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Featured RaceRoom Racing Experience Review

Discussion in 'RaceRoom Racing Experience' started by Ryan Ogurek, Oct 25, 2014.

  1. Ryan Ogurek

    Ryan Ogurek

    In the shadow of this years sims and latest releases, there remains a loyal following of RaceRoom Racing Experience (or R3E) by Sector 3 Studios. With the majority of the content requiring purchase, the graphics not as pretty as that of competing sims on the market, and still being under development, how can they maintain their following? So, is it just another case of so-called "fanboy-ism" or have they really got something going for them?

    R3E is a free-to-play racing simulator, which means you can download it for free, and drive a small selection of cars and tracks. The rest of the content is purchased using "vRP": R3E's own currency. vRP can be bought for a reasonable price, or can be won in competitions. This makes R3E somewhat of a budget friendly sim. After all, it can indeed be played for free - if you can restrain yourself after you've been teased by monetized content. For those who can't bear the thought of not having full access to all content, R3E can become somewhat expensive in comparison to other simulators which come at a one-time fee, plus a DLC or two perhaps.

    R3E does host hot-lap competitions with real prizes, which is similar to some elements found in iRacing (which can cost considerably more with its monthly fees). These prizes range from vRP to VIP tickets to a real ADAC Masters race or a new Fanatec wheel.

    The rather unique pricing model may seem reasonable depending on your specific desires, or may seem expensive by comparison. So, does the gameplay make it worth the risk of being sucked into paying for more content?

    THE SOUND! That's the first thing that caught my attention. There's no denying, these guys have got the sound down. The difference between interior and exterior views is quite large as you would expect, and the reverb sounds amazing in tunnels. Simply put, the sounds are very, very good.

    Today we are seeing graphics that are near photo quality, and after driving some of the other sims on the market, I must say R3E looks a bit cartoony. This is not to say to graphics are poor by any stretch of the imagination, because that's not true either; the sun glare looks good and the reflections in the paint are accurate. It just doesn't have that certain shine to it. But once you start driving, you won't really notice the difference, and that's really the most important bit.

    The force feedback (FFB) is strong and detailed. One of the most noticeable traits is the satisfying kick it gives on shifts. This shift effect seems a bit overdone from default, but with some adjustment, it can be tuned to your own personal liking. Also very noticeable, is the way the wheel is strong and resistant without being heavy. It doesn't have that constant resistance that usually comes with strong FFB, it only pushes against you when the tyres and suspension are really under load. Although the FFB doesn't seem to change much from car to car, it feels just the way I imagine a purebred racecar should. It does have some flaws, but it seems most of them are small and will likely be worked out over time. Overall, the FFB feels very well done. More importantly, the FFB and all its traits add endlessly to the immersion.

    Initially I felt the cars were a bit too grippy, but as I have become more comfortable with the cars my opinion, for the most part, has changed. Once you start to get your times up to pace, and you start to really push the car, it begins to feel very different. And that is a good thing. Modern race cars have loads of technology packed into them, and are relatively easy to drive, until you get them to the edge. Really, the physics are very good and I find that it is quite easy to transition from R3E to other accurate sims.

    The combination of the physics and the FFB alone make for a quite immersive experience, add to it the sounds, and it is very easy to get lost in hot-lapping for hours on end. The AI isn't too bad either, they can be a bit aggressive during practice and qualifying, but most of the time they are able to safely race alongside and navigate around you. The dynamic AI difficultly setting however seems a bit too easy, I was able to easily put a large gap between myself and second place on a very short race. So, finding the preferred difficulty myself was a better option.

    So, the driving experience itself is good, but what about the content? That is after all, the thing we have to pay for.

    Well, the content seems to uphold a consistent quality, which is quite good. The tracks do not feel flat and smooth, the feel detailed and bumpy. The differences from track to track are noticeable, especially regarding kerbs, which is just as it should be. They may not be laser-scanned, but the tracks all have a good feel to them, unlike many other non-laser-scanned interpretations. It may not be 100% correct, but I nor vast majority of sim-racers have ever driven on these tracks in real life, so spotting the differences isn't as easy as it may appear.

    Some cars do seem to have some errors when it comes to the interior, compared to real life photo and video. But where that may be wrong, the sounds are spot on. I found myself driving cars for lengths of time simply to hear the reverb of my motor coming down the front straight. The accuracy of the sounds from car to car makes the sound of the motor a deciding factor in what is your favourite. This is something many sims and games alike fall short on, so when they get it right as they have with R3E, it is sensational.

    While the FFB itself doesn't seem to vary much car to car, they do feel entirely different. The FWD cars especially so. They react just as you would expect them to, and can be loads of fun to throw into the corners with the tyres howling like the alpha-male of a wolf pack. Older cars such as the BMW M1 Procar are amazing fun to slide around the corners, and I must say the level of feeling and control when doing so is very, very good. That is a particular area many, if not most, sims struggle, and Sector 3 Studios seems to have gotten it right.

