Monday, November 7, 2016

Real Racing 3 Adds Experimental McLaren MP4-X Concept

Photo Credit: Image from Real Racing 3/Electronic Arts



A recent update of Real Racing 3 has spawned some good and bad traits for the popular racing app.

Starting with the good news, Real Racing 3 is currently offering players to gain access to new McLaren-branded vehicles. Production-based 570GT and 675LT have been added alongside a radical concept racer. The most stunning ride introduced to the app racing game, the McLaren MP4-X was concocted as an extreme example of a Formula 1 car matched with the limits of real-world technology.

Sculpted as an advanced hybrid race car last year as an exercise of McLaren Applied Technologies, the MP4-X's electrical power system consists of generation through typical means such as braking as well as through solar cells. Electrical power is stored in thin batteries orchestrated around the vehicle for weight optimization. Although Formula 1 is already exploiting hybrid race car technology, the McLaren MP4-X's application is beyond the extent currently used in the series.


Photo Credit: Image from Real Racing 3/Electronic Arts


Beyond propulsion, the McLaren MP4-X's dazzlingly sleek appearance is entirely functional for achieving great speeds. Active aerodynamics features electrode-laden wings that electronically adjust the bodywork of the car for track conditions transitioning from high downforce for cornering to a low resistance appearance for straightaways. Although, McLaren developed the MP4-X with grand prix racing in the future in mind, the covered cockpit, fendered wheels and ground effects largely outlaws the car under current Formula 1 rules.

Through a wide array of sensors, almost every aspect of the McLaren MP4-X is monitored. Data from the tires, chassis and even the driver of the race car can be assessed. For the pilot of the MP4-X, gesture controls and holographic instruments would create an operating compartment where no physical steering wheel exists. A heads-up display and a 360-degree augmented reality-like display provides an unprecedented level of awareness.  


Photo Credit: Image from Real Racing 3/Electronic Arts



Bringing the car to a new form of virtual life, Real Racing 3 has given the car specifications. Initially, the McLaren MP4-X's top speed is 250 miles per hour, can accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 1.9 seconds, brake from 60 in 47 feet and features 4.0 g cornering grip. Upgrades offered in the game will enhance these performance attributes further.

For the moment, I am unsure of the price of the McLaren MP4-X to purchase in the game but it is currently available as a prize in a 8-day special event.


And now for the bad news...

During the last major download that included the MP4-X as well two McLaren road cars, I noticed a different driving dynamic to many of my races. Now, the brake assist on low is far too aggressive to the point it's overreacting. Some of you may mock the notion of me maintaining this in-game braking nanny on but I leave it at the 'Low' setting since there are occasions where my tablet doesn't realize my finger when I want to brake. For me, the most blatant examples of over-braking my experienced was on chicanes at Melbourne and the bus stop chicane on the Daytona International Speedway road course where I slowed so much I felt like a sitting duck at exit. Initially, I wondered if I had truly turned dreadful when events where I won are a struggle to get a podium but I later reviewed the Real Racing 3 Facebook page as well as Google Play reviews. It was on those sources that I noticed a multitude of comments citing similar changes to the driveability of cars. Another changes appears to be the driving habits of the AI competition. It seems that competing vehicles has been reprogrammed to drive dirtier than I recalled through past experiences.

Too bad Real Racing 3 would be choosing to modify that aspect of their game rather than improve the almost constant times you need to repair one of your vehicles after just a few events (longer races or endurance events often depletes a complete health of a car). It would have also been nice if they can improve the monetary system so a Richard Petty Motorsports NASCAR stock car didn't require 3,000,000 of in-game currency. Of course, the game publisher Electronic Arts want us to infuse real money into Real Racing 3 where a 2,000,000 in-game requires $69.99. If you want to buy Gold pieces (a second in-game currency), the purchase of 183 Gold coins amount to $27.99 and only affords you a handful of lower-tier vehicles. I understand game developers want to make money from free-to-play apps like Real Racing 3 but there has to be value.

With driving dynamics bordering on game-breaking, myself (as well as a number of other long-time enthusiasts of the racing app) are wishing that Real Racing 3 can at least restore the real fun with the game.

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