Besides being a musician, I'm also an avid gamer. Here's some info on the latest games I'm currently playing.
Forza 3 vs Gran Turismo 5:High Performance vs Old Muscle
Written: December 3rd, 2010.
This is a head to head comparison of "Forza 3" and "Gran Turismo 5". I'm a fan of both racing series but after all is said and done, only one game will cross the finish line.
Fine Tuning vs Out of Tune
Both games have always been favorites of tuners and gear heads but this is one area where "Forza 3" clearly outshines "Gran Turismo 5".
All the cars in "Forza 3" have multiple levels of customization from your standard internal engine/chassis customization to designing highly layered custom skins and graphics for your ride. Not only can you make your rides stand out from the pack, you can make money and reknown for your tuning skills by selling graphics, tunings, and cars via the auction house in "Forza 3". The only differences in cars is their default performance index which you upgrade to new performance class levels. Everything is well implemented and the levels of customization plus leaderboards and auctions add a ton of extra depth to an already deep racing game not found in any other racing series.
"Gran Turismo 5" on the other hand limits your customization immediately by separating cars into two classes. Standard cars can only have basic internal engine/chassis tuning with only paint changes as an external option. These standard cars also lack a driver/interior view which means those of you who like seeing an on-screen steering wheel are in for a lot of disappointment until you can purchase or unlock a premium car. Premium cars allow for some additional tuning options like custom wheels, body kits, and racing upgrades but these customization options are minimal at best and seem to be less than those found in previous "Gran Turismo" games.
Things to Do and People to See
Both games offer countless hours of racing, tuning, and earning licenses but they do it in fairly different ways. Depending on your style of play and competitiveness, you probably will favor one or the other.
"Gran Turismo 5" and other games in the series have always been called driving simulators rather than racing games so if you are looking for arcade style racing, you've come to the wrong place. There are some arcade-style events like Time Trials, Drift Racing, and non-career Arcade Racing plus a very in-depth GT career mode. In GT mode you will find tons to do including A-Spec (you drive) career, B-Spec (you manage a driver) career, License Tests (now optional), Special Events (more info to follow), and online multiplayer match making. The Special Events include Kart racing, NASCAR training, Rally Training, and various other unique locations and driving experiences. The track selection is great and the addition of weather and night racing adds a lot more variety to racers before you ever set foot inside the track maker. "Gran Turismo 5" helps you get a great racing experience by combining classic experiences with new content to the series.
While "Forza 3" might not have the same wide variety of tracks and weather but what it lacks there it makes up for in leaderboards and a deep career mode. Career mode is pretty standard but gives you the option to hire drivers to race for you when you don't want to spend too much time in the longer races. Arcade mode is also pretty standard too. But for those who want to show everyone you're the best, every type of race (circuit, point-to-point, drag, and drift) has a leaderboard you can race in and when combined with the awesome amount of customization per vehicle, you can show off your racing skills without even setting foot in an online multiplayer race.
Drive Well or Go Home
Driver AI and the driving experience can make or break any racing game and these games are no exception. This is clearly another area where the "Forza 3" outshines "Gran Turismo 5" because the developers made a realistic racing game that's actually fun to play.
Now I'm not saying that "Gran Turismo 5" is a horrible racing game, far from it, however...the developers made a game/simulation that focuses on you reacting properly to the AI drivers rather than making it realistic where both you and the AI reacts to each other. If you are interested in correcting your mistakes while racing, then this game is a great trainer and very challenging although fairly frustrating at times because the AI punishes your mistakes by causing you to spin off the road and also causes you to be disqualified during many of the special events. This has always been the case in previous games which also forced you to pass driver tests in order to unlock new races so those familiar with the series won't mind it as much as those new will. The developers really missed the mark here though when you combine the unrealistic AI with the fact that only the premium cars (only around 200/1000 cars) take damage after your career reaches level 15.
The "Forza 3" developers got every aspect of racing correct when they not only programmed every car to take damage but they made the AI reactive to other drivers. Now I'm not saying the racing isn't without some flaws, just hit a sand patch and instantly stop in the middle of a race to see one of the biggest, but these flaws are minor gripes to an otherwise great and very realistic racing experience.
And The Winner Is...
"Gran Turismo 5" has been a huge disappointment as a fan of the series. After countless delays it still feels like an unfinished game or at least one that wasn't completely updated and optimized...don't even get me started on how many menus you have to go through just to start a career mode race. Hopefully new patches will streamline things and also add some additional car details and customization options. "Forza 3" clearly sets the bar on what must be in a racing game for current consoles and beyond. If you haven't played either game but own both a Xbox 360 and a PS3, buy "Forza 3". If you only have a PS3 and haven't played any of the previous "Gran Turismo" titles, rent "Gran Turismo 5" and a few other racing titles and decide for yourself.