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on October 27, 2009
It's often said the the third time's the charm, and in the case of Forza Motorsport 3, that couldn't be more true. FM3 manages to improve upon it's predecessors in almost every imaginable way. If you've played Forza Motorsport 2, you're probably aware that the game wasn't designed with casual gamers in mind. FM3 changes this, and finally brings the franchise to a level that it has appeal not only as an uber-realistic racing simulator, but also as an entertaining racing game that just about anyone can pick up and enjoy. The addition of autobraking and rewind undoubtedly make things easier on newcomers, while the tweaked physics engine and ramped-up AI will give even the most die-hard Forza fanatics a run for their money. With over 400+ cars and 100+ tracks, one would be hard-pressed to get bored with this game.

Without a doubt, the two most significant improvements are the graphics and the new "Storefront". Forza Motorsport 3 displays in a native 720p (upscaled to 1080p by the console) running at 60 fps. This translates to a rich, detailed, and smooth-flowing picture that makes you feel like you're actually racing in Le Mans. To further immerse gamers, Turn 10 added a true in-cockpit view that was rendered to be a perfect likeness of the real life car. The environment and tracks weren't spared from this graphic overhaul either, and I often found myself going on free rides just to scope out the scenery and enjoy the ride.

Glossy graphics aside, the "meat" of the game is still incredibly satisfying. Those who were avid players of FM2 can testify to the integral part that online activities played. Don't worry, as Turn 10 was obviously aware this and made sure to spice things up just for you. Painting cars, applying vinyls and decals, and selling customized cars in FM3 couldn't be easier. In fact, this practice is encouraged with the addition of the new "Storefront". Players now have the ability to sell not only liveries for cars, but also tuning configurations. Making a name for yourself as an artist in Forza Motorsport 3 is a definite goal for some, but even those who lack the finesse required to create liveries can benefit from the changes.

Overall, this game not only meets all expectations set forth by hardcore FM2, but exceeds them. Those of you who are looking for a fun and relaxed racing game won't be disappointed though, as Forza Motorsport 3 was also designed with you in mind. I would, without a doubt, recommend the purchase of this game. The only downside is that the game comes with two disks (and a total of 1.9 GB of data) and necessitates the use of a hard drive if you plan on adding the bonus content (100+ cars and 3 environments).

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(UPDATE - November 4, 2009) - Numerous reviews have been posted addressing the shortcomings concerning the online multiplayer mode. They are correct. Turn 10 absolutely perfected the single player aspect of this game with "Season Mode" but, upon playing a few hours in the online multiplayer mode (which, due to all the waiting, is only two or three races) a glaring flaw reveals itself- Turn 10's "reset" of the new matchmaking system sucks. A lot. Gone are the days of creating your own custom party. Gone are the days of racing sub-A class cars. Gone are the glory days of online multiplayer.

While this may not be a huge deal to me (I mostly play single-player anyways), it's definitely a problem that NEEDS to be addressed. I've also noticed some problems in single player mode..

* Some in-car views aren't interactive, or don't render correctly.

* While the sound of cars has been vastly improved, there are still some problems. It seems that the exhaust note is based solely on displacement of the engine. A Camaro shouldn't sound like a Murcielago.

* Uploading the "Movies" doesn't work unless they're shot in low-res. 720p videos just don't upload.

* The "Performance Index" is broken. A Dodge Ram with a PI of 700 should, logically, perform on par with a Lamborghini Reventon with a PI of 700, right? Well, that's not how it works. I don't know how the PI is calculated, but it's not right.

* The resolution of Photomode leaves alot to be desired. While it's understandable that there needs to be a limit on file size to relieve strain on Turn 10's servers, I feel that the quality of the pictures doesn't do the game justice.

* Everything sold in the Storefront has a price cap of 10,000 credits. While this is just temporary, it's a huge disincentive at to spend hours upon hours perfecting a quality livery to be sold.

* The AI occasionally does stupid things. Though it's rare, I've seen opponents slam on their brakes for no reason when they're in the lead, slam into walls, or just stop driving. I don't know if these are just glitches, or the AI trying to be "more human". Whatever the cause, it's not right.

