The original Forza was the pick-of-the-litter of original Xbox racing games, and the second was a fine example of the Xbox 360's power and community strength, but Forza 3 takes what we love and know about not just the series, but racing games in general, and revs it into overdrive to deliver the most anticipated racing game of the year. But does this monster live up to hype that surrounded it, and does it have what it takes to beat the stiff competition of DiRT2, Need For Speed Shift, Grid and the likes to take the racing game of the year prize? Read on to find out just how it fared...
It should be known that Forza is far more than just a racing game, and on that note, far more than a simulator. There is a lot of content in the game besides racing, and it’s not just a barrage of time consuming gimmicks like we’re prone to seeing in modern video games. You can paint, you can design, you can take photos and videos from any angle imaginable, even upload them all to your ‘Storefront’ and put a price tag or two on a few things for the buying pleasure of friends and the Xbox community. It’s all the small features of the game that ultimately make it one of the best racers around. But of course, it’s a racing game in its core and must still cater for the gaming petrol-heads out there.
As I just mentioned, even with all the extras, Forza 3 needs to have some world class racing to truly be a great racing game. And it’s a good job too, as that’s exactly what Forza 3 gives us. As always with the series, the racing is the most realistic feeling car driving in any game, and lets us feel as if we’re really driving these amazing vehicles, and let’s face it, for most of us, this will be as close as we ever get to the real thing. To increase the experience, plug in one of the Microsoft Wireless Racing Wheels (or take things one step further and get your hands on one of The Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo S Wheel, which is the best driving supplement on the 360) and feel the real power of the game from the stunning cockpit view – which although can’t compare to that seen in DiRT 2, which has arguably the best cockpit view ever seen in a game – still makes its mark.
Another plus on the games racing is its copious amount of options. For a game being hailed as a racing simulator, Forza 3 gives you the ability to tone up and down everything from the auto-brakes to the traction control making the game range from either an insanely difficult realism simulator to a fun and casual racing game with a benchmark amount of super cars. It’s good to see a game catering to all players, and is one of the finer points of the game itself.
Forza 3 has more cars and tracks than any other 360 game to date, with over 400 cars to race around in, you will surely find your dream car and then feel complete as you drift a corner and take the lead just meters from the finish line one of the 100 in game tracks, which are either based on and modelled off real life tracks, or are tracks made for the game using real-world locations, which is good for all you petrol-heads who will instantly recognize some of your favourite tracks/destinations along with some of the most famous speedways and endurance tracks. And to all you Aussies; you will be pleased to know that the game features a selection of our very own Holden V8 supercars to fulfil your dreams of really taking on the Ford competition, it’s just too bad that the game doesn’t actually feature any real life V8 supercar tracks to make the experience complete.
The game gives you the option to partake in its very lengthy season play mode, which sees you competing with any and every car over years and years of fun driving experiences and lets you build up your garage, collecting all of your favourite classics and supercars. But whatever car type your racing in, from muscle to hatchback, you will no doubt notice that unless you are playing on the insane hard difficulty, the games AI at times becomes a little too dated and will do the furthest thing from drive like an actual racer, resulting is some too-easy wins and some lack of atmosphere. But worry not if you’re not too great a driver either, as the game features a rewind button, similar to DiRT and Grid, to help you out when you total your car after 20 perfect laps in a speedway or run off track into a sand trap because you couldn’t keep your eyes on the road. Not with that beautiful Shelby GT500 in front of you.
The multiplayer component of any good racing game is usually the most enjoyable part of the whole experience, and Forza 3 is not only far from an exception, but also raises that bar for all future racers with its amazing multiplayer options and deep community experience. You can take on the world with your friends via the games party system or go it alone in the biggest variety of race types we’ve ever seen in a multiplayer game. It can cater for any and all car types and even makes and models if you want to narrow down the selection even further. This makes for some more fair races, with no one braving the more monstrously powerful vehicles while others are stuck in a powerless tuner.
And aside from the multiplayer racing part of the Forza 3 experience, the community features and community itself are second to none, with Forza 3 being the Halo of racers (Halo fan or not, you can’t deny that Halo 3 has the strongest community for any shooting game on the 360). You can sell your creations for any price you see fit, buy others, rate them and keep the community strong. You can also put hours upon hours into a whole car design and come out with a stunning creation that people may just pay one heck-of-a-lot of money for. It all really keeps the community going and will have you coming back for more for months to come.
The previous instalment in the series pushed what we thought were the boundaries of the Xbox 360, knocking every other racer at the time out of the water, but Forza 3 just goes to show that you can never take the console to its maximum. The game looks phenomenal, and not only has more detail and design than most other racing games, but games of all other genres as well. The cars are second to none with detail and the included real-life tracks are modelled perfectly from their real-life counterparts. And with just the right amount of subtle motion blur, a detailed cockpit, Forza 3 looks like the ultimate racing game.
Every car game prides itself on having ‘the most realistic engine sounds’, but only a few deliver. DiRT 2 had a record amount of possible sound bytes to make the engine roar like a real one, and although Forza doesn’t boast anything of the like, its unnoticeable as all the cars in this fine game have been recorded from the real thing, ensuring realistic and playable sound quality.
In amongst one of your exhilarating races, you may take notice to the games soundtrack, which although includes a few top tracks that are pleasant to race to, there’s nothing like just blasting your own tunes from your HDD while you try to take the world by storm.
For your standard priced game, Forza 3 gives a lot more than most of the same price tag. The games season mode is absolutely massive, and will have you sucked in for months to come and with a community that just keeps on giving, there’s always a challenge to be had, a design to be made, that perfect screenshot to be captured, and that opponent to be beaten. This is the game all you gaming car enthusiasts have been waiting for, and one things for sure; it was well worth the wait.
Forza is an Italian word meaning Power. And raw power is just what Forza Motorsport 3 is. The game takes every aspect to the limit and then some more, pushing everything to perfection from the single player experience to the amazing multiplayer. With 400 cars including some gorgeous V8’s and 100 tracks, there is never a race that feels the same. And with such a nail-bitingly great online community, you will love and play Forza 3 for months upon months to come. Get racing!
AAG SCORE: 9.2/10
- Lengthy single player mode
- Rich in desirable features
- Extensive customisation
- Amazing graphics
- Great multiplayer and community
- Questionable AI at times
- No real V8 tracks
Reviewed and Written By John Elliott