by Matthew Bishop
reviewed on X360
Forza Motorsport 3 brings a refreshing look to a genre that has seen few epic entries in the past few years. With many waiting for Gran Turismo 5, the notable entries on next-gen consoles thus far have been F1: Championship, Grid, and of course, Forza Motorsport 2.
I can say with confidence that Forza Motorsport 3 is better than all of them to date. It differentiates the competition by allowing casual gamers who would normally be overly frustrated with a sim-racing game to turn on assists and sit down and be competitive. If you are the more sim-racing savvy type, then Forza Motorsport 3 will cater to you as well, simply turn off the assists and fasten your seatbelt.
This game offers the ability to virtually sit in the driver seat of a car most will never get the chance to. Whether it is the Bugatti Veyron that turns your crank or a McLaren F1, all cars are playable immediately in free play to give you the experience of a lifetime. Those that have been frustrated with a simulation-racing game in the past will be pleasantly surprised when beginning Forza Motorsport 3. The assists include auto-braking, which lets you accelerate throughout the entire race and still be competitive, as the computer will perform the braking for you. If you are more like me and prefer a more challenging thorough experience, I suggest tweaking the assists to your choosing. Don't take them off all at once as that may be too difficult, but if you gradually remove them you should experience a much smoother transition.
Removed is the former requirement of having to own a racing wheel to be competitive at a sim-racing game. Turn 10 Studios has done a superb job with the controller, tweaking the sensitivities and getting them just right. The only issue that I have with this is that Turn 10 have left out the option to swap control settings manually, instead setting the user up with a number of default choices. This would be fine if manual shifting did not reverse the brake/gas pedals to gas/brake. Of course, if you are playing on automatic you will not encounter these issues, but on manual it can be infuriating.
Forza Motorsport 3 improves slightly from its predecessor in providing fantastic visuals on the vehicles, but not vastly. Turn 10 did however improve both the environments and interiors of the vehicles immensely. The beautiful landscapes are visible whether you are barreling down a mountainside at full speed or in a speedway taking a turn ever so softly.
In the past, I have always preferred a third-person view in racing games rather than the interior view. To my surprise the first-person view provided in this game is very easy and can be utilized easily. The stunningly detailed interior is another reason why you may opt to use this type of view. It shows off the beautiful interior of the luxury vehicle you are driving. How realistic a collision is depends on whether your assist for it is set. If you have it set on 'off' or 'limited' then the effects will not be as extreme as if you have them on fully. When fully enabled, collisions are realistic and can progressively whither your car away.
Assists, so newbies can be competitive.
No option to swap control settings manually.