When Forza Motorsport 5
was released as an Xbox One launch title, it was clear to see that Turn 10 had been able to utilise the additional power that the console provided to improve upon the already stunning graphics and physics for which the franchise had become known. The addition of Drivatars also changed single player racing and meant that the game had all of the ingredients to potentially be the best racing simulator yet.
Unfortunately, that wasn't quite the case and, whilst it was very good, it felt rushed (much like the Xbox One) and lacked content with less cars and tracks than we’d seen in Forza Motorsport 4
. There were also complaints from the community that the in-game economy wasn’t balanced properly, with new cars costing too much and cash rewards not being big enough. Both were put right with later title updates and free DLC releases but, for many, the game felt more like a tech demo to showcase the console’s power than it did a fully-fledged release.
Two years later, with the release of Forza Motorsport 6
, it appears as if Turn 10 has taken all of the feedback and criticisms from 2013 and gone out of their way to put them right this time around. The new additions of wet and night racing, more cars and tracks than previous Forza titles, and further improvements to both the graphics and physics engines make Forza 6 the biggest, best and most immersive release in the series so far.
As far as racing simulators go, the Forza
franchise has long been regarded as one of the best with a wide choice of cars that all look, sound, and handle like their real life counterparts. In Forza 6
, Turn 10 has raised the bar again; at launch there are 460 cars available and each one has been lovingly recreated in such a way that the only thing that is missing when you take it to the track is that new car smell. Most of the finer details, such as light reflecting in different ways off the various materials that were used to make up the body and interior, won’t be noticed as you keep your eyes on the road ahead. However, with Forzavista allowing you to get up close and personal with each and every one, you can really appreciate the finer details properly.
With so many cars from which to choose, the unique handling on each of them is nothing short of a marvel. Each car has a different sense of weight, grip, and power that you will need to learn in order to get the maximum performance, especially with less assists turned on. It makes switching between the different cars exciting as you become familiar with where to hold back and where you can really push through while using trial and error. In addition to the handling, Forza 6
makes the best use yet of the additional rumble motors in the Xbox One controller’s triggers, providing a real feeling of how the car is reacting to your input as well as allowing you to feel every change in the road surface.
Each car has a different sense of weight, grip, and power
In total there are 25 different tracks on which you can race. Each one offers different configurations as well as forward and reverse options, which is a marked improvement over Forza 5
, and each one has been detailed almost as much as the cars in which you race. You’ll notice clouds of sand sweep across the corners of Laguna Seca, small areas of mist as you drop down the back straight at Bathurst, and flocks of birds quickly take flight when startled by the sound of your roaring engine in Prague. Even the sound of your engine alters depending on your surroundings, bouncing back at you when in the confines of tight track walls and echoing off into the distance in more open areas. Such small details can be easily missed on their own, but when added together they can help to offer an almost lifelike feeling to the overall experience.
With everything running at a smooth 1080p 60FPS, the action is absolutely fluid and the sense of speed that the game provides is second to none. With the great visuals, solid handling, and the feedback that the controller provides, it’s hard to not to be totally immersed in the action.
25 highly detailed tracks on which you can race
The biggest addition to this version of Forza comes in the form of wet weather racing. The rain is visually impressive, reducing your view of the track ahead as streaks of water build up on your windscreen in between the swipes of your windscreen wipers, beginning to flow sideways as you turn. It's a big improvement to the effect introduced in Forza Horizon 2
, but it's the way that the rain changes the actual racing that is most significant.
The addition of 3D puddles was mentioned a lot in the build up to the game's release and, as silly as they sound, they have to be experienced first-hand for you to truly get an understanding of how much of a difference they make to the racing action. Rather than being a simple texture placed over the track like other racing games have done in the past, puddles in Forza 6 actually change the physics of the car. Hit a puddle at speed with one side of your car and you’ll feel the car begin to pull to that side as the reduction in available grip and the drag of the water slows one side of the car but not the other. Take a puddle head on and there's a high chance that the car will begin to aquaplane and spin out of control with very little that you can do to combat it. It makes tracks that you previously knew like the back of your hand feel like a whole new animal as you're sometimes forced to avoid the normal racing line to bypass large pools of water.
Night racing has also been added and, whilst it doesn’t make as much of a difference to the physics of the race as the rain does, the visual effect that it provides makes for a nerve-wracking, white-knuckle experience. Some tracks will provide artificial light that looks beautiful with multiple shadows on view, whereas others will leave you racing with nothing more than your inadequate headlights to show the way ahead. At high speed, corners and other cars will suddenly appear out of the darkness, meaning that any drop in concentration is likely to force you into a high speed crash.
Rain is visually stunning, but it's the way it changes the actual racing that is most significant
Whilst they are both much needed and well delivered updates to the series, there is room for improvement. Because each race is a snapshot in time, there is no dynamic weather to make you alter your racing strategy on the fly and there is no option to race in both the darkness of night and rain. These are minor niggles to what is an otherwise amazing set of new features that provide a welcome change to the previously predictable and, at times, repetitive racing in the previous releases in the franchise.
