It’s not just the car dynamics that Turn 10 has got so right though, the tracks are just as impressive. There has been a lot of talk about whether driving a track on a video game makes you a better driver on that track in the real world, but I’d like to turn that thinking on its head. I’ve spent some time this summer lapping the full GP circuit at Silverstone in various Porsche, Lotus and Aston Martin exotica, and as soon as I started racing the same track on Forza 3, it all came flooding back to me. Likewise, having driven through truly challenging sections like the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca for real, I can really appreciate just how much effort Turn 10 has gone to in order to recreate the experience in Forza.
Praise also has to go to the audio engineers who have captured some of the most intoxicating engine sounds and reproduced them in the game. Whether it’s the five-pot thrum from the Focus RS, the supercharged whine of the Ford GT, or the incredible V10 from the Porsche Carrera GT that sounds more like an F1 car than a road going vehicle, Forza 3 has got the aural appeal to match its eye candy.
But Forza 2 had much of this right, so what’s so special about Forza Motorsport 3? Quit a lot actually. For a start, Turn 10 has completely revised the way you can modify your cars, and as such, you can’t mod yourself into first place anymore. Whereas in Forza 2 you could just splash some cash on modifying your car, jump to the front of the grid and win pretty much any race you liked, that won’t work in Forza 3. Cars and races are split into classes, and cars can only enter races if their class matches that of the event. If you choose to go overboard with your modding, your car will jump to the next class and thus be ineligible for your current race series – genius!
Forza 3 makes the whole concept of modifying your car more simple too, with the Quick Upgrade option. If you select Quick Upgrade, a balanced set of modifications will be applied, taking your car close to the limit of its class without pushing it over. Of course you can still do all your modifications manually if you prefer, but I found the Quick Upgrade option to be pretty effective. Also, if Quick Upgrade leaves you with a bit of headroom, you can always add one or two mods of your own on top.