TOCA Race Driver 3by Tony Ingrassia
January 5, 2006
Our friends at Codemasters were nice enough to give us a first hand glimpse of the newest installment to the TOCA series, TOCA Race Driver 3. Much like TOCA's of the past Codemasters once again loads the game up with tracks, championships and variety. Offering up 35 different motor racing styles including Open Wheel, GT Racing, Touring Cars, Oval, Rally, Historic and Off Road. You will be hard pressed to find a racing game that offers so much in one package.
I was really impressed with the physics of the vehicles, they really stood out as I ran a few "practice" laps, they were well balanced and had a feel of real weight and mass as you switched from kart racing to GT, each vehicle exhibiting its own particular charecteristics based on power and weight. The handling took some finesse and will power, the will power to not just floor it all the time, there is a realistic balance of control with each vehicle type in this game. The damage engine has also been improved from past efforts and its a very obvious the folks at Codemaster made a strong push in this department. Vehicle parts bend, beak, and shatter into the air. Damaged body parts have a realistic reaction to the impact, no 2 crashes react in the same fashion adding to the realism of the game. Doors hang by a hinge and again react realisticly as you continue to run, dangling and bouncing with real mass. Tuning your car is also part of the package, offering up new realistic liscensed parts for your ride. Tweek the engine, suspension, wheels and exhaust to fine tune your car of choice. The graphics are very solid, again being jump started by the damage engine, and the games interface is clean and simple to navigate.
This early build had a few glitches that i'm sure will be smoothed over by the time the final version hits store shelves, but even at this stage TOCA Race Driver 3 shows a lot of promis for the latest entry into the TOCA series. As in the past the game exhibits more of a "Sim" feel to it as opposed to the more Arcade like racing games that have been released , so you die hard purists will need to keep on eye out. The inclusion of online play, the vast array of racing options and the "Real" feel of the cars puts TOCA Race Driver 3 smack dab in the middle of my "games to watch" radar!!
Codemasters latest effort should be on store shelves in mid February 2006.