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TOCA Race Driver 3 PlayStation 2

Published by Codemasters
Developed by Codemasters
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £34.99

TOCA Race Driver 3, an introduction.

The TOCA Race Driver series has been very successful on all three of the formats it's graced and it's no surprise that we now have the third title in the series here for review. Whilst the original TOCA Race Driver was a good game it was the second in the series that really impressed us with its sheer variety of racing disciplines and enjoyable races. In fact there were only a few ways in which the game could have been better. Let's take a look at TOCA Race Driver 3 then to see if Codemasters have managed to improve upon what was already a winning formula.

What's the game about?

TOCA Race Driver 3, whilst in some ways is a similar game to TOCA Race Driver 2, improves upon certain aspects and adds quite a lot of new content. The single-player modes on offer are World Tour, Pro Career and Simulation. The World Tour feels pretty similar to the career mode in TOCA Race Driver 2 and the various challenges are tied together with cutscenes that tell the story of your progressing motorsport career. Pro Career allows you to pick from eight different disciplines and play through the various championships on offer. You can also tune your cars in Pro Career mode. Simulation allows you to have free races, create your own championships and do time trials. There are plenty of multiplayer options too and 8 player online races can be had.

What's good about the game?

If you enjoyed TOCA Race Driver 2 you'll love what's on offer in this third title in the series. There are 35 different racing genres/disciplines, over 80 international circuits, over 70 race cars and true mechanical effects have been included this time around. Some of the racing disciplines on offer are V8 Supercars, Formula 3, DTM, Monster Trucks and Baja Motocross to name but a few. The game has a wealth of single-player content and the World Tour and Pro Career modes will keep you busy for weeks without even trying the Simulation mode. On the multiplayer side of things you have the choice of split-screen, network and online races which now include practice, qualifying and Eliminator modes.

One of our dislikes with TOCA Race Driver 2 was the poor rally stages where the car handled quite shockingly. Thankfully the rally stages here are much better and are actually enjoyable. Whilst the damage modelling isn't exactly realistic the effects of the damage are certainly more realistic than in the previous games in the series. In fact you're going to want to avoid collisions as damage taken can have a detrimental effect on the handling of the car and make it virtually impossible for you to do well in the race. Of course as with other games in the series you can make the game more realistic or more arcade like through altering various options. As a simulation though, the game does a pretty impressive job.

What's not so good about the game?

Whilst there's a lot to like about TOCA Race Driver 3, its poor support for deaf gamers is once again disappointing (which we'll talk about in more detail in a moment). Compared to the differences between TOCA Race Driver and TOCA Race Driver 2, the differences between the second game and TOCA Race Driver 3 are not as numerous. Don't get me wrong there have been some improvements but if for any reason you didn't get on with TOCA Race Driver 2 the chances are that you won't appreciate what this third title in the series has to offer. The AI can be overly aggressive at times (especially when the difficulty is set to hard) which can make things a little frustrating. Although the game supports the 900 degree wheel rotation feature of the Logitech Driving Force Pro steering wheel I personally don't feel it's as well implemented here as it has been in other games but this is one of those things that really comes down to personal choice rather than being a definite problem.  

How does it look?

I can still remember reviewing the first TOCA Race Driver game and being disappointed with the amount of graphical pop-up as well as a fluctuating frame rate. When the sequel was released though, I was impressed by the improvement. The frame rate was rock solid and the game as a whole looked much better. TOCA Race Driver 3 once again offers a rock solid frame rate even though it looks better than the second in the series. The car models look great. Damage modelling doesn't look realistic but nevertheless it has been included which is more than you can say for a lot of driving games on the PlayStation 2. There are 80 race circuits in the game and for the most part they look good. The interface has a cleaner look than the other titles in the series too. On the whole Codemasters have done a super job of not only making the game look great but perform great too.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

We were pretty disappointed with the support for deaf gamers in TOCA Race Driver. The game's story was rendered pretty much pointless for deaf gamers. The disappointment carried over to the sequel where again no subtitles were provided. Could the third title in the TOCA Race Driver series finally have subtitles? Sadly the answer is no. Once again all those cutscenes are pointless for deaf gamers and once again this is a big disappointment. Radio communications during races are also unsubtitled and whilst it's not something that's very important it does mean that deaf gamers are missing out on some of the game's content. Whilst all of these omissions are disappointing, they won't stop you from enjoying the game. Your objectives are shown in text so you'll always now what to do. It's just a shame deaf gamers don't experience the full character of the game.

Final thoughts.

TOCA Race Driver 3 is a great sequel to TOCA Race Driver 2 and offers something for every four-wheeled racing fan regardless of the racing genre they prefer. There are 35 different racing disciplines in all and they all manage to be very enjoyable which in itself is a major achievement. The look of the game is also impressive and it's difficult to believe the game is running on the PlayStation 2 when you compare it to the first game in the series, which not only looked poorer but also had a fluctuating frame rate. Fans of TOCA Race Driver 2 will enjoy this third game in the series but sadly it's still got the same old problems for deaf gamers which you really would have hoped would have been sorted out by now.

Overall Game Rating: 8.8/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

TOCA Race Driver 3 is a cracking sequel that manages to impress in every department. Every department that is except its support for deaf gamers, which once again is poor.