Ford Racing 3
The opening of the game explains that Ford Racing 3 is not an accurate representation of track racing. Unfortunately this forewarning label didn’t deter me from disappointing myself. When a Developer sets their game out at a low-budget price from its initial release and reminds the gamer that their representation of classic cars will not prove accurate, there’s no use pushing yourself to justify the low-cut price. Note to self.
Ford Racing 3 underestimates its audience. Its a loose racing affair that sets itself up with a fair enough load of details, failing to capitalize on anything the gamer might want to explore. The racing remains linear despite the Developer’s attentive ideal of quantity over quality. Sifting through the wreckage, bits and pieces of manageable gameplay are found in the deep recesses of a terribly cluttered product.
“Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns / Their prowess is potent and secretly stern.”
The Touch Screen controls are rubbish. While the additional screen doesn’t need to be used for controlling the action, Ford Racing 3 employs it anyways. To play this way however takes a great deal of concentration as the player will need access to the L or R button for boost, while trying to straighten their car on the track with the unnecessary assistance of an arrow displayed wherever they may slide the stylus on the Touch Screen, and then there’s the additional disconnect between the screens. Using the stylus as a primary control scheme, you must keep the stylus near the top of the Touch Screen to continue accelerating. Turning requires the obvious readjustment to the left or right of the screen, although the gameplay mechanisms featured require a balancing out to the left if the oncoming turn is a sharp right. Sliding the stylus down the screen and to the left or the right allows for more control in turning, yet causes the vehicle to decelerate. In the later levels any deceleration or twitch within a turn will inevitably cost you the race. This renders the Touch Screen capabilities quite useless. If this series is to be continued with an additional installment on the Nintendo DS, it would be fruitful for Visual Impact to suss out some of the Touch Screen issues.
The standard D-Pad controls are hindered by the DS’s diamond of four small buttons, which require that the player keep their thumb on the gas through the entirety of every race. Making a point of this seems trivial unless you take into account the fact that the other buttons are mapped unfavorably. To list the functions of each button on the diamond clockwise, starting on top we’re presented with: the rear-view mirror; the gas; the brake; and a third boost button. The later of the four is in all probability due to the rather recent notion that developers must utilize every button available for a competent control scheme. Pressing select allows for the driver’s perspective which has become a mainstay in modern racing titles, but makes Ford Racing 3 a frustrating and nearly un-playable affair.
Have you driven a Ford… lately?
The fact that the vehicles don’t take on damage from obstacles is forgivable. After-all, the collision detection is dodgy enough to suggest that the car more often than not passes right through the majority of the fixtures which liter the track. Replicating the courses of the console version, there are a few small details to appreciate, all adding on to the given ambience or theme of each track.
Given Visual Impact’s mediocre track record, expectations for Ford Racing 3 should be fairly low. The developers are responsible for a number of portable translations of above average console games, none of which live up to their superior original build. Nonetheless their titles are usually marked with a price reflective of their budgets; in other words, the games fall into the bargain bin rack upon release.
All in all, the shoddy in-game physics, sense of weightlessness given to the cars, and jaded track designs should be enough to turn the average consumer away. If you have access to the console version of Ford Racing 3, then there’s no reason to purchase this. Even for the avid fan of Ford Racing, there isn’t enough quality throughout this entire package to warrant the low price-tag. Stay away.
Three out of ten
- Tracks from the console version
- Visuals are shoddy at best
- Poor track design
- Repetetive sound effects