MY ratings so far-

[*****] - Single Player Mode
[****_] - Soundtrack
[*****] - Visuals
[****_] - Multiplayer (Split-screen)
[*____] - Multiplayer (Xbox Live)
[***__] - Fit and finish (Ready to be released?)
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on November 7, 2009
First, let's get this clear...I am not a die hard racing gamer. I don't have that much time. I wish I did but I don't. I have long said that the ideal game experience provided for two kinds of gamers. The game should provide that hard-earned sense of accomplishment for those fortunate to have the skills and time to earn their way to the top. More power to them. But hang on. I still spent $60 for this game and I should have a way to get access to all it offers too (or at least most of it). I want a game provides for both.

Sure, there needs to be a way to tell whether someone earned it or just switched it on. But don't force me to spend hour-after-hour trying to earn level after level. I don't have that much time to devote to a game. I know that some would say that if I don't have the time, I shouldn't buy the game. But I think there are many people like me so it should be a win-win.

This is why I like this game so much. It lets me enjoy the fun of just jumping in some really cool cars and taking laps around really cool tracks. It has assists that allow me to enjoy the limited time I have with the game to the max.

And for those that might not consider this, it puts this game in the reach of my son, who is developmentally disadvantaged. It allows us to enjoy it together.

Let's see - great car selection, great track, great flexibility in how to configure it to play - all add up to a great game.
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on August 11, 2010
I'll start by saying that I have never played this or Forza 2 online. If you're looking for a review of the controversial multiplayer mode, there are plenty of good ones from other gamers.

That said, in single player mode this game is amazing. Not perfect, but very, very good. I absolutely loved Forza 2, so I was concerned that Turn 10 might alter the new game in ways that would be frustrating. Well, they did...but they made up for it (mostly) with lots of great new features. I am a hard-core driving simulator enthusiast; except on the most frustrating factory stock races, I play everything with the AI difficulty on "hard," stability control off, and manual transmission mode. Despite this, Turn 10 has provided options to make the game EVEN HARDER or considerably easier. In fact, this is one of the biggest new feature sets, which allows a player with just about any level of experience to set the game up to their liking. While I won't use things like "autobraking" or the recommended racing line, I don't have to.

Of course, Forza is all about cars, and Forza 3 delivers tons of them. Counting the DLC, which keeps coming out, there are well over 400. Chances are, unless you are a huge fan of Japanese "kei" cars or obscure pre-war European roadsters from long-disbanded manufacturers, you will find your favorite automobile in this game. (Gran Turismo should cover you in the cases I mentioned).

Forza 3 also improves upon Forza 2 with its selection of tracks. The classics are still here (including my favorite Maple Valley) and with lots of new details thanks to the improved graphics, but new tracks debut as well, including the beautiful and extensive Amalfi Coast and the fictional series of Spanish tracks billed as "Camino Viejo de Montserrat." Additionally, the gorgeous Fujimi Kaido from Forza 1 makes a reappearance.

Forza 2 had tons of customization, and Forza 3 has even more. While everything is just about the same, there are a few new things you can do such as adding oil coolers. On the other hand, it has also been simplified a bit; you can't choose what brand of tires you install, for example.

Gameplay is just as good as before, with an improved physics engine that allows rollovers. The graphics are phenomenal, each car is exquisitely detailed, and there is a full cockpit view from which you can drive. If you are an extreme hard-core racer, you can even choose to drive with a button for the clutch. This is beyond me because in real life I use feet to operate the gas, brake, and clutch while my hands can concentrate on steering and shifting. Doing it all with my hands is too confusing.

Now, the negatives. No game is perfect, and Forza 3 has its share of flaws. The first thing that annoyed me was the "race announcer." He won't shut up. His bass-rich, nostalgic easy-listening voice can be heard any time you try to enter a car into a race for which it doesn't qualify (which I often do in order to quickly see which ones I own that DO qualify).

Another big problem is the acquisition of cars. In Forza 2, you got cars for leveling up via XP, and you received a car for each race series you won. In Forza 3, you do get cars for leveling up, but you stop leveling up about 1/4 of the way through the game; meanwhile, winning race series only gives you money...not enough money. I decided that I wanted to own all the cars in the game, since I did pay real money for this opportunity to virtually drive them, and so with 3/4 of the races completed, I tallied up the cars remaining and found I still needed $110,000,000 to buy them all. Considering that a typical, mid-length race at my advanced level of difficulty only nets about $18,000, that was going to take a while. Part of this is due to a single vintage Ferrari priced at $20,000,000. The cars are just too expensive. It's my own fault for wanting them all, but hey, I should be able to do that.

