Geoff Crammond creates the perfect Grand Prix game.
Some have said that GP3 is simply GP2 with realistic weather and proper controller support, but that's not the whole story. While GP2 was a magnificent game, I always found it a little flakey. GP3 fixes all those problems. The cars are more dynamic, the scenary improved and the whole game feels much slicker.
This game is not easy. It is definitely a simulation racer, and you will need to get a good grip on the car setups to do well. Practicing a track to perfect a setup can take a long, long time (we're talking days). However, when you get it right, there is a great feeling of satisfaction as you beat Schumacher and Hakkinen off the line.
The graphics are superb, and there is a real sensation of speed as you reach speeds of over 200mph along the tracks. The car engine sounds and schreeching tyres are perfect and add to the atmosphere. It's very easy to bury yourself in this game, and become one with it.
The game supports force-feedback wheels, which makes for a dynamic driving experience, although I actually prefer the keyboard. You lose some finesse but you gain in reactions - all important in a game like this.
Although based around the 1998 season, with accurate teams and tracks, there are many downloads available to update the game to the 2000 season.
Well, this game is almost perfect... but not quite. I'm not entirely happy with the AI. The other drivers seem quite happy to take you out. It seems that they decide on a line and stick to it no matter what. If you make a mistake (quite easy for a novice) and brake too early or too late and have to run a different line, they will just plow straight into you. Additionally, shutting the door on an attempted overtake manoeuvre may well cost you any chance of finishing. As I improve as a driver this seems to happen less and less as I make fewer mistakes, but there's always the threat of it happening. Then again, maybe this means that the AI is spot on...
Also, the wheel support only allows for 4 buttons. The paddles on my MS Sidewinder wheel are buttons 7 and 8, so I can't use them in the game. This would be really annoying if it weren't for the fact that I prefer using the keyboard.
The Bottom Line
The best Fromula One simulator by far. There may be arcade F1 racers out there which are easy to play, or a little slicker to drive, but nothing compares to this in terms of accurate simulation.
Apparently, a number of F1 drivers actually use this game to familiarise themselves with the circuits. I think that says it all.