Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: Xbox One
Release Date: September 15th
It’s been 10 years since the first Forza Motorsport made its way onto store shelves. Somehow, Forza Motorsport 6 is my first real foray into the mainline series, and all I can do is ask myself why I’ve taken so long. As someone who’s been raised along with Gran Turismo’s way of doing things, I’m pretty smitten with how Forza manages to present the genre in such an intriguing manner.
As is the case with pretty much everything in the game, you’re able to fine-tune each aspect of how hard the game is.
Rather than being relegated to driver classes and licenses, Forza 6 offers a five-volume career mode that’s based around car subcultures and car types. This mode highlights the “Stories of Motorsport,” with each volume consisting of multiple series and races related to the volume’s theme. What this means in the long run is that you aren’t slogging your way through tests and trials and tracks with the worst of cars (though, admittedly, there is some sense of reward in finally earning a formidable vehicle to race in). While you have access to a limited range of vehicles right at the outset, the types of cars at your choosing are already respectable.
This doesn’t make the game easy, though, as you will still have to earn each and every victory. I learned that the hard way, starting the game off on the Veteran difficulty. I was immediately humbled. Understanding the quirks of how each car performs takes some time, but luckily, you’re welcome to change difficulties between races and customize different facets until you’re ready to drive with the best of them.
As is the case with pretty much everything in the game, you’re able to fine-tune each aspect of how hard the game is. This includes adjusting things like the suggested line, which is a series of arrows imposed on the track that highlight the recommended path you should take as well as when you should apply your brakes, or whether or not the computer provides assistance with braking, steering, traction, stability, and if any damage to your vehicle actually affects its performance or if it’s only cosmetic.
The rewind function returns here and allows you to go back a few seconds to undo anything, like an errant turn or a crash, at the push of a button. This may seem like a crutch – it can be turned off – but it’s a wonderfully efficient way to get acclimated to how each different vehicle drives.
Of course, if you happen to find even the most difficult settings too manageable, you’re able to increase the aggressiveness of your A.I. opponents. These Drivatars, impressively, are based on the racing behaviors of other actual players (with data used from those who’ve played Forza 5 and Forza Horizon 2). The highest of the eight available Drivatar difficulty levels is Unbeatable, which should give any pro a good challenge.
Top Gear’s James May and Richard Hammond really sell the overall experience with high quality voice over, providing Forza 6 with a relatively rich narrative rarely seen in simulation racing games.
Progression feels natural, with races offering you experience points, affinity points and credits. The higher the difficulty level you play at, the more you earn. You even earn if you fail the objective required to advance, so you feel like your time is never wasted. Every time your Driver Level increases, you get a randomly chosen award that ranges from credits to mods to cars, which makes for a fun little diversion. The affinity points, which affect how well you can drive a particular make of car, are a clever way to get you to try out all of the different vehicles the game has to offer.
If you somehow find the career mode’s racing to be far too linear or restrictive, Showcase events are unlocked along the way. Objectives like endurance races, high-speed chases, and 1-on-1 races make for a refreshing break. Further, while you may be stuck in one volume’s set of cars, the Showcase events allow you to test out special vehicles you don’t yet have access to, cleverly giving you a taste of what’s to come.
The presentation is a step above the rest in the genre. Speaking to the game’s accessibility, the user interface is top-notch. Its design takes the genre’s generally deep and confusing series of menus and submenus and makes them easy to navigate. The concise and welcoming narration also helps with keeping track of your progress and makes detailing how you should proceed very clear.
Top Gear’s James May and Richard Hammond really sell the overall experience with high quality voice over, providing Forza 6 with a relatively rich narrative rarely seen in simulation racing games. For instance, the Super Street Series briefly covers how some youths get into the racing scene early in high school, taking old, beat-up cars and modifying and tuning them up, just learning about vehicles in general. While it’s simple, it’s a story I found easy to relate to, which just enhanced my experience by really immersing me in the different types of driving subcultures.
My favorite aspect of any game, regardless of genre, is customization, and Forza 6 is no slouch in this department. You’re able to adjust minute details like suspension, brakes, and tires to really fine-tune your car’s performance, but the customization isn’t just limited to how awesome you can make your car run. I’ve spent hours with the game’s ridiculously extensive design hub. A multitude of paint colors, vectors, and designs are all available at the outset. With the community aspect of it, the visual customization options are really only limited to one’s creativity with the tools provided. You can also import any designs made in Forza 5 or Forza Horizon 2.
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Forza Motorsport 6 has certainly tested my genre loyalties. It’s a more accessible experience than I’m used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its challenges; they’re just offered in a more diverse and overall more entertaining way. It’s easy to get into thanks to its smart design, and its plethora of customization options means it’s far from easy to master. I would have liked more locations to race in, but this is about the total package, and Forza Motorsport 6 has it.
A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.
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