21st September 2009 - Every generation of gaming consoles has its 'wars', and with the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, these so called wars are at an all time high. People argue for, against and even claim to be impartial to one or the other, but what it really comes down to are the consoles exclusives. These are what fuel, and in turn decide the victor of the console wars. This year sees the two major players in the wars, the Xbox 360 and the PS3 releasing their own ground-breaking, record-smashing, technology-defying racing simulators (well that's if GT5 is released this year like we all hope and expect). Some of you are lucky enough to own both of these consoles and if so, All Age Gaming brings you a definite look into the two racing behemoths to help you pick your simulator. But if you’re one of the not-so-lucky gamers to own just one and want to see what you might be missing, or you just want to find out once and for all which racing game will take the cake, then look no further, as the 5 'C's reveal all; Cars, Customization, Courses, Community and Conclusion.
The meat of all racing games is the cars, which is pretty obvious. So which of these ultra-realistic racing simulators takes the crown for best cars? Well, it’s been announced that Gran Turismo 5 will give players access to over 1000 cars to get their speedy little hands on, while Forza 3 gives players much less, at only 400 cars, which is actually still quite a great selection. No racing game has ever given players such a wide selection of cars as either of these, especially Gran Turismo. But will the amount of cars in GT5 take away from the detail of each one, or will its 4 year production pay off with rich detail to each and every vehicle? Only time will tell. On the other hand, Forza 3's play tests have revealed that each and every car in it will be extremely detailed down to every spring in the suspension, giving players the most beautifully detailed cars ever seen in a video game.
'Cars' Verdict: Although 400 cars is an amazing feat worthy of the utmost respect, Gran Turismo gives over double that amount. And although we are yet to see if GT's cars will be as detailed and realistic as Forza's, given the entire back catalogue of Gran Turismo games, we are sure they will hold the torch next to Forza. The winner here? Gran Turismo 5 for giving players unparalleled choices for what they can drive.
Lots of these babies to choose from in GT5
Next to the actual cars, all good racing games need to give players a sense of individuality to truly capture them. This can be done with car customization, which sky-rocketed back when Need For Speed games started giving players so many choices to make their street ring cars look like space ships. And the feature of customization has come a long way since then, now allowing players to create pretty much anything they can think of. This is a major part of a racing game, especially if it has a great online community like the two games in question do. Forza 2 took car customization to new heights, and Forza 3 takes what number 2 did and expands on it like never before. The customization that players will have in Forza 3 is phenomenal, and will allow for infinite possibilities. You can create your own decals with up to 5,000 individual layers and fine tune every part of your car, both visually and performance wise. Never before has a game offered so much.
As for Gran Turismo 5, well, although nothing of the customization has been announced, it’s safe to say that the game will feature at least the bare minimum. Previous GT games have only given slight adjustments like spoilers and rims, and of course the colour of your car. And even Grand Turismo 5 Prologue, which released in late 2007, early 2008 didn't have any more than this. What it will feature is the ability to customize but a few of the cars (around 170 of the 1000) interior, which will keep players occupied for a little while before they realize the limit of their efforts, as even in the online community, it will simply be their personal little secret hidden from the world.
'Customization' Verdict: Forza 3. In this day and age, to compete with the best, you really have to step up your game and add new features. So, unless GT5 has an extreme supply of customization options being kept under its hood, which is unlikely due to the series nature, Forza 3 is the pick of the litter here. Players will be able to create an infinite number of unique cars, and with Forza's extensive online community, players can auction off their cars and decals to the highest bidder, and even upload custom videos and pictures taken with the new video replay tools. No game has ever given so much, and Forza 3 looks to keep on giving with the community too.
Yet another important aspect of a racing game is the amount of tracks available. Although this may seem like not such a big deal, I assure you it is to hardcore racing fans. You will no doubt notice that you keep replaying the same track over and over if you play the game enough, and this is why game developers are always trying to beat the opposition with more tracks. The two games of this topic both have massive amounts of tracks, more so than most other racing games on the market. Gran Turismo 5 gives players access to 80 real life racing tracks and circuits, while Forza goes that little bit further with 100 tracks. What remains to be seen though is how many unique tracks Gran Turismo is going to give, rather than just slightly different track variants on the same circuits as the series is known for. Its speculated that it will only feature around 20 unique tracks, as opposed to the Forza 3 speculations of up to 50 unique tracks.
'Courses' Verdict: Forza 3 is the definite winner of this section, as it will give players not only more tracks to race on, but also more unique circuits to create tracks on than Gran Turismo 5.
This and other gorgeous tracks in Forza 3
Racing games always have a strong online community, and the GT and Forza series are no exceptions. In fact, they're the leaders of the online community for racers. Gran Turismo 5 lets players make private lobbies to race with friends, take photos and save replays and upload them for others viewing pleasure. It even takes the online community one step further and directly upload to YouTube your best replays. But even with these standard features and the great new YouTube support, Gran Turismo 5 fails to best its competition at the online game. Forza 3 will have gamers engaging in bidding wars over the hottest community made cars and swapping custom made decals. You can view the cars records of previous owners and race outcomes and even miles driven. More online features Forza 3 gives are the ability to change and edit the game modes to your liking, similar to the options Halo 3 gives for custom games. This will allow players to play the way they want, with who they want, and with even more ease with its party system, also reminiscent of Halo 3. Forza 3 also adds more to the average replay and screenshot saving ability, as players can edit the videos as they wish and give others the ability to rate, save and share videos like never before.
'Community' Verdict: Forza 3. A games community is what gives worth to its price tag, and what makes it worth coming back to time and time again. It’s no surprise that Forza 3 dominates Gran Turismo 5 in this section, as Forza 2 was very well respected for its online capabilities, and everyone knew that the next installment would take this to even greater heights, and it has done just that.
There will always be console wars, and Sony’s giant and Microsoft’s monster will always be in the heart of the battlefield. What is perhaps this year’s biggest console showdown are these two racing simulators, and both games look to put obliterate every other racing game on the market. But being both their own consoles exclusives, they will face innumerable comparisons and will most likely be the biggest console movers, especially with the extreme anticipation that GT5 has created and with the newly announced Forza 3 360 console bundle. So after the above comparisons, which of these racing games is going to be the ground-breaking simulator we've all been waiting for?
FORZA 3: Gran Turismo 5 may include double the amount of cars as Forza 3 and include some never-before-seen-in-a-game electric cars, but even the huge amount of cars doesn't make up enough to compete with Forza's larger range of tracks, its detailed customization and ever-popular online community. Although both of these games will be known as the 'True Racing Simulator', there is no denying that Forza 3 gives players more. See you on the race track.
Article Written by John Elliott
[NOTE: This article is based on the expected features for both Forza 3 and GT5 as at 21st September 2009]