Forza Motorsport 3 (FM3) finally came out on October 27th, 2009 after years of development. There are few games that I have been more personally excited about. For the Xbox 360 console, there just was not as solid racing game as Grand Tourismo until Forza Motorsport 2. Forza 2 featured hundreds of cars that were upgradeable, realistic tracks and solid racing simulation.
In summary, Forza Motorsport 3 builds on FM2 by adding more tracks, more cars, more car customization, superior graphics engine, improved driving simulation, improved Xbox live capabilities, more single-player game options (drift/drag,etc) and interior driving views of every car.
Right out of the case you will notice the game features two disks. The top disk is the play disk, which you will use each time you want to play. The bottom disk has installable content for your Xbox 360, including the full list of the games cars, tracks and customization options. You will need to install this content to take full advantage of all the games abilities.
This content requires 1.9 gigabytes of room on your Xbox 360 hard drive. I know because I had to delete a number of demos to make room. The content takes between 2 and 4 minutes to install and the game designers were nice enough to include some music and a car slide show. You will be prompted when it is finished to insert disk 1. I should mention during the process your Xbox does not reset.
First Hour of Play:
So you have your content all installed and you’re eager to play! Fear not, the next step is a race in an Audi R8 to determine what “assists” you need, aka skill level. This map is the exact same map as the Forza Motorsport demo, so it should be familiar. After this, you can finally begin the game. All this set-up time took me about 20 minutes.
The game forces you to then select in the E class from a pre-set list. You start broke as a joke. These are all E-class cars that are slow and boring. In any case, I selected the Honda Fit for it’s slightly better handling rating over the Ford and went racing. I swear the Fit sounded like it had a John Deer lawnmower engine in it but it got the job done. In typical Forza fashion, the game awards you cars as you win races. So I quickly earned an Alpha Romeo X and started racing with that. After a few more races I earned enough to buy myself a Toyota Supra.
If you a strapped for cash buy the Supra and perform the following upgrades: Full weight reduction, improve tires to Pro, Pro Springs and Dampeners and install a single Turbo. This worked wonders, I was killing the competition for a while on hard. Earned enough money to invest in a BMW E46 M3 and performed similar upgrades. And that took me through the first few hours of very enjoyable play.
Customization Options for Cars: As in FM2, FM3 offers many ways to customize your vehicle.
For engine, one can choose street, pro, and race for intake, exhaust, ignition, camshafts, values, heads, forced induction (turbo/supercharger), engine/oil cooling, inter-coolers and flywheels.
For handling, one can modify tires/rims (including size and profile), weight, install roll cage, springs/shocks, front/rear anti-roll bars, and limited slip/locking differentials.
For drive train, one can modify all from gear boxes to crank shafts. Using complete drive train replacements it is possible to make rear-wheel drive cars all-wheel drive on certain models.
Finally, another shinning light in the Forza Motorsport series is the complete engine and now separate drive train replacement options. If you have a S14, who would not want to drop an R34 Skyline enginge in it to replace the pos stock power plant? Or why not make that 700+ horsepower Supra all wheel drive so it can dominate all. You get my point, I think. Needless to say the customizations options for performance will keep you in the upgrade and tuning zone for a while.
On tuning, one can adjust everyone one could in FM2. This includes things like camber angle, toe, ride height, gear ratio, bump stiffness, tire pressure, braking pressure, etc. The maximize performance I found myself messing over and over again with the tuning options. Also handy once your done is the “benchmark” option that tells you 0-60 times, top speed, and the very important lateral G’s you car is capable of.
Body Customizations include kits and rims/wheels from a variety of common and popular manufactures. Each car has something different minus the rims. In Forza fashion, one can always purchase the Forza adjustable body kits.
Once you have decided upon the look and style, it is time to paint. The game offers the ability to paint the hood, rims (if not chrome), mirrors and body all different colors. The game gives you 3 paint styles, metallic, special (color-changing effects) and standard gloss. In addition, you can stick on vinyl graphics from a host of manufactures, letters, and graphic styles. Some graphic styles include racing, tribal, stripes, flames, nature and tears. I found myself loving the tribal themes. Once chosen, the game allows you to adjust the color, size, transparency, skew and move it to where you like.
The graphics are some of the best I have seen on the Xbox 360. The 60-frames-per-second graphics engine features lush detail on every car, interior and out, insanely realistic skies and surrounding terrain and life-like simulated damage. I can’t say enough about how the engine looks and just how smooth it is. I’m viewing it on a 37 (60hz) 1080p L.G LCD with HDMI out and it looks fantastic. Really surprised me how smooth it runs.
