Forza 3: The racing game of your dreams, turbocharged!

A copy of the review I wrote for, because I’m lazy. Although before that, I’d like to bring up Gran Turismo 5:

I won’t be comparing those two games (since there are enough people already doing that), but rather voicing my sadness that the game has been pushed back yet again (the announcement was made a while ago). Seeing the game in motion in videos makes it seem like it’ll be a grand racing game. Yet somehow, when I heard that they were only 65% done in September, after working on it for 4-5 years, I had a bad feeling they wouldn’t make the March 2010 release date. Sure, they had been working on other projects (such as Gran Turismo for the PSP and the in-dash display for the Nissan GT-R), but one must believe that there is a good reason for the wait.

It’s somewhat sad that a (probably) great game gets pushed back this far. Screw the console wars, I love cars, and both Forza and Gran Turismo gives me a different way to look at and interact with cars. Both of the series have their merits. If all goes well, GT5 will still be a great game. I’ll do my best to play it (disadvantage of not having a PS3), but here’s hoping that Polyphony Digital can straighten up and fly right. Here’s hoping for GT5.

Now for the review of Forza Motorsport 3.

The Forza series is a great treat to car lovers everywhere. In Forza Motorsport 3, Turn 10 does nothing but “turbocharge” the experience. A great game that doesn’t lose any feel from Forza Motorsport 2, it stands out as the best racing simulator on the 360. While there are changes that don’t help the game (and I’ll get into those later), but the experience will have you at the edge of your seat.

Stunningly gorgeous…

Beautiful, intoxicating details

Beautiful, intoxicating details

Have you been to a car show? If so, you’ll know how awesome it is to stand and admire some of the most amazing cars in the world, as well as look back at pristine examples of the most iconic cars of the past. That feeling is brought into the world of Forza. Forza Motorsport 3 engages the player in some amazing visuals of every car in great detail. In that car show mentality, you can just sit and watch as the game pans over different angles of the car.

That beauty still carries over to the track. In motion, all the cars’ looks are made realistic by the game’s fantastic physics engine. Everything also runs smoothly at 60 frames per second, so it feels like the motion is natural. While all this is true, there are some flaws. In cockpit mode, the view of the interior isn’t as great as it could be. Everything is as the car would be (physically) in real life, but does not look as well as it should. A minor complaint though, as you’ll usually have your eye glued to the road.

Damage is inconsistent; at one point, getting hit by another car on the door side would send you off the track, but others it won’t affect you at all. You can now roll your car, but if you roll the car, there won’t be visible damage, nor will there be dents on the roof. Otherwise, paint scrapes are well done, and you do get broken glass and lights, and there is equal damage on every car.

The interactive areas of track environments are very well detailed, and there are some beautiful environments to race in. You’ll probably need to take a second just to look at the views as you drive down coastal Italy, or through the hills of Japan. While some backgrounds of these environments seem inferior, they aren’t as noticeable.

Graphically, it’s hard to find a game that looks much better. No racing game today has so much emphasis on showing off every detail of a car with such success. You will not be disappointed.

…carrying you through every turn…

A game with looks doesn’t work without, well, working. The game, being a racing simulator, has to make you feel like you are on the track. As mentioned before, the physics engine has been revamped for this game, and works at a higher speed to calculate changes and realistically make the car react. This is all good in text, but basically the question is, “does it work on the track?”

McLaren F1, Saleen S7, Bugatti Veyron (respectively)

Poetry in motion (with a few scratches)

The answer is yes. The cars feel real; you always get a reaction for every action. If you don’t push it hard enough, you won’t get enough resistance in the turns. Push it too hard, and you’re in the dirt. Sliding reactions feel real, and you are engrossed in the car, not so much in the control, but in trying to regain control. That all said, even if you’re just a car lover, but don’t want to deal with all the realism on the track, there are assists to lower the hardcore. Troublesome crashes and mistakes don’t punish you as much anymore, as you may use the rewind feature to get yourself out of trouble. Even if you haven’t driven any sim racers before, you can jump into the game with relative ease.

…and keeping you on your toes at all times…

So, besides the cars and the driving, what else is there? Beyond the simple “Quick Race” modes is a vast career mode. You race to gain experience and money to put towards new cars (of which there are over 400 of). You can now play in seasons, as the new “Season Mode” gives you a race calendar, scheduling the often hectic progression of races. Even then, there is the classic event list to give you the customization you want. This is all good, but the Season mode can be a bit picky on events that it’ll let you choose. The progress jump can also be too large between seasons as well, if you’re exclusively using season play.

Events are about the same. You still get series of races, but instead don’t get rewarded a car after every series. They have added two new race types; point-to-point and drag racing. On higher difficulties, point-to-point racing is very intense, albeit short. Drag racing is too simple, and feels incomplete. Otherwise, you’ll find most of the events in the event list follow a similar formula to Forza 2.

You aren’t held to racing the game’s modes against the AI to earn money. You can join one of Turn 10’s public hoppers online to race against the world and make money there. The system has been radically changed from Forza Motorsport 2, and unfortunately, doesn’t work as well. There are long waits for matches, and since you can’t create your own public lobby and customize your own rules in a public lobby, you’ll often feel limited because of it. On the bright side, the matchmaking doesn’t hurt if you’re looking for a quick match.

Mercedes C-Class Touring Car

Want bears on your car? You can make it happen!

Nevertheless, the tuning and painting is as strong as ever. Rather than fixing what wasn’t broken in those features, they instead added a new way to share designs and tunes with the Storefront. There are now millions of files to search through, and for those that are design and tune impaired, this is great. If you want something complicated on your car, you can search for components to the design you want. Want a good, specific tune for a track and car? It’s very simple to find something. The Storefront has made a whole new artistic medium for Forza.

As for the cars, the selection is vast. There are a few classics missing, but everything you’d want to drive is there… and then some. A great selection of race-ready cars are available as well as the addition of SUVs and trucks (although the numbers on those vehicles are quite short). Nevertheless, to point out flaws in the car list would be personal nitpicking, and with DLC, Turn 10 aims to fill in those voids you may believe the list has.

…and going for more.

This game will last you very long, even if you stick to only one element. You can spend hours messing around with the fleet of cars you will earn or buy from the multiple hundreds in the game. There are multiple tracks to learn and master, throwing in some new curveballs you haven’t seen from Forza 2. If you love cars, you are bound to find something you like in Forza Motorsport 3.

In short…

+ Great racing physics
+ Beautiful
+ Long Career Mode
+ Vast Storefront
+ Great car selection

– Public lobbies are less accessible and customizable
– Season Mode can be a bit picky
– Seemingly incomplete drag racing

Final Score: 9.5/10

~ by The Slurpee Man on February 10, 2010.

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