Forza Motorsport 3
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there is little to be concerned about with Forza Motorsport 3. However, keep in mind that players using the online mode can communicate with one another via headsets, and there is no one moderating what's being said during online multiplayer matches. We didn't hear anything inappropriate in our testing, but the potential exists. Also be aware that while vehicles get banged up and can even break down after an accident, the drivers always go unscathed. This could give children unrealistic expectations as to the consequences of high speed car crashes.
What's it about?
This Xbox 360 exclusive lets you slip behind the wheel of 400 tune-able dream machines -- be it an American muscle car, sleek European sports coupe or high-tech Asian import -- and tackle more than 100 real-world tracks road courses from around the world. While the game offers truly photo-realistic graphics (featuring 10 times the car detail over its 2007 predecessor) and with many more camera angles to choose (such as a "cockpit" view), its savvy UK developers also made the cars feel like the real deal thanks to authentic physics and handling. That said, those who need driving assists can turn them on with the press of a button. Plus, if you really screw up on a turn you can hit the "back" button to rewind the race a few seconds.
Is it any good?
Easily the finest racing game of the year. Racing fans waiting for a thrilling racing sim with all the trimmings won't be disappointed with this deep driving simulator. In addition to multiple solo races, Xbox Live subscribers can take advantage of 8-player matches and tournaments over the Internet, along with downloadable extras and the ability to share custom paint jobs with other racers. Taking the game online brings it to a whole new level, and the races are fast and furious despite the fact you might be driving against players across the country. If you must buy one racing game this year, Forza Motorsport 3 is it.
Online interaction: This game allows for open voice communication between players, which could result in children hearing inappropriate language or swapping personal information. Also, players can create their own "vinyl" car decorations and sell them to others via virtual money. These vinyls could contain inappropriate images or words. Common Sense Media does not recommend open online play for children under 12 years of age. The online interactions can be a blast for adults, though.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether they prefer over-the-top arcade racing games -- where you can do things in a car you can't do in real life -- or the challenge of a real simulation. This game is more of the latter, though there are many aids you can turn on to help win races.
Families can also discuss the consequences of vehicular accidents. Forza Motorsport 3's depiction of crashes suggests that cars can smash into solid barriers at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour without its occupant suffering any sort of serious injury. What do you think would happen to a real-world driver who experienced a similar sort of accident?
Parents who have teens learning to drive may want to consider a study that suggests playing some racing games can lead to taking more driving risks in real life and share it with their children.