Forza Motorsport 6 Review
Reviewed on Microsoft Xbox One
Back when the Xbox One launched Forza Motorsport 5 was meant to be the flagship racer, the killer app, the Gran Turismo beater that would potentially migrate Sony buffs across to the platform, unfortunately however, whilst it was good on the eye it was ultimately a flawed, seemingly rushed driving experience. Forza 5 lacked content and any real sense of character, making the entry into the franchise arguably the weakest we’d seen to date - a quite common occurrence in the early life cycle of this console generation it seems. Scaled back, light on content but a bit prettier have become accepted norms - for comparison check out our launch review. Then there is the other side of the Forza franchise, the Horizon series. A series which also made its debut on the Xbox One last year and was considered by some, included the team at The Digital Fix, as the first real killer app for the console - check out here our review
Fast forward just under two years and the team at Turn 10 appear to have very much redeemed themselves with the more complete, more fun and even better looking Forza Motorsport 6.
This new Forza isn’t necessarily a complete game changer but the sheer amount of content and the technical wizardry on show is fantastic. As you begin your foray into the world of Forza Motorsport 6 you are introduced to the majority of its core concepts, drip-fed through some qualification races and through acquiring a handful of cars.
Let’s get this out of the way early....one of the key, highly marketed features for the new racer is the addition of wet weather racing and more varying weather generally. On the face of it the introduction of wet weather racing could be seen as a positive even just from an aesthetic point of view. However what is genuinely stunning about the addition of this feature is beyond simple looks, even though it looks incredible racing around Brands Hatch in the booting down rain, it’s the combination of race-changing physics and the feedback from the car to the player that absolutely steals the show. Not only is everything technically superb, running at a rock solid 60fps, looking gorgeous, but the feel of the car through the pad when playing in the rain is just fantastic. The often underappreciated rumble triggers really come into play alongside the varying levels of general pad rumble engaged when hitting these still, flat pieces of water found on the track - it is quite a new sensation for the hands in a racing game. It takes some getting used to for sure as the car aggressively veers off when you hit water but it just feels so right and adds a new level of realism to an already excellent simulation. So good in fact is this feature that it actually does the game a disservice when new rain effects are a bullet point on a piece of advertising, it’s actually so much more and perhaps the biggest compliment will come when we see how much it is copied over the next one to two years in competitor titles - gut feel is it will be.
Content wise it’s really tough to fault the guys at Turn 10 this time around. Boasting a mind boggling 450 cars, complete with a myriad of configurations, tweaks and custom paint jobs it’s tough for any car enthusiast to grumble. Alongside this the game has a stunning twenty-six playable real life race tracks for you to bomb around whether it be in the multi-faceted career mode, free play, test drive, league mode, rivals mode or online/offline multiplayer mode. As well as all of these modes there is also something called Showcase Races; these are given to you as optional extras once you have completed a main race. Therefore, in the campaign for example, you have four to six races per category, within which you must choose or buy new, a car to compete. Following each of these four to six races you will be given the option to enter the Showcase Races section. Now these are arguably the ‘fun’ part of this iteration of the franchise, a franchise which if you ignore the little sister, Forza Horizons, generally lacks any fun whatsoever - it’s a simulator and therefore super serious. Well during the Showcase Races it lets its hair down a little with the ability to complete challenges for the Top Gear crew, sadly minus the punchy Jeremy Clarkson, seeing you fly around the Top Gear track in the latest speedster or play football with Renault Clios, as you do. This all adds up to a broader, more engaging and generally more fun Forza experience from last year’s outing and really keeps you coming back for more.
Returning from previous iterations is the driver levelling system which sees additional XP awarded the harder you make the game for yourself, through the turning off of driving aids and increasing the drivatar difficulties per race. That word had to come again sadly, but yes, driveatars return and whilst the name is a bit silly the feature is a good one. These racers are actually profiles of the friends off your friends list, their driving styles, and habits moulded into a simulated race, and you come up against them time after time. What could easily be passed off as a gimmick really shows itself to be a technical marvel as your mate’s driveatar rams you off a long straight without provocation exactly like your actual mate would! This feature has always added a light feeling of socialising without having to actual socialise and it’s a very welcome break from just racing against the rubber banding bots which we see to this day in a lot of racing franchises.
Bonus free spins are still a feature upon each level increase, providing the player with anything from a £2m concept car to £10,000 cash, and as well as this affinity levels make a return. These are more straightforward and offer you a simple reward for every manufacturer you stick with long term and level up. Like Mazdas? Buy all the Mazdas, just race using them and this stat will fly up gaining you big bonuses for a long term commitment.
Everything just feels better than it did in Forza Motorsport 5 and the wealth of content really highlights how rushed launch titles often are. Forza Motorsport 6 is a truly fantastic racing simulator; bursting with content, a banquet for the eyes, at times a technical marvel and unlike the previous release in the franchise, damn good fun! The new water effects are what will be talked about and to a degree rightly so but don’t let that soundbite be your only take away from a Forza Motorsport 6 write up, there is a lot more here than simply nice effects. A must buy for any racing fan or car nut.