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RFactor has been around for a few years now but is still one of the best racing games that money can buy. If you want a proper driving simulation experiance then look no further, RFactor ticks all of your boxes.
RFactor is a racing simulation (hence i didn't say game!) that appeals to the 'pick up and play' generation to the most hardcore of players. From beautifully modelled stock cars to Formula 1 cars, this game has it all. There are also plenty of tracks to hone your skills on, including a few officially liscenced tracks. What makes RFactor so special is the online modding community. Mods i.e cars, tracks, sounds and even grass textures can be downloaded to customize the game to your preference. There are literally thousands of downloads available and new mods are being made daily. The mods really add major depth to this game and 90% of the mods available are computerised perfection. What 'console' game gives you the oppurtunity to races formula 1 cars from the seventies around the nurburgring?
The online multiplayer feature is a huge plus. Ever fancied racing against people from all over the world...in a Ferarri...at monza? No problem! Simply find a race that you have the car and track on your computer, press connect and you'll find yourself sitting in the pits ready to go out and show the world how good you really are!
A steering wheel is a definate must for this game. Using a keyboard just wont cut it! If you want to control these beasts then there is no other option. The enjoyment improves dramatically with a steering wheel and pedal setup.
At first you will need to enable most of the driver aids on i.e traction control, stability control, automatic gears etc but as you rack up the laps and your skill starts to improve then the aids can gradually be toned down or switched off completely, making for a whole new challenge that is exhilerating and extremely rewarding.
I cannot possibly fault this game. The visuals are simply breath taking, the gameplay is second to none and the modifying community adds to what is a truly awesome game
This is probably the best racing sim game i have ever played, granted without mods, the game is quite boring, the game on its own contains about 8 tracks and about 3 cars or so. But there are a lot of mods available for the game, countless amount of tracks and cars. Also there are online leagues which are raced by players online, such as the FSR2010 series, there are about 100 players currently racing in that league. The game supports up to about 60 players in online or LAN races, as well as allowing AI drivers in multiplayer races. The game is primarily designed to be played online with other players, as the offline facilities are fairly basic, money is basically pointless, as most cars are already owned when you download a mod, and there is no story line.
There are 3 types of racing you can do:
Testing, this mode is basically where you choose your car and your track, and you are put into a practice session alone, with no other drivers or AI. This mode is only available offline.
Racing Weekend, this will put you into a practice session with a set amount of AI drivers, first there is a long practice session, then there is a short qualifying session, then there is the warmup session, then you will be put into the race.
Racing Season, this is the same as the Racing Weekend, except instead of 1 race, you can choose several locations to race at.
As the game is primarily online, rFactor comes with a dedicated server program, where the host doesn't actually need to run rFactor in order to host a race, the server is designed to run on slow computers, such as a 350MHZ processor. Through this server panel the host can add/remove players and AI drivers, as well as restarting the race or restarting the whole weekend. During the server setup process, the host can determine which cars can be used and which tracks will be raced upon, they will also be able to enforce restrictions on the driving aids that drivers can have on, as well as the race time (night racing is supported) and various other options.
Really the game isn't very good unless you know other people who are interested in this kind of thing. Also its more suited to league racing rather than just one off races that you and your mates might have, although its still fun to get a few mates round and play a race with some of the games exceptionally good AI drivers. If you have no real life friends, then go online and try and hookup with an online racing league via rFactor Central or Simraceway.
The game probably is worth the price tag (£25), but as its an online game, make sure your internet connection is up to scratch, the 600mb download for the game and the 100's of mb's of mods you'll be downloading will take their toll, and also the online racing will require at least a broadband connection. Dial up 56k connections are permitted, however its highly recommended not to use more than 4 cars in a race with a 56k connection. LAN Servers support up to 60 human players, and 256kbps internet connections (about 2 or 4 m/bit connections) support up to 30-40 players.
Good websites to look for mods is Simraceway, or rFactorcentral (Owned by Simraceway) which feature probably the most mods of all the rFactor sites. F1 mods are generally the most popular mods played online, however there are mods for NASCAR, WRC, Touring cars, Novel cars and Street cars.
Make sure you have a large HDD, currently my rFactor folder is about 9GB, i have around 80 cars and about 30-40 tracks.
At £25 this game is a steal.
rFactor is a simracing game for the PC. Back in 2005 I got this game and it has to be said that the stock game is distinctly average and not particularly special but luckily it more than makes up for this because of the sheer amount of mods that are available to the owner of the game. These mods are not made by the developers of rFactor and its important to remember that. I have seen others comment that the physics are poor but it really depends on what mod you download so its always important to check the ratings on the site before you do so. The best sites for these downloads are rFactorCentral and SimRaceway and both include good rating systems.
rFactor offers much to everyone providing you like racing games. If you are a rookie driver with no experience then you can have all the driving aids switched on and will be able to drive the game with relative ease. The AI on the stock mods are good and will present a challenge to most gamers but once you get really good you may find it a bit easy and that's when the extensive online play comes in. There are countless simracing leagues for rFactor where you can compete in championships over the course of a year, some of them even offering prize money these days. This means that the advanced player can enjoy these and also of course can turn those driving aids off for a rougher ride. The graphics are top quality especially when you consider when this game was released.
For stock tracks you get Barcelona, Silverstone, Shanghai, Montreal, Monza, Orchard Lake, Mills Park, Toban Raceway, Joesville, Essington Park, Lienz, Sardian Heights and Jacksonville. Some of these circuits are fictional and others are renamed to avoid licensing issues. In the case of Monza it was renamed Brianza. You also get some stock cars. You get Open Wheel Challenge with some Formula Three styled cars and some suspiciously F1-looking cars. There is also the 2006 BMW Sauber F1 car, a Panoz Esperante and several fictional cars.
All in all rFactor offers almost all you could possibly want and particularly as iRacing is so expensive, at the moment its unbeaten. Till rFactor 2 of course which apparently is due to be released this year.
I was told by a mate that this game would be "the best Sim I ever played" So i was ready for R Factor to rip apart all Sim games, in reality that is far from that. I can see the potential but it's lacks a lot of clear problems. Basic Graphics while you maybe able to Downloads all different tracks from Brands Hatch to Nordschleife but they look like they have been made by a bedroom developer. Same for the car detail, physics, gameplay and the sounds of the engine sound a mess.
I don't feel angry or annoyed about buying it. Maybe I was looking for another GP4 as the market is clearly lacking a good racing game where you can update it and a game which feels like you in a new generation. There is a lot of problems with this game but there are people trying to make it better. For people like me!