VVV's First 5 Days of Forza 3 - Team VVV

Features VVV’s First 5 Days of Forza 3

Features

Alan Boiston

Founder & Website Editor

Posted on

Though they offer us gamers a means of finding out what a game is like, a review is only a small part of the story – often the journey is in discovering what it’s like for yourself. As I write my Forza Motorsport 3 review, I thought I would take the time to share my journey through this epic racer.

With the package being so vast, every player will have the opportunity to form their own personal experience and with the fusion of the online aspects, Forza 3 along with many other games have virtually limitless possibilities. So read on as I dive in and look forward to seeing many of you online.

Day 1

And it’s Go! Go! Go! to load up my second disk to the HD and enjoy the intro before entering the beautiful minimalist menu selection screens. First, it’s time to go through the Audi R8 entry event, then a quick browse through the many in-game options before entering the career.

After turning all the aids onto their hardest setting (and yes, that means no racing line assist!), I select my first set of in-game wheels: a Toyota Yaris S in a nice shiny blue. I’ve been in this very car in real life, so straight away it’s nice to have a base with which to feel the absolute realism that this title intends to bring.

Early races through the vast career focus mainly around the Montserrat region, with some great little twisty tracks, but the fight for wins is hard work, so it’s time to tune a little.

Now is my first experience of Forza 3’s tuning shop, and the new ‘quick upgrade’ selection process is just so handy and well thought out. Rather than building up your car piece by piece, it adds a range of attachments, so mere moments later I’m back racing and making better progress.

I replace my trusty Toyota with the Volkswagen, and there’s an instant boost in speed from the Scirocco, and it’s got great handling as well! It’s not just a new car, though, as I now get my first taste of Maple Valley in FM3.

Wow! Look at the graphic improvements here – this track is lush! Crowds cheer and the autumn trees look stunning, though I wish there were a few leaves blowing around, to add a bit to the atmosphere.

Having experienced it before in other Forza titles, I know the circuit very well, but to see it so lovingly recreated here, it brings a smile to my face. But how much fun can I have here? On that note, it’s time to take a picture; my first photo of Forza 3 and the detail is just amazing to witness.

After taking the picture, a range of information can be added before uploading, including the option to add it to my storefront. The depth of this mode is astounding, with every aspect bringing the community together. And, with the graphical detail on offer in thes snaps, the term ‘car porn’ has never been so apt!

I quickly go back and take a picture of my Yaris S (rather appropriately on Mount Fuji, at the stunning little village at the base) before continuing to drive up the mountain, enter photo mode and look over the edge. It’s a wonderful view as we see the road winding its way up. Indeed the idea enters my mind we could even run competitions of scenic views alone, the virtually unlimited draw distance (I did find a few limits) combined with stunning locations… there’s just so much to take in!

So it’s time for me to go for a Toyota MR2 Mk2, and test it out on the Season Mode. It’s a very interesting concept, and I’m keen to see how this develops. After swiftly winning my first 3 races, it’s time to go back into the career mode.

I’m noticing some really nice ambient sound on my first hot lap of Mugello, along with the improved graphics, revised corners and wonderful tarmac detail. Even the bumper view impressed, as it gives a good feeling of speed, especially with the effect generated from the the tarmac,

Despite many laps on Forza 2 ,I feel this will be a long learning process to rediscover the perfect lines, which curbs to hit and which run-off’s you’re allowed to use. At the moment, it’s a bit touch and go and I loose a few decent laps.

Garage:

Toyota Yaris S

VW Scirocco GT

Alfa Romeo Brera Italia Independent

Toyota MR2 MK2

Day 2

It’s time to continue with the career, using pretty much every car I’ve accumulated in the garage so far, and constantly feeling impressed with the size of the package – yes, it’s only been a day, but I’ve just scratched the surface so far!

After submitting a rather cheeky VVVGamer.com car photo my storefront (such a great feature and the photo-mode produces some wonderful results), it’s now time for a personal treat: purchasing a Toyota AE86 (I will diversify into other makes soon, I promise!), I prepare for some hardcore Tofu delivery down Fuji Kaido.

I upgrade it to pretty much every race spec part, while spending a great deal of my cash, and the end result is that I’ve made the car pretty much undrivable. I’m not a tuner myself, and the depth of tuning will have to wait till later on my FM3 experience.

I can’t find the Time Trial mode initially, before realising I need to select the circuit via the Time Trial leader board… After that brief setback, get stuck into Amalfi Coast, which already had some very good times to beat. I select the Lancia Stratos, and almost immediately I’m well off the pace.

I gradually start improving my time, and I now move to the Nurburgring in an Audi R1. It’s tough with a controller and dare I say a little over sensitive. The track, though, is ace, with fantastic views and great scenic detail. I love the new realisation of the circuit, and the visceral feeling it provides when at speed.

I’m pushing the Audi hard, and I unfortunately end up making a mistake, and though I’m 17 seconds ahead of second place, I’m below them in the score board. This really is going to be much more of a challenge now with the new rules, but I like it. It’s fair, and you need perfect laps to gain the results and exploits, or else mistakes are terminal.

