Review by Mephistofun

"This game could last you YEARS!!"

I'm reviewing this game rather late. It;s been a long time since this game was released. It has even started turning up in the bargain bins but if you haven't already got this game then you need to. It was worth the full retail price but with a price drop it is unmissable.

And don't let Forza 2 put you off as it nearly did for me. The second Forza outing was good but spoiled by some of the most dreary renditions of well known race tracks on the system. When it came to the 'home made tracks' the developers took the bizarre decision to take all the trickiest corners from the world of motor racing and lump them together in a desert background for extra dullness. Some tracks were more like a continuous stream of parking manoeuvres.

Not so in Forza 3. The lack of imagination for the new set of 'homemade' tracks is gone, replaced by picture postcard tracks, based on real places that are a joy to drive and feel very different to the official, real tracks. The Nurburgring is beautifully recreated again but without the slow down that occasionally sank peoples lap times on Forza 2 and there are plenty of events to get stuck into.

Things do start to get a bit repetitive after a while, after-all there is a point where you are going to know every track or, just by random chance in career mode, end up playing the same track several times but the sheer number of vehicles, multiplayer options, painting activities and customising will keep most people coming back. You may play other games for the next year or so but you won't need another driving game.

Gameplay: 10
The handling of the cars is absolutely spot on. I was a Gran Toursimo man a couple of years back and, initially I found it too much of a simulation, even for me. Many games have driver assists but Forza 3 is the first to just let you use them. Can't keep the tail straight consistently? Turn on the traction control then. No penalties. Want the game to show you the way? No problem. No punishment. You still get to play the same game. This wasn't a driving game where I had to learn how to play it. I had to learn the differences between all the cars. I had to learn the tracks (though I could have just had it guide me until I knew the braking points) but I could tailor the game itself to fit me. Brilliant.

There is a bit of a psychological trick it plays on you though. It encourages you to turn the aids off as you learn to cope with the next bit of simulation-i-ness. Never fear those who prefer a more arcade experience, it'll let you l keep all the aids on but soon you'll start to turn them off too; maybe not all of them but you will try.

The most 'controversial' tweak to the way driving games work in Forza 3 was the rewind system, borrowed from Grid. I assumed it was unlimited at first, and it certainly feels it but it won't rewind too near the start or finish of a race. At any other time, if you stuff up a corner and wrap the car around a tree, you can just rewind and try it again.

It's brilliant! All games should have one. You can still have your nail biting races to the finish with a bit of self control but the stress of losing it all on the last lap of an 80 lap race is now self inflicted. It no no-longer feels unfair. Achievement hunting or just trying to feel like a driving god? Well have no fear. You can rewind to your hearts content. Just not in Multiplayer.

Hey and there is another thing I bet few people ever notice. There are few, if any achievements for online play. There are store related ones, sell a car in the auction, win a bid, post a video, but none for the racing. The idea is quite refreshing. You play because you want to race.

In multiplayer and single player alike you find yourself wanting to win, but a chase for fourth or third is just as thrilling and rewarding. I've found the multiplayer side to be one of the most 'grown up' on Live and there is tons to do. It takes far less time to get into a race than I expected too.

I can only scratch the surface of all the features in this game so I'll focus on the Career Mode for now, simply because listing everything from the Stores where you can buy new liveries for your car, or sell them, to the Drifting community that has turned the game completely on it's head just by exploiting the realistic handling and customising options is mind boggling enough.

The Career features an Automatic Event picking system that is designed to choose offer the best events for you. You choose a main championship which fills out one day in every month and then you get to pick one of three mini events (smaller championships) in between. To begin with it works very well but a few months down the line I realised I'd been playing the R1 World Championship repeatedly. I wasn't actually getting bored with it funnily enough, I just realised that the events list wasn't looking any more full.

Baring that the career path chooser is a very effective way of navigating through the mass of events. the smaller events are a little easier, giving you a break between the "Boss" races that are the main championship. You don't get punished for losing a race in a championship either. You can choose individual events and replay individual races within those. they've thought of everything here.

The Veyron is stupidly fast and corners like a brick, rear engined Porshe's misbehave exactly how they should and Farrari's corner like they're on rails. Sadly the 458 doesn't spontaneously combust and the accelerator pedal never gets stuck on the Toyota Yaris but the cars do crash, and occasionally quite spectacularly. You can roll your car all the way over if you are careless enough (take note Gran Tourismo. Cars that obey the laws of physics.) The damage model is simplistic but then you never want to crash. You want to race. You want to look after that shiny car you've slaved to purchase.

Then again you could just play arcade mode and drive any car you like.

Graphics: 10
This game is beautiful. It should be. It takes up a ton of hard disc space but whilst there are smoother looking edges, this strikes a balance between speed, depth and beauty no game has matched to date. Even the menu's are good this time around. Incredibly the car painting part of the game has actually become a game in itself. Even if you want this game for single player, just get a month subscription to XBox Live to see the stuff you can stick on your car. Some of these artists have far too much spare time on their hands.

Incredible though the outside of the cars are the inside is what took my breath away. Every car's interior is rendered fully. There is even an achievement for playing from that view. Incredible.

If there is one downside to Forza 3 (and about 90% of Xbox 360 games) it's that the text on a normal telly is too small. You're only missing the random facts designed to fill in the loading times though.

The Xbox 360 really won't manage much better than this. This is the one to show off your console with. Make it work hard.

Sound:
"Was there music?" I found myself asking. It is there but you don't need it. It's the sound of the cars and the stadiums and all the other stuff that makes it sound like this is a racing event, not just you sat in a Fiat Tipo with the stereo really loud. In this game you can drive any car you want. What do you want a stereo for?

Overall: 10
Perfect. I don't think I've ever given a perfect before. I like my racing games in small doses and the endurance races still need a mid point save unless you have the kind of life that allows you to play for several hours but most events are just right for the casual player. And believe me, there is enough depth here for the hardcore lot too. This game has the potential to last the life of the system it's played on and that's no small achievement. I don't know of any other single player game on the XBox 360 that can do that.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/27/10

Game Release: Forza Motorsport 3 (EU, 10/23/09)


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