RS3 what was Ubisoft thinking?

Retro Games Review

I remember the joy when I was on holiday in Marmaris in 2003, at that time I was 13 and loved gaming especially racing games. Back then, many copied games were available in the stores and on the big markets. To my joy there was Racing Simulation 3 for sale. When I arrived back home from the holiday I instantly installed RS3. Well I thought so, it seemed that the burned game I had was F12002! Even better. The hunt for RS3 continued 20 years onwards. I want it, and I got it even if it was 20 years later. Oh boy, what was Ubisoft thinking? What was I thinking putting all this effort in it!?

Yes, this intro is one you would never read on any website that also write reviews. I mean, purchasing copied games on holiday no one ever did that back in the days. Obviously, no one ever used Torrents, P2P, and Newsgroups either. Anyway, this is the real story how the hunt for RS3 went on. Almost obsessed with the game I just waited my time. A few months ago, I managed to purchase it at a thrift store for only 25 cents! That was even cheaper than my journey 20 years ago.

There the pain in the ass kicked in badly. A few weeks later, I tried to install the game for the first time on Windows 11. It didn’t work, the SetupUbi.exe simply failed to load the setup.exe file. Trying it on a Windows 10 machine, it didn’t work either. Luckily, I have a retro gaming machine with windows 98 on it up and running! Guess what, it installed but somehow I was unable to have the game working properly. So, like anyone else would, I just stopped trying to have RS3 working properly and forgot about it.

Until recently, when I decided I was to write a Retro Review about it. I was triggered for the fact that I found a F1 2005 mod for the game on an old hard disk. It contained also 2004 cars and CART. There we went again, struggling with the same problems. At this point, I started to question my own perspective of life as I was trying so hard on a game that eventually wouldn’t be worth it at all. Anyway, after trying, ripping of the Setup files I finally managed to have the game working.

Finally, I was able to start up RS3; the first problem was that the game does not properly start. When starting the game you hit a black screen, it seems the game crashed. However, when returning to the desktop via Taskmanager and using ALT+TAB to switch pages it was able to enter the game. The intro failed it had sound only, though by hitting ESC I was finally able to enter the game I waited for two full decades.

RS3 lets you choose if you want to go for a single player or a multiplayer mode. When you’ve chosen what you want you instantly appear in the menu where you can choose the drivers. Not like the regular F1 and Formula games where you can choose teams. It is a little bit confusing at start to be fair. There are eleven teams present. Which hold drivers that have names based on the 2002 F1 drivers. It’s always fun to see J. Veilleure like John Newhouse! However, it is easy to change the names from drivers and teams via an editor that comes with the game. There is also a possibility to change the difficulty of the game. As well, the Graphical settings can be changed, although they are really basic like the control settings.

When everything is set and done, it is time to choose what type of game you want to play. There are several modus like a Single Race, Race weekend, Championship and a scenario mode with several scenarios like winning your first points in front of your home public and winning the championship. Very basic, but a great addition for a game like this.

If you choose for a single race, you will be amazed about the tracks that are available. As far as I saw most of the tracks that appear in the game are based on the 2002 F1 calendar only they seem to appear in “different” countries. Like Indianapolis is in Mexico. The track is slightly edited to give it some, I assume, Mexican vibe. I’m not a fan of this just use the original track names.

It really doesn’t matter which mode you choose for the game, sadly the game is horrible. Somehow, the AI in this game is beyond disappointing. Car break on the straight to standstill for now reason only to accelerate seconds later and crash. Also when the AI crashes a car, it seems the AI goes numb the cars keep on going straight to the wall and barriers only to find the track 30 seconds later. I don’t know how to fix this as there are only a few setting you can change.

Besides a disappointing AI in RS3 there seems also a problem with the steering in game. I’m that keyboard type of gamer from the past. I sometimes did use a steering wheel, however I have always been from the modding itself. Steering is horrible, as well accelerating, changing gears and breaking properly. It seems over sensitive (even on a keyboard!) or just not reacting at all.  Nor do I like the realism with the game. It just seems to miss everything. The cars looked random inspired by the F1 and CART though missing the sparkle. The game itself felt heavy as if it was an in-between thing quickly finished. Because, well because there was a game to be replaced. The game missed the love of the designers in my mind.

 One feature I actually liked was the hand moving the flippers behind the steering wheel.

Surprisingly there was a modding community for RS3. I don’t recall the game was supporter a lot by moddinggroups as the same time GP3, F12002, F12001 and GP4 were already published and many were modding for the games. The German site racingmag had a section for RS3. There was a 2002 and a 2003 season available. Even tracks were created to simulate a Formula One season. Some more sites supported the game. However, it didn’t take long before the game was abandoned by many. The 2005 mod is all I have.

For me the game is a disappointment Ubisoft made much better racing games at that time. Lacking the license, it seems the game designers didn’t care what the outcome was for the game. That’s a sad thing. Warm Up! That appeared two years earlier looked much better than RS3 did. Really what was Ubisoft thinking?