Is RFACTOR2 Still a game worth buying?
RFactor2 has been with us for some time now, but just how well has it aged?
RFactor 2 first graced our screens back in March 2013, in this time span it has unsurprisingly gained a very large following from the sim racing community. But is it still worth paying the fairly high asking price for it today?
What is RFACTOR2?
RFactor 2 is a racing simulator published by Studio397. Since the release of the sim multiple DLCs have been released for them, ranging from a Endurance Racers pack to a Formula E pack. This sim is also designed to be ''easily expandable''... or to you and me means you can add mods to further enhance your sim racing experience.
If you have ever played Gran Turismo, Forza or Project Cars you will know that those sims are designed to balance ''realism'' with ''fun''. Meaning the physics at times can be abit arcadey at times for the sake of enjoyment. Now take all that, turn it on its head and you've got RFactor2s physics.
Unsurprisingly, RFactor2's physics are very complex. Far too complex to keep this review a reasonable length, so here's a brief overview of the key elements to the engine. (Quotes taken from the description of the sim on Steam)
''Newly updated tyre model '': The key part to any decent sim is how the tyre physics and modelling work, the tyres are what connect you and your car to the road. So if they don't feel the way they should, it can ruin your immersion. RFactor2 takes tyre modelling to the extreme, it brings all the usual tyre simulation that you'd expect from any good simulator. However, it then turns the dial up to 11... You can physically see the tyres flex and move about depending on how you take a turn or whether you get some air time. It's also possible to puncture your tyres if you run over some debris or land a jump wrong. Oh and you can see physical damage to the tyres as they wear.
''Driving surface construction, even painted line thickness, affects grip levels '': Basically what this means is they have a feature called ''real road''.
Basically, much like in the real world at the start of an endurance race a track will be what they call a ''green circuit''. What this basically means is there is no tyre rubber on the circuit, which in turn means theres much less grip on track.
However, as a race progresses. A ''rubber line'' will appear on the circuit, basically this line forms from the tyres of all the cars that lap the circuit. As such, this rubber line will follow the racing line. You'll also notice this line is far more visible in sharp turns or turns that require alot of downforce Basically, thicker the line, the more grip you have. It's that simple really.
RFactor2 isn't the first sim to ever implement this ''real road'' feature. However, it is one of the very few that has done. This ''real road'' feature also allows for a dry line to form after heavy rain. It basically works the same as a rubber line but instead of rubber being formed on the track, one part of the track will just dry faster than the rest of it.
This real road feature really does change the experience completely, the difference in grip between a ''green circuit'' and a ''rubbered'' circuit really is substantial.
''Complex aerodynamics '': This is self explanatory really. It just means that aerodynamics actually work properly in this sim. If you adjust a car to have more ''wing'', you'll find that it's faster in the corners but is slower on the straights and drinks more fuel. That's about it really. Overall, the physics in this sim are certainly different. I can't say they are 100% accurate, and they definitely aren't friendly to newcomers. But with abit of time, practice and swearing you'll adapt to and enjoy these very unique physics.
The Damage Modelling:
This is where RFactor2 becomes a little bit... strange.
RFactor2 does indeed have a damage modelling system, but it's not quite as you'd expect it to be. The mechanical damage side of things is all as you'd expect, crash into something and you'll damage the suspension, engine etc and the car acts differently as a result. Crash hard enough and you'll blow the engine.
However, the visual damage is where it becomes abit weird. It's as if all the cars are made of bedrock, they do not crumple in a crash at all. You could hit a wall at 100mph and drive off with a few scratches and suspension damage. Body panels do fall off some cars, but they never crumple up. The panels just sort of pop off, as if it's made of lego... As i said, it's very bizarre.
Now, the graphics in this sim are nothing to write home about. At the same time however, for a game released in 2013 they certainly aren't terrible. RFactor2 started out as a DirectX9 only game, but in 2017 it was updated to run DirectX11. Which meant the sim ran far smoother, and it looked prettier as a nice little bonus.
Not much else to say really, if you want a sim that looks pretty. Go buy Project Cars 2.
RFactor2 on its own doesn't really have that much in the way of actual content. This sim was more designed as a base platform for the modding community to go absolutely bonkers with. The base game gives you a couple of tracks, a couple of cars and that's about it. There are also a couple of DLC, but nothing particularly interesting unless you're a Formula E or WEC fan.
If you really want to enjoy the variety of content this sim has to offer, you'll need to head on over to the steam workshop and give a few of the mods on there a try. You will find a whole host of different mods there, ranging from a Audi 90 GTO to a race circuit you've probably never heard of before.
How this game sounds is really hit and miss from car to car (vanilla game only). Some of the cars sound absolutely dreadful (Gran Turismo 5 kind of awful), whereas others such as the Porsche 911 RSR sound absolutely incredible. It's a very mixed bag. In short, prepare to be disappointed if you're a fan of the Renault Clio Cup...
The background sounds however don't miss a beat. The reverberation you expect to hear when driving through a tunnel or in a heavily walled area are exactly as you'd expect them to be. The crowds also sound authentic, with plenty of cheering as time goes on (Oh yeah, there's a tannoy in-game aswell, but that's dependent on the track you choose).
So overall, how this game sounds isn't too bad. It's not as good as Project Cars, but it's much better than the Gran Turismo games of the time... or now for that matter.
Here's a video showing the godly sound of the Porsche 911 RSR:
Overall, I would highly recommend giving RFactor2 a try. Personally I think it's abit overpriced for what it is, and the DLC doesn't exactly bring much to the table either. But, if you buy it in a sale then you'll definitely be in for many hours of fun and crashes. Especially crashes...
If you're a fan of sim racing or cars in general, there's definitely many hours of fun to be had out of this sim. However, if you're more of a casual gamer then RFactor2 will not be for you. (You can basically have all the assists you want, but that defeats the point of buying it.)