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TOCA is back, more comprehensive

TOCA Race Driver 3 to feature sim and arcade oriented game modes, and simulate things right down to the effects of fuel consumption.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Codemasters has revealed that TOCA Race Driver 3 is due out on PS2, Xbox and PC this winter - and reckons it's going to look better, simulate things more completely and offer the most comprehensive array of options for the mixture of speed freaks and sim fiends who call its tracks home. Screenshots here.

Like TOCA 2 it combines a load of wildly different motorsports, touching on 35 racing disciplines, except this time it splits them into a more sim-oriented Pro Career mode, which allows you to focus on more specific areas, and the anticipated narrative-driven World Tour mode, which shows you everything.

It's all being built on a reworked game engine that simulates car damage and its effects to a far greater degree than before, keeping hold of its realistic physics and once again including head-to-head online multiplayer options on all formats.

The new game modes have been designed to make the game more inclusive - Codies recognising that TOCA's built up a following that straddles the line between arcade and simulation.

Pro Career lets you focus on a single discipline - including GT, Off Road, Touring Cars, Historic, Open Wheel, Rally and Oval - with multiple championships covering it. For example, Open Wheel drivers will start off in Go-Karts before ascending through Formula 1000, Formula BMW and Formula 3, right up to a place on the BMW Williams Formula 1 team.

There'll also be specific career modes for DTM and V8 Supercars featuring the correct 2005 season data - with car set-ups to tweak, and practice sessions and qualifying races to tackle too.

For the gamer in need of more immediate thrills, Codies also offers the World Tour mode, which features race-driven cinematic story elements like the previous two TOCA Race Driver games, and more championships than before which span the length and breadth of its 35-sport roster.

Speaking of which, Codies has revealed that among the 35 will be British GT, Muscle Cars, V8 Supercars, DTM, Monster Trucks, Baja Motocross, Formula Palmer Audi, Historic Grand Prix, Touring Sports Cars, Formula 3, and Formula 1 with BMW Williams. There'll also be loads of specialised championships, complete with proper race rules - warm up laps, flags, and full car set-up.

Technically the game should look nicer, judging by the screenshots, but it's under the bonnet that things have taken a real turn. And under the wheel arches, behind the radiator, etc. This time it's simulating full tyre wear, tyre and engine temperatures, real world engine inertia and even the effect of fuel consumption on weight distribution - for every vehicle.

The improved Terminal Damage Engine is the subject of intense work now to make collisions and crashes more spectacular - as you can probably tell from the screenshots - and studio head Gavin Raeburn says that after "almost a year" in development the level of simulation is now so refined that if you overdo it on the track, "radiators will overheat, tyres will burnout, engines will blow - the works".

"This detail means the actual races become far more exciting and tactical. You may be a good enough driver to get to the front of the pack, but can you stay there when your engine is threatening to rip itself out and there's hardly any rubber left on your rims?"

We'll bring you more on TOCA 3 as soon as the rubber meets the road.

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