Forza Motorsport 5 Review


Platform: Xbox One

Developer: Turn 10 Studios

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Release Date: November 22, 2013

Forza Motorsport 5 is an Xbox One launch title that shows off the graphical abilities of the new console that previous generation consoles cannot produce.  For someone who never has been a racing fan, Forza 5 definitely made me into one.  The locales and the cars put me into the driver seat of high octane racing machines, all for one goal – win.  The shear depth of the attention to detail put into this game is breathtaking.  The sheer beauty of the environment left me drilling a wall as I watched an inflatable man dancing in the distance, and I was blinded as the sun shined on the hood of my car.  The incredible lighting and shadows that are in the game, honestly, make the courses look real.  At times, I sometimes wondered if I was looking at a real picture or a video game.

The game sports over 200 cars from over 50 different manufacturers ranging from Ford and Chevrolet to Hennessey and Lamborghini.  Race cars have never looked so good and the detail is phenomenal.  The cars, inside and out, have been crafted with the exact detail of a car on the road today.  The steering wheel has every groove that a normal steering wheel in a vehicle has and the rims of the vehicle show each spec of dirt from the road.  The windows crack in all of the right ways as you smash into walls, and the real style handling in the vehicles create a challenge for even the veteran players.  The time put into the details carries over into the career your car is thrown into.

Your first car is free, and, of course, is a lower-tiered car.  The more races you win, the more experience you earn that unlocks more locales and categories.  Everything is created to keep you learning more and more about the game and wanting to unlock better cars.  You can, of course, alter how you drive by adjusting your braking, handling, directional lines on the track, and much more.

If you turn off all assistance, you earn much more experience if you win.  However, this is very challenging, and I was left doing donuts half of the time.  With practice and devotion, I learned that it’s not all about high speed races.  It’s about learning the tracks and learning every detail so you can brake and speed at the right times.    The sheer innovation of racing in real life has never been more real in a video game.

In addition to that innovation, comes the new Drivatar system.  The Forza 5 Drivatar system learns your driving habits and uses your racing habits create your very own AI racer.  Your AI racer is pitted against other people racing in their games to create a more challenging racing experience rather than using computer models as previous games have done.  This innovation is possible because of the cloud computing the Xbox One system delivers.  However, the Drivatars are sometimes very difficult to beat.

Turn 10 Studios must have known that some Drivatars would be amazing as they developed a system that rewarded you the same amount of experience whether you finish first, second, or third.  Honestly, this is disappointing because third is the new first.  The Drivatars are also very aggressive, but that’s to be expected since it mimics other drivers habits.  Since Forza 5 allows you to wreck many times and continue to do so every race with a repair occurring after each race, why not drive aggressive to win?  That’s unfortunate, however, it creates more of a challenge that past Forza games didn’t have.

Forza 5 does lack in its volume compared to 2011’s Forza Motorsport 4 in terms of cars and tracks.  The game’s split screen multiplayer struggles as there is not a way to drive against Drivatars as you do in single player.  This is unfortunate for people who are looking to share the game with a loved one on the same system.  However, there is definitely more than enough to do and the beauty definitely overcompensates for the lack of cars, tracks, and subpar split screen mode.  Forza 5 is a great launch title for the Xbox One and will more than please the racing enthusiast.