Driving games megatest - Forza 3
Microsoft Xbox from £34.99
You can jump straight in and have a laugh very quickly by switching on driver aids and switching off damage – or drive with the best by dialling everything up to the maximum to make every input critical. There's even a setting where you have to press a button to simulate the use of a clutch pedal. Wherever you set the initial limits, Forza 3 provides a fluid development that's rarely, if ever, frustrating.
There are more than 300 cars to choose from and a bewilderingly in-depth tweaking and customisation area that could mean you spend more time on your paintjob than you spend on the track. There are nearly 50 different layouts of 12 tracks, including the legendary Nordschleife if you're not bored of the 'Ring.
The Xbox can't match the textural depth of the PS3 with Gran Turismo, but it's still visually impressive. It's great fun being able to race in your own paint scheme and the cars underneath are well modelled, too. Collision damage looks good enough, although it is a little limited.
The handling of the cars feels very good and varied, so you need to adapt your driving style as you jump into different cars. You can also get handicapped, or ruled out of a race entirely, following an accident. Forza 3 also takes a big step forward over its predecessor in offering a cockpit view.
Off- and online
Computer-controlled opponents provide a decent challenge if you haven't got online yet. There's a whole wide world out there on the web, however, with stacks of talented players lining up to humiliate you. It's a very vibrant community of gamers.