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TOCA Race Driver 3 Preview for Xbox
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TOCA Race Driver 3 

Preview for Xbox

- Tim Mellish, " Cloud890 ", Senior Editor
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 

Review Preview

TOCA Race Driver 3

Codemasters Software Company

Rating Pending

TOCA Race Driver 3 Screenshot Gallery

TOCA Race Driver 3 Screenshot Gallery

TOCA Race Driver 3 Screenshot Gallery

It has been a while since a realistic racer hit either of Microsoft's boxes. With that being said, it is no doubt that fans that have played Forza Motorsport to death are looking for a new racing sim to sink their teeth into. The guys over at Codemasters's are hoping to deliver with just such a game with their latest release by the name of TOCA Race Driver 3. While not a terribly catchy title this series of racing has been known for delivering one thing: brutally realistic racing experiences. Anyone who has picked up a TOCA racing game will quickly tell of how difficult the races become. Codemasters, not wanting to deviate too far from the formula that works, has crafted yet another game worthy of this difficulty. Add in some more racing modes that make the game accessible to gamers with various levels of commitment and TOCA Race Driver 3 looks to be shaping up to fill the void that Forza no longer can sustain.

If there is one thing going for TOCA Race Driver 3 it is content. TOCA has an abundance of tracks and car classes that will keep gamers busy for long time. In terms of tracks, the final number is going to be very high. Better yet is that each of these tracks are recreations of their real-life counterparts. Too often racing games feature tracks that the developers just make up out of the blue. While these types of racing experiences are fun, there is just something about getting the chance to race on tracks that actually exist. A greater sense of accomplishment after winning first on one of the hardest tracks ever built will always beat out a fictional track win. Some of the tracks to be included in TOCA 3 are Bathurst, Spa, Silverstone, the relatively new Shanghai, Laguna Seca, and Laguna Beach. The final count is said to be over 80 tracks in all. With TOCA 3 being created for the Xbox, fans can expect that these tracks are going to be as detailed as the Xbox hardware can allow. Sadly though there will be no weather changes for the tracks. Every race will feature sun skies. While this is disappointing it makes sense since the cars in the TOCA franchise are incredibly realistic and thus, at times, hard to drive.

Complimenting the large track number is an equally as big list of cars. Included in TOCA 3 will be thirty five different motor racing styles and seventy cars in total. These cars are going to include everything from the mud slinging rally cars, to the powerhouse GT series, and even the huge monster trucks. Yeah TOCA 3 is going to include monster trucks. The goal that Codemasters is trying to achieve is to give everyone something for them to enjoy. So whether it is tearing across dirt tracks, power sliding across pavement, or smashing into other trucks, TOCA seems to have you covered. The number of licensed cars is also very impressive. Some companies that lent their cars likeness to TOCA 3 include; BMW, Nissan, Chevrolet, Ford, Mitsubishi, Audia and Ultima. But the types of cars do not stop there. TOCA 3 is also going to include a wide variety of Formula One race cars to try out as well as the Aussie V8 power cars. To top it all off TOCA 3 will also include cars from the 1930s - 60s (racing only though) as well as three generations of the William Grand Prix cars. By this list alone one would expect the number of final cars to rival that of Forza and GT4 combined. Interestingly enough the final number of cars available sits at seventy.

There are two primary modes for which gamers will be able to race these cars. The first is known as the World Tour mode. This mode can be thought of like the Arcade mode in various other racers. Gamers will hop from one course to the next all the while getting their feet wet in all the styles of racing that TOCA offers. There seems to be no huge amount of commitment to these types of races. Races also generally only last three to five laps in this mode. But there are those out there who want to the total authentic racing experience. Don't worry, TOCA 3 has you covered. Known as Pro Career mode players will take a car of their choice (typically an F1) and go head first into the racing scene. Qualifying rounds as well as full-length races will be the norm in this mode. Slowly the gamer will build rep and eventually get access to better cars (depending on how well they do).

One aspect of the TOCA franchise has been how difficult it is to control the cars. This has lead to the TOCA series not being as popular as GT4 and Forza. The main culprit is TOCA's detailed damage system. In TOCA 3 this damage system has been modified even more to include internal problems with the car as well. It is very telling to see who is a pro at TOCA and who is not. Those new to the series will quickly find out that damage to the vehicle almost results in an immediate last place. With TOCA 3 almost every part of the car can be damaged. Stops to the pits are a must if any damage is taken during the race. Engines can overheat, coolant lines jammed, and tires even wear and tear. Professional racers will probably enjoy the realistic damage and situations TOCA brings to the table, but whether or not this makes the game too inaccessible to the average gamer is unknown.

TOCA 3 will also be supporting Live with a max of 12 players to be allowed in a race. TOCA 3 is going to be supporting some of the more advanced Xbox Live functions except for teams. Whether clans are an option are not yet known. Also, TOCA 3 is said to have more advanced cheating detectors built in; so all of you who just turn around to crash into people, better think twice before pulling off that stunt again!

All in all TOCA Race Driver 3 looks interesting. On the one hand it has a plethora of content all of which looks very realistic and fun to experience. On the other hand the TOCA series is known for how hard it is to win racers. This may very well steer a lot of games away from TOCA Race Driver 3. Only time and money will tell if gamers are ready to accept another difficult sim racer. Look for it on February 21st, 2006.

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