DTM Race Driver 3
I’m going to start this review by making an excuse; an excuse for the enormous delay. An excuse that isn’t entirely due to my own weakness. We namely received a review copy of DTM Race Driver 3 before it hit the shelves. But destiny decided to bruise this same copy, giving it scratches all over the place. As a result I became a frustrated reviewer, who, after receiving a decent copy, didn’t have the power to meet the deadline. Is the score suffering from this lame excuse? Of course not, but beware as your reading pleasure may vary from time to time, due to my uninspired gibberish from time to time.
Ever since the first DTM has hit the next gen consoles (well actually, the previous gen consoles, right?) Codemasters pulled the handbrake rather hard. The marketing lads called it a CARPG; a mixture of a racing game and a role playing game. Original? Sure, but relevant? Not even close. It did have a storyline but hey, that’s not really a basic characteristic of an RPG now is it? Well, what’s in a name? Thanks to the storyline the player could really relate to the in game character. This, I find, is a decent technique that gives games that little kick in the butt. But apparently the Codies were kind of fed up with the whole kick in the butt thing as they decided to narrow the storyline down to some old Scottish geezer, who goes by the name of Rick, who tends to cheer you up, or piss you off.
Is this thinner storyline keeping you from having a great gaming experience? Not at all, as the focus is now more on the racing itself than it ever was. Codemasters has put all their powers to got use to make this game the most realistic racing gamer ever. The first thing you’ll notice is the implementation of real racing rules. You’ll be able to qualify for every race but beware as flags are active. This means that sliding of the road will result in a black flag, erasing your current lap time. However, in the beginning tiers of the game this isn’t really a big problem as you’ll see that qualifying in first place is as easy as taking candy from a baby. In later races the difficulty level will be turned up a notch and there is apparently some talk about an AI that changes according to your driving skills. However I’m always a bit sceptic about these statements as it’s pretty difficult to really test it in the game.
The big unique selling point of Race Driver 3 is obviously the enormous diversity of racing classes. Everything ranging from simple Clio’s to Monster Trucks and from old Ford’s to real Formula 1 cars is in the game. The beauty of this is that every car really handles differently. Again, the qualifying rounds are a good training to not only get used to the tracks but also really learn how to keep your car on the track. Although you might only see the good side of this variety, I myself being a pessimist and all, see a darker side to it. They give you all sorts of racing but they never go all out in it. As a result the game is very wide but not so deep. There’s also this lacking of a true link between the different racing leagues.
This, however, is the only really minus of the game. You can’t complain about anything else. The realistic physics are again a bit better. There is no other racing game that can top these kinds of physics. The graphics are however a bit suffering from this. DTM Race Driver 3 is the kind of title that has breathtaking pictures on the back cover but looks a lot less tight in reality. Don’t get me wrong, the cars look amazing, but it’s the surroundings that are a bit plain and simple. Therefore Forza Motorsport overtakes DTM in this department.
The biggest chunk of gameplay can be found in the World Tour Mode. This is the well known career mode from other games and as I mentioned earlier you’ll be guided through everything with the help of Rick. You’ll start out racing in a Clio Sport only to end up putting the pedal to the medal in a BMW Williams Formula 1. The road to the top is not really that hard, but long. We can’t complain one bit about the lasting appeal of this game. If you’re finished with the World Tour Mode, you can always try your luck in the Pro Career Mode. Here you can chose from every different racing discipline and compete in different championships. To top it of, there’s also a healthy online mode so you won’t be bored soon.
I already mentioned the graphics, but how is the sound department doing? Well what would you expect from a game like this? Of course every car sounds just like his real life counterpart, at least I think it does. I can’t really test it as there isn’t an old Suzuki from ’84 in the game; shame on the Codies for that huh? You can easily conclude that DTM Race Driver 3 is worth all your savings as it’s a great end product, audiovisual as well as gameplay wise.
And still I’m not overly enthusiastic about it. The game gives you all the racing leagues you can think of, throws in some awesome physics and tops it all off with some good ol’ racing rules which make the racing a lot more realistic. But still I’m more a fan of Forza Motorsport. DTM Race Driver 3 can be seen as someone with multiple personalities. Everyone is beautiful on its own, but none has a really deep inner beauty if you know what I’m saying? Probably not so to end this review I can only say one thing: buy this game. Even if you’re not really into racing, just do it for the Monster Trucks.