Jeremy Jastrzab
04 Sep, 2009

Forza Motorsport 3 Preview

360 Preview | So an editor and a designer walk into a Lamborghini dealer...
The good thing about working with Microsoft and Sony is that they know how to show off. And what better place for Microsoft to show off their upcoming racing title, Forza Motorsport 3, than at a Lamborghini dealership? Unfortunately, all but one of the prized vehicles had to be taken away to make room for…V8s. It was during this event that Microsoft announced the inclusion of eight V8 supercars in the game, with four from Holden and four from Ford.

As a bonus, the attendees were treated to the presence of none other than V8 Supercar drivers: Mark Winterbottom, Garth Tander, Lee Holdsworth, Michael Caruso and Shane van Gisergen. These highly skilled drivers then took to the racing pods provided and showed us how to play Forza 3. Or more appropriately, they set some lightning lap times that the rest of us then had to try and beat. Unfortunately, while they had been practising all morning, we only had our gaming skill to rely on.

A car fit for an Executive Editor.

A car fit for an Executive Editor.
Even though we talked a bit about what Forza Motorsport 3 will offer in our eariler preview, having the chance to take the game for a spin in the racing pods was something that we just had to share. In fact, you’ve got two of us to tell you about it: Jeremy, PALGN Executive Editor and James, PALGN Designer.

Jeremy’s Impressions

There was only one track available for us, so it was a level playing field. We only got to take the V8s for a spin, but they seemed to be a good middle-ground for performance and power. So you’re not starting off with the best, but at the same time, you’re not starting from the absolute bottom. Unfortunately, it seemed that I had put someone offside and was only allowed to have two laps, where others had upwards of ten.

Here’s the thing. Simulation racers are often considered something of a niche genre. So from someone who has an adoration for F-Zero, Wipeout and Burnout, simulation racers simply don’t ‘click’. From my personal experience, I rarely got around the first corner in Forza 2 unscathed. In Microsoft’s corresponding event for Forza 2 about two years ago, even with a steering wheel and pedals, I just could not ‘get it’.

However, there was something different about Forza Motorsport 3. It was almost as if the game had been tuned better, as it only took one lap to get used to the controls. By the time the second lap had been completed, there was a glimmer of hope that the crazy times set by the skillful V8 drivers could be matched. That was, until they kicked me off.

Having spent all morning practicing, the pros set some blistering lap times.

Having spent all morning practicing, the pros set some blistering lap times.
So what does this say about the game? While it looks like there will still be a barrier that separates the sim fans from the arcade fans, it doesn't seem to be as steep as it has been in the past. Furthermore, from the one track that was on show, it demonstrated that the developers have tried to add more life and character into the tracks and locales. Obviously, the ideal position to showcase the game was from behind the wheel, but the cars themselves were superbly detailed when the camera was taken out. In particular, the dynamic mountain reflections on the roof were something to behold.

Truth be told though, Forza Motorsport 3 is unlikely to fully convert the arcade fan or appeal to anyone who doesn’t know the difference between a carburettor and a clutch. However, it’s much less likely that you’ll be crashing out on every corner and making an embarrassment of yourself. Still, that’s not to say that it won’t happen…

James’ Impressions

Upon hearing that this event would be held at a Lamborghini showroom, I instantly had visions of being surrounded by dozens of gorgeous Italian super-cars. Well, it turned out that there was only one. However, being treated to 90 minutes playing what could very well be one of the best racing titles we’ve seen was enough to make up for that. This isn’t said with any hyperbole; Forza Motorsport 3 is shaping up to become one of the real jewels in the Xbox crown. And after watching some of the top V8 drivers taking a virtual rendition of their respective team cars for a spin around (what could only be guessed) an Italian race track, it was our turn to take a seat behind one of the four systems they had on show.

We got a chance to race around the track in some very well rendered V8 Supercars. Graphically, this game has definitely improved over the previous title in the series, with great attention to detail and much greater scope, and when you consider that this is running at a constant silky smooth 60 frames a second, you can only say that what Turn 10 has done is remarkable.

