MGM: Forza Motorsport 3 First Impressions

forza-motorsport-3-boxart

Microsoft haven’t offered up much in the way of racing simulators, let alone racing games.  However, between the success of Forza Motorsport on the original Xbox and its sequel on the Xbox 360, the series has become one that many feel holds up its own against Gran Turismo and has even already surpassed it.  Forza Motorsport 3, the latest entry in the series, will be released next week on Tuesday, October 27.  To give a taste of what the full game should offer, developer Turn 10 released a demo on Xbox Live a few weeks ago.  Now, Matt, Greg and Michael are here to weigh in what they think the demo indicates for the full game.

Matt’s Thoughts

As I mentioned in our article on Need for Speed shift, racing simulators really aren’t my forte, especially games like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport (how convenient).  But between the touting of how the game can appeal to even casual racing fans and being encouraged by others, I gave the demo a shot with Greg and Michael.  With that in-mind, I will say I enjoyed the Forza Motorsport 3 demo more than the other games, but ultimately it isn’t saying much.  What made it more fun was that more options for the handling have been incorporated, with the two standouts being Rewind and Autobraking (both work as you’d expect).  Since the Rewind use is unlimited and, with Autobraking turned on I could focus on the driving and turning rather than precise braking, I was able to legitimately enjoy the demo.  However, this is still fundamentally the same racing simulator I’ve tried twice before, albeit with very luscious visuals.  And the aforementioned features, while nice, still didn’t make this a very interesting and exciting racing game, which is what I want whenever playing one.

Greg’s Thoughts

This is has been quite the year for racing games.  Need for Speed Shift, Motorstorm: Arctic Edge, Dirt 2, Fuel (alright, maybe that one wasn’t so great) and we’re getting Forza Motosport 3 next week.  I liked the first two Forza games, but felt that the second one should’ve had better visuals and the sense of speed, while above Gran Turismo, is still underwhelming overall.  Fortunately, if the demo is any indication, then this sequel should be a fine improvement and step forward for the series.  Perhaps the most impressive part of the demo were the visuals, which are simply jaw-dropping (other than Uncharted and possibly Metal Gear Solid 4, this is probably the best-looking console game I’ve played).  Car models are incredibly sharp and the available course in the game looks like a spellbinding painting that has come alive.  The sense of speed also appears to have been bumped up a bit too, which I definitely like.  And the driving model is still solid which, with a cockpit view (finally) added to the series, should translate to an excellent final product.

Michael’s Thoughts

As you could probably tell from what Matt and Greg have mentioned, the Forza Motosport 3 demo indicates some very welcoming improvements have been made to the final product.  For me, this translates to even larger amounts of bliss per gaming session.  Forza Motorsport 2 is a game I’ve returned to time and time again yet still never managed to complete (if only I could say the same for other games).  About all that I could really have asked for is better visuals, more tracks and smoother customization.  After playing the demo, it’s safe to say at least two of these demands have been met.  The visuals for the single course in the game are mouth-watering and quite distracting since the location is rendered in such detail, color and beauty.  Racing action is a little faster and more intense, though it seems the game is suffering from Shift syndrome since the AI are far more aggressive and inconsiderate than before.  I would’ve liked to see some form of customization incorporated into the demo to give us an idea of what it will be like (since, after Midnight Club Los Angeles, Forza 2’s customization system felt too stiff), but I had a tough time complaining with what we were given.

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