In their attempt to make the game appeal to a wider range of players, Turn 10 also added some unnecessary drama. There is an entirely repetitive animation at the beginning of each race depicting your car rolling up to the line and revving its engine. While they do stick to realism here (old cars with soft suspension will bounce when they stop at the line), the revving is tacky, and more critically, it removes your opportunity to bring your RPMs to the correct level for a good launch. A successful launch off the line is often the key to getting ahead of rivals who may be hard to pass elsewhere. Forza 3 made this impossible, which is extremely ridiculous considering that an all-new race type is drag racing. The launch is the MOST critical part of a drag race!!

The rewind feature has drawn some criticism from die-hard gamers, but I think it's good. You really don't have to use it, but I certainly have. It's easier than restarting a race (which takes a long while) and in long, tedious races it can save you a ton of headaches. However, it doesn't always work. Seriously. Sometimes, when you need it most, it just isn't an option. The most notable time for me was in the third-to-last lap of an endurance race. At the end of the long straight, I got incredibly distracted by something else (perhaps my own thoughts) and failed to brake. Instead of immediately braking and swerving when I realized this, I moved my hand so that I could hit the rewind button. It did nothing, and by the time I figured that out and got back to the brakes, my car had covered the sand beyond the track and smacked the wall, wrecking its front. Fortunately, the engine was OK, and I still won the race, but it's good to know you can't always rely on the rewind button.

The addition of lousy in-game music is simply a waste of disc space (which is an issue, since you have to install almost 2GB of data on your hard drive in order to play all of the game).

Overall, Forza 3 makes some great improvements (rollovers, more cars, awesome graphics, new tracks) over its predecessor, but it is not perfect. However, it does allow novice and experienced racers alike to jump in and play, and completing the game will take hundreds of hours, making it just as much of a total immersive long-haul experience as its prior installments.
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on November 27, 2009
This is by far the most technically accurate driving simulator I've played. I bought it primarily for the chance to drive the Circuit de la Sarthe and drive the Audi R10 TDI and although I've not yet gotten the R10 yet, the Circuit de la Sarthe is pure virtual bliss! The single player experience is one of the best I've played of any racing game and the seasons and tracks and available cars make for hours of fun.

The variety of vehicles is varied enough to keep anyone engaged and the ability to nearly infinitely customize not only the mechanics of the cars but the actual set ups as well in terms of suspension tuning, spoilers, tires, etc. In addition, the in-depth ability to customize the looks of the cars is awesome!

But, it's not all fun and games on the Circuit de la Sarthe... I am EXTREMELY annoyed with the lack of ability to create one car design/paint scheme and apply it to multiple cars. This is disastrous! Why spend all the time to create a great design for a car and only be able to apply it to that specific car???? Ideally, you could create a great paint/graphics scheme and apply to any car... it might need to be tweaked for that car but at least the basics would be there. The second disappointment is the multiplayer experience... you cannot play this with a friend on your own xbox... the only multiplayer is via xbox live which, in my opinion, is great for Halo, GRAW, etc., but mediocre at best for racing games...

If not for the disappointing multiplayer and the car design limitations I would absolutely have rated this a 5.

Can't wait to get my R10 TDI!!!
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on August 29, 2011
I put in at least 50 hours of racing before I started over from scratch. Why? First of all, this is a great game, but this being the first time I've ever owned a racing game (no Gran Turismo or anything else), combined with a very slim "manual" for Forza 3, I didn't understand everything that was going on at the time. I started out with Season Play (as is natural) but ran into some problems about 15% into my career. There are several difficulty settings that you can use to make the game more challenging. The problem is that one of the most important difficulty settings: Opponent - Easy, Medium, Hard - varies greatly between settings. So...you can put the opponent on Easy, and everything else on difficult, and still completely blow away the other 7 opponent cars. Or you can put the setting on Hard, everything else on easy, and never finish first in a race. Because of this, they should have 5-10 different Opponent settings, not just 3 settings. Combined with this Opponent Difficulty problem is that later in the game, the actual racing events (R3, R2, R1) are super-fast, and you can't keep up with the competition without some complicated tweaking of both your cars and the difficulty settings. Finally, you are not "done" with an event until you win EVERY race within the event (there will be a light yellow circle above a track you have completed in an event; if you didn't finish first, there will be a circle with the bottom 2/3 as dark yellow instead of all light yellow---this is important). There are 3-12 races within each event, and 220 total events. In season play, you can only choose from 3 events at one time, so if you don't always finish first and complete events, this is like a carosel of events that never ends.

