Platforms: Xbox One
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: 18 September 2015
Forza Motorsport 5 is less than 12 months old in South Africa as the Xbox One only launched here in September of 2014. This means that playing through Forza Motorsport 6 gave me the perfect opportunity to see if this year’s release actually brought anything new to the tablet rather than just being a another rehash of a title, and annual release in SA.
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As Forza Motorsport 5 was a step backwards in the series, Forza Motorsport 6 brings back all the much loved features in the series. The car roster is massive at 460, with 26 tracks, both before any sight of DLC. Some of these tracks are new, and some of them will bring back some memories from the series’ past titles. The game has got rid of those darn microtransactions that plagued Forza Motorsport 5, and instead ops in for a prize spin mode at the end of every level, granting you a chance to grab some of the best cars randomly, or just in game currency.
Forza Motorsport 6 lets you play through various volumes of racing. Super Street, Sport Icons, Grand Touring, Professional Racing, and Ultimate Motorsport. Each of these see the player tackle a new car type of their choice in the specific tiers available for each volume. This volume have quite a massive race list with showcases unlocked during them that extend the event even further. These showcase events are fun little activities that not only test your skill at certain features, but also give you a break from the competitive racing.
“I was extremely pleased in the way the game downloaded and let me play as soon as it reached 23%. Many games lock you into one level while the game downloads, and weighing in at 43GB, this would be a long wait. Luckily the way the game installs, it is the closest things to seamless playing I have experienced in a Xbox One title”
As you progress through the game’s volumes you will hear Richard Hammond go on about cars, and give you some insight to certain vehicles that he has personally driven before. It is a nice touch that lets you connect to the game in another way. On the other hand, the game’s so called “story cinematics” highlight the tiers of cars that you will be playing in during the upcoming events. These are nicely voiced over, but at the end over exaggerate the game’s racing capabilities, and raise your expectations high before dropping you into another track race after making you believe that you are about to hit up some street racing like Need for Speed. The same goes for Richard Hammond’s voice overs, if we cannot race across sand dunes, then why tell us how awesome it is? It just shows you how much potential the game still has to grow into a bigger all-round racing simulator, rather than just stick to the track.
Many of the game’s new features fail to impress at times. Endurance races let you take on long drives on the track, with tyres and petrol needing change as accurately as any real-life race, but when you get to the pit stop there are no crew around, you just wait until you are good to go. It just feels like an un-inspired feature that has not been thought through completely yet.
Drivatars were introduced back in Forza Motorsport 5, and they have been finely-tuned in Forza Motorsport 6 to an extent where it is better to have them racing alongside you rather than AI companions. Your Drivatar is everywhere too, and it changes as you level up your playing ability. You also earn currency for taking part in races on other player’s games. This forces you to play further into the game as it gives you more opportunity to appear in other player’s races.
Mods in campaign are also new, and come in a form of packs. You earn these packs throughout the campaign and can purchase various tiers of them with in-game currency, with the more you want to spend, the better the chance rare mods to drop. Certain mods can only be used once during a race and disappear when consumed. These range from experience boosts, to currency boosts for that race. Blue mods on the other hand affect your crew, increasing power, speed, weight etc. Purple Dare mods are added features to each race that impact your vehicle or overall playing experience in turn for credit boost at the end of the race, only after you have completed the objective.
One thing that has not changed in the series is the accurate racing look and feel. The game does a great job at making it feel as real as it could possibly feel, even though you are using a controller. The Xbox One’s haptic feedback just adds to the great experience when changing gears and braking. Rain and night time races are new in Forza Motorsport 6, and it is a welcome addition to the game. Rain adds an intense slippery effect to the race tracks. Rain is the highlight as it changes the way you approach everything during the race. Window wipers need to clean your windscreen, and tyres need to be tuned. The only issue I had was the lack of any spray on your windscreen when driving behind another car. It should be there, and it should change the race outcome too. The weather and time of day is not dynamic, so the way you start a race is the way you will finish it.
Some of the series’ best features return with some added gameplay boosts. 24 players can now jump into a race online, this is the best and biggest in the series and adds a little chaos at times as 24 players turn around a tight bend to get in front of one another. Forzavista is still the best way to explore your vehicle in a beautiful way, and get some voice-over backstory on the car you are driving. Split screen is still around for those who love it too.
Forza Motorsport 6 is still one of the best racing simulators out there, although it needs to go under the knife and get a rather serious makeover. It still fails to break through, and the potential is there to becoming a great all-round racer off track and on. Many of its new features need some polishing, but it is nice to see that Turn 10 have listened to fan feedback from previous titles and improved everything all-round. If you are looking for a good racer, with a massive car roster, then Forza Motorsport 6 is for you!