Forza Motorsport 3

Status: Year 1 in Forza Motorsport 3 complete
Achievements: 17 of 50
Gamerscore: 185/1000
DLC Purchased: None

So many people think that racing simulations are all the same. Driving cars around the tracks, modifying them, “pimping” them out to become beasts on the road. Well, for the most part, they are right.

Like previous games in the series, Forza Motorsport 3 offers racers the chance to drive world class circuits from the comfort of their couch. Races available to you depend on the types of cars you have in your garage. European, Asian and North American cars of all drive types can be accessed, souped up and shown off in any series your cars qualify for. For the purposes of this review, and personal preference in general, I started my career in Forza 3 with a Honda Fit. Not the type of car I would ever drive should I race in real life (granted, I can’t drive period – seriously, all I have is a learner’s permit!), but from the selection of cars I had to choose from, it was the one I felt most comfortable starting with.

I began Year One on the circuit with my little blue Fit partaking in events that spanned 3 races in length. Together we zipped around the courses, rear-ending quite a few people on the way. I proudly completed many races in first place, earning bonus cars at the end of the third event and discounts from manufacturers on parts for my vehicles. Every other Saturday afternoon I found my calendar booked with a World Championship event. Since most of these are E class events and my Fit has been upgraded, I hop into the Alfa Romeo Brera I won and compete using it. These Saturday drives are a bit longer than the average track, adding more length and laps than I would see during a typical circuit.

A new feature added to Forza 3 is the Rewind Button. While you are racing, if you bump a car or end up with a tire or two in the grass, you can hit the Back Button to rewind the race. While I suppose this feature is handy for people becoming familiar with the game. Otherwise, Rewind comes across as cheating. Didn’t like that you lost 3 seconds getting back on the track? Rewind! I used it once to test out the feature for this review and I already know I will never use it again. I also hope this feature is one that never makes it into a 4th installment in the franchise.

Forza 3 boasts a huge catalog of cars and tracks; so large that the game comes with a second disc full of content for you to install on your hard drive and access using Disc 1 as the main play disc. Sadly for this review I am unable to comment much on the additional cars and tracks as I have no room on my hard drive left to install the content. I did download the free content that came in the form of a MS code and pick up the free Hyundai Car Pack to add to my garage.

Achievements are fairly easy to come by in the beginning. For every level your car & driver reach between 1-10 you will unlock a small bit of Gamerscore, after which you gain achievements on every fifth increment. Completing a race season (Years 1-6) gives you a more modest amount. Snapping pictures, creating videos and selling items from your Storefront will also net you some achievements.

Another highlight for me is the realistic damage your car takes when you rear-end other cars or get nudged off the track. To me, its not a race if my car doesn’t get a few scratches or loses a bumper somewhere on the course. Just a reason why I have always preferred Forza to Gran Turismo titles. (That and the fact that I despise the License System in Gran Turismo.)

I also want to give a big shout out to PBTurbo Tuning for creating such an awesome car for me. When I approached a friend of mine whom I recalled did paint jobs for Forza 2 cars, I discovered that he had joined a Forza garage. These garages will tune and paint your cars for you if you aren’t talented enough to do it yourself. Their shop offers tuning starting around 8000 in-game credits and painting starting around 10000 in-game credits. You can purchase the GamingAngels car for the Nissan 370 skin for 10,000 Credits. The tuning is another 10,000 Credits.

I have always enjoyed the Forza franchise. Other than updated graphics and more car customization, I haven’t felt much of a difference over Forza 2. The Rewind option is just cheating, in this reviewer’s opinion, and should not be part of the game. I seem to have access to a decent amount of cars and tracks for someone with no room to install the extra content, which makes me believe that there is a wonderful collection of sweet rides to be had for racing enthusiasts. If I was big into racing games, I would have bought this Day One. Since I am more of a casual racer, I would have eventually purchased it, but only after other titles that also hit within the two months prior to the holiday shopping season.

*Review product was provided by Microsoft, and does not affect the outcome of this review.*

(Reviewed for GamingAngels – Nov 23, 2009)

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