The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Our romance with fast cars is all about feeling that spike of
adrenaline as your speed increases, pushing you into a different
physical plane. In a slightly more abstract sense, it’s about flying
off to see new sights and escaping to new experiences. Video games
aren’t that different. You’re still on the edge of your seat, driving
by the seat of your pants, only you’re far more safe from danger than
you would be if you were actually strapped into a 400-mph death trap.
You also want to feel like all that driving is taking you somewhere.
Forza series’ progression of rewards has always been one of its strong
suits. The driver and car XP levels see to this. Win a couple races and
not only does your driver get a new car, but shops give you a discount
on parts. Add in the fact that the credit system is generous (even
after you subtract some for repairs to offset the damage to your car),
and Forza avoids becoming a grind like other sim racers. Turn 10
Studios also redid its menu system to make everything more visually
inviting, and added a calendar to keep track of the racing events.
These tweaks are small changes that greatly help the game’s pacing and
show a vast improvement from Forza 2. One tiny criticism I have
regarding the calendar system, however, is that the trio of events the
game suggests for you aren’t your only options. To see everything you
have at your disposal, you must back out of the season play menu and
hit up the events list to check out all the races available. In
general, you’ll go through your usual mix of multi-race series,
manufacturer- or spec-specific events, drag races, and some killer
marathons courtesy of Le Mans and Nürburgring. Needless to say about
the Forza series, the driving is still tight.
The game’s calendar
and progression system make the game very inviting, but I think the
game misses a little by being – in some ways – too easy. What’s the
point of rating races and cars by their performance level if there are
numerous times that you can race a superior car in a lower event for an
easy win? The automatic upgrades are great, but take away from actually
buying those parts. Remember the cool discounts you won from
manufacturers? I never went into a parts store because it was all
automatically done for me. It’s hard to scoff at the accessibility, but
in a sense, is the game working against itself? Add in the fact that
rewinds are unlimited (I wish they were limited or you got fewer
credits for using them), and Forza 3 trades letting you see everything
it has to offer for a payoff that doesn’t feel as big.
I ate up
everything Forza 3 had to offer. I raced hard through the streets of
Italy’s coastal town Amalfi, taking in the game’s gorgeous sights and
pushing the laws of physics around every tight turn. I spent lots of
time in the garage adding layer upon layer to my cars’ custom graphics
with the game’s easy-to-use tools. At the end of it all, however, I
didn’t feel like I was light years ahead of any other game in the Forza
series. Forza 3 redefines the franchise, but it definitely didn’t take
me to anywhere I hadn’t already been before.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
Just when I thought I was getting sick of hardcore sim racers, along
comes Forza 3. Microsoft’s big-budget series just keeps on adding
content, and the game now spans two discs. There’s well over 60 hours
of career here alone. I definitely like the fact that it doesn’t take
forever to get my hands on something mean and fast. The tracks that
host these automobiles also shine with gorgeous graphics and great
replay value. The addition of modes like drift and drag, and the new
career structure, helps cure the boring old racing formula that nearly
all sims suffer from. The social aspect that comes with Forza titles is
impressive even today. Video recording and custom car auctions are just
some of the many ways players can share content with each other over
Xbox Live. While the game lacks a bit of the edge-of-your-seat feeling
that I would have liked, it’s easily one of the best racing sims I’ve