Grand Prix 3 – Day 7 of Advent 2019

Time to hit the races.

The cockpit view from a standard race. Looks good, don't it?

You may be looking at this and thinking you know what this game’s all about. And you’d be right. It’s one of these hyper-realistic racing simulations, the sort that I’m often drawn into for one reason or another – but end up bouncing off because I, personally, find them a little insurmountable. No matter what kind of car I’m driving, I can never seem to catch up with the other racers…perhaps I just don’t have the wherewithal to drive properly.

Nevertheless, I must give this game a proper review!

In Grand Prix 3, you get to relive the 1998 Formula 1 season from the perspective of one of a whole bunch of drivers. I only know a handful of names here, but any F1 fans I’m sure will be very happy to see some of their favourites. My dad certainly was.

Only in a hardcore racing simulation would you get a gosh darn weather forecast before you started playing.

Anyway, let’s get into a game. I’ll leave it on the lowest difficulty. Don’t judge me.

Y’know, usually in these game’s it’s “up” to go forwards. In GP3, it’s…not. Up changes who I’m looking at, and for some unknown reason it’s possible to do that during a race. Not only that but you can change the camera angle, from an in-cockpit view to one of those sweeping shots of all the racers. It’s rather spectacular, but heck, here am I stuck in the gravel right at the start of the race.

After some experimentation, it transpires that it’s A to accelerate. Guess that makes sense. Steering is done with comma and full stop, and the spacebar changes gears. Let’s give that one up as a bad job and start again.

It turns out that on the easiest difficulty settings, a lot of the work is done for you. The car will automatically steer a little, plus it’ll brake and accelerate at the right time. It feels a bit clumsy to me, because it’s hard to know just how much steering it’s going to do.

For example, when moving off at the start of a race, it seems to always steer sharply to the left.

Since this is a proper hardcore racing sim as well, you get a ton of options like changing your tyres, tuning your engine, and all this malarkey. There’s also quite a large selection of tracks, which is definitely a good thing, especially since they’re based on real-life tracks.

Graphically, I’m quite impressed as well. The background assets are a little blocky and underdetailed, but that’s balanced out by the relatively high-quality cars. I’m especially fond of the reflections when racing in wet conditions…mmmmmm.

The reflections from the signs are reflected in the reflective nature of the...surface water.

On the other hand, there are a lot of cardboard people, and they’re a little weirdly-proportioned. For example, when a driver gets knocked out of the races, they’ll get out and push their car to safety – and they appear as a cardboard person twice the size of their car.

If you so wish, you can also start a race without actually participating yourself, which makes for some great footage. Hey, maybe I could just use this and claim I was actually really good at driving!

So, all in all, this game is probably fantastic for the target market. Tragically, that ain’t me…I prefer my racers with go-karts, drifting, and furry, orange marsupials.

A black F1 car driving through an underpass, with several other cars in tow.

Verdict: turns out they don’t like being crashed into in F1. Whoops.

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