Geekin’ Out Over Forza 3

Forza 3

Thank God for Football (Go Giants by the way.) If it wasn’t for gridiron you’d prolly find me on XBL playing the hell out of that Forza 3 demo. I don’t know what it is but I’m a little too excited for it’s release. It’s funny because Forza 2 disappointed me in a lot of ways despite being a good game in the end. So naturally you’d think that I’d have a tepid response towards sequel right?

No such luck. I was in shock and awe when I played it at E3. Then I grew to enjoy the demo as I found out about drifting, time trials and the manual w/ clutch feature. Not to mention the demo was smart enough to include the Audi R8: currently my favorite whip.

The cars handle REALLY well even for a sim. Usually these kinds of games are relentlessly difficult since they feature painstakingly realistic cornering. Still i was able to hit the turns with ease even on hard with almost every assist off (sorry I need my anti lock brakes.) I even got 1st place a couple of times. Maybe it’s because I’ve played sims for awhile but the learning curve wasn’t as frustrating as it could’ve been. I think it was a genius move even though some lament that the steering is more forgiving. Turn 10 is obviously making the game more accessible, especially with the new rewind feature, and I’m not opposed. The AI and courses are still challenging enough to keep vets coming back on the harder settings so where’s the harm?

The sense of speed is much improved as well and it always feels smooth. Hell it even felt like I was zoomin’ in a Mini Cooper. NFS Shift edges it out  in that department (and in cockpits too) but it never feels slow.

I also liked how it made a quantum leep in graphics and presentation. Forza was a ridiculously vanilla game outside of the track. Still, it’s hard to ignore the GT influence in the menus. Regardless, It gives the game a personality and flair it lacked for so long. The cars look great and the environments look even better. Pound for pound, it’s definitely the best looking car game on the 360.

Forza 3-2

The biggest thing that bugs me about the game is there’s still only 8 car grids. Sure there’s a lot going on but come on now. Can we please graduate to 16+ driver races? GT5 PROLOGUE has 16 cars on the track online and off and that game looks great (albeit with suspect AI.) What’s the excuse? All this talk about customizable online modes better be worth it because the racing is too good to keep it locked at 8 cars on a track. If NFS Shift and PC sims taught me anything, it’s that more cars (but not too many)=MUCH better races. I think 16-20 is the sweet spot but, then again, I don’t run Turn 10. Oh yeah, it’s impressive that they added cockpit views for all 400 cars but they pale in comparison to other racers I’ve played.

Anyway, Forza 3 looks like it’s gonna put a lot of relationships on ice when it drops. It’s also interesting that MS is putting a racing game as their marquee title for the holiday rush. Usually they run the Halo/Gears off year tandem that gets SO tired. They broke that trend somewhat since ODST wasn’t heavily advertised. Anyway, it’s good to see one of my favorite genres get that shine. 09-10 is gonna be great for racing games especially with GT 5 dropping next year. In the meantime I’ll be (im)patiently waiting for this game’s release on October 27th.

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