27 Feb, 2006

V8 Supercars 3 Review

PS2 Review | King of the mountain or in the pits?
V8 Supercars 3 (otherwise known as Toca Race Driver 3 in other territories) is a game that is going to sell despite the reviews. Even though Codemasters could just release the same kind of game every year, they consistently try to ensure the series evolves and with each title there is even more added to the game. This has made the series a serious competitor to other simulation racing titles like Gran Turismo 4 and Forza Motorsport. Codemasters went completely back to the drawing board with this game and more content has been added to the game than ever before - but is the game still fun?

Whilst the game is titled V8 Supercars 3 there is actually a lot of other content in the game as well. In just the V8 series there have been four new tracks added including Shanghai, Bahrain, Symmonds Plains and Queensland Raceway. All the official rules, cars and tracks from the 2005 season have been included and the vehicle kits have been updated so they now contain all the latest sponsors. The V8 series is one of 35 different racing styles which include formula BMW, rally cross and formula 1000. If you want a varied racing game then you simply cannot go past V8 Supercars 3. In total there are 70 licensed racing cars and over 100 different circuit variations including Indianapolis, Hockenheimring and the almighty Bathurst.

Ambrose punts another driver off the track

Ambrose punts another driver off the track
The three main modes in the game are the World Tour mode, the Pro Career mode and the Simulation mode. The World tour mode takes you through a set of challenges in a wide varienty of motorsports. The first thing you do in World Tour mode is select from two different styles of races. As you win you progress up a ladder and unlock even more championships, which makes the World Tour mode not unlike the one found in V8 Supercars 2. There is plenty of customisation available in this mode as well as it’s possible to tune your car before each race. A coach is introduced to you throughout the mode and he provides feedback through FMV sequences, ironically it actually sounds like the same guy who has “coached” you in previous titles.

The Pro career mode is where you go once you’ve decided which discipline you’re happy with. You’re able to choose any of the racing styles (some of them need to be unlocked though) and play through challenges in this particular racing style. With such a wide variety of motorsports you could end up racing with 18 wheelers or with go-karts, it is absolutely phenomenal how much variety is in the game. The simulation mode is the last option and you can select to race in free races, time trials and multiplayer races from here. As an added bonus the game does include a V8 quick start option where you can launch straight into a V8 championship.

Part of the appeal of this game is the fact that you can play multiplayer in any of the championships. If this isn’t enough then you can actually play with up to eight players online with the PlayStation 2. Some of the online game modes include practice, qualifying and eliminator. Considering the game has just come out there weren’t many people online when we were online, but we expect this number will increase around when the V8 championship is about to begin. The multiplayer is a highlight of the game and it’s extremely simple to get started either offline or online and it is addictive. It’s possible to customise all the rules in multiplayer to your liking as well which means you can actually set you own difficulty level if you want to play against AI as well.

Gameplay wise the game definitely feels a lot more realistic than in previous titles. V8 Supercars 3 has a damage system which allows every part of the car to become crimpled and destroyed. It’s an unprecedented damage system and is what sets the game apart from GT 4 and Forza Motorsport. If your car becomes too damaged then you’ll have to restart the race, although a meter appears on screen which allows you to know how much more damage your car can take before it reaches terminal damage.

A typical day out in the car for Matt

A typical day out in the car for Matt
The cars appear to handle a lot more realistically and you can either use the face buttons to control your vehicle or you can actually use the left and right analog sticks to control your vehicle. Each vehicle has different handling and the handling degrades as your vehicle becomes more damaged. For the most part the handling is spot on and it’s amazing how each of the driving styles feel so different to each other. The difficulty level of the game has also been bumped up a little, the vehicles are aggressive and the AI is unforgiving and realistic, which actually makes for relatively intense races even if you’re playing on your lonesome.

Graphically the game is very impressive. The cars become damaged in all sorts of ways; windows crack, tires come off and the steering will go, it’s even possible to run out of fuel if you like to play those long races. The game runs at a consistant frame-rate but in two player a lot of detail has had to be sacrified which doesn’t leave the game looking as good. In a normal race though there are twenty other cars in the pack, which is a very impressive feat. The shadows are the one complaint we have regarding the visuals of the game. When you bump your car against a wall the shadow will often take a few seconds to appear, it actually looks like what happens with a pop-up book. Aside from that though the game is visually impressive.

The audio in the game is exactly as you would expect it to be. The Scottish coach is enthusiastic and he actually sounds good. The V8’s sound exactly how you want them to sound and there is nothing more impressive than lining up on a grid, ready to race at Bathurst with a total of twenty one vehicles on the starting line. Every other vehicle sounds authentic and a lot of work appears to have been done to ensure that all the vehicles are very impressive.

Luke's original caption was so terrible it was removed. Yes, it was even worse than this one

Luke's original caption was so terrible it was removed. Yes, it was even worse than this one
Actually completing all that V8 Supercars 3 has to offer is a large ask. By itself the World Tour mode is extensive, but then you have to play through all the different racing styles in Pro Career mode. Then there is always the online multiplayer or the split screen multiplayer and even though most people assume they will probably only play the V8 series in multiplayer, the rally discipline and 18 wheelers are especially fun if you want to take a break from the mighty V8’s.

V8 Supercars 3 is clearly the best game in the series. There is a lot of content in the game and a wide range of vehicles and tracks keeps the experience fresh. As we said at the beginning of the review, this game is going to sell despite what the gaming press think of it, thankfully though the game is a lot of fun and if you're after a simulation title that has an unprecedented amount of variety then you can't go past V8 Supercars 3. Alternatively, if you're just after a game where you can pretend to be Craig Lowndes for the evening then this is still a wise choice.
The Score
V8 Supercars 3 is the best game in the series yet. If you're after a simulation game with damage or just want to come close to experience what it's like to drive a V8 then you simply cannot go past this game. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related V8 Supercars 3 Content

V8 Supercars 3 images emerge
08 Sep, 2005 Only days after the prequel came out on the PSP, too.
First TOCA Race Driver 3 shots unveiled
30 May, 2005 Otherwise known as V8 Supercar Race Driver 3.
8 years ago
Ambrose punts another driver off the track
Whats with the dig at Ambrose, Luke? Or did someone else write the captions?

Which version of this should I buy the PC one or the Xbox? Im so conflicted icon_lol.gif
8 years ago
That was Brendan! I'm a Ford guy,
Damn him.
8 years ago
VOOK wrote
Ambrose punts another driver off the track
Whats with the dig at Ambrose, Luke? Or did someone else write the captions?
Let's not get into the driver/car preferences, Vook. icon_wink.gif
Plus, it doesn't matter anyway as Ambrose is in America now.

Top review as per usual, sounds exactly like I was expecting it to be. I thoroughly enjoyed V8 Supercars 2 so I am glad that this one is better than that. I thought the sound for the V8s was already good in that title too, but obviously it is better in this one. Good stuff.

Last, good to see Shanghai added. I must admit though that I am surprised to see Bahrain added. I mean, they haven't even raced there yet.
8 years ago
The fact the AI cars throw you off the track at any time makes racing in a pack almost impossible, which ruins the game. It's fine when you qualify first and you are all by yourself, but then why not just do time trails. This is a very dissapointing feature of V8 3, takes the enjoyment of compitition racing out of the game. Otherwise the game is fantastic, but because of this this annoying feature I would rate the game 5/10
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