Hot off the heels of the release of its arcade racer back in August, Gameloft is back behind the wheel with GT Racing 2 [Free], a racer that focuses more on ‘simulation’ rather than thrills. Just as it did with Asphalt 8, GT Racing 2 boasts impressive visuals, loads of content, and a pretty approachable experience both in terms of gameplay and presentation. In fact, the only downsides lie with its freemium timers, which are annoying but not game-breaking.

As was the case with Asphalt 8, the first thing you’ll notice with GT Racing 2 is the excellent visual system. The game’s vehicle models are impressively detailed and the tracks, while a little sterile, still look great. Most importantly, the GT Racing 2 runs at a fast, smooth framerate with little slowdown. Of course, these impressions are based on an iPhone 5S, so older models may not have the same experience. Still, if you are fortunate enough to have a current generation device, GT Racing 2 is definitely on the short list to show off its graphical prowess.

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Featuring an incredibly deep campaign mode, GT Racing 2’s single player mode offers an insane amount of content. Each vehicle features its own campaign with plenty of different kinds of races. There’s also a decent amount of variety in terms of tracks and vehicles, although it would have been nice to have more (a common desire). A standard multiplayer mode rounds out the content, and works well as a supplemental source of income.

My biggest complaint with Campaign Mode is the strict linearity of it. Every player starts with the same group of low-end cars to purchase with higher end cars locked until you earn the requisite amount of stars (after which you still need to earn enough coins to purchase them). The campaign does allow you to occasionally skip some cars if you earn enough stars in the other vehicle campaigns but unless you spend a lot of real money on premium bucks, higher end cars will remain unlocked for quite awhile. Each vehicle also follows the standard rule of gradual difficulty while improving your car to match the difficulty increases, so you will have to invest money into your cars to earn those stars. This isn’t really a big concern, but folks looking to drive a specific, higher-tier car will either have to spend a lot of time unlocking it in the campaign or purchase premium currency.

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The only real irritation with GT Racing 2 is its use of timers and mechanics in upgrading your vehicles. Simply put, it’s an unnecessary annoyance that feels tacked on. In order to upgrade a vehicle, drivers not only need to pay the requisite amount of currency but also assign a ‘Mechanic’ to conduct the repair. You start out with only one mechanic, but can purchase additional ones with premium currency. Until you purchase more than one mechanic (which could take awhile without IAP), you’ll only be able to perform one upgrade at a time regardless of how many vehicles you own.

Meanwhile, those upgrades take time to complete, with the more mechanics put on an upgrade, the faster the job takes. Of course, upgrades can be fast tracked with premium cash, but players should really be saving those for more mechanics. It’s a cumbersome system that really penalizes players at the onset when they only have one vehicle. It’s also somewhat reminiscent of the system in Real Racing 3, except there’s no damage system which is a big plus. Regardless, while it doesn’t it doesn’t impact most of the gameplay I really wasn’t a fan of it.

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It is a shame, because other than the freemium complaints, GT Racing 2 is a great title. It controls beautifully, with plenty of viable control schemes and has a ton of content. In addition, options such as the perfect line do a great job of teaching novice drivers the ideal paths to tackling the road while steering and brake assist are welcomed options that are almost standard on full-featured racing games. Props also to the music track list, although I would have liked a bit more variety to the tunes.

Overall, there’s a lot to like with GT Racing 2 but the upgrade timers and forced linearity of the campaign mode really bring down an otherwise fun experience. Obviously racing aficionados will want to check it out, but I think GT Racing 2 is also approachable enough that novices can get into the mix. Sure, the freemium elements are an annoyance, but the lack of any true paywalls means everyone can (eventually) enjoy all that it has to offer.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Taclys

    Awww, freemium always makes good games worse. Thanks for the review!

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      • chief78

        Dude, get lost Troll! Scammer.....

  • tinkie277

    Freemium is one of the reasons I am going to have to give up on mobile gaming! I will keep my eye out for the great IAP-less games, but it's getting beyond a joke now. When I sit to play a game I want to get lost for a few hours, not play 2 minutes then wait forever for a car repair. What a crock!

    • bigjack66

      You're not looking hard enough there are plenty.

  • YMCMBRules

    I remember GT Racing being the second app ever downloaded by me. :) Good memories with that demo, alongside angry birds.

  • B3nlok

    The physics engine in this game is garbage.Gran turismo Psp on PPSSPP emulator running at 0.2 fps currently seems a better alternative for those looking for a decent arcade/sim racer.

  • xzeldax3

    You guys need to write a review or article about QuizUp by Vanilla Games!!!! It's the best trivia game I have ever played!