Some of the journos weren't too bad either.

Some of the journos weren't too bad either.
The game has also done a brilliant job addressing issues in the difficulty of simulation racers. The ability to rewind past a missed corner or a spin-out was used more than once on the day. With a quick press of the back button and you’ll be sitting in the same spot you were five seconds earlier, a very intuitive and well thought out tool especially for newer fans of the series. The braking assist has also made a welcome return, along with the rest of the optional driving assists (ABS, TCS and STM).

With the optional assists, this game becomes far more approachable for the less motoring inclined. Though, like in the previous title the option is always there to turn off all the assists. With career incentives to do so, it’s a must for those whom are a little more experienced with a simulation racing title such as this. One of the criticisms of the previous title was how static the tracks generally felt. However, after gazing upon a sweeping vista in the distance around the second corner, it quickly became evident that Turn 10 have been able to address this. The attention to detail is definitely a major talking point and has set the bar high for Gran Turismo 5.

If you don’t mind a good racing title, Forza Motorsport 3 is definitely a racing title to look out for. While the hour and a half spent with the title isn’t nearly enough, the release isn’t far away. It isn't as much of a revolution, as it is an evolution and we had enough time with the title to discover that some of the quirks of the last title had definitely been improved on. Come launch, the online community will once again come alive with the sharing of cars and paint-jobs, and hopefully the paint-jobs will be just as interesting and inventive as before.

And apparently I was the 'less motoring inclined'.

And apparently I was the 'less motoring inclined'.
Forza Motorsport 3 will be released on 23 October, and it's highly unlikely that the final game will be much different to what we've seen today. Unlike other titles that we've seen in the past that were a few months out, Forza 3 is well on track to reach the heights of simulation racing. And this time around, even if you're not a simulation veteran, there is a chance that you'll be able to get around the first corner unscathed.
Turn 10 are on track to make a simulation racer that is catering to the simulation veteran, but also accessible to those who previously struggled to get around the first corner.

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4 years ago
The sad thing is, Forza 3 will only get some recognition for a short time. Then Gran Turismo 5 will kill it.
4 years ago
I like my GT5 don't get me wrong... but I have a feeling there are more V8 Supercars fans in Australia than GT fans... Whilst it only being a small portion of the game (with the ability to be expanded I hope in future) it is a huge marketing tool in Australia and no doubt will marketed by and plastered on every V8 supercar driver and car in the competition. Remember how big GT3 was when it got 1 V8.
4 years ago
inigel wrote
The sad thing is, Forza 3 will only get some recognition for a short time. Then Gran Turismo 5 will kill it.
I'm sure people were saying the same thing about the 360 when the PS3 was about to be released. Funny how that turned out, huh.

Frankly, it's stupid to consider them head-to-head in that one can "kill" the other, anyway. They don't share a common system. If you own a 360 you can only buy Forza 3, if you only own a PS3 you may eventually maybe be able to someday preorder GT5. If you own both, well, then you're in for a treat, aren't you?
4 years ago
Throw in Dirt 2 along with Forza 3 and GT 5 and we are in racing heaven.
4 years ago
inigel wrote
The sad thing is, Forza 3 will only get some recognition for a short time. Then Gran Turismo 5 will kill it.
IF GT5 ever comes out. I personally think both games are aimed at different people. I mean Forza has a wide selection of cars from all over the place, where's GT typically had mostly Japanese cars out the Wazoo. To me Forza's a racing/tinkering sim while GT tends to be a car sim where you driving on race tracks.
4 years ago
I love Forza. I don't know what it is, it just feels better than GT. (BTW I've owned all GT's except for GT3)

I absolutely can't wait for this game to be released.
GT5 will be good but umm... I'll buy it whenever it comes out. If ever haha.
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Australian Release Date:
  23/10/2009 (Confirmed)

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