Forza Motorsport 6 is touted as the ultimate Forza experience with over 450 cars, a fair number of tracks and configurations, and now there’s wet and night racing. For fans of the series it’s a pretty exciting change, but how does it really hold up following the release of a number of fantastic racing games over the past few months? Does it remain in pole position, or does it spin out on the first corner?
Racing games have never really been my forte, specifically arcade racers. I remember getting my ass handed to me on Ridge Racer for the PlayStation, and even Sega Rally for the Dreamcast beat me down. However, this new breed of Racing Simulation games have caught my eye over the past couple of years, and though more open-world affairs are more my thing, Forza Motorsport 6 has really surprised me.
After briefly playing Forza Motorsport 4 then finally jumping deep into Forza Horizon 2, the Forza series has left a lasting impression on me. Although I love the open worlds found in Horizon 2, I was pulled into the more strict racing disciplines found in Project CARS, so I opted to review Forza Motorsport 6 to see how it compared.
It’s worth noting though, that while both Project CARS and Forza Motorsport 6 are both racing simulators, they’re both vastly different, despite having a number of similar vehicles and identical tracks to race on.
From what I’ve heard the Forza series strives on realism when it comes to tire on tracks, and after spending a good 20 hours with Forza Motorsport 6, that is unbelievably evident.
So, loading up the game, I was introduced to the game and then instantly rewarded with some vehicles due to my past experiences with Forza games, though being called a veteran at the game was a pretty loose term. From here I was thrown into a tutorial-type race in the brand new 2017 Ford GT.
Immediately I was impressed with the visual fidelity of the game. This was the first game where I’ve really noticed the 60 frames per second, and graphically it’s just a stunning game. Even being thrown in the new Ford GT wasn’t that overwhelming as the game immediately slapped Assists on as I went about my way.
Assists are something that have always been present in the Forza series. These allow players of all experiences to dive right into the game and have a feeling of enjoyment as they throw a million dollar car around corners with ease. And though Forza can quite easily be a stunning arcade racer, the real fun is turning Assists off and really trying to keep a hold of the vehicle.
While the gameplay is largely the same as previous instalments, there are a number of new additions to this particular title. The first is the addition of Mods. Mods, in short, are both permanent and temporary perks which you can attach to your vehicle to either get ahead of the game or earn yourself some cheeky points. Essentially Mods could be considered a Forza equivalent of Loot. Players can either purchase Mod booster packs using the in-game currency, or they can earn Mods by completing certain challenges and levelling up.
There are two types of mods, mods which you can attach permanently, with both Crew and Dare mods being these, and other single-use mods which offer XP or Manufacturer Affinity by doing certain things in a race. Mods can either boost your performance, or make racing round a track you’ve been around a million times already, that little bit more fun.
It’s a very interesting addition to the game, but for those who want a core racing sim, this particular feature can feel a bit gimmicky.
The Affinity system makes a return, this time offering you more in the way of vehicles to become fans of. This really did help when progressing through the game as it makes you realise which company’s vehicles you favour the most. For me it’s Honda and Ford. XP is also present again with each level offering you a Lucky Spin to help you win in-game cash or vehicles.
In addition to Mods, night and wet racing has been added to the game, but unlike Project CARS which features customisable and dynamic weather systems, Forza Motorsport’s night and wet racing is limited to just a handful of specific tracks.
That being said, the two types of racing are game changers. Night racing really does throw you into the pitch black, with certain tracks going from fairly well lit, to completely dark and you’re relying purely on your headlights to get around. Wet racing on the otherhand is a complete cluster fuck.
The reason for this is because of the risk of aquaplaning. You’ll be happily racing around a track following the guideline, but then it’ll have you going through a puddle on a corner, then boom, you’ll be spinning out faster than an over excited puppy chasing its tail. It’s the addition of these two types of conditions which really makes Forza Motorsport 6 stand out from the crowd as they are complete game changers.
It also makes you quickly see that the advised racing line is just a crock of shit and once you turn it off and judge the road for yourself, you’ll have a lot of fun.
I’ll be honest, I have Assists on, I have the racing line to show me when to brake, I have ABS on, and I have TCS and STM on, steering is also set to “Normal”. For the fun of it however, I turned everything off to see exactly how much help I was receiving from the game, and what I can tell you is that you should never do that, ever.
I probably had the worst time ever, but on the plus side I truly felt just how much effort was put into the vibration feedback in the controller, specifically the vibration in the triggers. Ever since the launch of the Xbox One, the Forza series has made the best use of the vibration feedback in the controller, and with zero assists I really understood why that was a good thing.
Each trigger vibration offered vital feedback to let you know that either, your tires are spinning so ease off the accelerator, or your tyres are locking up, ease off the brake. Sure, the feedback is also present when you have Assists on, but usually you’re driving well enough to barely experience the full extent of what the feedback can offer.
This did help me understand how to read the road and read the vehicle and it did improve my driving somewhat with assists off, but it did also cause me to drive around like a bit of a Sunday driver.
Now, with more cars, more tracks, and even more things to do, does Forza Motorsport 6 keep my attention. In some ways, yes. Turn 10 have done a great job to give the game a little more variety than just racing tracks over and over, but on the other hand, there’s nothing more to Forza Motorsport 6 than just racing.
Yes, It’s a racing sim, yes, I understand that there’s little more that can be done with a game based purely on racing some of the world’s most famous tracks. But I did find myself with gamer’s fatigue a number of times while playing.
Thankfully there’s the option of split-screen multiplayer, something which was missing from Forza Horizon 2 and even Project CARS. This allowed me and my wife to go head to head in any car on any track. However this too got a little tiresome after a little while as racing one-on-one on what was essentially an open road became tedious. This eventually caused us to turn damage to Simulation, and race as fast as we can head first into each other to test how “simulation” the damage was.
Unfortunately we were left with a bit of a wonky tire, and that was about it. This was also the time I became really worried when my wife screamed out “What is this shit? I wanted fireballs! I wanted DEATH!” It’s safe to say, no matter how fast you drive into a wall in Forza Motorsport 6, you won’t experience fireballs, nor will you experience death.
Fans of the Forza Motorsport series will likely recall that when choosing a car or racing type, you’ll be greeted by the pleasant voices of the Top Gear crew, but as you’d expect with what’s been happening recently, the Top Gear inclusion to the game is very, very limited with James May and Richard Hammond occasionally offering voice overs for really obscure parts of the game.
The Top Gear branding is there, but it just feels very flat. There’s a number of showcase challenges where you can race The Stig, or in this case, The Stig’s virtual cousin. But without the voice-overs of Jeremy Clarkson, May, and Hammond, it just feels like a cheep 99p Store rip-off. They might as well have called him The Stog, and left it at that. Fair play to Turn 10 though, as they only had a few months following the drama to make changes in the game.
Though I’m a good 20-30 hours into the game, I feel that I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s to offer. The career itself is enormous and that’s not even including the game’s showcase events which offer the chance to race in a variety of vehicles. Not to mention the game’s multiplayer, which we haven’t had a chance to actually try out fully yet, what with the game’s release being next week.
That being said, if the game’s visual fidelity can hold up while trying to keep up with other players, then the Multiplayer will likely shine in itself too.
Overall, Forza Motorsport 6 has improved on all of the things people disliked about Forza 5. The addition of wet and night racing makes for a really interesting twist to racing the same sun-drenched tracks, and the showcase offers some variety from the campaign. As with most racing games though, there’s only so many times you can blitz around a track before you’re bored to tears, though that might just be me.
This review of Forza Motorsport 6 was written using a review code provided by Microsoft.