    Really, when it comes to the content, it's about what you enjoy the most. Some cars, I can't seem to walk away from simply for the sound. Others, it's because of the ability to enjoy a bit of hooliganism. So I won't attempt to say which are best, I can however, tell you which are my favourite combinations.

    5. BMW M1 Procar @ Circuit Zolder - This one is for fun. The car sounds amazing and just feels amazing to slide around Zolder's slower corners. Give it a try, it's sure to put a smile on your face!

    4. Ford GT GT3 @ Circuit Park Zandvoort - Also a great race, and the roar of the GT is amazing. This one has a lot to do with that sound.

    3. Audi R8 ADAC Masters @ Nurburgring Sprint - This one makes for a great race, especially online in multiplayer. It's a track I know well, and a car that is simply brilliant.

    2. Zakspeed Capri @ Laguna Seca - This one is also for fun. The Capri has so much boost it kicks the back end out at high speeds without any problem. I know Laguna Seca well, so this one is loads of fun to drift around a bit.

    1. Radical SR9 Judd @ Bathurst - If I were to recommend any one car, this would be it. The sound is astonishing and just a pleasure to listen to, combined with the hills and tight walls of Bathurst, this combination really gets your immersion level up, and your pulse as well.

    When all is said and done, I'd say this is a great simulator and I would recommend it to anyone who calls them self a Simracer. It may have its bugs, and multiplayer may still be in alpha, which is why I haven't mentioned it much, but the little things that are wrong with it are quickly overcome by pure immersion.

    The sounds, the looks, the feel, it all comes together to form something that is simply a high quality product. Whether you play only the free content, or you buy it all, there is no question that this sim is worth the download, and worth giving it a try. Give it a chance, once you find yourself in a car you can't stop listening to, and realize you have put on far too many laps and shrugged off all your responsibilities, you will know there is indeed something to RaceRoom Racing Experience. Do I intend to keep driving R3E? Yes I do.

    Get involved in our RaceRoom community by checking out our dedicated R3E forum, or by posting awesome videos and photos in our R3E gallery!

    If you would like to have your product or game reviewed, contact me at ryan.ogurek[at]racedepartment.com
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2014
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  2. NIce review, totally agree with everything you said. After putting many hours in Race07 (and slowly building up the hours in R3E) Im glad that the exSimbin guys have got a new project to work on. Its shame that its in the shadow of other big sims such as AC and iRacing.
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  3. David O'Reilly

    David O'Reilly
    A bad quali means I can go forwards in the race.

    Nice work, objective and easy to understand.
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  4. Great review. I agree completely. Especially about the sound. Driving the M1 through a tunnel is Sim racing porn..
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  5. Very good review. Every sentence seemed as familiar as if I had written it myself.

    When R3E came out, I "bought it" immediately. Then even though I was not very happy with the driving feeling nor the choice of cars, I bought the rest of the cars I liked along with the tracks. Obviously hoping that someday the Simbin magic would equalize the amazing sound of the cars, which was really the only positive point in the sim.

    That didn't happen. Plus I became more and more irritated by the huge turn markers, the total silence coming from the developers and the lack of any AI or multiplayer even after we should have reasonably expected to have some.

    I wrote long, frustrated posts on this very site and received some responses from the devs. My impression was that, while they couldn't come out and say so openly, they were just as frustrated.

    That's why I am glad that finally R3E seems to be coming into its own. Even the graphics are good enough for me. They are still far better than GTR2. They only suffer in comparison with the very latest crop of sims like pCARS and AC.

    I think this sim is finally on the right track, so to speak. I am hoping for more content, multiclass racing, better and busier MP (possibly with custom servers) - in fact, if they followed iRacing lead and allowed us to lease their servers for league race I think it would be very smart of them and certainly a better revenue source than selling liveries.

    The liveris are my biggest complain about this game. They are stifling the creativity of a large contingent of fans. For what? A EURO worth of profit in the lifetime of a car per user?

    Charge for state of the art servers like iRacing does and let us manage our own liveries. I am sure they'll make more money that way.

    Sorry for the small detour, excellent review and I have to say: I was one of the harshest critics, but I am a believer again.

    PS: We need the ring and Lemans, along with a few other tracks. We also would like some classic content, cars and tracks)
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  6. PaulH


    Excellent points Corrado, totally agree about the livery's
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  7. My son and I have most of Sim Bin titles from years ago
    We have always enjoyed hundreds of hours of fun Sim racing
    We think S3s is the best:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Yes we have tried the others but we both agree R3e is a winner
    Keep up the good work
    Loyal followers :):):):)
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  8. Andrew Scott

    Andrew Scott
    Virtual Hoon! Premium

    I must agree with all points raised in the OP, I have all 3 next gen titles, but it's R3E that grabs my attention the most for FFB and immersion, even after playing AC for the past 3 months, all it took was one drive of R3E and I'm hooked, the Zakspeed Capri @ Bathurst is just incredible, especially in manual shift, I feel like I'm steering a race car, and the sound perfection just adds to your immersion level.
    Like Ryan stated you find yourself just wanting to do laps for the sake of feeling the cars FFB and hearing the engine singing it's song. I now have most the content, and Ive only spent half of what I spent 18mths ago for a seniors kit with one of S3-Studios competitors, and Ive had more enjoyment from R3E in one week, so I feel it's $60Aud well spent, was actually a B/D gift from my 19 and 22 yr old children :D
    I'm looking forward to new content from S3-Studios, and hopefully some graphical upgrades, although I don't mind the slight (Cartoony) Race-07/Evo look, which I find dwelling in the background occasionally.

