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Friday | October 19, 2018
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Forza Motorsport 3 (Xbox 360)

Forza Motorsport 3 (Xbox 360)

The long awaited Forza Motorsport 3 is finally upon us and developer Turn 10 has opted for a new approach, making it as accessible as possible. The end product is a racing simulation game which will be enjoyed by a huge cross section of the general public. This is Microsoft’s answer to the 50 million selling Gran Turismo.

Forza 3 has over 400 vehicles to choose from and stunningly every single one of them is unlocked, right from the start. Obviously they are still tied into a payment system so you need to earn the necessary credits to make a purchase – but this is taking the conventional ‘rise the ranks’ system and spinning it on its head, something we love to see!

Certainly when players begin the game they will only be able to afford specific muted vehicles which will not raise the blood pressure, but when the BHP starts to rise, so does the adrenaline.

Forza Motorsport 2 was a solid enough game but it was somewhat slated by a specific audience for its handling and rather subdued career mode. Developer Turn 10 have decided to focus on spicing up the franchise with the third release by not only changing the handling algorithms, but by improving upon the graphical detail and colour vibrancy.

The physics have been overhauled and they now include real time tire deformation which means that the cars will handle very realistically around the corners and you get a great sensation of actually being at the wheel of an expensive supercar. Thankfully the developer have incorporated a plethora of ‘assists’ via the menus which will tailor the system to your exact requirements. This means that even a complete novice can enjoy the experience with options for traction control and auto braking which basically will let them hold down the accelerator the whole way through a race while the computer AI compensates for the handling to keep you on the track.

As the player skill progresses then these specific options can be disabled adding much more realism to the racing and a higher return of reward. There is also a rewind option available to allow players to skip backwards in five second intervals during a race. There is no penalty or limitation during a race for using the rewind system, but if you are a racing ‘purist’ then there is no need to even go near it. On hard difficulty you may find yourself using this more than you had planned.

Graphically the cars are significantly better than the previous outing with the models having an insane level of detail including an array of unique interiors for all 400+ cars. Every car also has a full damage model which means you will see paint being removed, doors being dented and other parts being deformed. It really is stunning if you pay attention during contact with another vehicle or barrier.

The environments are also highly detailed and the Xbox 360 manages to keep the frame rate at a constant 60fps which means the motion is super smooth. Those with eagle eyes and a tendency to analyse the graphics will see specific areas of detail drop sometimes to maintain the frame rate but it is a necessary trade off to keep the motion flowing.

Not only has every car got its own interior but the developer have raised the bar for the audio with all the cars having their own engine sound – unfortunately the music is less than memorable but it is a minor point.

There is also a advanced livery editor which works along the same lines as the previous incarnation, however as I suck at design it is hard for me to effectively judge how it all works – for those of you like myself there is a great online storefront which allows people within the Forza community to share their work. The Store also offers paid for designs for various cars and a plethora of decals which can be used on any vehicle you own. These prices are predefined by the designers and the number of copies for sale can also be limited to make it a worthwhile ‘limited edition’ style purchase. If you have a designer you admire you can flag them as a favourite to get quick access to their latest work.

Tuning is also strongly supported as hardcore tuners can create tuning sets and then sell them on the Store – this may sound bizarre however tuning is so elaborate that frequently after spending a lot of time tuning my own cars I found them to actually perform worse than the reference designs so there will be a high level of demand for this. It is true that basic tuning is straightforward but the most complex setups require a reasonable amount of time and skill to achieve. The auto upgrade option is a good novice fallback as it will set a predefined configuration for the particular car and the specific track.

Single player is catered for by ‘career’ mode – which is a series of seasons, each longer than the last. The basic career mode lasts for six seasons and you can opt to continue after this point if you want. For the two weeks between each championship race you can choose one other event and each of these is split into a series of races. Sometimes they are as few as three but others can be six races long. You are always handed three options for the events and these change based on the cars you own and the car you are currently driving as well as the race types you play most often. The dynamic methodology across any given career means that no two careers will ever be exactly the same which means the replayability level is very high.

This career mode is also incredible value because throughout the six seasons you race in 55 events from a pool of over 200. It took me 45 hours of gameplay to beat a single career mode and that means you will have still 150 events untouched for the next time. It would be fair to say that no two seasons will ever be the same.

As you complete a race, you earn experience points and for each level you get access to a car without a cost. The concept is to reward you for making progress the game and to keep you playing to get more cars as the game progresses.

Forza 3 incorporates Turn 10’s Drivatar system which grants each AI driver a specific driving style – this AI is also a learning based system which is similar to the previous release. They have enhanced the system however by adding a new stress related mechanic, which means if you sit close behind some drivers they might panic and crash the car or even start acting erratically and take bad lines into corners.

Forza 3 Motorsport is a fantastic racing game, it looks amazing and the cars all handle in a realistic way. The single player experience will last for a very long time and when you get bored the multiplayer elements are also very strong. Gran Turismo 5 has a hell of a task in hand to match the overall experience with Forza 3, however if anyone can do it then we would expect Polyphony Digital to be able to pull it off. Full review of course on Gamingheaven in the near future.


Controls are improved, as is the handling. Great fun.
Car models are fantastic and a solid 60fps are the icing on the cake.
The engine sounds are realistic but the music is a let down.
Huge replayability with single player and multiplayer options helped further by the store options.

If you own an Xbox 360, then this needs to on your shortlist.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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