For years, Forza Motorsport has been the go-to game when it comes to driving simulators, setting the bar high. While other video games in the genre have tried to take its place, Turn 10 Studios is back with a new Forza Motorsport installment, Forza Motorsport, and is ready to remind everyone why the series is number one.
Let’s take a look at the latest entry, Forza Motorsport which launches October 10, 2023 on Xbox Series X|S and see if its the ultimate driving experience.
Forza Motorsport Details
Platform(s): Xbox Series X|S and PC
Developer(s): Turn 10 Studios
Publisher(s): Xbox Game Studios
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
A racing education: the Builders Cup
When you first fire up Forza Motorsport, you’ll be prompted to select your graphics output, presenting you with three choices: Performance, Performance RT, and Visuals. Performance prioritizes 60fps at 4K, Performance RT enables ray tracing at 60fps with a dynamic resolution and Visuals gives you 4K resolution with ray tracing but is capped at 30fps.
Personally, I choose Performance RT for the best balance of visual fidelity and performance. Once you dive into the game, you’ll embark on the Builders Cup Intro, consisting of three distinct races. This serves as your introduction to the world of Forza Motorsport and lets you choose some initial vehicles to begin your racing education. Forza Motorsport is all about teaching you how to become a better racer through the act of racing itself. After completing the intro series, the game opens up, revealing the path ahead.
Exploring the Builders Cup: a racing journey
The Builders Cup is divided into five tours: Modern, Enthusiast, Power, Legacy, and Open Class. Each tour comprises five series, with each series consisting of 4-6 races, and each race typically spanning at least 4 laps. It’s here where I quickly realized that with each series requiring a minimum of 16 laps, I’d be spending a considerable amount of time behind the wheel. However, its not as bad as I thought. It’s this time that Forza Motorsport utilized to teach me all about the ins and outs of driving.
What sets Forza Motorsport apart from other games in the genre is the way it approaches the driving experience. For example, let’s take a look at the settings. While driving assists are still available, the level of customization you have, along with additional assists, really gives you a deeper appreciation for the skills that are required by real-world race drivers.
Moreover, the Accessibility menu offers a pretty extensive list of customization options that allow you to customize your driving experience to your liking and abilities. Once you’ve fine-tuned your settings, the real fun begins!
Building your car collection: a new approach
From the main menu, you can visit the store to purchase car packs and passes, unlocking more content for your racing adventures. However, this is where Forza Motorsport reveals its first fault, albeit not for the reason you might think. While the roster of cars in Forza Motorsport is vast, it feels intentionally streamlined.
Unlike previous iterations with hundreds of cars, this time Forza Motorsport focuses on quality over quantity, featuring meticulously crafted vehicles that offer the pinnacle of driving excitement. Why this shift? The answer lies in the new car upgrade system.
Experience-Based car upgrades: the road to performance
With previous games in the series, I find myself usually sticking to using a small selection of cars in the game. And, this is the driving force behind the new car development program. This is really where Forza excels in teaching us how to become better drivers. In previous games in the series, you could earn money, buy any car you wanted, and upgrade it. But with Forza Motorsport that’s all changed, along with the removal of the auction house.
Forza Motorsport assigns each car 50 levels of experience, and the more you drive a particular car, the more experience you gain with it. This experience unlocks items that you can use to upgrade your vehicle. It’s important to note that Car Points are specific to each car and do not carry over to other vehicles.
Fancy a race exhaust? That’ll cost you 500 CP. How about a race intake? It’s yours for 400 CP. Want an engine swap? Yes, it’s possible, but prepare to part with a significant chunk of CP. All these upgrades are factored into your car’s overall balance, which is clearly displayed on the screen, allowing you to see how each part independently affects your vehicle.
Becoming a masterful driver: skill-based progression
As you drive your car and level it up, you’ll unlock more performance options, keeping you engaged for several races. However, if you’re eager to upgrade your cars quickly, there’s one surefire way: become a better driver. Forza Motorsport offers multiple methods of earning CP and leveling up. You can earn bonus CP by leveling up the car itself, and as you race around the track, the game evaluates your performance in various sections, assigning a score from 1 to 10.
Achieving a perfect 10 yields the most CP. However, if you make contact with other cars or venture off the track, you’ll likely receive a score of 1. This system encourages patience and strategic overtaking, emphasizing that sometimes it’s better to take the outside line and maintain position rather than risk a collision. Scoring a 7.5 in a corner is far superior to a 1.
Forza Motorsport also rewards you with XP bonuses for setting personal best times within specific sections of the track. These sections challenge you to master your vehicle’s handling through corners and straights, encouraging you to refine your driving skills further.
Practicing for perfection: fine-tuning your skills
Another feature which I really like about Forza Motorsport is the preliminary practice round on the track. This is where your section boosts come into play. Each practice session lasts around 10 minutes but typically only requires you to complete 3 laps, with a bonus objective of achieving a specific lap time.
Successful completion of this objective gives you the ability to choose your starting grid position. If you choose a position further back on the grid, the game gives you a larger credit bonus in exchange for a more challenging race. You can further increase the challenge, penalties, and realism, this an area where Forza truly excels.
Balancing act: weight and handling
Every car in Forza Motorsport has an established curb weight, which affects its handling characteristics. You can customize your vehicle with additional fuel weight, dynamically impacting the car’s handling. In this game, realistic environmental factors, combined with an improved weather system, contribute to a truly immersive experience.
Hydroplaning becomes a genuine concern as you navigate long, flat straights or tackle downhill corners where water has accumulated.
Painting your passion: the return of customization
I’m happy to say that the paint department has made a triumphant return to Forza Motorsport. Outside of upgrading and tuning, that’s all that can be done with the cars you own. Speaking of which, the game does feel somewhat sparse in terms of race events outside of the career mode.
The available options include Featured Multiplayer, Free Play, Rivals, and Private Multiplayer. Featured Multiplayer consists of scheduled events that attract top players. Free Play grants you complete control over race settings. Rivals mode returns, where you compete against the clock to set the fastest times. Finally, Private Multiplayer allows you to create custom events, blending aspects of Free Play and Multiplayer.
Stunning graphics and immersive sound
Forza Motorsport delivers an incredible visual experience with stunning graphics. The cars are incredibly detailed, both inside and out. And, the lighting effects are impressive, especially when it rains or the weather changes.
But Forza Motorsport’s experience isn’t just about the visuals; the sound is equally impressive. The engine sounds and tire screeches are so realistic that you’ll feel like you’re really in the driver’s seat. Even the pit stops sound real, with engines idling like a powerful machine.
Together, the game’s stunning visuals and immersive sound effects make Forza Motorsport a true masterpiece, taking your racing experience to a whole new level.
Forza Motorsport is the the ultimate driving experience
When the aim is to craft the ultimate driving simulator, Turn 10 Studios has undeniably achieved that goal with Forza Motorsport. The game seamlessly blends mind-bending driving physics, exceptional audio-visual quality, and a strong commitment to enhancing your skills as a driver.
This unwavering dedication to providing a learning experience is the ultimate objective of any motorsport game, and Forza Motorsport proudly takes the cake.
+ Realistic driving experience
+ Extensive array of customization options
+ Stunning visuals and a realistic weather system
+ The game’s audio, from engine roars to realistic pit stop sounds, enhances the overall immersion
+ Variety of cars that focuses on quality over quantity
– Outside of the career mode, the variety of race events are limited
– Learning curve may deter casual players looking for a more accessible racing game
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF FORZA MOTORSPORT
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5