iPhone 4S Introduces 4-Player Split-Screen Racing

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I’m a sucker for new ways to play local multi-player games. In fact my favorite version of Driver San Francisco was on the Wii because of its multi-player mode that let a DS player join in. It’s no surprise then, that the AirPlay feature is the part of the iPhone 4S announcement that got me most excited.

But what I wanted to know was what actual game play would AirPlay let me enjoy. No sooner had I asked the question than I found myself editing this review of Real Racing 2 HD, and it’s new split-screen features. Here are the details:

Real Racing 2 HD extends its impressive delivery for iPad and iPhone 4S with a new four player party mode. Elsewhere it puts the extra horsepower to good use improving visuals.

It already offered the ability to plug your iPad into your big screen to race on a grand scale. But now, a new update means the game will take advantage of iOS 5′s AirPlay mode. Sidestepping the technical jargon, this means that one iPhone 4S or iPad 2 acts as a host (and plugs into your TV) while other iPhone/iPad players can join in and see their display sent to the TV as well.

iPad Hosting Game | iPhone Playing Split Screen

This enables you to race against other people locally in either a two-player or four-player split screen mode. In theory this will leave the guest iPhone/iPad screens free to act as a map, telemetry, or maybe even rear-view mirror. Whichever, the number of ways to enjoy Real Racing has just doubled over night. It’s a little like the ability to play Scrabble on your iPad and use your iPhone as the letter holder — basically it makes you want to and go buy the whole family iPhones (or at least iPod Touches).

Other features of the AirPlay enabled game are the ability to stream the racing output to any HDTV, and to do so in a now borderless display with upgraded 3D visuals. As mentioned above this also leaves the Pad/iPhone screen free to be used as a second display – showing stats and maps.

It is the AirPlay features, rather than these graphical improvements, that will catch most people’s eyes. The sharp-sighted will notice more than a passing resemblance to some WiiU play modes where the controller provides a second screen for extra information.

iPad Hosting Game | iPhone Playing Split Screen

This takes a feature that has previously been the reserve of the console-gaming elite and slaps it down (pretty much for free) in front of the casual-gaming masses. These improvements would be enough to warrant a new version of Need for Speed or Gran Turismo, but in the Apple ecosystem this comes under the remit of a free update.

All this for a game that costs less than a $10 in the first place. Technically, enjoyably, graphically, this is great value for money, all round.

These new Real Racing 2 HD features are available from 12th October as a free update to existing owners or a standalone download for iPhone ($ 4.99) or iPad ($8.99).

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