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December 18, 2004
Ford Racing 3 - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
19/11/2004Red AntRazorworks1-2GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
90KBDolby PLIIYesNoNoneNo

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Racing in the snow.
I'm a Holden man, so I can tell you now this game will suck, no matter how good it is... Oh wait, no I can't really do that can I? So this is the third game in Empire Interactive's Ford Racing series which comes as something of a surprise given the lackluster quality of the previous two games. A quick glance at Game Rankings gives both Ford Racing on PSOne and Ford Racing 2 on PS2 an average score of 60.9% for each title. Perhaps the company is hoping that third times a charm and there is certainly a fair amount of content in this title to keep gamers interested.

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The cars remain clean.
This game includes some 26 environments to race around including normal roads, off-roads and dedicated raceways. These are fairly well detailed, not as good as some other games, but passable. The car handling is fairly solid with responsive controls however given my lack of Ford loving, I can't say that I have ever driven most of these cars. The game also includes quite a few unlockable extras such as movies and pictures which adds to the longevity of the title.

Ford Racing 3 includes a pretty average four game modes. The Ford Competition is a series of races. The Ford Challenge allows you to unlock vehicles by winning races, and considering that nearly every car in the game is locked when you first start this is the place to head to straight away. Another option is to enter the Quick Race, but this is pretty average while the Ford Collection allows you to set up your own racers - but hell, you may as well have rolled this into the Quick Race, but thrown in the options. All-in-all it's pretty ordinary.

As with any game focusing on a single car manufacturer you expect plenty of options and indeed this game has a lengthy list of 46 cars to thrash around in the game. These cars include (deep breath):
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Not the racing view, obviously.
Classic: '68 Mustang, '46 Convertible, '49 Coupe, 1970 Mk1 Capri RS2600, '66 Fairlane GT, '73 XB Falcon GT, '64 Galaxie 500, '76 Gran Torino, '71 Mustang Mach 1, '73 Mustang Mach 1, '68 Mustang GT, '72 Ranchero GT, '55 Thunderbird, '66 Thunderbird
Modern: 1978 Mk III Capri 3.0S, 2000 SVT Cobra, 2002 Crown Victoria, 2003 Falcon XR8, 2002 SVT Focus, 2001 Fortynine Concept, 2002 SVT Lightning, 2004 SVT Lightning, 2004 Mondeo ST220, 1999 Racing Puma, 1994 Powerstroke Concept, 2002 Thunderbird Convertible, 2003 Limited Edition Thunderbird
Performance: 1987 Sierra RS500, 1992 Escort RS Cosworth, 2005 Air Force Reserve Ford Focus, 2004 Ford GT Concept, 1971 GT70 Concept, 2003 FR100 Concept, 2001 Focus FR200, 1999 Mustang FR500, 1995 GT90 Concept, 1996 Indigo Concept, 1992 Mustang Mach III Concept, 2005 Mustang GT, 2004 Mustang GT-R Concept, 2002 Taurus Stock Car
Off Road: 1973 Escort RS2000, 2001 Ex Concept, 2002 Explorer Sport Trac XLT, 2004 F-150 FX4, '48 F1, '56 F-100, '65 F-100, 1998 F-150 4x4 2002 Flareside F-350 XLT Sport, 1999 Focus Rally Car, 1985 RS200 and
Vintage: 1923 Model T Sedan and 1931 Model A Roadster.

While there are plenty of tracks, cars and a fairly solid driving model, the game is lacking in some areas. The biggest is the lack of online gameplay. Considering the XBox version has 6-player online support (apparently) the 2-player split screen mode in this game seems disappointing. The lack of car damage model is also disappointing, in fact on many tracks you seem to get "guided" around corners so you can't hit the walls, but when you do, not a scratch. The AI of the computer controlled cars is also lacking and should have been beefed up for more realism prior to release.

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The game actually looks ok here...
When Ford Racing 2 came out last year I managed to play the game for a while thanks to a mate who spent his cash, but I soon realised it was one of the poorest looking games on PS2. When I booted up Ford Racing 3 I discovered that there had been almost no advancement in the graphics engine. The reflections are poor, the cars don't collect any dirt or mud when racing and the sense of speed is virtually non-existent. Perhaps even more surprising is the lack of detail in the cars. While I don't expect any games to get up to the standards in Polyphony Digital's GT4.

Sound in Ford Racing 3 is also pretty average. The music is unlicensed tracks, and while some games manage to get a fairly good selection of tracks (see FlatOut) Ford Racing 3's is very forgettable. Perhaps even more disappointing are the sound effects for the cars which are very weak. This should have been beefed up more so it sounds like you're sitting in a monster car screaming around the tracks at 100mph. What's worse is that the cars sound identical in their engine noises.

Ford Racing 3 isn't a game I can recommend unless your a Ford fanatic. The game lacks damage, game modes, online gameplay, detailed car models, and just that little extra spark. Still, if you're tired of Burnout 3 and can't wait a few more months for Gran Turismo 4 then this game may interest you, but I suggest a rent before you spend your cash.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSDisappointing car models, no damage and no dirt on cars. Average.
SOUNDThis really should have be a lot better. Poor music and effects.
GAMEPLAYSome fun moments are to be had on the track. Quite addictive.
VALUEPlenty of items to unlock. Still not great value at $AU49.95.
OVERALLFord Racing 3 is a game which will keep Ford racing fans happy, but not many other people. This has been done much better in other games, especially one by a certain Polyphony Digital. Perhaps a rental at best.

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