There are a whole bunch of driving games out there: you have the likes of Gran Turismo for the more serious-minded petrolheads, Burnout for the adrenaline junkies and crash fanatics, Need For Speed if you like your games slick and shinier than Vin Diesel's polished skull; but there's never really been a driving game that more or less suits anyone. Until Forza 3.
It was only released a few weeks ago which means that it's somewhat surprising to find it under the £30 mark, but the folks at Simply Games are offering the game at a highly pleasing £28.89, which is significantly cheaper than the nearest competitor (DVD.co.uk - £33.95).
Forza 3 is probably the best driving game I've ever played, and when I say that it's accessible to both an eleven-year old kid and a middle-aged F1 fanatic I mean it. I've seen it. It's such an easy game to get into, the tutorial are really well implemented and it gets you driving as soon as possible. On top of that is the scalable difficulty that adapts to your own abilities to provide you with one of the most enjoyable driving game experiences you'll have. I suck at driving games, but even I found Forza 3 to be accommodating and challenging at the same time.
The sheer amount of options for you to tinker with, the level of customisation, is also staggering; and it's also completely optional. Couldn't care less about tweaking the rear differential on your Audi R8? Don't worry about it; the game allows you to be as hands-on or laissez-faire as you like. The game progression is pretty standard: start off in a boring hatchback, race to win cash, buy better bits and pieces and expand your stable of cars. But, as it should be, the real revelation of Forza 3 is the driving itself. The physics are perfect, the graphics are exceptional to look at and the sound is marvellous too. The overall experience is incredibly exhilarating, something I've never really found with any 'serious' racing game. The AI players are always competitive, and you have a realistic damage modelling system to contend with too, but thankfully if you wipeout on a hairpin, the rewind feature means that you can replay and erase the thousands of pounds-worth of damage you just wreaked.
With over 100 tracks in-game, 400 cars to choose from and a wealth of multiplayer options to entertain, Forza 3 will keep you coming back time and time again with online leaderboards, movie modes for the creative types, and custom car sharing. If there is a complaint it is that you'll need a high-end entertainment system to truly get the best out of this game - a fourteen inch TFT really won't cut it - but the depth of the gameplay offers so much more than just a bunch of pretty vehicles, and if you're a fan of racing sims it's a must-have game.