Review by Mud Turkey 13
"Great for single player... Not so great for multi-player..."
Forza Motorsport 3 is a racing simulation game for the Xbox 360. It features hundreds of cars and many, many tracks on which to race said cars. There is a paint feature which enables you to design your car in almost in way imaginable. You can even go online and sell your designs or search for and buy designs from other members of the game's community. The physics are some of the best out there and the new Season Mode is long and engaging. The online multiplayer is horrible. Wait... What? Yes. The online racing has been changed for the worse.
Forza brings racing simulation to a whole new level in the game's latest installment. The tuning is as in-depth as ever. The physics in this game are pretty outstanding. The racing feels real and exciting. The cars take damage like in previous games. While the look of the damage isn't extremely realistic it is a nice thing to have in any racing game. They've also added rollover in this game. That basically means if you hit something hard enough or at the right (wrong?) angle you will roll your car over. It's pretty well implemented and doesn't really happen that often. You do have the option to turn off damage or just make it cosmetic if you so desire. The in-car camera works pretty well in this, but there are a few flaws with it currently. In some cars you won't see your gauges moving, but I figure that they will patch that so I'm not really holding it against them. They've also added drag racing to the game which was missing in Forza 2, so that should make some people happy again. Overall, the gameplay has maintained or improved on everything from Forza 2.
Graphically, this is one of the best games out right now. It's quite possible the best looking racer available, and rivals even some of the best non-racing games graphically. It runs at a very smooth 60fps, and the lighting and shadow effects are well done. Dirt and tire smoke have been reduced in an effort to keep the frame-rate up, but it's not really a big deal.
The painting and car customization has also returned in its full glory. Almost any design is possible with the many different shapes available in the painting feature. You can also save your designs and sell them at your Storefront. If you're not a great artist you can buy designs others have made from their Storefronts rather than try to bid on the cars themselves in the Auction House.
Most of the sound effects are pretty well done. I've heard a few people complain about some stuff that is messed up, but from what I've seen personally it's all been pretty good. Musically, we get some more rock-ish, up-beat tracks. They're actually not even really noticeable when you're racing. It all kind of gets drowned out by the sound of the cars, but I suppose you could go to options and turn up the music volume if you so desire.
Here's where Turn 10 (the game's developer) dropped the ball. In Forza 2 there was a great online community. You could go online and search for a game lobby that had the type of racing in which you were interested. Whether you wanted a specific track or a specific vehicle class or just a specific set of rules for the race. This ability to find what you wanted when you wanted it helped feed a growing community of online racers. A game with almost endless customization had a multi-player that, too, was almost endlessly customizable.
Forza 3 has taken all of that away from you.
It implements match-making for online play. Think Halo 3. You go in and it searches for a lobby. Once in that lobby you will be presented with a random track and pre-set rules. None of which can be altered. You can also currently only choose to race cars from A class and up (this will probably be patched but who knows). I'm just forced to ask why the old custom lobby system was removed. The match-making system isn't a bad idea. It's nice if you just want to quickly get on and find a race, but not giving players the option to search for a track they want, with the cars they want, and with the rules they want was just a horrible decision by the developers. I'm not sure why they thought that the two were mutually exclusive.
You can create private rooms with your own rules, but unless you know seven other people that are currently online you won't be able to field a full race. Without the ability to search for these rooms it really limits what you can do with the multi-player.
For a single player racing game this is as good as it gets currently. Great Season mode plus in-depth tuning and car customization make for a great single player experience. Multi-player is, however, a total failure this time around. If you were planning on getting the game to enjoy by yourself or without Xbox Live I say go for it. If you were looking to get the game to race online then I've got to say skip this title.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/30/09
Game Release: Forza Motorsport 3 (US, 10/27/09)
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