Reviews// Forza Motorsport 3

Posted 19 Oct 2009 17:25 by
Last time I wrote that I sparked up the old Xbox 360 with the firm intention of driving a Monaro (preferably a VXR 500) up the mountain (at Bathurst). This year I was more circumspect about my approach to the latest iteration of Microsoft's racing gem. This year I came to it wondering if the Rewind capability was going to make me feel as if I was cheating and dishonouring the noble art of 'hooning' or 'bezzing' or 'drivin' hard' as much as it did in Codies' GRID and Dirt 2.

It did and it didn't. And frankly, it wasn't the most stand-out element of Turn 10's Xbox 360 exclusive. In the event that you've not come across the Rewind function before, it's really rather simple, it's very effective and it can be easily overlooked once you've thrown off all the assists. Basically, if you mess up, you can rewind the race by five second chunks. Now, be warned, don't be an idiot like me. It's a real time rewind, so don't miss a corner, then go outside for a smoke and a small rage, return in 15 minutes without expecting to keep hitting rewind to get you back to the place and time you were in before you made the mistake. Sounds obvious, it is.

The next thing to know is that I don't actually care that much for real-world cars or real-world car racing. Frankly, watching other people burning up the tracks having tinkered with their chassis cams and under-head sharks or whatever the hell they do, is dull. Video games about driving, however, not dull. Tinkering with your own Spumenlocks using your spoke-stripper, not dull at all.

Being in the car that you've just upgraded with what appears to me to be the entire contents of Jay Leno's garage and driving against some seriously nutty AI, it doesn't get much better. Doing so in Forza Motorsport 3 really doesn't get much better and this is coming from someone who has mostly played GT. Basically, there is little or nothing I can see to stop an Xbox 360 owner from getting this game.

But why? Well, let's try this on for the new-to-driving-game player. Forza has for some time had a reputation has a hardcore driver's game. Scared of driving games that make you appear foolish as you crash once again? Intimidated by the seasoned vets who know every single track and car? Don't even look at Forza. Not this time around. Start off with all the driving assists on and head straight into career mode. That's right. Have the ideal racing line highlit, have the braking suggestions on along with automatic gear changes, stabilization, traction control, the works. And then when you do stuff up, you can rewind. To be honest, for the first time in as long as I care to recall, I was out of assists, into manual gear changes, and winning career events within no time at all.

The other reason for this is that the cars handle so incredibly well. Even without the huge range of tweaking, upgrading and generally fiddling around available to the petrolhead, the basic units (despite some strange dragging to the left) all handle as you'd expect; nope, as you'd want.

Not only that but each car feels distinctly different. Having interspersed Forza with some Need for Speed: Shift (because I can) the fact that the former has been designed for someone deeply serious about cars became inescapably clear.

So, no real change there from the previous iteration. Nope, the work hasn't been done on the car-handling.
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