LP-700 Craziness

The Lamborghini LP-700 is pure automotive pornography.  In Forza, the experience of “driving” it is exhilarating and boring at the same time…it’s crazy fast, obnoxiously loud and has massive grip.  Plus, it’s just a point and shoot affair in the corners, which is part of what I don’t love about it; it’s too easy to race with.  There is no character with the LP-700…it’s too perfect as opposed to Forzas interpretation of the latest ZR1 which exudes personality and requires skill to drive fast.  I don’t care what car you choose in any racing game, 200mph should be a little scary. Regardless, I got some cool pics!  The interior shot is during a test drive on Le Mans and I love how easy the camera is to use!!

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Tuner Test Drive

One of my favorite things about Forza 4 is how accurately you can create virtual copies of famous tuner-cars and test drive them.  Here, I have recreated Fujita Engineering’s (more commonly called FEED) RX8.

Thankfully, the Forza game had the FEED body kit in the game as well as the wheels FEED had once used.  With a bit of research (otherwise known as watching best motoring vids on YouTube) you can find the modifications, power level, suspension settings and tire sizes which can be used in the game to simulate the tuner’s work.

FEED’s RX8 was a jack of all trades on a track.  It needed a bit more power than FEED used in the best motoring battles so I tweaked it to just over 300hp (about 50 more than the real car) and keanti naturally aspirated setup.  In racing, the car revs like crazy and has a super flat torqueband like a real NA rotary.  It corners tightly, grips hard and it very neutral. For a car rated as a B500 in e game, it’s pretty impressive!





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Real Racing 3 – free racing fun!

By now, most people have a smartphone and a tablet and most of us play games here and there to pass the time at the DMV, or during that awful show your wife or girlfriend can’t seem to miss. I keep hearing how mobile gaming is on the rise which is a trend that has led to the decline in console gaming. Ok, perhaps…but most mobile gaming isn’t very good (especially mobile based driving games).

That said, I approached EA’s new tile Real Racing 3 for my ipad with little interest, expecting it to be another awful mobile gem. Shockingly, this FREE game is quite a bit of fun! The gyroscope based steering controls are easy to use without being dull or unresponsive. With the steering aids turned off, the game experience is just better and not too much harder. One cool idea is that you don’t control the throttle…only steering and brakes. When you brake, the car slows down…otherwise, it accelerates on its own. It sounds odd, but it works well and I hate the idea of tilting my ipad side to side to steer PLUS back and forth for the gas.

Calling this game “Real Racing” is misleading for sure as this is 100% arcade racing. Regardless, it’s a fun game and it won’t frustrate you like most mobile based racing games. Plus, the visuals are pretty slick and the career mode is pretty deep for a FREE game! Yes, FREE!! Check it out…


Forza Horizon’s Saving Grace?

The Rally upgrade is a shining light to the otherwise lackluster Forza Horizon. The game-within-a-game plays more like an arcade title (which is consistent with the rest of Horizon) but it’s a fairly untapped genre on the Xbox360. I tend NOT to count the Dirt series as real rally games because it’s more like an extreme motorsport series. Here in the US, the Rally genre is relatively non-existant for the current consoles. Back in the PS1/PS2 days, Rally games were all over the place and one can argue that these games boosted (pun intended) the popularity of the legendary WRX/Evo rivalry which may have helped get those cars released for sale in our country.

In related news, I picked up a copy of WRC2 for the PS3 as, thankfully, PS3 titles are NOT region locked! I’ll post a full review once I’m deeper into what seems like a long career mode. Until then, the Horizon Rally upgrade fits the bill for a quick blast in a rally car with a better overall experience than say Sega Rally. In fact, I think Horizon could have worked entirely as a Rally game if they ditched the car meet “story” in favor of an amateur US Rally series.

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Gran Turismo Vs. Forza – the debate.

I won’t beat around the bush – for me, Forza takes the prize.  “Horizon” aside, Forza wins this debate in my book from the release of Forza 2 onward to Forza 4.

