Forza Motorsport 3 Review

Posted on April 2, 2010

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As you might know, I’m a big fan of racing games, Forza Motorsport in particular. I first got into the franchise when I was at an EB Games looking for a new Xbox 360 game. I was checking out one of the Need For Speed titles when a random stranger approached me and handed me a used copy of Forza 2 off the shelf. Now, he wasn’t a store employee or anything but he recommended that I buy the game because, according to him, it was “the best racing game I have ever tried”. Noting the low price (only around $15 in great condition, only missing the front part of the cover, which was no biggie) I decided to take his advice and buy the game, and boy was he right.

I instantly fell in love with Forza 2 because of it’s great physics and damage modelling (something which Gran Turismo 5: Prologue lacks), and its wide variety of cars and tracks. One of the other great things about Forza 2 was its online multiplayer. It allowed you to create your own match, specifying how many laps, what track, what type of cars, etc. You could also join hundreds of other matches with players around the world, or set up a private race with your Xbox Live buddies.

So, after all this I was pretty excited to hear that Forza 3 was coming out in late 2009, with even better physics, graphics, and damage, plus many more cars and tracks. Turns out that I was a little late to join the party, picking it up for Christmas about a month after it came out.

But it was totally worth the wait!

After opening up the enormous box (I got the Limited Collectors Edition, see the unboxing here) I popped the game into my 360 and started right into season play, using a Chevy Aveo as my first car. In season play, you progress through the game by working through different series of races. There are many different series to choose from, depending on the car you are using. Some are only open to cars from certain countries, manufacturers, models, years, etc. Then, after working your way through that, you come to the world championship race. There are 10 different world championships: F class, the least powerful class, E class, C class, D class, B class, A class, S class, R3 class, R2 Class, and finally the most powerful open-cockpit cars, the R1 class. The F class world championship series only has three races, and between each race of any given world championship you can choose another series to compete before the next world championship race starts. However, as you work your way up you need to complete more and more races in the world championship. For example, the R1 world championship has 13 races. After the world championship series is completed, you finish that year (year 1, for example) and move on to the next year, with another world championship and more events.

The cars in this game are phenomenal, not only are there tons of different ones to choose from, but they are all rendered very beautifully, even the interiors (yes, there is a cockpit view when driving, yay!). Damage modelling is also great, unlike Forza 2, the cars in Forza 3 can actually flip and roll over!

Totally awesome

Of course, this can get a little cheesy at times because apparently when cars get hit, they seem to become weightless, flying around the air like hot wheels hopped up on Red Bull. Not to mention that the damage modelling itself could be better, right now all we get is bumps and scratches. If only tires fell off, and entire hoods crumpled and sent oil across the track, that would be sweet.

However, we cant really blame the Forza 3 development team on this one, instead we have to place the blame on the car manufacturers themselves. You see, Turn 10 Studios (the game company that makes Forza) needs to get permission to use their cars and brand names in its game, and because the car company’s do not want their vehicles portrayed in an unrecognizable manner, they limited the amount of damage Turn 10 could put on the cars. Now, you may be saying that other games like GRID have better damage modelling than Forza or Need For Speed, and that is true. However, GRID has only 25 cars, and they don’t actually exist in real life. The producers of GRID made them up. So because brand names and trademarks are now out of the picture, the developers can do whatever the heck they want to the cars and get away with it. That’s how you get awesome stuff like this:Now, let’s bring multiplayer into the picture…oh crap.

You see, Forza 3’s online multiplayer is definitely its weak point. Instead of using the traditional system, they decided to use a hopper system, which basically sets all the rules for you. The only way to customize the race is to set up a private race. Also, you can’t even select which group to join! You just go and pick the type of race you want (circuit, drift, stock car, drag, etc) and the game decides which match to join for you. *facepalm*

Another problem with the multiplayer is the ludicrous load times. It feels like forever waiting to join a race (with the game freezing some of the time…and by some of the time I mean quite often) and when the race actually starts, it takes like 2 minutes to actually get to the dang race! Then, once you’re done, it takes a while to get back to the lobby… madness! Even with the game installed on my hard drive, the load times are really frustrating, and is definitely one of the shortcomings of the game.

However, I will try to end this review on a high note, and I’ll do that by talking about the achievements. This game is an achievement junkie’s dream, pretty much all of the 50 achievements can be collected with pure patience, just cruising through season play. There are a lot of achievements for leveling up your driver, leveling up your car, and progressing through all 6 years of season play. Really the only tough achievements to get are the Drift lap achievement (get 100,000 points in a single drift lap, which seems like a superhuman feat) and the Solid Gold achievement (get gold in every race in season play). However, with a little time and patience (and skill) you can pull these ones off too.

So, lets go through the pros and cons, shall we?

Pros:

1. Lots of cars and tracks

2. Decent damage modelling

3. Great graphics

4. Solid season play mode

5. Can export game replays to a .wmv file at 320, 420, or 720p

6. Tons of easy to unlock achievements

Cons:

1. Cars seem weightless when flipping or rolling

2. Online multiplayer is subpar

3. Loading times are maddening

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Posted in: Gaming, Reviews, Xbox 360