Review by lighty691

"Forza - Where Dreams Are Driven"

Forza - Where Dreams Are Driven

Welcome to my review of Forza Motorsport 3 for the Xbox 360. Forza is a racing simulation and follows on from the highly successful Forza Motorsport 2. The game focuses on being a simulation game rather than an arcade racer so you will find the cars, tracks and handling of vehicles very similar to real life. Forza 3 has since gone on to be one of the most popular games on the console.

The most important part of a racing game, and probably in any game, is the gameplay. Forza Motorsport 3 is a game that has excellent gameplay. One of the most innovative elements of the game is the difficulty level which in all truth could appeal to ANYONE. A lot of games from various genres claim to appeal to everyone in the market but none of them really come close to Forza 3. The difficulty level is set in several different ways in order to make it accessible to every player, firstly with the opposition skill level. This can be set anywhere from very easy to very difficult as you would expect from any game but you can also set various other things in each individual race to make the game easier or more challenging depending on your level of ability. One of these options includes the racing line which details on the track itself the best position to take corners, when to start and stop braking etc. This is a big help for those who are new to racing or wanting to master a new track. You can also change other elements of the car such as switching on and off the Anti-Lock Braking system or the Traction control, or switching too and from manual and automatic. This will ultimately make the game considerably easier or more difficult depending on what you want. There is even an option to have automatic braking applied to the vehicle. Another way you can increase or decrease the difficulty is through the choice of your vehicle. A lot of competitions allow a wide range of vehicles to be used so if you are struggling to compete in a race you can change the vehicle you use to make it more competitive. Similarly you can select a car with a lesser performance rating if you find that you are winning too easily. All these features make the difficulty level very varied and is a real plus for gamers who enjoy the freedom this creates.

The game itself includes all the features you would expect from a modern day racing simulation. You can expect to see the usual free play mode which allows you to race various cars on various tracks against computer opponents. However most people will find themselves playing in the career mode. This mode allows players to race in competitions scheduled against a calendar. Players will race several times every month in a World Championship Race but are free to pick and choose to compete in local or specific manufacturers competitions in the days in between. However for those who hate to be tied down to a specific schedule, the free race section will prove more than a challenge with no fewer than 220 competitions and several hundreds of individual races to win, and also with all results tracked.

Another important part of any racing game is the control. As the game is marketed as a simulation game it is essential that the car controls reflect this, which Forza definitely does. Switching between lower spec cars to the top end formula 1 style cars immediately shows how much effort has been put into this area to ensure that the cars perform exactly as they should. Braking ability, cornering and break-neck speed are all very evident in the best cars and have been well apportioned out down the grades to the bargain basement cars at the bottom of the pile.

Visually Forza Motorsport 3 is one of the best in its class. Every car has been lovingly created, ensuring they look exactly like their real life counterparts. Some of the special effects in the game also make the game look superb and help to create a sense of realism in the game. Shadows and sunlight are perfectly represented in the game with the sun bouncing of the shiny paintwork of the cars and shadows quickly shifting to reflect the position of the sun. Damage to the cars is also well presented with cars showing gradual increases as knocks and scrapes are picked up along the way in the heat of the race. Items such as wing mirrors will break off and dents will start to show up on the car. it's not only the cars that look great in the game too. As previously mentioned, the sun and weather conditions create an excellent atmosphere but also the tracks and backgrounds look distinctly better than in Forza 2. The game features the beautiful forests surrounding the Nurburgring in Germany to the bustling skyscrapers of New York City. Overall Forza Motorsport 3 pushes the capabilities of the Xbox 360 pretty far and is one of the most visually pleasing racing simulation games around at the moment.

Forza Motorsport 3 also features a decent track list. Music in racing games is essential in helping to create the heart-pounding adrenaline needed to turn a good game into an exciting game. The music fits in really well with the game and also boasts tracks from big name music stars such as Pendulum and Hard Fi to name but a few.

Once you have played the game for a few hours you will probably start to realise actually how big this game is. As previously mentioned there are 220 different competitions to compete in, either through the Season Mode or through the Free Play Mode, each of which have anything from 4 to 12 different races in them. In order to get all of the achievements you will have to win every single one of these. Realistically you are probably looking at a total of at least a couple of hundred hours of race time which, coupled with the excellent gameplay and graphics, gives Forza 3 real value for money.

There are also a few other elements of the game which deserve a quick mention in this review. Online features include an online ship where players can either list their own cars, set a price and sell cars for in game credits or buy other gamers cars. You can also buy designs and logos for your cars in the same way (including designing and selling your own). This is a great feature that allows gamers to connect with each other online and exchange cars they have won in the game. Another interesting feature that you wont find in many other racing games is the option to rewind a small part of the race if you messed up a particular section. This is a curious feature that to be honest I don't think is particularly beneficial as it gives players the option to just rewind every time a mistake is made on a corner. Although you are only cheating yourself by doing this it does become to easy to just rewind and do it again.

So overall Forza Motorsport 3 ticks pretty much all the boxes you would expect for a game of its type. There are a huge number of races to play in, wonderful graphics and a huge lifespan.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/18/11

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

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