One of the good things about Forza Motorsport 2 was the fact that the host of a room could force everyone to use the same car – meaning that you could create races in standard models with no tuning to give everyone equal machinery.
While Forza Motorsport 3 (ORD’s FM3 Review) allowed that in private lobbies, in the general online rooms you were stuck until recently. And it’s noticeable how much more I’m playing in public lobbies since production racing was introduced.
The reason is simple. I know how much time and effort it takes to get into the top few percent for any track. And a lot of that is down to car selection and tuning, so unless I finally finish setting up cars for every single track and variation, I’m always going to be at a disadvantage. While I’m happy to put the time and effort into high-level tuning for specific competitions (when I can grab the time), there’s no way for me to limit the online racing to just the tracks I’ve covered.
So that’s where the production racing comes in – suddenly it doesn’t matter which car it is, and it’s just down to circuit knowledge, which is much more accessible.
Of course, there are still skill differences of several seconds per lap, but without any kind of tournament qualifier and bracketing, it’s about as close as it can legitimately get.
It’s great, because I can get back into online racing as a casual gamer who has work and family taking up a lot of time, as well as committing to the more hardcore competitions when I do get the chance to spend some more time behind the wheel.
And to finish up on another positive note – I’m finally coming to terms with the new lobby system for online public racing with friends. It was a shock after Forza Motorsport 2, but if you think of it like a Call of Duty lobby and map/match-list, you’ll be fine…
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