Continuing to move from one event to another, with the easy upgrade options work perfectly and saving me time, as well as keeping the racing flowing well. I’m enjoying this implementation and it makes the whole experience much more approachable.

Maserati GranTurismo

Vauxhall VX220 Turbo

Lotus Exige Cup 240

Day 3

Oh dear! It looks like my upgrades have been a tad more expensive than I expected, so more career driving is needed. The garage is expanding, so it’s time for a few changes.

After doing some more races, I’m rewarded with the BMW M5 E60, so now I can start entering a high speed German racing class. The BMW is very challenging to drive, but I quickly dispatch the competitors and move onto the next event. I’m being recommended an upgrade to remain competitive, so a quick go-faster parts shopping spree later, and the M5 is now an S Class car.

The car is really tough to drive now. It’s very quick, but I can barely get on the power – even with TCS its near undrivable, requiring maximum concentration to retain balance. I’ll need to tune it soon, and I admit I’m a rubbish tuner.

Though I’m still mixing between the wheel and pad control, I’m improving with the wheel, especially now I’ve cushioned the brake pedal, which makes it much more responsive. With no more that 30% braking required for many of the corners, it’s a combinations of good lines, smooth braking and judicious use of the gears.

I look on my friends list and I see a friend has the Season Weekend Challenge, so I decide to have a stab at it as well. I encounter the Superlap Challenges in my Ford Focus RS, which  includes laps on the Nurburgring, Rally di Positor and Fujimi Kaido full circuits (remember, the challenges will differ each time you attempt them) I kick things off on the Nurb, and it’s just such a fabulous representation! I’ve never enjoyed it so much!

A point of note: I’m liking every day so far, and the small tid bits of information in the loading screens, from racing tips to historical information, are all very cool. They’re all interesting and unusual automotive facts, and so far I still haven’t seen the same details shown twice. However, I wish some notes were up long enough for me to read…

Ferrari California

Jaguar XKR-S

Seat Leon Supercup
Lexus IS-F

Day 4

I’ve now completed around 9% of the game and am leading the overall leaderboard for the circuit times. Steering wheel times are improving too, and though the game is intuitive. the wheel is still incapable of providing that ultimate experience. As ever, it’s the lack of feedback from the pedals that really gets me – I still gain greater feedback from the pad, especially on tracks with bumpy cobblestone sections.

Racing around the ‘Ring is, as always, a great feeling, though I’m struggling to find the apexes and make valid laps. Indeed, the validating system can be a tad unfair on some corners, especially on the Cataluna F1 track. I’m going to take some pictures to demonstrate while using the Acura R1, as the final 4 corners need to be looked at, along with the irritation that getting air is an invalid lap.

Time for a few more games on Season mode. I make good progress and I finish the first year 50GP too, which is handy. I’m now onto Year 2, but I’ll leave that till tomorrow, along with my first stab at car painting.

Peugeot 207 Super 2000

Honda NSX-R GT

TVR Sagaris

Day 5

So it’s day 5; the final day of my opening diary. I’ll come back to this later when I’ve got far more stuck in, but for now it’s time to try out a few more options this game has to offer.

How about a closer look at the painting section? Now, before I go into this any further, I should point out that I’m a rubbish painter and didn’t expect any success. However the painting section too has been expanded and improved, with a new layout besides the ability to zoom closer into the car that’s incidentally helping immensely.

But it’s the new decal editor that’s really making the difference. Simple but effective, it has the usual intuitive controls whilst at the same time giving a logical graph paper-based background to test my ideas. While this also helps when working on symmetrical designs, it’s helping me become a more ambitious painter.

So down to work and on hearing about the possible update, I decide that my first project will be a replica of the Daytona Hornet car used in the classic arcade game. I admit I’m very slow, but using the decal editor makes the core details a breeze. After I finish the designs, I take a few pictures to advertise its awesomeness and enter it into my design store.

Now with the real painters online, the store is filling up nicely – every time I turn on the Xbox, I go straight to the storefront for a browse, and it’s great seeing the wonderful creativity. This is Forza’s core strength. Not the handling or the graphics, not the negative comparisons with rival games, but it’s this structure which truly brings the community together. It embraces the creativity and diversity of automotive love, and there’s no other console game quite like it.

Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series

Nissan MINE’s R34 Skyline GT-R

Total Garage to date:

Toyota Yaris S

VW Scirocco GT

Alfa Romeo Brera Italia Independent

Ford Shelby

Ford Shelby GT500

Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT Apex

Chevrolet Camaro SS

Peugeot 207 Super 2000

Honda NSX-R GT
Ford GT
TVR Sagaris

Mercedes-Benz SL 65 AMG Black Series

Nissan MINE’s R34 Skyline GT-R

Additions since the diary

Viper SR10 ACR

Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano

Porsche 911 GT2 (997)

If you all enjoyed my little diary, I’ll continue with more features between now and launch, but all of this will be covered in our review and I’ll even look to put together a video review. If there are aspects you’d like to see featured in the review, let me know in this thread. Likewise, if you’d like to see me race any car/track combinations, again put that in this thread and I’ll run it if I have time.

The countdown to the finest XB360 racing game continues….

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