Posted by Doug on January 9, 2010
Lately my addiction has been Forza Motorsport 3: according to my in-game profile, I’ve been racing for over eighty-two hours so far, and I’ve yet to get bored of it. I play with the autobrake, anti-lock brakes, stability control, and traction control off, simulation damage on, and the suggested line set to “braking only”, and I’ve graduated to using the in-cockpit view exclusively, but I still use automatic shifting and leave the opponent difficulty on “easy”. Thus, the game still provides a little challenge to this significantly-less-than-hardcore player, while not being depressingly difficult. Eventually I plan on trying to teach myself to use the standard, and maybe if I get good at that I’ll step up to “medium” opponents.
Above: My favorite car (Lotus Elise) on one of the most notorious turns (the Karusell) of my favorite track (the Nürburgring Nordschleife)
Forza 3 is not a perfect game, but it’s close: what it does, it does very, very well. My most significant issues with the game aren’t really about the quality of the game itself per se: I absolutely loathe drag races and oval tracks as they are inconceivably boring. Here is a summary of every drag race, ever: race starts, accelerate, it’s over. Here is a summary of every race on an oval track, ever: race starts, drive straight, turn a little bit, drive straight, turn a little bit, drive straight, repeat a few times, it’s over. Bleh. Fortunately, these types of races only make up a fraction of the gameplay in Forza 3, and there are far more exciting tracks, like Fujimi Kaido and my personal favorite, the Nürburgring Nordschleife, a.k.a. “The Ring”.
My favorite cars have to be Lotus Elise and Exige, the former purely on merit of its looks, the latter on merit of its looks and its handling. Taking either of those cars to The Ring is a fun way to waste time. My least favorite have to be the so-called American “Muscle Cars”, which seems to me to be shorthand for “needlessly large, pointlessly heavy, and atrociously ill-handling”. Any acceleration in anything except a straight line results in a spin-out. They don’t even have the advantage of an appealing appearance (a contentious assertion to be sure, but as they say, “beauty is in the eye of the guy getting a DWI”*). Sure, they tend to have excellent straight-line acceleration and top speeds, but as I mentioned earlier, I am not particularly fond of drag races or oval tracks.
Above: My Lamborghini Reventon (with its Evangelion 2.0 paint scheme by HOSYSTEM) on the Fujimi Kaido
As I said, I’m not very hardcore at all: my skills are mediocre at best. Still, they’re enough to earn me a respectable place on the game’s Hot Lap Circuit Leaderboards. As of 8:18 p.m. Central Time on Thursday the 7th of January, 2010, out of 1,244,363 players listed on the leaderboards, I’m ranked 360th, and I’m pretty confident that if I just keep at it, even with my laughably poor lap times, I can break into the top 100, maybe even the top 50. All I have to do (I think) is complete at least one lap with a halfway decent time on every track with a car from each of the eleven classes, a task that will likely keep me occupied for the next few weeks.
*Okay, maybe I’m the only one who says that, but the point stands.