, while crashes into the side barriers or environments can also have strange reactions. Also, occasional lagging and stuttering does occur, not often, but noticeable when it does and this was the case running on an iPad and iPhone 4S.
RR2 does offer GameCenter support, but the number of achievements is relatively small. In terms of importance, this will vary from player to player, but know that there isnít much there at the moment.
RR2 is a significant upgrade and change from the original and really should be considered a standalone game from the original. From the tracks and cars to the options and of course, the racing experience itself, RR2 is a winner. Regardless of whether youíre a novice or an advanced racer, RR2 has the content and depth to appeal to everyone.
Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (engaging gameplay with a plenty of content and depth, a variety of tracks and vehicles; a completely different game from the original; multiple responsive control options and game modes; visually detailed tracks, although cars lack texture; minor physics issues; occasional lags and stuttering)
Last edited by Big Albie; 02-02-2012 at 11:46 AM..