Forza Motorsport 3 Review – First Impressions

Years after it was released, I’m finally getting a chance to try out what many consider to be one of the best games ever released on the XBOX 360: Forza Motorsport 3. It’s been a while since I’ve even powered on the 360, so I decided to cleanse my pallet of PC gaming with a little DIRT to reacquaint myself with what was (in 2006) one of the better driving/racing games available. Great game, great game. But after about 15 minutes I was ready for some Forza!

In went the Forza Motorsport 3 disk, had a mandatory dashboard update…then disc two to install the INSANE amount of free extras that come with Ultimate edition. By thy way, did I mentioned I paid $19.99 for the game, brand new, with free shipping? That’s right, 20 bucks for Forza Motorsport 3 plus ALL of the downloadable content ever released on xbox live AND the bonus TOP GEAR content. One of the benefits of being a year or two behind the curve on console gaming is that you can play for half price most of the time.

Anyway, time to throw out some impressions from an occasional-gamer point of view:

1) After a few laps in DIRT, I was shocked at the difference in physics between these two games. Amazingly realistic, closest a game has ever felt to a real car. DIRT is a great game, but it’s arcade-like in comparison.

2) It’s hard, in a good way. I set the difficulty to HIGH, with the sub settings left at default. Simply bouncing off barriers or other cars at 80+ mph instead of following the line didn’t work out for me. Jockeying for position at the start by playing bumper cars just gets my vehicle banged up. The handbrake is no longer my primary means of deceleration. Keeping the throttle jammed down is NOT going to get me to the front of the pack but it will give me the opportunity to use one of the best features of this game: rewind.

3) By using rewind, I think I learned more about proper driving technique in the first hour than I ever did playing less realistic games like DIRT. The ability to back up and start over under the EXACT same circumstances is golden when it comes to figuring out what I did wrong, or what I could have done better.

4) VERY realistic tuning opportunities – love the wide selection of authentic upgrades and the small real-world gains they provide when you’re just starting out. Hey, a few extra HP in a Fiesta is a big deal! The ability to totally customize the car’s appearance is also top-notch. I’ve barely scratched the surface there but was able to give my Fiesta the exact paint color and window tint shade of my first car back in high school.

5) The graphics and framerates are superb. I’m playing on an older 360 from ’07, and had no issues at all.

I’m only 2 hours in – I haven’t even driven the esseesse that Fiat just sent me. I know there is a lot more in store and these are just a few things that popped out at me right away. As someone that does not spend a lot of time gaming, I’m hoping this will be my next go-to when I’m in a 360 kinda mood.

For now I just need to keep practicing and wait for an ULTIMATE edition of FORZA MOTORSPORT 4 to show up for 20 bucks!

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