    • Pier Luigi

      Amazing game, I agree. ;)

    • anabolicMike

      That's the one that installs that software in the background and rapes your Facebook details. Puts it all in plain text or something and passes it off. Ya. No way on quizup. I keep seeing people pushing it too. Strange

  • Mountain872

    I refuse to download anymore free games. iOS has the potential to produce amazing, premium titles but games with IAP like this don't cut it. With an A7 chip and a retina display, games should be up to par with some racing titles on Xbox 360 and PS3. I'm still waiting for that $15 racing game, that plays like Real Racing 3, but without timers, funny money, and ridiculous unlocks.

    • doublezz

      agree. I finally give up RR3 because their ridiculous "lock" rule. It makes the new available cars pointless as you have to go through all those unwanted games to unlock the car. The "lock" wasn't there before and the people who introduced the "lock" is really a dumb xxx.

    • anabolicMike

      The sad thing is that you, me and the gamers here are in the minority. People will see a 15/20$ racer and say "I ain't spending that on some game!" Which is in itself ridiculous since they will pay 59.99 for a console game. The premium game won't make money like the freemium will... The premium game night even flop and from a company stand point it's hard to take the risk. As sad as it is to say it really isn't the companies fault, it's the new age gamer. Which is some teen with a phone on mommies account and this is how they pay. Too dumb to realize 2.99 cents for 100 gold 20 times is more expensive then a 15$ premium game.

      You all know I'm right. If it was ten years ago this freemium bullcrap woulda sank like a zeppelin made from lead simply cause us nerds were the main game players. Not all these "posers" who just have phones and download. Sad sad sad :(. Us gamer nerds are now the minority of game players. Hell my mum plays games on her galaxy! Um what?

  • VirtualBoyFreak

    This one or Real Racing 3? I'm already into RR3 with 33 cars. Should I begin with this one, or continue gathering cars in RR3? Which one is better overall?

    • Taeles

      They both have their merits, this one doesn't feel quite so iap stingy though, so far.

      • VirtualBoyFreak

        Thanks. Will try it then to see how it goes.

      • VirtualBoyFreak

        Tried it. I stick to RR3. I don't like the touch steering wheel controls (too sensitive) and I feel that you still have to grind a lot to achieve the cars. I also think it's too linear, but this is secondary. My main problem is with the touch controls...

      • StudentDriver

        You can change to type D controls (tilt, gas, and break.)

        And the 'grinding' doesn't seem like grinding because I am enjoying the ride.

    • PureRumble

      Last time I checked this Gameloft's new game has multiplayer, real multiplayer.

      RR3 has no such thing.

  • Gamer1st

    I'll pick this up on Shield until someone releases one of the near Bigfoot mythical level iOS 7 controllers.

  • Taeles

    My only complaint so far is the steering wheel option. The wheel is in a fixed position, it doesn't appear where you place your thumb like rr3. And it's uncomfortably further in than my thumb likes heh.

    Great game aside from that though

  • Topbeast

    Are you serious? 4.5 stars?
    -This is a 2 stars game.

    • dariusjr98

      Have you actually played it, or are you just saying that because it is freemium?

  • JJE McManus

    Performance on an iPad 2 is severely lacking. Lots of frame drops with other cars on the screen. Nice racer overall but I'm writing here now because the timers are running in the game.
    So if I got this right doing something else, like commenting on TA, is a game mechanic? Gotcha!

    • Kamran Mackey

      No wonder it lags. Dude, it's cuz of the hardware. iPad 2 is old. No wonder why GT Racing 2 lags like crap on your iPad 2. Get the latest iPad, or heck, even get the iPad mini.

  • http://www.gahe.co/ Gahe

    Indeed, what we can find in this is great.

  • Pier Luigi

    Pretty laggy on my iPad 4, I suspect it lacks some optimisation.

    • searching8442

      Sometimes it laggs on my iPhone 4S

  • nonstickron

    Upgrade systems without some kind of visual upgrades always feel hollow to me. Interior changes for weight reduction, body kids, cars lowering with suspension upgrades, wheels changing as you go from street to pro. At least in 2k drive you can get decals and hood ornaments. RR3 even charges you premium currency to paint your car. Customization and personalization in the vein of visual upgrades is what keeps the limited car rosters interesting in racing games...and I can't for the life of me figure out why the current crop of high end graphics racers have completely ommited it.

  • NOEN

    I downloaded this during the soft launch and so far I'm liking in more than RR3. It does suffer from framerate issues and lags here and there on my iPod 5G though.

    • Kamran Mackey

      Happens on my 5G as well....but overall it's pretty smooth.

  • chief78

    Smooth as silk performance-wise on 5S. But I agree with most others here....this game is laden with IAP walls, and from the forum discussions, it sounds like literally everyone will hit a pay wall in the Platinum series.
    Let's recap all the issues with THIS freemium: coins, cash as the premium, timers, mechanics, and boosts. Gameloft, you guys had a chance to not be like every other damn racing game on the store right now, but u still took the low road....sad sad day :( I'll play until I hit the pay wall and them delete and forget like RR3.....Can so done make a premium racing title please!!! I'll give ya $10 up-front which is a lot for mobile...did I mention we're on mobile and not console?

