Ever since emerging onto the scene way back in the 70s, Racing games have successfully resonated with fans as an ever-evolving genre fueled by innovation, acceleration, and excitement. No matter how complex or difficult everyday life may be, these types of gameplay experiences always brought out the competitive spirit in people and served as the perfect distraction from the norm. In May of 2005, Turn 10 Studios contributed to this movement by introducing us all to Forza Motorsport, an ambitious racing game simulator that exceeded expectations and became a critically acclaimed franchise for the Xbox brand.
Now in its tenth anniversary year as a series, the latest entry is nothing short of marvelous and is destined to drive a lot of Xbox One Elite Controller and console sales this fall. Simply put, Forza Motorsport 6 leaves a historical imprint on the genre and convincingly takes the crown as the undisputed champion of racing games.
Forza Motorsport games have always been deeply rooted in the philosophy of providing an immersive experience by casually allowing players to race in different types of vehicles and complete objectives across various locations. For this reason, there isn’t really a traditional story mode, but rather a dynamic educational career perspective on the history of motorsport and how each automobile played a role in its growth over the decades. In Forza Motorsport 6, this career mode is referred to as Stories of Motorsport and players are tasked with participating in 5 unique volumes that define various aspects of racing. Below is a brief overview of each volume and how they keep the career mode engaging:
Super Street Volume – Introduces players to the world of street racing.
Sports Icon Volume – Sports car focused career path with sporty vehicles to choose from.
Grand Touring Volume – Allows players to compete in grand tour races across the globe.
Professional Racing Volume – Allows players to experience professional race car driving.
Ultimate Motorsport Volume – Lets players experience the world of motorsport in all its glory.
Each volume receives a brief narrated introduction by a driving specialist in that field. It’s worth noting that you can’t skip over each volume as you are expected to complete a certain number of objectives before unlocking the next one. However, participating in this 70 plus hour career mode does unlock 87 showcase events across 10 different categories that can be played throughout the course of the game. These events are very reminiscent of Forza Horizon 2’s showdowns but are vastly different as far as pushing your driving and maneuvering skills to the limit. Here is a quick list of the categories for these showcase events to give you an idea of what to expect:
Boudurant Autocross – Tests handling skills and precision driving around various courses.
Endurance Racing – Tests you ability to race numerous laps while preserving gas and energy level.
Factory Spec Racing – Levels the playing field and makes you race against others in the same vehicle.
High-Speed Chase – Lets you race against various generations of cars by the same manufacturer.
Moments in Motorsport – Lets you relive and create various moments in the motorsport history.
Passing Challenge – Tests your ability to pass as many cars as possible while driving the fastest vehicles.
Top Gear Stig-1 – Participate in one-on-one races with Top Gear’s fictional driver named The Stig.
Race Driver Experience – Participate in grueling professional race car driver matchups.
Track Ray Shootout – Race against various type of cars to determine which car is at the top of the pack.
Top Gear Showcase – Top Gear sponsored showcase events that test skill and speed on various courses.
With so much staggering content already highlighted above, it is worth mentioning some of the other details that make this the best entry in the series so far. For starters, Forza Motorsport 6 comes with 460 Forzavista compatible cars that can be purchased with post race earned currency, rented, and customized right out of the gate. In addition to customizing vehicles, you’ll also be able to personalize liveries, adjust tuning, and purchase mod packs to enhance your overall experience. Loyal Forza players are also rewarded with special cars and badges through the Forza Hub app based on how often they played other games in the series over the years. Considering that microtransactions were heavily criticized for their inclusion in Forza Motorsport 5, it’s great to see that the developers have finally listened to the fans and got rid of them altogether. A season pass and additional DLC content will still be optional purchases for consumers, but this isn’t any different from how these practices are normally done today.
Graphically, this is easily the best-looking Forza game in recent memory. Each and every single car in this title is perfectly modeled after its original and is fully capable of being damaged in aggressive matchups. Just as Tony Polanco described in his preview, the cockpit first-person view is nothing short of spectacular and makes you actually feel comfortable enough to play through every race the same way. Finally, traveling across 26 world-renowned destinations has never looked better, and this is all thanks to the game running at a full 1080p and 60fps. Many have criticized the Xbox One for failing to reach both of these feats before, and I’m personally glad that now all of these critics can finally be silenced.
From a gameplay standpoint, the introduction of new wet-weather dynamics and 3D puddles drastically changes the way that you play the game. Participating in these types of races require skill and precision as driving too fast over puddles can cause your vehicle to lose control and hit a nearby wall. The same level of skill is needed for night driving as visibility is easily diminished and you’ll have to pay close attention to every turn you make. These dynamics are all made possible by the newly implemented ForzaTech engine and gives an accurate portrayal of how certain vehicles would operate under these circumstances.
After seeing all that the career mode has to offer, players can dive headfirst into the multiplayer aspects of the game. Rivals returns and gives you an opportunity to challenge your friends’ times on previous races or set a new record that they can attempt to break at a later time. Also new to this year’s game is an option called Leagues which essentially matches you up with racers of the same skill level and forms 24-car online racing competitions. Lastly, you can participate in private multiplayer matchups, take cars for test drives, and participate in free race mode with the computer or a friend in split-screen racing action. All of these things are highly engaging and destined to keep hardcore driving game fans busy for a long time.
With so many positives to talk about regarding this game, there are at least two nitpicky thoughts that I have about it. The first comes from my belief that the game could have had more tracks than it currently does. I fully respect and appreciate Turn 10’s dedication to recreate realistic courses for this game, but I’m also curious to see what they could achieve if they allowed players to customize tracks down the road. Given that this game promotes creativity and has a strong community, I would be shocked if we don’t see a build your own track feature in future iterations.
One other aspect that I was a bit bothered by was the fact that constantly changing weather dynamics haven’t yet made its way into this title. While you can easily race in day, night, and rainy weather conditions, it truly would be more challenging to race in at least two of these dynamics at the same time. Furthermore, adding windy or icy conditions to any of the already prearranged options can also raise the difficulty bar further. I understand this may be asking too much seeing as how this ForzaTech engine only just debuted this year, but I definitely expect to see strides like these in the next game.
Minor gripes aside, I still stand firmly by my belief that Forza Motorsport 6 is a significant leap forward in the franchise and the best racing game currently on the market. If you own an Xbox One and you’re a racing game aficionado, then this should be an automatic day one purchase.
This review was based on a digital review copy of Forza Motorsport 6 for the Xbox One provided by Microsoft Studios.