The game's career mode is where you will spend much of your time as you build up the cash to buy new cars. It is much more linear than Forza 5
, which means that you will have to invest quite a few hours before you can begin to experience some of the game’s better and faster cars. There are six different volumes called “Stories of Motorsport” for you to work through. You begin with the Super Street volume that consists of the cars that most of us will drive already. Then you work your way through the volumes to Ultimate Sport, which features the cars that we all wish that we could drive, such as the Lotus E23 Formula One car. Within each volume there are different series from which to choose from and then there are multiple races per series. It makes for a lot of single player content such as we’ve come to expect from the franchise.
High speed racing at night can be a nerve-wracking, white-knuckle experience
In career mode, the Drivatars that were introduced in Forza 5
seem to have been refined and, with 24 cars now taking to the track, it makes the action much more of a challenge even with lower AI difficulties turned on. Inevitably you will begin each race midway down the grid, but rather than being able to easily race to the front after a couple of turns, you'll now find yourself spending much of the first part of the race trying to fight your way through the crowded pack of cars ahead. If you don’t make your way through the field quickly, you can often find that the first couple of cars are too far in front of you for you to win the race. It makes winning feel much more rewarding and helps to keep each race feeling different than the last.
Aside from the main career races, you will be invited to showcase events that will see you taking the wheel of specific cars as you aim to complete a set task, from racing Indie cars to bowling over pins on the Top Gear track. You can choose which of these two modes you want to do at any time, allowing you to switch up the more competitive racing for other more fun events as and when you feel.
As you progress through the races, you will be rewarded with money to upgrade and purchase new cars and XP that increases your driver rank. As a seemingly direct response to the complaints of the wrongly balanced economy in Forza 5
, you earn Wheel Spins (similar to the Wheel Spins from Horizon 2
) each time you reach a new level. A grid will offer rewards that include Mod packs (more on these later), cash and cars; you will get to keep whichever one on which you stop the randomly moving marker. It's a nice touch but the linear career progression means that even if you win expensive, high-powered cars, you won't be able to use them until much later in the career unless you switch to free play.
Wheel Spins after each new rank allow you to get better cars quickly
Another new addition that only appears in the single player game modes are Mods. Similar to the Burn Cards from Titanfall
, they come in the form of packs that can be purchased with in-game currency. There are five differently valued packs from which to choose, with each one awarding cards that can be added and used before each race. The cards include ones that will grant you with additional grip and reduction in weight, bonus cards that will grant you additional XP and cash, or Dares that will task you with finishing the race under various conditions, such as racing with manual gears and clutch or removing the racing line. They are fun to use and offer an additional challenge or advantage to the career, but they are often forgotten about as there is no reminder to add them before each race.
Multiplayer is largely the same as Forza 5
with the only real noticeable difference being the inclusion of a league system. Here you can race against up to 23 other real life competitors in different classes of car. As you improve your skill you will be promoted to new leagues, which will, hopefully, mean that you will spend more time racing against people at your level, rather than being unchallenged or languishing a long distance behind the race leaders.
Although multiplayer racing has so far been limited prior to release due to a lack of available players, the races that have been tried so far have been lag free. It is also worth mentioning that Turn 10 has included split-screen racing for those of you that wish to do so.
Multiplayer Leagues allow you to spend more time racing against people on your level
The achievements are very similar to previous Forza releases. The majority can be earned when playing through the career and multiplayer modes, with others requiring you to race specific cars under certain conditions. The multiplayer achievements, such as Real Deal
and Joining the Ranks
, may prove difficult for some depending on your skill level. Of course, there is the also massive grind
that comes with finishing every career race.
SummaryForza Motorsport 6
isn’t for everyone and the chances are that you will know in advance if this is the type of game that you would like to try. For those of you that have even the slightest interest in cars or racing, you’ll be treated to some of the finest, most immersive racing action that you can find short of doing the real thing. With a wide choice of assists and difficulties available, it's ideal for both newcomers and hardcore racing fans alike.
There are certainly improvements that Turn 10 could make, such as dynamic time of day and weather and a less linear career mode that allowed access to better cars earlier. However, they are very minor annoyances that can be easily overlooked due to the quality of everything else that the game has to offer. With stunningly detailed visuals, sound and physics to match, a huge roster of cars to drive, and new wet and night races that add another dimension to the gameplay, this is a bigger and better Forza
than we have ever seen before. Forza Motorsport 6
is a masterpiece of a racing simulator that really has to be experienced to be believed.
- Amazingly detailed visuals and sound
- Car handling can be felt with Xbox One controller
- Large and varied car roster
- Wet and night racing
- Linear career path
- No dynamic weather or time of day
The reviewer spent approx. 25 hours racing through the single player career, showcases and multiplayer game modes, earning 32 of the game's 56 achievements. This review copy was supplied by the publisher for the purpose of this review.