‘Forza 3’ takes pole position

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Developed by Turn 10, "Forza Motorsport 3" is a simulation racing game that brings the genre to new heights. "Forza 3" improves in every area "Forza 2" offered. Turn 10 did a phenomenal job at being able to make this game as accessible as possible. If the player is new to racing games or an experienced veteran, playing "Forza 3" is a breeze. From the beginning every car is available for purchase, unheard of in the genre. That does not mean that from the start of the game the player can jump into the seat of a Ferrari; the player still needs to build up wealth. "Forza 3" offers over 400 different cars as well as over 70 different track variations to choose from.

Career mode, the heart and soul of Forza is set up in a collection of seasons. Each new season unlocked is longer than the season before it; that leads to the biggest fault in the game. While many may tough it out and grind through the last few seasons, others might give up as the last few seasons take hours to complete. After each season the player is given a new car, depending on how many seasons they have raced will determine how fast of a car that player recieves. This acts like an incentive for the player to try out different vehicles. "Forza 3" includes over 220 events to choose from, compared to just 90 in "Forza 2." "Forza 3" also adds the drag racing option with, sadly, only one track to choose from.

The game’s biggest fault is the painfully long loading times. It takes roughly a full minute to load a race, adding to the mess is the boring load screen, which features a white screen, the Forza 3 logo and a tiny red loading indicator. "Forza 3" is hindered by an annoying announcer who will walk the player through certain parts of the game and get the player familiar with the menus and options; this announcer gets obnoxious fast and luckily disappears the more the game is played.

One of the faults with "Forza 2" was the disappointing graphics and physics; while acceptable, they just lacked an improved feel to them. That changed with "Forza 3," from the breathtaking track views to the realism that accompanies driving a Ferrari Enzo 150 miles an hour down a straightaway and then braking into a corner. The graphics are easily one of the best the Xbox 360 offers. From the tall mountains in the background to the realastic cars, this game is beautiful. The game runs very smoothly at 60 frames per second. The player also has a number of driving assists that he or she can turn on or off, such as traction control and braking assists, as well as tuning spring height, tire pressure and spoiler angles. These assists help make it easier or harder to drive, providing a nice way to customize a car to the player’s liking.

The in-car views are again filled with great detail and give the player a sense of what it would be like to drive in one of the many exotic cars offered in the game. Car damage is once again included and is done tastefully and can also be turned on or off. Sound is also turned up a notch, with each car sounding unique. One feature that "Forza 2" lacked was the ability to reverse time. This feature gives the player the ability to freeze the game and rewind time a few seconds to correct a mistake in a turn or avoid an accident. This ability may be used as many times and has no ill effects.

Now for the feature that sets the Forza series apart from any other racing sim: the customization. "Forza 3" raises the bar in this category in every way imaginable. There is a new and improved storefront that allows players to search through other players’ car designs and apply them to their own car. In addition, the auction house is back and in full force. Customizing cars can now be done with even more shapes giving the player the ability to craft beautiful designs on their rides.

Turn 10 did an impressive job in overhauling the multiplayer mode in "Forza 3." Multiplayer is set up in a matchmaker-like fashion, with players joining races based on their skill. Forza allows the player to customize every aspect of the race including head starts, what car classes, laps, and track. This produces one of the best multiplayer experiences offered by a racing sim.

Simply put, "Forza 3" has not only created one of the greatest racing simulation but has also raised the bar for any future racing sim. Besides the long load times, "Forza 3" allows a massive array of customization as well as hours of lasting appeal making "Forza 3" a must own on the Xbox 360 for any fan of the racing genre.