The solution to this is to NOT play the Season, but play the Event List only. This way, you get to really know what cars you have, their strengths and weaknesses, etc. For example, let's say that you have a Ford Shelby Cobra GT500. That's a big car that can go fast in a straight line, but is terrible in the corners. So, when you choose an event like "Mustang Track Days", you see that there are four races, two of the tracks are closer to being ovals, and two are very twisty. You race the Cobra in the two oval-like tracks until you finish first, and then save the other 2 tracks for a lighter car that can handle better. So, unlike the Season Play, you can finish parts of an event first with a car you have now, then save up credits for a new car or more mods to finish off the harder parts of the event.

When you first start, you can put the Opponent Difficulty on Easy. I've gotten to the point of being able to finish first about 90% of the time with the Opponent setting on Medium, and no traction control. Traction control becomes more and more important as you go from smaller, lighter 4-6 cylinder cars to the heavier, rear-drive 8-12 cylinder cars. The AWD and mid-engine cars are not affected as much by the traction control off as the RWD cars; you can really do some donuts with those! And why take off traction control in the first place? Because, as mentioned above, you blow away your opponents if you have the difficulty levels on too easy. You start out with light, tossable cars that are easy to steer to victory. Later in the game, things get much faster, and you simply can't keep up with the normal settings on. That's when it's time to start tuning your car for things like gearing lower (raising the drive ratios), so that you can accelerate faster. Cars in the B class like the Ferrari California and Lexus IS-F have 7 speeds, so they would be good examples of the type of car to upgrade into the racing events, so that you can lower the gears and still have a decent top speed in 7th gear. One last thing: Class F is up to 200 in the performance index, E is up to 275, D is 350, C is 425, B is 500, A is 600, S (supercar) is 700, F3 is 800, F2 is 900, F1 is 1000. Be sure to upgrade each car you intend to drive to it's class limit, and ONLY after you have driven it several times should you upgrade it into the next level(s).

Cars I was most impressed with: Ferrari FXX, Dodge Viper, Porsche GT2, Alfa Romeo Brera Italia Independent, Ford GT (only 5 speeds though), Ferrari California, Lexus IS-F.

Cars I was most disappointed in: Porsche Cayman, BMW M3 GTR, Masarati GT, Ford Shelby Cobra, Nissan 300ZX Turbo.
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on April 16, 2015
If you plan to buy Forza 4 for Xbox 360, then get this first. There is an achievement, 2 badges, and 2 titles in Forza 4 that come from importing a file (preferably a level 50 profile) from Forza 3, but those can only be obtained if the Forza 3 profile exists BEFORE you start your Forza 4 profile. Otherwise, this game is nowhere nearly as good as Forza 4. It does a good job of introducing you to the game, but XP's (Experience points) and CRs (the game's equivalent to cash) accumulate much too slowly and the Affinity awards are a complete joke compared to Forza 4.
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on April 26, 2013
I'm not seasoned when it comes to racing games. In fact, the last racing game I owned before Forza 3 was 'Star Wars Episode I: Racer' for the N64. As you would expect, my standards are not very high.

What I like about Forza 3 is that it's very detailed without being overwhelming. The mechanics and physics of the game can be as realistic or as 'arcade' as you like. The cars are fun to look at and the upgrades come at a satisifying pace. The game carries itself with class while not taking itself too seriously.

It's a quality game worth playing, even with Forza 4 being on the market for a while now.
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on May 21, 2013
I love simulators and this is a pretty good one, but it takes too long to move along with this game. I often have to reset my driving attempts and the lag between the retry and actually starting off again takes too long and I have found myself falling asleep at times. JK but it is bad.
Still, the graphics are amazing and the cars are cool. I wish simulators could figure out how to simulate speed and depth of field. Everything is so in focus that the games seems flat and hard to become one with the action. I would like to try this game with a game wheel controller.
Good game overall.
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on January 18, 2014
First time to play this game and just love it , good graphic's and fun to play. It is my third Forza that I have now and don't know if Forza 5 is in the mix's just yet ,cause don't want to pay $600.00 bucks for a console just yet for one game.
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on April 18, 2015
I usually like driving games. Especially the ones that have roaring V-8 muscle cars American style. I gave this game a shot because it was supposed to be one of the great ones. Well, you race around a track. Ho-hum... You really need to play this game with one of those steering wheel, pedals, racing seat gizmos. I have none of those. I prefer to play my Driver: San Francisco and race the "Bullit" pursuit like Steve McQueen. Now that's fun!
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