Social classes be damned. The first time I got to see London's posh Mayfair Hotel in all its blue-lit glory, I noticed that there was a Sainsbury's on the corner of the block. Alas, I was not to head towards the swanky five-star ahead of me, but to the equally dressed up Stratstone Land Rover dealership on the adjacent road.
Fitting for a high-brow launch of Forza Motorsport 3
, don't you think? Indeed - Microsoft had all manner of company-branded car porn parked alongside the curb, which irritated the busy traffic dodging the herd of games journalists grazing in the middle of the road.
A chancer saw an opportunity to park right next to the party venue - but he was denied! By the strong hands of a Microsoft rep telling the driver to jog on (in not so many words). That space was for the Aston Martin DB9, naturally.
Inside the venue was an overwhelming amount of Forza 3
displays and promotional material, as you would expect from a launch party. Everyone was waiting for the special guest to arrive - Murray Walker, sports commentator legend, along with the lovely Jodie Kidd.
The pair arrived in style, driving a sports car right up to the doorstep before being ushered against a backdrop for the gaggle of newspaper photographers to blind them with Flash +2. The assault had no effect, as Murray and Jodie still had sight to find their way in to the party and on to the stage for a Forza
During the on-stage presentation, we heard Murray talk about 'passion' and the indescribable detail that Turn 10 have made into this latest iteration of its racing hit. Cue comedy video of two Xbox reps trying to drive the first production copy of Forza 3
to this press event, with the help of Jodie Kidd. Hi-larious. But still, Jodie Kidd.
The former fashion model took to the wheel on stage to play an online match against several other guys in the same room, and suffice it to say she whupped everyone's butts. The stage show was rounded off with Murray telling us to have a drink (cheers) and Norwegian metal band El Caco playing a title track from the game. Those guys rocked hard.
As we drank champagne and mingled against a backdrop of DJs 'spinning decks' (or whatever they were doing), there was ample opportunity to give the actual game a go. Wouldn't you know, we were there for reasons other than boozing it up (well, loosely)? So I jumped into a driving seat with an Xbox 360 Driving Controller installed and enjoyed a couple of races.
I played through the Silverstone and Suzuka raceways, using a Dodge Viper in my first go (which didn't end so well) and a Toyota Celica, and both cars handled very differently, with the Celica being much less advanced car to handle.
Feeling the resistance of the wheel when turning corners and getting used to just how much turning is required to get the best out of each car was a great penny-dropping moment. The tracks have been beautifully recreated here, and a helpful line system offered the recommended method of driving around the bends. Unfortunately, I kept butting it up.
Ultimately, I'm no good at driving games, much less simulations, and although I could tell the quality of the game and physics shone throughout, it didn't prevent my poor ass from spinning off the track every five seconds. I came second one time though. I'll take that home with me.
Alongside my antics reporting on Twitter
, I also took the liberty of taking loads of snaps - enjoy! Forza Motorsport 3
will hit the Xbox 360 on the 23rd October 2009.
Our review is up this very afternoon. Check back to see if Forza 3
beats Forza 2