That’s not to say I’m not a Gran Turismo fan, I am…in fact, I’ll wager I was one of the first.  The original Gran Turismo was released in late 1997 in Japan and wasn’t available in North America until mid 1998.  I jumped in early  just after release with a Japanese import that I paid about $80.00 for at a privately owned local game store (remember those?).  I went into the store one day and saw a few employees crowded around the manager who was playing in arcade mode.  At the time, the graphics were impressive and the tuning system was pretty revolutionary as was the wide selection of cars.  And the replays were killer…It looked like the Japanese Best Motoring videos I’d seen playing in loops at the local tuning shops.  Even then, games were region coded but this wasn’t a problem for me…

Thankfully, my early SCPH-1001 Playstation 1 was able to play imported games using a little trick…as it was explained to me long ago, the region coding was the first track of the CD that the machine read.  With early Playstations, people were able to load up the Playstation logo of a USA game with the console cover open and a piece of tape on the button that normally tells the machine the lid is closed.  This would effectively load the region coding of the USA game…then when the disc stopped spinning, you could swap in an imported game, close the lid and play.

It took one night for me to get simply HOOKED on Gran Turismo.  A few hours into gameplay and I already had a few cars in my garage.  I remember very specifically building a powerful late model Supra Turbo (a car I’d only dreamed of stock let alone upgraded).  GT1 was just about the only game I played until the sequel came out in late 1999.  I was in college then and it took some phone calls before I found a store on release day that had unreserved stock.  Luckily, I spoke to a KB toys employee who was equally obsessed with the first game and he held onto a copy for me until I made my way to the store.  I skipped classes that day and played GT2 ALL day and well into the night.  The one thing I loved about GT2 was the boost gauge…I know it’s silly, but it was pretty neat.

It was the same story with GT3 and GT4…they were my “go-to” games for years.  At that point, I’d played the original Forza game and wasn’t terribly impressed.  I was SO hardcore for Gran Turismo, I probably didn’t give Forza the time it deserved.  However, once I got an Xbox 360 and Forza 2 I fell in love.  I found Forza easy to navigate…the game just made sense.  The graphics blew GT4 out of the water and the sound of each engine was spot on as opposed to Gran Turismo’s typical “buzz.”  I found each successor in the Forza series to improve on the previous game.  In fact, I was always so impressed that Forza could put out new and improved titles so quickly while all we heard from the Gran Turismo camp is “we’re working on it.”

The Gran Turismo PSP release in 2009 was the first sign that things weren’t going well in the series.  It was a bland game that I regret getting.  The entire appeal of Gran Turismo was building a garage of custom cars in career mode and racing in various events.  Unfortunately, GT PSP was basically Gran Turismo 4’s arcade mode and not much else.  My theory is that they had to pay Jay Leno so much to use his voice in the License test portion that little was left in the budget for actual gameplay improvements.  Again, that’s just a theory from some idiot on the internet (me) so take it with a grain of salt.

When GT5 was finally released I was READY!  I got myself a PS3 and pre-ordered the game and was prepared to be amazed.  Afterall, Polyphony Digital had years to perfect their title and revolutionize the genre once again.  Unfortunately, GT5 was a let down for me.  I can’t understand why evey car doesn’t get the same level of detail in the graphics department (some cars have full interiors, others just silhouettes).  The sound is just as buzzy as ever and while the driving physics may be the most accurate, that doesn’t make for a perfect video game.

Again and again, I go back to my Forza games to chase lap times, race online or just build a car and go for a quick blast.  Maybe things will change with the next cycle of games because I really want Gran Turismo to OWN the series again.



Project FC3S Time Attack

No, the FC RX-7 isn’t a leaderboard car, and mine won’t run anywhere close to the top times.  That said, I still love this car.  The FC is light, balanced and the stock rotary motor revs like crazy and has a nice flat torqueband useful for powering out of corners without excessive shifting.

This one is built for Class A use and is stripped out, caged and has race tires and about 340hp.  If I had the means, this would be my dream car to build in real life for track use.