I thing I must have been one of the very first to buy TOCA 3, and had high expectations from the rave reviews it had. Overall I think it's a great game - the cars and effects are all very realistic (in spite of what certain reviewers said), but being an all-out motoring enthusiast, I do find it a bit lacking - The same tracks are featured over and over again, there is no 'real' championship - you just get to participate in a number of races. The game also has a few shortcomings:
1 - If you feel like stopping half way through a tournament, you cannot race anything else or practice a difficult track, 'cos you'll lose the progress (and wuill have to start again), so you'll need to have more than 1 profile
2 - you can only race designated cars in designated tracks. So you can only race rally cars in rally tracks. for example, I would have loved to go for a spin with the Audi Quattro or Lancia Stratos in Silverstone...
3 - gearchange is the same for all cars - bloody quick! For example, I'm using a force feedback wheel with pedals (essential for the game), so when I'm changing gears manually on a 1955 Mercedes grand prix car or a Lotus GP car, the shift is just as quick as when I'm driving a Mitsubishi Evo (which could have a standard sequential box in reality!), so this is a bit unrealistic.
4 - In world tour mode, although you may be penalised for dangerous driving, the other drivers seem to be immune, and their driving can be absolutely awful. Starting in anything else from pole position makes it almost impossible to arrive home with the car still intact.This happens particularly in the DTM, where drivers are in reality much more professional!
If you search for the nitty gritty, you find that with a smashed and popped-off front windsceen you still manage to make fastest laps! Other damage is quite well reproduced, though, like suspension damage.
Black flags and penalties are pretty nonsensical. Imagine running wide in a corner, hitting the sand trap and losing an easy 3 seconds - guess what? the timing gets forfeited! Lap split times and details of other drivers' performace are also very lacking (that's why it seems to be a kid's toy sometimes).
I do believe that the producers of this game tried to make it appeal to too wide a spectrum of players - ranging from kids to adults. So it's a bit of a jack of all trades if you get my idea.
Though there may be TOCA 4 on the way, I will surely not be looking forward to it. I was tempted with Colin McRae's Dirt, but I'm afraid that it's going to be the same run of the mill product, with the only difference that Dirt will be wholly offroad. Perhaps I should stick to games that concentrate on one discipline and do it well, and stand clear from ambitious projects.