Sheer Driving PleasurePublish date: 24 October 2009 by Michael Joubert
It’s a bit of a shame that Forza 3 (F3) appears on the scene in the wake of the exciting Need for Speed: SHIFT. The Forza series is known for its extremely life-like handling and top-notch graphics, F3 is no exception. Compared to its predecessor, Forza 2, it’s a much slicker and also a lot less frustrating racing sim. But compared to SHIFT it comes across as a tad bland. That said, it doesn’t mean racing aficionados won’t love F3.
F3 includes a very comprehensive 400 cars, with all of them unlocked from the start. This is an excellent deal for free play since cars like the Koenigsegg CCGT are there for your sheer driving pleasure from the get go. But in career mode you first need to earn enough money to buy them.
The graphics this time round look a great deal better than in F2. Ditto for the 100 racing tracks, with tracks like Camino Viejo de Montserrat being absolutely spectacular. As can be expected from Forza the car handling is extremely life-like, only being truly experienced in the advanced mode with factors like traction control and autobrake turned off. Newcomers will enjoy racing in the beginner and intermediate modes, but use it only to lose your training wheels, since there's a lot more money to be made driving in advanced.
This cater-to-all attitude can also be seen in the tuning feature. You can either “auto-upgrade”, which takes care of selecting all the right car parts for you, or do all the tuning yourself, with F3 allowing you to fiddle with a very comprehensive set of mechanics.
The inclusion of an instant replay button is certainly one of the most interesting additions in racing sims ever. After fighting your way to the front of the pack, it’s the final corner of the final lap. While taking the turn superbly your competitor dove-tails the back of your car, sending you spinning off the track. Start all over again? No way, simply hit the instant replay and it takes you back in time to try again. While purist will be up in arms about this, it does come in handy if you simply don't want to go through the trouble of redoing the race for the umpteenth time. That said it can become addictive, and Michael Schumacher never got a second chance, now did he?
While being a top-notch racing sim, F3 lacks some of the excitement of SHIFT. Granted instant replay is really smart and the scenery on some of the tracks, such as the Amalfi Coast, is spectacular. The developers, Turn 10, did a much better job on Forza 3 than 2, but we think SHIFT has changed the game with elements such as its proper driver’s perspective dynamics and the aggressive/ precision element. While F3 can be seen as the well mannered, soft spoken, straight A student with a nice haircut, SHIFT is the hooligan on the bike getting the girls. Forza 4 would have to be a bit more exciting to keep up.