Racing games are two a penny these days on the PlayStation2 so what makes Codemasters' Toca Race Driver 3 stand out from the crowd?

Variety is the answer and there is so much to play here that it will take you some time to get even close to finishing it.

The main crux of the game is the World Tour mode that offers 100 individual championships covering 35 different racing disciplines.

What that means in practice is that you can pretty much race any car you've ever imagined including open wheel, stock cars, GT, historic, off-road, rally, supertrucks, go-karts, and even Off Road Monster Trucks.

In game and you have the choice of manipulating your cars performance, or just getting on with racing and the thing we love the most about Toca Race Driver 3 is the approachability of it all.

While we could have spent a good 10 to 15 minutes prepping our car before racing we could also just get on with racing.

Purists will be pleased to hear that the cars handle differently depending on what you are driving and likewise driving on the verge will have an adverse affect also.

If it's not the scenery that affects your driving the damage on the car certainly will. In one race we were racing cars started whizzing past us only for us to hear moments later we'd damaged our gearbox in a collusion just moments before.

When it comes to graphics they are good, but perhaps not as good as GT4, but then the racing and speed more than makes up for it. Additionally you don't have to work your way through that annoying driving lesson mission before you start either.

There's also standard split-screen multiplayer, system link play, and online on all versions of the game. The PS2 version we tested only supports eight players online, but the players of the PC and Xbox versions will be able to play a further 4 players bringing the total to 12.

Verdict

Toca Race Driver 3 is a great racing game that is simple and effective. There isn't anything ground breaking here, but it just works.

The sheer scope and size of what is available makes this a game one that will last you beyond a few months, rather than being bored after the first pit stop.

For petrol heads this is top marks!