Well, I'm not going to be real eloquent or complete here because I'm quite tired from a busy day. My very early impression is that Colin McRae 3 is a freaking blast. Just a joy to drive, a really sweet combination of arcade and sim handling, with really nice visual feedback; from the way the car body leans and swings, the independent wheel motions and undulations, the way the car sinks down onto its shocks when you land a jump, and even the dust trail. It's all high-class and very well executed. So far the track design is superb, I haven't unlocked a thing. I spent the evening (when not in Apex, which I will get to later) playing the initially open stages. Lots of uneven roadway, some tracks have serious dips and trenches on or along side the road. The road can be 'read' to some extent, like in Sweden you can see the road change from dry snow cover to ice, and the car handlng changes in response. If you like complex, controlled powerslides, this is your game. These aren't the "high-maintenence" powerslides of World of Outlaws Sprintcars, where one false move sends you off into space...but they also aren't the more simplistic "gun-n-go" slides from WRC. The slides in CMR3 seem manageable but not totally predictable...and fun as hell. Damage modelling looks to be about the best I've seen (although V-Rally 3 is hard to beat in this dept). At one point (well, maybe more than once ) I sideswiped a tree, and sure enough the door on the side dented convincingly. I also noticed that my handling got slightly skewed after roughing the car up a bit. One puzzling thing is that it's not running in progressive scan on the Xbox. I looked through the settings and I don't see a setting for it. The game options (not the car setup options) are one of the game's weak points, they are quite basic. Overall, this game is about pure driving joy. The eye-candy is workman-like, the realism is lavished on the car and it's physics, on a few dynamic elements of the car, and not on rich detailed environments (although they are nothing to sneeze at). Personally, I don't mind this. Of course, I'd rather have a game that handled like this and looked like Rallisport. But until then, my initial impression is that this is the rally game to beat. Maybe the best thing I can say is that it has fully met my high expectations, which is pretty rare these days.