The interview views on the cars our picture perfect to exactly how the manufacture’s designed them. Even the gauges work just like they are supposed to. So when your turbo boost kicks in you’re going to see that gauge needle spike. The outside detail is even better, especially the way the game renders light. Speaking on light, don’t be surprised to be blinded by the sun coming around a concern from time to time.
The graphics featured on many of the tracks that are based off of actual tracks is practically photo realistic. I mean it really can’t get much better considering the Xbox 360’s capabilities. In general, I would say FM3 maxes out the 360’s capabilities in every way. But, as I mentioned, the game runs smooth as a warm knife through butter.
Forza 3’s game play is just incredible. I have played just about every racing simulation game that has ever called itself a racing simulation game and FM3 tops them all. The cars react very life-like. In fact, the game features so many details that no lap will ever feel the same. In addition, no car handles exactly the same so literally each car features unique handling and upgradeable tuning shifts that need to be made for maximum performance.
The difficulty options can suit anyone playing. I let my girlfriend jump on the steering wheel and she was able to race around the track and get third place. She had all the assists on including auto braking, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, easy opponent difficulty and the speed-up-slow-down line indicator. For me, I play with no assists except anti-lock brakes and opponent difficult depends on my vehicles upgrades and tuning. One note on Auto-braking- makes the game extremely easy to pick up for beginners as the car literally slows itself down for each turn and to regain control in none-sticky tire situations.
This is another area where Forza 3 Motorsport is polished. First, there is a lobby where you choose which mode you would like to race in including the drift, drag, oval, circuit, etc. Next you connect into a lobby room and then select car, assists, modify game options like manual/automatic and speak with others in the room. The game room allows players to vote to skip tracks as well as kick players. Generally the wait time between games is a 1 min. 45 seconds, but it can range as I experienced.
I enjoy drift mode so for this review I entered a full room. After speaking with the players for a minute I selected my garages Toyota Supra or Nissan S13 (picture below) with no assists except anti-lock brakes with manual (no clutch). You are allowed to choose any car in the game from the 400 car list. Good luck finding a stock game car that will win you first place.
The load times for the map are about the same as single player and during this time you can chat with players in the room or just listen to the retarded jokes from immature players. The game loads and your placement in the line is random. Sometimes I started first, sometimes last, sometimes middle of the pack. The countdown begins and off we go.
The first turn in drift is frustrating because between 5 and 8 cars sliding close together generally spells disaster. If one car crashes the whole lot does which was generally the case. But this is also where Forza shines. If a car crashes or in some way can interfere with your game play the game makes them a ghost until they recover. Although it is NOT perfect as a spin out without a crash does not ghost the car. This is where defensive driving and quick reactions come in handy. In addition, this does not mean that it will ghost a car if you are pulling off a big drift and they happen to hit you making you lose your points. Trust me it happens often and is frustrating. But that is part of the game and is even across the board.
After playing for a few hours I found myself completely addicted. Although I never placed first in a single drift event I was having a blast learning how and laughing with the other players. There was zero lag which absolutely blew my mind and it ran smooth the entire time. I experienced very few glitches and not one freeze. I could not be more impressed with the drift online experience considering there has not been one update to date.
Also worth mentioned is the Xbox Live Forza Motorsport 3 auction area. This is where you can auction cars you own or have modified. It also allows you to sell custom artwork you have created as well as buy artworks from others. It works well but I did not see any real deals when I looked. At one point someone was trying to see a Buygatti Veyron for 5,000,000 credits? That is a few million more than one can buy it in game…
The game does feature 400 cars right out of the box. This is sometime like 100 more than Forza 2 features upon release. These cars are divided amongst the two disks. To view which ones are on each disk click here.
Click here to view all 400 cars: http://forzamotorsport.net/en-us/forzamotorsport3/carlist.aspx
The original game costs 60 dollars. If you did happen to pre-order the game, look below for the exclusive preorder cars per location. I received the Audi 5.2 Community Edition.
Exclusive Preorder Cars:
|2009||BMW Motorsport||Walmart M5 E60|
|2009||BMW Motorsport||GameStop M5 E60|
|2009||BMW Motorsport||GAME M3 E92|
|2009||BMW Motorsport||MicroMania M5 E60|
|2008||Mitsubishi||GameStation Lancer Evolution X GSR|
|2010||Audi||R8 5.2 Community Edition|
I hope you enjoyed my write-up. If you would like to share with me tuning setup’s or images of your cars I will be happy to share them on my site. As I progress in the game I will update some of my tuning set-ups to help my fellow gamers.
Best regards gamers,
Adam “gaminsincebirth” Faragalli
This review is by a “gamer” and not a professional video game reviewer or writer. The article was written solely because I wanted to share my experience with one of the greatest racing games to date, Forza Motorsport 3. If you liked this article, please let me know in the comments. You can find me on Xbox live under the name gaminsincebirth.