Forza Motorsport 3 Review
Forza Motorsport 3 is a game that caters for all form of car lover, from a simple admirer to the enthusiast who craves a little tinkering. With this emphasis on player accessibility the gameplay is heavily assisted from the start, however when removed the cars are succumbed to every possible element, creating a very realistic simulation.
The career ‘Season Play’ offers a progressive campaign, beginning at a small set of short races and gradually building up to have vast, time consuming courses. Rewards for winning races are credits, which are usable throughout the game, and compile as experience points in racer and car company ‘levels’ progress bars which give bonuses, such as discounted car components at specific manufacturers, when each integer milestone is reached. This scheme ensures that each race has a purpose with a continuous stream of new options meeting the criteria for each race, keeping the game away from being monotonous. The difficulties have five suggested defaults, but they can also be broken down into settings. The options are customisable to mix-and-match, which is beneficial as percentage increase in earnings rises the more the gameplay becomes dependent on user control. Optional assists include anti-lock brakes, traction control and a suggested line of travel, which is great for the car enthusiast to dive into, or the novice to leave to default.
As it is a substantial part of the game, the season mode is a lengthy haul– driving for hours on-end just to have statistics reveal that the progress is mere percentiles would suggest that there are many hours of fun, however, after the first season the pace of the game severely slackens, dragging the faster cars further away from reach.
A new feature that is prominent in all single player modes is the ability to rewind time with the press of a button. This is very powerful, to the point where overrunning corners, being overtaken, or getting caught up in a crash can be reversed, making the whole game infinitely less frustrating if it is exploited. With the removal of seemingly inevitable circumstances, the game becomes easier, but it can still be made interesting with the difficulty control.
For those who want to delve straight with everything at hand, a ‘Free Play’ and multiplayer section are available at any point. In free play the full range of cars and tracks are sprawled out, with no restrictions, provided you install the second disc for all of the content. Through Xbox Live, finding a game is relatively easy, as there are continuous lobbies with players dropping in and out. The modes are plentiful and provide a competitive area for online leaderboards and opportunity to play with friends.
The Storefront is where the game ties into a community creation shop to buy and sell user created content such as car designs, vinyl groups, photos, replays, and tuning setups. The currency ties into every part of the game – with the store, single player and the car auction. The Storefront and auction house are stapled with a similar user interface for accessible browsing and buying from an expanding range of items.
The layout of the game is clean and organised where everything is easy to find. Each area is lead into by a friendly voice detailing the points of interest and a how-to guide in getting started with the store, customisation, and Season Play mode. Forza Motorsport 3 is by no means graphically stunning, but it is competent. The one object that really lets it down is trees – no matter which vegetation or where it is placed models looks unnatural in 3 dimensions with flat edges, but a few hours in you’re going too fast to notice anyway. The defects in the surroundings only become a noticeable flaw when changing to one of the front-end viewpoints and not admiring the fantastic car models throughout the game. The attention to detail with the actual cars, without lacking in the interior and exterior copy of real models- down to the stitching in the upholstery- is why this series has gained a reputable name in the racing simulation genre, and it is no different in this title.
With the combination of the different components that have both accessibility and detail, Forza Motorsport 3 unfolds to be a great game. The feel of each of the intricate car models on the track do well to distract from any of the minor flaws, and it certainly has the feel of being worked on and honed from its predecessor, with ingenious implementations to replace annoyance with absolute satisfaction. Anyone with a vague interest in cars, to fanatic petrol heads looking for a great racing game, shouldn’t look past this.