Ford Racing 3
In the months of multiple racing games coming out, Razorworks and Empire Interactive are coming out with Ford Racing 3. It’s very daring to come up with a racing game at a time when all the big names are releasing a sequel to their hit series. It is understandable again, because the previous parts of Ford Racing were nothing to write home about, so the urge to perform is great to do well now. Read on to see if it worked.
Countless Fords are driving in the Netherlands. That has been the case for years, only the older types of Ford appealed a lot more to the imagination than the current generation of Ford cars. Just think of the Ford Mustang and the Ford Capri or Thunderbird. All cars that make the heart of the Ford enthusiast beat a lot faster. Well, that’s what this game has to have for a large part. Not from the Focus, the Fiesta or the Escort. Those are already enough in other racing games, so you don’t have to buy this game for that. So let me start by saying that the Ford driver is going to experience a feast of recognition here, because the cars all look very good. However, in a racing game it is not only about the appearance but also about how these cars behave on the circuits and tracks.
And it must be said, Razorworks has done a pretty good job. The cars behave very well on the road. The older types, such as the Mustang, but also the pick-up type behave as the original cars would also behave. You probably felt when you turned your steering wheel at the time, the car did not react for the first part and it is the same with the game. We’re not entirely sure if the developer intended it that way, but it feels natural. This is not present with the newer types, so it seems that the makers have wanted to return the characteristics of the vehicle. Personally, I got a bit of the Need For Speed Underground (part 1!!) feeling at some tracks or circuits. Not only because of some music tracks (soundtrack is not much by the way), but also a large part of the vehicles drive just like the cars from NFSU1. I think the cornering in particular is a really positive point of the game. There are some really cool turns in the game, especially the first hairpin turn in the Harbor-Track, just to name one. Nice to drift and hang in curves. Speaking of bends, that is also a less point: most tracks/circuits are mainly made up of bends. Nice of course, because it doesn’t produce any pop-ups, but a few more straights to get some speed would not be a superfluous luxury. On the straights that there are, it is very nice to jump after a bump in the road, especially with the cars that have a somewhat softer suspension (and there are quite a few). In combination with the sound, that remains fun.
What’s really not fun is that, even if you wanted to, you can hardly drive off the track. Even when you drive into obstacles, an invisible hand pushes you back onto the track and you can continue without too much damage. I tried in various places to come to a stop, for example by hitting a large boulder or the head of a crash barrier. In such a case you reduce speed, but stopping is not an option and with a little helmsmanship you can easily overtake your predecessors or keep up with them. Just holding on to the throttle is also a good method of getting along well in a race, although of course this has nothing to do with racing. Damage is not possible and this may explain that this game is also intended as a collector’s item for Ford enthusiasts. After all, the question is whether the potential buyer of this game is really looking forward to driving his little Ford. In any case, I personally didn’t mind the lack of it.
The structure of the game is pretty standard, so nothing special here. You start with a number of cars and after that you will have to unlock more and more. In total there are 55 Fords to unlock and these also look very authentic. The main mode is of course the Competition, where you have to win a race on different tracks over and over again. There is not much variation and you will therefore regularly be on the same circuit. I also saw pieces of other circuits in some tracks (how do I know that from???). What is very successful is that in addition to regular road races, competitions are also held on unpaved terrain and even in the snow. In addition to the races, there are many challenges that should tempt the gamer to, among other things, follow the ideal line or follow a predecessor as short as possible (drafting). Here too, I have seen it all before with the icing on the cake being installing nitrous oxide on your Ford. It all works, but the question is whether this will continue to interest you for very long.
What does all this actually look like on your television screen? The answer is: pretty good! On several occasions you are really pleasantly surprised with some details. I mention, for example, the rising sun in the aforementioned Harbor Track, just before that deliberate sharp turn to the right and the falling leaves on the circuit. At the same time, that euphoria is quickly canceled out by other (mentioned earlier) details, including driving against invisible walls and some blocky textures. Overall, however, the game looks good and there are no hiccups, so the game just flows smoothly.
What really surprised me is that the maker of Ford Racing 3 has provided the game with a decent AI. Your opponents don’t give up easily and sometimes even make it very difficult for you by driving in front of you very annoyingly or even cutting you. So very realistic, although the game never gets very difficult.
Ford Racing 3 initially seems to be a game for Ford enthusiasts of the older models. Those who look a little further will find in Ford Racing 3 a game that is quite well put together, despite the not really original parts. The game plays nicely and still looks good, despite some (annoying) limitations. The handling of the cars is also quite decent, but again the positive of that part is diminished by other factors. Nevertheless, Ford Racing 3, especially considering its price (24.95 euros), is not a bad buy. I don’t want to take the word ‘recommended’ in my mouth, but gamers with a small budget and/or who are completely wild about racing games will definitely not go wrong with this. However, the final grade is adjusted downwards for two reasons:
1. There are so many nicer racing games for sale and
2. Originality is hard to find.
Plus and minus:
+ Fair to good graphics
+ Lots to do
+ Ford Mustang!!
– Invisible wall keeps you on track
– No surprises