Forza Motorsport 5 Review

By mancide, 2 years ago
Forza Motorsport 5 has been the gold standard for simulated racing games since its introduction. Does the latest installment continue that storied history and bring this much anticipated title into the next-generation in first place? Let's take a look at the footage.

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Forza 5 runs beautifully at a native 1080p and 60 frames per second on the Xbox One. Gone are the days of racing against nameless AI, and instead Turn 10 has blurred the line between offline and online racing with the introduction of Drivatar cloud powered drivers. After your first three races in Forza 5 your Drivatar will have enough data to go out and start competing on your behalf during your friends' events. This means your offline racing grid will be filled with friends' Drivatars as well as non-friend Drivatars around your skill level.

For the most part, this is a very pleasant experience. However, there were a few turn one pileups reminiscent of online matches where every car in the field is trying to hit the apex at the same time. These aggressive tendencies of the Drivatars started to diminish as players were able to put more time into the game, and thus give their Drivatars better training.

Career mode has been tweaked ever so slightly to allow you more freedom and choice as you take on the daunting task of completing every race available to you. You will select what series you would like to participate in, and each series is clearly marked if you have cars in your garage that are eligible or if you have enough credits to purchase an eligible car. Players will level their driver experience and manufacturer affinity levels by finishing among the leaders in these races. Increasing your driver level will reward you with additional credits. Cars are no longer a reward for completing a series championship, instead you are rewarded solely in credits during your Forza 5 career. This gives you the freedom to purchase only the cars you are interested in as you progress.

Rivals mode seems to be integrated into your regular career as well as making a return as a stand-alone mode. You will notice rival messages at the top of your screen during career races, letting you know when you have beaten a rival and who your next rival is. This was a nice little touch that ties these two modes together. You still have the option of jumping directly into rivals race challenges as well. There are several categories to choose from, and VIP Club Members will have their own section to compete among other VIP Club Members.

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Open-wheel cars make their Forza debut, and you can jump into the Free Play mode and try your hand at taming these powerful machines in the rent-a-car mode. Every car in the game is not available to use for free in this mode, and while you are renting a car you will not earn driver or manufacturer affinity experience. However, this mode allows you to jump in to some of the most powerful cars in the game that you might not currently own. You can also race against a local-friend in this mode via split-screen multiplayer. Speaking of mutiplayer, Forza 5 offers lots of "hoppers" to drop you into different styles of on-line multiplayer game types.

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Forza 5 continues the partnership with Top Gear which is featured heavily throughout the game. Series introductions are voiced by either Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond or James May. The Top Gear test track has been laser scanned and makes a return appearance among the game's tracks. Yes, every track featured in Forza 5 has been laser scanned to bring you the most detailed experience of any Forza game to date. This, unfortunately, means a few stables to the series did not make the cut for the launch version of the game. One of the most historic tracks in the world, Nürburgring Nordschleife, is not featured in the current lineup of the game. With fourteen different racing locations making up the track list for Forza 5, with each location featuring at least one alternate circuit setup, you should not find yourself with a shortage of corners to master.

Every car in Forza Motorsport 5 is accessible in the game's FORZAvista (previously Autovista) mode. With over 200 cars currently available in the game, and more slated to come with the announced Season Pass DLC, you will be able to spend countless hours exploring every detail of your virtual car collection that has been captured in extreme detail.

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A couple of new control enhancements that have been added to the series come in the form of Kinect head-tracking integration, and rumble-feedback on the Xbox One controller triggers. Kinect head-tracking can be enabled in the game options, and this will allow players to turn their head side-to-side while in cockpit view to look at their side mirrors for a more immersive experience. Controller feedback has been enhanced with the addition of the Xbox One's trigger feedback system. As you brake or accelerate, you will notice slight impulses on the triggers to help you better gauge your tires traction as you try to push your car right up to the edge of control without going over.

The achievement list is massive, currently sitting at 78 achievements to obtain. There are several 0 point achievements sprinkled in this list as well. More than a handful are tied to community interaction, and earning a set number credits based on other community members using your tuning file, paint designs, and downloading your screen shots. These may be some of the harder achievements to obtain, as you will be reliant on community support to hit these thresholds. The game does reward you for progressing your driver level and manufacturer affinity as well. Lastly, a handful of achievements are there to entice you to race specific car types on specific tracks to meet their requirements.

The game also, for better or worse, features microtransactions to help aid you in progressing through the content. None of these purchases are required to unlock any content in the game, all content can be earned naturally through game play progression. However, for those of you who do not mind parting with real currency instead of investing time can simply purchase cars with tokens. Tokens are the in-game currency that you purchased with real money (you can also purchase XP boosts with tokens). Previous versions of Forza also allowed you to purchase cars with tokens, however, when you do the real money conversion on the token cost of some in-game cars, you can easily spend $100 of currency on a single car.

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Some in-game racing action was captured with the use of the Xbox One's integrated Game DVR function. The following clips were edited together entirely within Upload Studio.

With all of the visual improvements, additional feedback, and streamlined career system, Forza Motorsport 5 makes a compelling case for the best edition of the franchise to date. While the exclusion of Nürburgring Nordschleife may be a disappointment to some of the long-time fans of the series, the new and updated details of the included tracks help ease the pain of losing this long-time friend. This iteration, like previous games, is very content deep. You can easily lose yourself for countless hours in the game progressing through the career, getting that absolute perfect tune for Laguna Seca, or even designing the best Ken Block livery clone out there. As always, you can spend time enjoying your favorite aspect of virtual racing to its absolute fullest. Forza 5 is not only a must-own title for racing enthusiasts, it is also a must own title for those looking to experience the next-generation vision Microsoft has for the Xbox One.

The reviewer destroyed multiple sets of tires and bumpers during his over six hours searching for that perfect corner. The hammer was dropped on nine achievements and two challenges during these hot-lap sessions. Countless rivals were also defeated along the way. This review was performed on a copy of Forza Motorsport 5 Limited Edition that was personally purchased by the reviewer.
Written by mancide
When not enjoying video games, our fearless newshound enjoys an nice pint of fermented barley and hops in a variety of styles. India Pale Ales, Stouts, Porters, Witbiers, Saisons, Gose, Lambics, Barleywine, you name it. If it has water, malted barley, hops and yeast in it, I'll consume it. I also enjoy all things technological, Doctor Who, wrasslin, traveling, and spending time with my family.