TOCA Race Driver 3 Review

Developer: Codemasters Publisher: Codemasters
Release Date: February 21, 2006 Also On: PC, PS2 and Xbox

TOCA Race Driver 2 is one of the highest rated racers to date. In fact, it’s only outdone by Burnout 3: Takedown on Game Freaks 365. With such a wide variety of gameplay and great graphics, it’s no wonder that TOCA 2 caught on so fast – at least for hardcore racing fans. Codemasters tries to recapture the racing spirit of TOCA 2, while adding new racing events and online gameplay to make TOCA 3 the ultimate sequel.

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TOCA 3 offers two main modes of play to choose from: Pro Career mode and World Tour mode. In Pro Career mode, each racing event is represented in different categories. World Tour is the more extensive mode with a plot line and cut-scenes. The plot, like in the last game, isn’t what drives you to play more of the game. Unlocking new events for both single and multi-player are your motivation for completing World Tour.

The World Tour mode is set up in different tier levels. You’ll start off at Tier 1, needing to beat at least one race to move on to the higher tier. As you beat races, you can move on to the next tier, but tiers can go from two to four events, so you won’t actually complete a tier until you beat all races. Furthermore, actually “beating� a race isn’t necessary. Most of the time to unlock new events, you only need to place third or fourth in a series.

Within each tier are a racing series. These series’ have points systems in which players get ranked based on their position. During races, players can suffer time penalties for illegal behavior like cutting corners and going off the track. Sometimes the penalties seem rather cheap as you may take a corner too fast and accidentally cut into it, with no clear advantage gained, but the penalty is still incurred. This is one of the more frustrating aspects of the game, but it keeps true to realism.

I can’t help but feel the damage system in TOCA 2 is more cosmetic than affecting actual game performance. True, there are instances where your engine may blow or your gearbox gets damaged, but if you slam a wall going 150 MPH a few times, I’d think the vehicle would sustain some kind of damage. I give props to the developers for the visual aspect of this and they tried to implement the damage system affecting performance, but I’m not certain it does the job accurately. Then again, that would take away some of the fun.

As far as racing modes are concerned, I’m utterly satisfied with the number and types of different race events available to racecar drivers everywhere. It’s amazing what they fit into one disc: Open Wheel, GT racing, Oval racing, Rally racing, Formula racing, Off Road racing, Monster Truck racing, Big Rig racing…you name it, Codemasters probably added it to TOCA 3. Even more impressive is the different handling for each vehicle. None of them feel the same and indeed, it’s as if you’re playing an entirely different game with each new race type.

The obvious downside to so many race types is the learning curve that it requires to become acquainted with the different handling, speeds, etc. It also meant less time for original track designs for each event and car variation. I’m especially critical of some of the choices of tracks. When you race on tracks that you find in games like Forza and other racing games, you start to feel that you’ve played this game before. Some of the tracks have way too many turns as well, leading to countless collisions.

One of the biggest tests I have when playing video games is the “dad test�. If my 45 year-old dad can play and enjoy the game with me, it’s likely something anyone can enjoy. He’s not the type of person that plays PlayStation 2 or Xbox. In fact, he’s been pretty standoffish to video games since the 3D era replaced our NES and Genesis eons ago. The fact that I can sit and play this with my dad, he can enjoy it and compete against me is a fun experience.

TOCA 3 proves that video games do not need 10 buttons to be capable of entertainment value. It’s an enjoyable experience, especially the multi-player with friends and family. There’s so much content to offer in TOCA 3 that you’ll be squealing in glee. This game has a full single-player experience and it takes TOCA racing online, as well as split-screen. I won’t go so far as to say “there’s simply nothing like this� as far as gameplay is concerned, like I did with TOCA 2, but if you want an assortment of racing types, there really is nothing like this.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 8.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 9.5
Final: 8.5
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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