    • Kamran Mackey

      Dude, deal with the fricken iAPs. You can complete the whole game without using iAPs.

  • bilboad

    What I wonder is, if buying more mechanics speeds up upgrades, if you buy enough mechanics will your upgrade times go to 0 or at least be so short that it won't matter? If so, how many mechanics would I need to buy, and how much do they cost? If it's an otherwise great game, and I could spend for example $10 in IAP once to permanently get rid of the main freemium irritation, it would effectively turn this into a $10 premium racing game, which would be fine with me.

    • chief78

      Not from what I can tell. I read through the help page in options and they specifically mention that upgrades take time but are worth the wait. Also, for $10, you can only purchase the 1st 2 mechanics after the first "free" one you get starting out. Each mechanic's skill increases but so does the cost. After the 3rd one, it starts getting pretty expensive. And the only currency to buy mechanics or boosts is, of course, the 1 currency that's IAP. They'll also throw discounts at u for like "50% off this upgrade right now", but it also costs IAP currency. Too bad, becuz the physics r solid, graphics r pretty nice, and it's a promising title. I wish they'd just go ahead and offer a one-time all inclusive payment option. Ain't worth more than $10 though....

  • Redman5006

    Am I missing something or is there no option for a manual acceleration pedal while using the virtual steering wheel? I get better control with a manual gas pedal and virtual steering option. Also the steering with the virtual steering wheel is very sensitive and as the other guy mentioned, oddly placed. Other than that it seems pretty good.

    • chief78

      Controller scheme D is the closest you'll get. It's manual gas and brake with tilt steering. I've found tilt the easiest and just takes a race or two in order to get the feel down.

      • Redman5006

        Thanks, I kinda figured that was the closet option. Just surprised by that and was hoping I was missing something. I'm really hoping they will add a virtual steering wheel/manual brake and manual acceleration option. Not all people are fans of tilt controls. It's a great sim so far. Not sure about IAP yet. Thanks

  • buzzbydj

    How can you give it 4 and half stars? This game is pure tripe.

  • rewyan

    Great game and great review. However, you guys need to think of some new puns

  • bigjack66

    It's particularly annoying that the timers don't run down if you're not playing the game then gives you a notification that your car is upgraded.

  • azsxdc

    Quite disappointed with this site's treatment of freemium games. The reviews repeatedly state that there is no paywall while most players then go on to find that there is.

    IAPs aside, I find the game quite disappointing given that I liked Asphalt. The supposedly realistic controls are really not, the boosts are a ludicrous concept in a "simulation" game and the voice-overs are obnoxious. The graphics are also fairly poor on the iPad 3, Asphalt looked better.

    • Synx75

      Asphalt is a lousy tryout racing game compared to this.
      Aspalts controlls is the main issue i left Asphalt app and secondly the imaginary stunty boost stuff combined with bad controlls.
      GT Racing 2 replaces Asphalt and 2K racing anyday tbh.
      Ofc if you're not a simulaion skill racer,.. Then fantasy racing like Asphalt, 2K racing, Twisted Metal, Carmageddon and so forth is more your cup of racing tea i suppose. It is a matter of taste. But the controls to be perfectly honest ain't as good as in Real Racing 3 but close enough for beeing newly released.

      • azsxdc

        Asphalt is not a simulation game and it doesn't try to be. The unrealistic controls and ridiculous game mechanics have more in common with Burnout so it's not fair to compare the racing experience of the two games. I was comparing the graphics quality, overall polish and the freemium seeing as they were both Gameloft games.

        My issue with this game and (to some extent) Real Racing 3, is that it positions itself as a "realistic" game but is completely far from it with the arcadey controls and in an attempt to make people pay for trivial things, even more of that realism has gone out the window. Compared to things like Gran Turismo and Forza, the physics of this game are still closer to an arcade racer than a proper simulation game.

        It sells itself as the "real experience" but it really isn't. It's just a slightly less unrealistic arcade game.

  • Damian Straton

    Scam Alert!

    GT Racing 2 is a ripoff. Just like Real Racing 3 is a ripoff. You start playing for free, but you won't make it far without handing your credit card. If you think your first $99 will take you to the end of the game, think again. Like Real Racing 3, GT Racing 2 will set you back several hundred dollars, if not THOUSANDS of dollars.

    What is the price of GT Racing 2? Whatever the market will bear. They figure, the more money you put in, the more invested in the game you feel, and the more money you will put to make it to the end.

    Is it worth it? Heck no! The soundtrack is lousy, the simulation is crappy. The graphics are nothing great.

