Forza Motorsport Review
After 6 years, the Forza Motorsport series has finally returned to the hands of aspiring racers everywhere. The 8th entry in the franchise, simply named Forza Motorsport, looks to reinvigorate the franchise with more detailed visuals, enhanced & expanded physics, and even more accessibility features than ever before. Does this simulation racer have what it takes to stay ahead of the competition?
For the uninitiated, it’s worth noting that Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon, while sharing the same publisher, are two separate franchises with two significantly different focuses on racing. The Forza Horizon franchise is focused more on over-the-top, arcade style racing with an emphasis on exploration in a light-hearted, party environment. On the other hand, Forza Motorsport is the more serious sibling in the Forza universe, with a deeper focus on realism and recapturing authentic racing by utilizing real tracks from around the world. While both games can be customized to cater to a wide audience, Forza Horizon would likely appeal more to a casual gaming audience, while Forza Motorsport is geared more to the hardcore racing fan. Over the years, I’ve personally been fond of the Forza Horizon series, but still have enjoyed much of what Forza Motorsport has to offer.
Tours of Motorsport
The meat of Forza Motorsport is the career “Tours of Motorsport” mode. In Tours of Motorsport, you’ll be introduced to a new-to-Forza gameplay loop; practice, starting grid, race. While I appreciate what it’s attempting to do, the execution feels like an attempt to get more mileage from the tracks & tours. And this makes it feel artificially bloated. In every tour, before each race, you are required to complete three practice laps on the track first. While I appreciate what the goal was here; track familiarization and leveling-up your car (more on that later), unfortunately, it creates a dull experience.
Following the practice, you’ll be required to pick where on the starting grid you want to start the race from. The closer to the front of the pack, the lower the payout is if you win – but it also increases your chances of winning. It’s a gamble, and one that I don’t mind having included. After picking your starting position, you’ll finally race.
There is a new element to tracks called Segments which have been included to help spice things up, particularly during those dull practices. Each track has a variety of Segments, usually three or four. These Segments are short portions of a track that encourage racers to master. Complete the Segments in the shortest window of time while maintaining control of the vehicle. These mini-challenges are a welcome addition, and help make practices feel a bit less monotonous. However, I would still prefer the ability to opt out of practices completely.
She Drives Me Crazy
Forza Motorsport offers a large variety of cars for aspiring racers to drive. As a fan of the James Bond franchise, having access to a bunch of different Aston Martin vehicles was a huge treat. I was also fond of racing with vehicles from the year I was born – and in many cases, I’m happy to report that I have aged better than some of those 80’s cars.
Each car must be either purchased or rewarded by completing certain tasks, save for a handful of cars you’ll receive initially. And once you choose a car, you’ll be limited to the type of enhancements & upgrades you can add until you level it up. That’s right, the devs have added a sort of RPG element to Forza Motorsport, or as they affectionally referred to it during our pre-release interviews; CarPG. Leveling up your car is achieved through racing and handling in-track Segments as best as possible. As you race, you’ll be prompted every time your car levels up. It’s nice to be provided with these momentary boasts mid-race as it adds a further sense of accomplishment.
As for the car upgrade process, well, I won’t dive too deep into that here. I am by no means a “car guy” and I couldn’t be less interested in the upgrading process. All I really cared about was increased stats to make my car better in all the meaningful ways (read: go faster!). Thankfully, a Quick Upgrade option is available and you’ll be provided a quick & simple process to upgrade without much thought. It’s also wedged in between races, so you won’t forget!
À La Mode
Aside from the game’s Career “Tours of Motorsport” mode, which most folks will spend the bulk of their time, there are a couple other modes of note. There is a Featured Multiplayer mode, which dumps you into a variety of different curated multiplayer tours. You’ll spend some time waiting here, as you’ll need to wait until a set time before the tour begins. I can’t really speak to the performance of multiplayer, as there wasn’t anyone playing while I was reviewing.
Unfortunately, there are no options to disable crossplay, so Xbox gamers will be forced to play alongside PC players – so I imagine it won’t be long before PC players ruin the experience with various mods & hacks. Another mode worth mentioning, and one that I imagine I’ll come back to at some point, is the Rivals mode. In Rivals, you’ll go one-on-one against a ghost of a real life player. You’ll compete for the best lap time in any of the different tracks and car classes. It’s a quick, to-the-point mode without any need for waiting or anything.
Visual Highlights… and Lowlights
Let’s get one thing straight, the vehicles in this game are absolutely stunning. I imagine anyone would be hard-pressed to find a video game with better looking vehicle models. In fact, the overall visual package of Forza Motorsport is top notch. One of the highlights for me was racing a late evening track, and as each lap was finished, the night sky became more and more dark and the stars became more and more bright. It was beautiful. Unfortunately, some of the background scenery can look a bit stale. The crowds and some of the greenery, such as trees, looked a bit… bland. It’s a minor issue, especially since you’ll spend most of the time zooming past, you’d hardly notice.
When you first play the game, you’ll be given the chance to pick between three different visual options. The most visually impressive version, capped at 30 frames-per-second, the middle of the road option, with solid visuals and a goal of 60 frames-per-second, or the performance option, which scales back visuals even more, but consistent 60 frames-per-second. I opted to utilize the middle option, and it annoys me that games like this even give me the choice. I feel like I’m missing out no matter which option I choose.
Well-Worth a Try
Forza Motorsport is an excellent simulation racer with plenty to offer fans for months and months to come. Turn 10 Studios has even shared their plans to support Forza Motorsport for the foreseeable future. The game has a solid selection of modes to choose from, including online multiplayer. The visuals are some of the best in gaming. And the game does an amazing job of offering plenty of difficulty and accessibility options to cater to most gamers’ needs.
With that said, there were a few sore spots. Some of the visuals, particularly the background visuals, were a bit underwhelming. The inability to disable crossplay makes me nervous to play online with such a prevelance of mods & hacks in other crossplay games. And the forced practice mode in Tours of Motorsport is frustrating and will likely limit the amount of tours I actually end up completing. It’s just too time consuming and, well, boring, to keep practicing the same track over and over. With that said, there is still plenty to enjoy here, and well-worth a try if you’re already subscribing to Xbox Game Pass.
***Forza Motorsport key for Xbox Series X provided by the publisher.***
The cars look incredible
Nice variety of tracks
No option to turn off crossplay
Forced practices in Tours of Motorsport
Some background scenery looks bland
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