Brutal Gamers review of Forza Motorsport 3.
Forza Motorsport 3 is the latest title to hit the racing scene, developed by Turn 10 studios and published by good ol’ Microsoft Game Studios. Forza Motorsport 2 set the bar for simulation racing titles this generation, so we’re only able to assume that Forza 3 would not only be on par with the second one, but show what the 360 is capable of. I was a major fan of Forza Motorsport 2, spending literally hundreds of hours racing away on the never-ending endurance races, loving every moment of it. So as you can imagine, I was looking forward to Forza 3, quite a lot.
As we all know, Forza 3 does come on 2 separate disks, which as you can imagine brought up the never-ending argument to why Blu-Ray is better than DVD-9 (no shit, Sherlock). The first disk is what contains the main career, multiplayer, majority of the cars and a wide range of tracks, the second disk however, is fully loaded of both extra cars and tracks which you’re able to install onto your hard-drive (completely optional, might I add) and comes in at around 1.9gb in total. If you’re quite low on space, or for whatever reasons don’t own an Xbox 360 with a HDD, you’re able to pick out the individual car packs/tracks if you don’t want every single one of them.
One of the most time consuming features of Forza 2 was its single player career which has seen a massive overhaul in its sequel. The main goal in the Forza 3 career is to win each one of the division championships which are broken down into 6 separate seasons – each season taking dramatically longer, the higher up there – the 5th and 6th season taking literally days to finish. Each championship contains a set amount of races which take place nearly every 2 weeks (in-game time due to it being done of a calendar) and to win the championships you need to have earned the most points from those races. While you’re waiting for the next championship race to come around, you’re giving the option to pick 1 of 3 different races to take part in – some will let you look at new tracks which you haven’t seen before while others will let you drive in cars which you’re yet to use.
One thing that should be pointed out is, due to how the career is designed this time round, you do get to those elusive dream cars much faster than before. You’ll get to the ‘lower-end’ supercars within around 10 hours or play, compared to Forza 2 in which you didn’t even see your first Lotus until you were nearing the 1/3 of the way through mark. You’ll also never have the exact same career twice, as the races you decide to race in will change future options, you can participate in every event from the Events List option from the main menu, points going towards your driver level and credits.
In Forza 2, the Driver Level played a massive role in what events you can take part in. The Driver Level is still around; however it doesn’t play such an important role in what events you can participate in. You still unlock one of the hundreds of cars when you reach a new level as well as a car level which discounts the car upgrade parts. And like all racing games, the higher you rank in a race, you’ll earn more money to spend on upgrades or simply new dream cars – also the lovely bonus money when finishing an event.
Turn 10 has managed to do something fairly unique with Forza 3; they’ve managed to make a fairly heavy-simulation based game, be incredibly approachable by almost everyone who has played racing games. This has been done by giving the player a wide range of settings that can easily be changed, ranging from having everything under the sun turned on so all you have to do is point the car in the right direction and only having to press the accelerator to everything being turned off and it being as close to a simulator as you can imagine. Either way, I can promise, you will have a blast; overall the game simply feels so much more enjoyable than before. And knowing that the games rewind feature has your back, you don’t have to panic about crashing and annihilating your car on the last corner while on the epic endurance races. Remember, this option is 100% optional, so to the people getting their pants in a twist: the game isn’t making you use it – you don’t get punished for using it or not using it.
Thankfully, it plays even better than the prequel, instead of the cars which are higher up the performance index becoming near impossible to control without assists – you’re able to comfortably control them – which in the end, benefits both the more experience competitive player and the people who just enjoy a quick pick up and play race. The reason for this, being the games incredible physics engine – incredible when it works, that is, it really does enjoy having random fits and will launch your car into the air when you collide with a tire wall.
Over the previously mentioned 2 disks, there is an insane amount of content which you’re able to get your hands-on, with over 400 cars and over 100 tracks for you to try them out on – you’ve got enough content to keep you going for quite some time; the cars available range from the fairly common Renault Clio to the cars which you dream about at night, like the Bugatti Veyron 16.4, Audi R8, plus the usual, stupidly-high end Formula #1 cars. The 100+ tracks which are currently in the game are all based of real life places, including a wide variety of speedways, endurance tracks and circuits.
The environment-based, endurance tracks on Forza 3 truly show how fantastic it does look, both the games scenery and the near-perfect car models coming together in one beautiful blend. Graphically, everything is done well… right, the cars are exactly how they should look (excluding the plastic-like look which some cars have) and it’s easy enough to get distracted by the various vistas on the epic 20-mile long laps up the side of a mountain.
One of the most loved aspects of Forza 2 was the community based features such as the auction house and the livery creator – which have been greatly expanded upon. The auction house previously was where you would sell your designs although they would have to be on the car itself; you can now sell the livery on its own for a specific car and then sell the car separately. The livery editor is even easier to use than before and will give you even better results – just from the people with other review copies (or developers) you can only imagine the talent which will emerge. The games all new ‘storefront’ features is also useful for the people who actively use the auction house, being able to save certain users if they put out quality content and see all the items that one user is selling. The added options of being able to search for most downloaded, viewed and highest rated makes finding the more impressive designs even easier too.
And if you’ve seen the original teaser trailer for Forza Motorsport 3 from E3, you’ve seen what the powerful video and photo editor the game has is able to do. You’re able to easily make yourself feel like a professional photographer from the quality of images you’re able to create by the variety of different effects, ranging from the shutter speed to how much colour is in the picture.
The online matchmaking for racing games has never interested in me in the past (except for PGR’s Cat & Mouse game mode) due to finding them well… quite boring, but this is the first racing game since the days of PGR which has interested due to the level of customization of game modes available. You can recreate your favourite game modes with very little effort, and knowing how much Turn 10 listens to the community, you can expect that they’ll end up adding the best game modes to their official playlists.
We all know that Forza Motorsport 3 in the end, no matter how fantastic it is, it will be compared to Gran Turismo 5 as it is the only other exclusive game of the same genre on the ‘opposing’ platform this generation. I can safely say, that Gran Turismo 5 will have to be something truly special for it to be on par with Forza 3 (and to be better than it) – for it to be this enjoyable, look and play as well as it does – it has to hit some seriously high targets.