    This title is well worth a look, and seeing it's base game is free via Steam, it wont hurt to download it and try it out, If you haven't already, your missing out on a high quality Sim.
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  9. Agreed, I posted a while back that the immersion factor is very high! Along with the FFB thats what makes the game so authentic! Driving the Capri is pure car porn!
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  10. Nice review :) last friday I bought the wtcc and gt3 masters packages and have to say that I'm impressed with the racing immersion it gives you! Luckily multiplayer is not dead at all and always found a race I could take part in. Ok said enough...off for another doze of R3E MP :)
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  11. There's another one strong point of this game, that in my opinion had not been emphasized enough in this review. It's the fact, that unlike in any other racign sim the tracks are very much "alive". There is alot of movement around the track, crowds on the tribune finally seem to be living persons and not just dead effigies. There is some waving of the flags, somebody is taking pictures etc... It may be not so importand as physics or FFB, but still adds significantly to the overall immersion and creates feel of participating in actual race day on real track, and for this I recognize tracks in RRRE as much more convincing, then those represented in Assetto Corsa, which in comparision are very very still and "frozen in time".
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  12. James Cook

    James Cook
    Marcas fan

    Yep, a well-written, fair review. Can't disagree with the majority of that.

    The only thing I take slight issue with is the comments about the graphics. Personally I feel R3E more than holds it own against the competition. I can only compare to the 'current gen' sims I own - GSC, rF2 and AC - but I feel R3E is the best looking of the bunch.

    I'm not a PCARS member so can't speak from experience, but judging by the screenshots and videos, that game looks to be the market-leader in the graphical department. AC has great-looking cars and cockpits but I'm not a fan of the way the tracks look in that sim. They're a little plain looking, a bit sterile and lacking character in my eyes. R3E's tracks have a lot of detail and character which creates a great feeling of atmosphere at each venue.

    Much like rF2, R3E perhaps isn't a "screenshot generator" like PCARS and AC, nor does it look quite as good in replays as those two, but when you are sat in the virtual cockpit, looking out at the track ahead, it just looks right and therefore feels right. R3E has a very natural, understated look that I value highly.

    It's certainly not cartoony in my opinion.
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  13. Theres is something about the r3e graphics that is more pleasing to the eyes. Maybe its the color palette they use. But like you said, it seems more natural.
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  14. James Cook

    James Cook
    Marcas fan

    Agreed....and actually, I forgot to mention the new time of day settings which makes the game look quite stunning. Let's give R3E the credit it's due - the tracks look fantastic. I can see feels3's influence in the texture work and the result is some of the best-looking tracks in sim racing.

    Oh, and the cars look great too!
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  15. Really good review!!
    Obviously R3E still needs more work.
    And especially missing some key features, like customizable championship, pit stops etc, etc.
    Along with a bunch of famous tracks and more cars / liveries in some classes.
    But overall it's an awesome sim, that have really stepped up over the past couple of months!!

    The only reason I'm still returning to AC from time to time, is to calm my urge for Ferraris and the Lotus 49.. .
  16. I'm only playing the free content now. But I have a question and like to know if the free content received the same track and ffb update as the paid content?
  17. I don't think so...but I am not sure. I don't know how much "better" the new ffb and physics are compared to the old, but they probably create a slightly better experience. Some says it is huge, I have not played enough to really know. I just know I enjoy the content I have purchased and was happy with the free content.
  18. If you want to test RRRE for free, then istead of "single race" you should choose "competitions" because content shown in single race is poor fictional and outdated track. "Competitions" mode contains latest tracks and cars. There is also test drive available for each one of the cars, you can choose it inside store, unfortunately in test drive mode you run on this fictional track. I strongly recommend testing WTCC in "competitions".
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  19. AFAIK RaceRoom Raceway, which is free, was updated with new RoadFeel technology (in Sept or Oct update).
  20. I would disagree with the point raised on the adaptive ai technology. Of course you beat them easily the first times... That seems to be the point actually. AI learns and analyzes lap times and deltas etc. to adjust itself to your level of racing.

    First time i ran i beat them by two laps. Now i may finish 15th in a race, using the same cars and tracks, if i have some bad luck or miss a braking point. Constant battles all race.

    So it seems to be working as intended, and at least on my install it is awesome. When dialed in after some use, it is so much better than setting some percentage.

    The adaptive ai, is for me a big selling point of RRE. Well, the AI in total is... It is clearly the best out there for the modern sims. That makes RRE my goto single player experience.
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