Posted: May 23
RaceRoom is an excellent sim racer made by the same people behind Simbin, makers of Race 07 and other great sims. It's worthy of serious consideration by everyone who loves sim racing. Don't be fooled by the many bad reviews, there's a good reason for them, which I'll explain later. There's also more good news later.https://youtu.be/itBXrA2QEEMhttp://youtu.be/I7URfx-CpwE
Raceroom offers a large collection of cars (75 in total) and tracks (25 in total, many of which have several different layouts) and 3 competitions (2 DTM and ADAC) which are called "Experiences". These Experiences give you full seasons with teams and drivers. In short, there's a lot of variety in this game.
I haven't put many hours into this game yet, but so far I've found the racing "experience" to be extremely good. Physics are very realistic and the AI seems pretty good too. One very nice feature is the ARI (Adapative Racing Intelligence) which adjusts the difficulty level automatically to match your skill and experience. At first I wasn't impressed with this since the AI drivers were driving too slowly, but apparently the difficulty level starts low and increases over time. After a few races the AI had adapted to my level and started to provide some decent competition without being overly difficult to beat.
There are three racing modes; Novice, Amateur and Get Real. Novice is a bit of a joke since it actually brakes for you as you approach the corners. Amateur has realistic physics, but with traction control, ABS and zero damage. Get Real turns the driving aids off (but damage is still optional). It's a pity I couldn't configure all these things separately, I'd like to have driven on Amateur level but with damage turned on for example.
Now the bad news...
Many people have criticised this game for being free to play but with very little content. That's true, but what do you expect for free? You get 5 different cars and 3 tracks (each with several variations), more than enough to evaluate the quality of the game and give you some great racing fun for no more than the price of the download.
Think of it this way, the "free to play" game is just a demo, the REAL game is in the addon packs. Three of the DLCs currently available on Steam are "Experiences" - full seasons with tracks and cars - DTM 2013 and 2014, ADAC 2014. It actually makes more sense to buy these as DLCs rather than buying a whole new game every year, as with the F1 games. The fourth DLC is just a car pack, not an "Experience".
Here's where the problems begin...
The three Experience DLCs contain a lot of duplicate content. They mostly use the same tracks and some of the same cars. For example, the two DTM packs only have 1 track and 1 car different. This makes buying all the DLCs a waste of money, because you're paying for mostly the same content that you've already bought. I created a spreadsheet to show what's available in each pack, which you may find helpful;http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=445609150
To confuse matters even more, there are many more packs you can buy that aren't available as Steam DLCs, as well as individual cars and tracks, some of which are not available in any packs. You can buy them in-game or from their website. These are bought using the in-game currency of vRP points, so you can't see what they cost in real money. However, if you add the items to your cart you can see the cost.
Whoever came up with this ridiculous marketing/sales model should be fired. It confuses buyers and can result in wasted money buying duplicate content. Judging by the number of negative reviews, this has backfired on them, which is a pity. I hope they don't go bankrupt again because of this!
Fortunately, there is some good news...
While experimenting with adding various packs to the cart on their website, I discovered that they DON'T CHARGE FOR DUPLICATE CONTENT! They know what cars and tracks you own, so you don't pay extra for what you already have. So if you already own DTM 2013, DTM 2014 will be cheaper as a result. I wanted to buy all the tracks but was loathe to buy the European Track Pack for just one extra track, but when I added it to my cart, it cost less than a pound extra, less than half the price of buying that track individually!
So, it's okay to buy ONE Experience pack from Steam, but if you want any more, buy them from their site instead. Also, don't worry about duplicate content, you won't be charged for it.
Even more good news, the more packs you buy at one time, the cheaper they get. There's a cumulative discount, so if you're going to buy any packs, buy as many as you can afford to save more money. I bought 7 items and got a 16% discount. If you buy all the packs I think you get a discount of around 30%
To give you an idea of cost, I spent less than £30 to get all the tracks and about a third of the cars. I could have gotten all of the tracks cheaper than that, but I wanted some extra cars as well. Two tracks are not contained in any pack. Buying all the packs would cost around £70 I think, but unless you're a collector who has to have everything, it doesn't need to cost that much.
CONCLUSION: I highly recommend this game to all sim racers. Those who prefer casual or arcade racing should probably avoid this game (but by all means try the "demo" first). The DLCs, packs and points method of selling this game is overly complex and confusing, but if you like this game, don't be put off by that, it's well worth the hassle, and it's much cheaper to buy the extras direct from the game or their website, NOT FROM STEAM!