Developer: Turn 10 Studios
by: Nicholas Puleo
From the minute you open up the Forza 3 package, you know this is a game that's all about content. Not only is there a second disc included with 104 additional cars and 29 additional tracks, there's also a card with a token for a free piece of DLC that contains two additional environments and 10 additional cars. This bonus content isn't just thrown into the game, from the minute you fire up Forza 3 you'll notice spit and polish on everyone of the 400 cars and 100 tracks available. The menus and graphics are gorgeous, the presentation is top notch, and it's incredibly easy to start playing.
That's the biggest difference you'll find with Forza 3 over the previous versions of the game, and other racing sims, accessibility. While the series started out as a love letter to hardcore racing fans (and it still is), now there are plenty of options for casual fans and beginning racers. Tuning your performance and upgrades to your vehicle can be auto handled by the game with "quick upgrade" options available before the race. The game even warns you if your car isn't up to snuff, and asks if you'd like to perform upgrades. During races whenever you make a mistake, the game will casually remind you that the back button will rewind time, helping you correct your error. This controversial feature is a God send for those long 15 minute races where one mess up on the final turn cost you the entire race. It's completely optional, and using it nullifies your leader board position for those with a competitive edge.
The career mode in Forza 3 consists of a few "seasons" that level up the difficulty by increasing the car level used. You'll start with your basic commercial vehicle working your way up to a full R1 class race car. The more you race, the more experience and credits you'll earn for your driver and your car. Driver level earns you bonuses like free cars, while car level will earn you discounts on upgrades. Your driver is persistent, so racing online will also earn you experience that carries back into your game. With 50 driver levels, it's very much welcomed.
The most amazing thing about Forza 3 is the fact you never even have to race if you don't want to. The game can be played from a manager perspective, customizing car graphics, tweaking builds, and selling your setups and vehicles on the marketplace for in game credits. If you've never seen the quality of artwork the Forza community can churn out with just by layering basic shapes, do yourself a favor and do a google image search. The stuff is downright amazing...I'm still waiting for my custom Co-Optimus car!
Forza 3 is the complete package for casual and hardcore racing fans. The game looks gorgeous, runs silky smooth, and exudes polish at every corner. If you are even mildly interested in racing games do yourself a favor and give Forza a try, I guarantee before you know it you'll have lost, and enjoyed, hours of your life.