RaceRoom – DTM Experience 2013 (PC) Review

By Jordan Hurst 10.08.2014

Review for RaceRoom – DTM Experience 2013 on PC

Game publishers have been getting flak for their anti-consumer business practices for years. However, for better or worse, these strategies are usually attached to games that people at least want to play, like a new SimCity or flagship Ubisoft game. DTM Experience 2013, on the other hand, is an utterly inconsequential game that would have been passable if it weren't so exploitative. Developed by racing sim veterans SimBin, the game is advertised as $35 DLC for a free-to-play (sorry, "Free2Race"...ugh) base game called RaceRoom Racing Experience. The main problem is that R3E, as it's officially abbreviated, is using a very loose definition of "open beta," and is so woefully incomplete that DTM Experience is the only way to get a remotely worthwhile game out of it.

The marketed features of DTM Experience are that it includes additional cars and tracks, including several that can't be purchased in the base game via microtransactions. The actual reason to care about it is that it actually features the ability to race other drivers, including human ones in the game's recently introduced online multiplayer. This detail was presumably ignored in order to cover up the fact that R3E is a racing game without any races. The titular RaceRoom, a sort of social network for players of this game only, with which R3E is integrated, is fully functional, however, and it will make sure that the game will not work without an Internet connection. Right, because systems like that have gone so swimmingly in the past. At least the service offers comprehensive leaderboards - an ordinarily insignificant feature that was once this game's only source of competition before the multiplayer mode was reluctantly added.

How's the actual "game" part of this video game, though, removed from its distribution model? In a word: forgettable. There's not much that genre fans haven't seen before, although there are two unique features geared to newcomers that actually leave quite a positive impression. The first is Apex Hunt, which challenges players to collect transparent symbols across a lap, hopefully teaching them the ideal way to take corners in the process. The second, and more effective mode, is Novice difficulty, which automates the use of the gas pedal, allowing more focus on steering, while learning how to best control the fluctuating velocity that's characteristic of this style of racing. The way the difficulty settings adjust the leniency of the rules regarding off-road driving is also appreciated. That said, this is still a highly alienating genre. The otherwise promising "Get Real" difficulty, in which almost every aspect of vehicles are customisable, dumps about 30 statistics on the screen without a single tutorial, making it completely unusable to anyone unfamiliar with car tuning. The opponent AI is also stuck at a single level - unbeatable for newbies and effortlessly easy for veterans - regardless of the developer's claims of "Adaptive Racing Intelligence."

Screenshot for RaceRoom – DTM Experience 2013 on PC

Even the simulation aspect is hit-or-miss in DTM Experience. The cars look pristine at all times, which makes for great screenshots, but becomes a little odd when crashes make it evident that the "visual damage" option doesn't do anything. The environments look splendid when distorted by a blast of motion blur, until the player slows for corners and remembers that everything looks splendid when distorted by a blast of motion blur. Meanwhile, the crowd is lifeless visually, and nearly non-existent aurally. The cars, on the other hand, are constantly roaring, screeching, and clattering, which is probably quite realistic...and also makes it sound like they are going to fall apart at any moment. For a game billed as an "experience" even in its title, DTM Experience is missing several integral components of the DTM experience - most notably pit stops - and although the game controls extremely well most of the time, the physics are still incomplete, with vehicles often sliding right through obstacles and other vehicles, even after colliding with them half a second earlier. Finally, the game's interface is horrible; the ring-based menu is completely unintuitive and largely incompatible with a gamepad, and the sides of the screen are packed with more unnecessary information than the cars' ad-soaked bodies.

In the end, though, the largest obstacle standing between DTM Experience and quality is that the style of racing it's trying to simulate simply doesn't translate into a fun video game. Yes, there's tension in sharp turns that need to be navigated accurately, especially when a collision is almost an automatic wipeout, and yes, the track variety is decent considering the narrow scope the developers had to work with. It doesn't change the fact that ultra-realism, in this case, results in extremely long races that are utterly ruined by single mistakes, not to mention AI and difficulty that leave huge gaps between racers. SimBin can add standard features as expensive DLC all it wants; nobody is going to be entertained by performing a dozen laps of the same track for a single race, with nothing but the pause button to break the monotony and engine whine. Even if the game's simulation component was tightened up to be more than mildly competent, this would still be true. SimBin is trying to build a house on a foundation of sand.

Screenshot for RaceRoom – DTM Experience 2013 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

3/10
Rated 3 out of 10

Bad

"Realism" has been the buzzword of the games industry since Medal of Honor, if not earlier, and developers need to start realising how flawed it is as a benchmark. DTM Experience is an excellent example of this, as it sacrifices entertainment for realism, but then fails to follow through with that focus, creating a product that will appeal to nobody - and that's exactly what DTM Experience is: a product. It's clear that, on the developer's list of priorities, the game's features and ability to engage took second place to how it would be monetised. Some of the worst habits of game publishers are on display here, and to add insult to injury, the game it is corrupting here wasn't really worth paying for in the first place.

Also known as

RaceRoom – DTM Experience 2013

Developer

SimBin

Publisher

RaceRoom

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  3/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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