Thursday, December 31, 2009

Games Of The Year 2009: Forza Motorsport 3

[My apologies for the slight delay with this one. An unexpected interstate trip meant I had little time to get online. Thank you for your patience.]

I suppose it's no surprise for anyone who has been reading this blog for a while to see this game as one of my choices. In the short time that I have been blogging about videogames, I have intentionally tried to establish myself as someone willing to give the racing genre a more critical eye. For whatever reason, the genre doesn't garner the amount of attention or discussion that others do, despite the fact that it is one of the more prolific (in terms of releases) genres out there and generally one that people play for fun when they have a break from the next big FPS, RPG or blockbuster title. It's like the sports genre -- no surprise considering that, depending on which game you're talking about, racing is a sport -- in that, a huge amount of people play these games but rarely do they ever speak about them. It's a little puzzling to me as I've discussed here before -- Surely these games are just as ripe for discussion and analysis as your BioShocks and Fallouts? Apparently not... so far at least.

Anyway, Forza Motorsport 3 is quite simply the best installment in the franchise yet, iterating on everything the previous two games did whilst adding enough new features to not only justify the sequel, but open it up to more players as well. The biggest selling point for the game is how accessible it is now: despite being a simulation racing game at its heart, there's enough driving aids, options and mechanics (such as the rewind feature) to allow players of any skill level to enjoy Forza Motorsport 3. Such additions might be irrelevant to people like me, hardcore racing enthusiasts who eat these types of games for breakfast, but in terms of mass appeal they're worthy additions and as such, are notable inclusions to the formula. Some new and welcome tracks, the obligatory graphical upgrade, refinement of the game's already superb handling physics system and a fostering of a passion for car culture through its online community, tuning and painting options are just added bonuses for a game and franchise that has established itself as one of the best simulation experiences available on consoles. Whether it's the definitive racer -- the description overused throughout the pre-release hyperbole -- on consoles is up to you, but it certainly is the most comprehensive one. Car enthusiasts the world over can't wish for much more than that.

I'll have much more detailed thoughts and discussion on Forza Motorsport 3 soon.

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