Forza Motorsport 3 review (Weekly Dig, 1/06/10)

June 23, 2010

Forza Motorsport 3 frightens me. It’s shattered basic assumptions I’ve long held about life, or at least about driving games. The only ones I’ve dug since Pole Position focus more on blowing stuff up than winning races. Super-serious racing games are soulless prioritizing flashy graphics and automotive porn over pleasure. The crashes are the best part, but they can’t compete with car combat games like Twisted Metal or Mario Kart. Why restrict yourself to fender-benders and sideswipes when you can crush your friends with missiles and turtle shells?

But now, here’s Forza Motorsport 3, a game too overwhelming to hate. I may not like what it does, but it does it with such all-encompassing conviction that I must respect it. Maybe it took struggling through similar recent titles like Need for Speed: Shift and Gran Turismo PSP to realize its greatness, but Forza Motorsport 3 is the rare racing sim that doesn’t completely sacrifice fun for realism.

It doesn’t do anything all that innovative, but everything it does is executed with the utmost precision. Realistic handling is usually a drag, but somehow it’s never frustrating in Forza 3. Of course the graphics are startlingly lifelike. Of course there are multiple variations on the standard rules of car racing. You know it’s got more cars than Jay Leno. Somehow, it’s even funnier, despite possessing not one scintilla of humor. Forza never forgets that it’s a game, and that games should be fun.

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