    Conclusion: If you are ready to pay that kind of money, you are MUCH BETTER OFF getting a PlayStation (oh, yeah, you can even buy a playstation with that kind of money) AND Gran Turismo (5 is available now and 6 is coming soon). Infinitely better simulation, an enormous number of AMAZING cars, great soundtrack, rally, F1, etc.

    PARENTS BEWARE. Don't let these creeps rip you off!

  • Synx75

    This game is like Real Racing 3 in controlls.
    It does NOT require time to repai cars EVER.
    (Don't know where some commentors got that from)
    The only time you might haåve a wait time is when and if you upgrade your car, which is a really short time. We talk about minutes here. And you can drive campaign or multiplayer races with another car while you wait for the upgrade.
    In this game, as it is now, you don't need to open your purse to pay for anything if you are some what skilled racer. You get plenty cash and plenty "pay gold" as bonus for reaching achivements and leveling.
    The weekly events you can complete to get rare cars and even more "pay cash" with makes this super game as free as it can be. Only the spoiled silver-spoon-in-mouth born inpatient ppl pay real cash in this game, and that in vain.

    Try this game! Really worth it!

  • Lakers_Dodgers310

    I like this game and it's good to finally play a game where you use skill to race and you don't slide all over the track. Most racing games are about slipping and sliding around the track and passing the computer when he slams on the brakes on turns. This game has great traction control so races are fun to play because cars don't drive like the track has oil on it.

  • StudentDriver

    This game is fun! As in 'fun quotient' almost approaching that of RR2.

    The physics is good, although tamed down to accomodate more casual racers. The lower-tiered cars are really forgiving until you pushed them to the limit. Still working towards the higher-tiered ones ... very promising so far.

    This game does not seem to adjust for player's ability in the career mode so the game is hard. The 'qualifications' races are very challenging. I like this, but Gameloft might have to easy up a little so more players can do well in career. People like to win! They will keep playing if they are a close second, but just give up if they are always back-of-the-pack. Would be a shame for many new players to give up because this game is really good, and the important parts (the racing part) are well-designed.

    Please keep the weekly challenges and multi-player the same though. These should be competed on a level playing field.

    The team aspect is really cool. The sounds are excellent. More real tracks would be nice. A real multiplayer mode would be TOPS!

    Nice to see some tough competition for RR3. RR2 still rules (for racing fun) though. GTR2 could be the successor to RR2 I've been waiting for.

  • Devok

    When wil ios start making and charge normal prices like consoles instead of this premium crap? I know that space was a issue long long time ago, but iPhones are 128gb and higher soon. There should be no excuse.

  • Soulslurpy

    This is actually a really nice and particularily generous freemium game. The 5$ cash bundle (which is easily what this game is worth) that I bought when I first started playing gave me more than enough money to purchase myself a decent second mechanic and a second car. Thanks to that I was able to purchase sets of two upgrades on one car while I raced with the second car and then switch the cars after every race, so I never had to wait while my upgrades installed. Every car has its own sets of races to complete so it was never useless grinding. But even if I didn't spend money, the game started me off with enough money to purchase 2 cars straight up with plenty of money left over (that's very generous of gameloft).

    People need to stop acting like spoiled brats regarding freemium games. It's a different model of games.

    Yes, some games are abusive and use mind games to try and extort money from people, but other games (like this one) offer a very nice game completely freely. If your willing to spend the barest minimum of money starting off (or even by playing completely freely), you can have multiple dozens of hours of gameplay without reaching any waiting periods or paywall. That my friend, is a generous freemium game.

    Yes, the last tier cars do get pretty expensive to the point where you probably will need to fork up some moeny to get it (if your one of those gamers that absolutely needs to unlock everything in a game and has access to lots of money). But unfortunetly that's what freemium games need to do to be able to make money. Remember, 9 out of 10 players that will play this game will refuse to ever give it a single dollar. Even if they love the game and even if they will be willing to spend 60$ on a console game 2 minutes later. They need to make it possible for somebody to spend multiple hundreds of dollars on the game if he really wants to do so. Freemium games are also made to last a really, really long time to finish everything in the game.

    Here's my rule of thumb when playing any freemium game.

    Download the game and play it for about at least an hour without paying anything for it.
    If I enjoy the game and it does seem abusive yet, I put down 5$ which I will use in the upcomming days to make my gaming experience more fun.
    If the 5$ gave me at least 30 hours of fun gameplay, then it's a good game and they deserve another 5$ for the next 30 hours of gameplay.

    If you use this same equation for consol games, your 60$ console game should give you 360 hours of fun gameplay. Very few consol games will be able to match this hours of fun per dollar ratio. But that's what freemium games can offer. You just have to be a little carefull with the money you spend.

    Another awesome freemium game is League of legends.

    SOrry for the rant everyone, but I had to get this off my chest.

GT Racing 2: The Real Car Experience Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 4.5