Turn 10 Studios has outdone themselves once again. Over the years, the Forza Motorsport series has slowly evolved, culminating in the 2013 launch of Forza Motorsport 5 with the new next-gen (at the time) Xbox One. As blown away as I was with that title, our Forza Motorsport 6 review takes a look at how Turn 10 Studios has raised the bar yet again and remains the standard setter for other racing games. If you want the TL:DR; version, like I said in our first impressions – just go buy it!
Gameplay[clickToTweet tweet=”The latest @ForzaMotorsport – #FM6 – from @Turn10Studios is the best Forza yet! #review #FM6 #Forza” quote=”Forza Motorsport 6 is the best Forza yet!”]
For the most part, gameplay hasn’t changed much over previous iterations of Forza Motorsport. You select a race series, pick from a subset of vehicle types, settle into your chosen vehicle, and off you go to race on a number of different tracks in your quest to finish ahead of all the rest.
Single player Career Mode and multiplayer options remain, as well as Free Play which allows you to drive any vehicle on any track and even play some local two player multiplayer. In Career Mode, you are guided through five different “Stories of Motorsport” volumes which include vehicles in the Super Street, Sport Icons, Grand Touring, Professional Racing, and Ultimate Motorsport categories. As you progress through each volume, you’ll also get invited to special Showcase events which feature specific vehicles with specific race goals.
For the gearheads out there you have the option to fine tune your vehicle’s set up in order to make it faster, handle better, and hopefully give you an edge over your opponents. As much as I love Forza Motorsport, I can’t be bothered to take the time to tune my cars, but for those that like to tinker you can tune just about everything including Tires, Gearing, Alignment, Anti-Roll Bars, Springs, Damping, Aero, Brake, and Differential settings. And for those after a real challenge, Forza Motorsport lets you turn on realistic damage, tire wear, and fuel consumption which will definitely affect the way you race.
The cars handle well, and quite differently depending on what vehicle and what class you are driving in. You can very easily tell the difference between front, rear, and all wheel drive, and the introduction of weather effects and night driving introduces an entire new set of driving challenges. Not only does the rain look fantastic, but it affects your driving. The track is slipperier, and those puddles will pull your car towards them and cause you to aquaplane if you hit them just right. Night time driving not only introduces new challenges to limiting the distance you can see ahead of you, but also affects your driving early in the race due to the cooler tracks which in turn make it take longer for your tires to heat up to gain the same type of traction they would during day driving.
That being said, there are some new additions to gameplay in Forza Motorsport 6. The previous version of the game introduced Drivatars, an A.I. version of your driving ability. These Drivatar(d)s then show up in races in all modes to give players a more realistic racing experience, or so it’s supposed to be. The more you drive, the more your Drivatar reflects your driving style. Unfortunately, some driving styles leave something to be desired, and in Forza Motorsport 6, you now have the option to reduce the aggression level of Drivatars.
Another small tweak that Turn 10 Studios added is the addition of a Free tab when you go to shop for vehicles. In previous versions of the game you had to scroll through every. single. car. in order to find the ones that you can pick up for free, mostly bonus vehicles or DLC vehicles (of which you get one of each for no charge in game after purchasing the corresponding DLC pack). It’s a small thing and it still takes a bit of time to add each free vehicle to your garage, but at least they’re all there in a single tab, making it easier to find them.[clickToTweet tweet=”Spin to win! in @ForzaMotorsport 6 from @Turn10Studios. #Forza #FM6" quote=”Spin to win! in Forza Motorsport 6.”]
Spins are new to Forza Motorsport 6, having first been introduced in Forza Horizon 2. Each time you level up, instead of getting a credit bonus as you did in previous games, you now get a spin which gives you a chance to win credits, cars, and even Mod Packs (more on that in a second). I can honestly say, there’s more of a sense of reward when you level up and get 1,000,000 credits or a car worth a lot of credits as opposed to the small amount of credits you used to get for levelling up. Sure you can still end up winning a car worth only 11,000 credits, but hey, that’s what chance is all about! Oh, and if you win a car you already own, you get the purchase credit amount instead so you don’t have to worry about filling up your garage with duplicates that you don’t want.[c[clickToTweet tweet=”Mod Packs allow you to mod your vehicle or give you race advantages in @ForzaMotorsport 6! #FM6 #Forza” quote=”Mod Packs allow you to mod your vehicle or give you race advantages.”]p>Mod Packs, you say?!? The biggest addition to the franchise, and something not yet seen in Forza Motorsport or Forza Horizon is the introduction of Mods. There are three categories of Mods which allow you to modify your vehicle, or give you an advantage during races. You can equip a total of three Mods per race, but only one in each category: Crew, Boost, or Dare. Crew Mods are unlimited use mods that give your vehicle extra grip, less weight, more braking, and the likes – and some even give you a bonus on specific tracks. Boost Mods are single use mods and will give you extra credits, improve your grid position, or other bonus. And lastly, Dare Mods (which are also unlimited use mods). These mods make the gameplay a bit more difficult, for example adding a 0.75s shift delay or forcing you to use a specific view and disabling the HUD. Should you finish in the top three with a Dare equipped, you’ll get a credit bonus. Mods come in different categories as well, Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Super Rare – each with increasing levels of bonuses or effects on your vehicle or race. Like cars, you can purchase Mod Packs for varying amounts or win them in spins each time you level up. It should be noted that Mods cannot be used during multiplayer for obvious reasons.
And of course, you can still take the time to create custom liveries, take photos of your rides, save your replays and then share your liveries, tuning setups, photos, and replays with the rest of the Forza community.
There are a few other changes to the gameplay that I didn’t necessarily like, but are minor enough that I can live with them. First, the goal of Forza Motorsport has always been to get the fastest clean lap time. In previous versions, once you hit another car, went off course, or used the rewind button, an alert triangle would appear beside your current lap time to show that your time was now being recorded as a dirty lap. For whatever reason, Turn 10 has decided to remove this indicator so you never know if you’re running a clean or dirty lap and only find out at the end of the race if your fastest lap was a clean one or a dirty one. I scoured the options to see if this was something you could enable but couldn’t seem to find it anywhere.
The HUD UI has been cleaned up as well, and a much thinner font has been used. It is easier on the eyes for sure and lets gamers focus more on the actually gameplay instead of the HUD, but even on my projection screen some of the text is a bit too small and thin (maybe I’m just getting old), and I can only imagine how small it must look on smaller 50″ TV sets.
That being said though, the gameplay in Forza Motorsport 6 is an absolute blast, and the more I play, the more I wish I had the $400 to plop down on a racing wheel set.
As I mentioned in my first impressions article, the graphics in Forza Motorsport 6 just blow the previous games in the series away. The new paint options of chrome, aluminum, and other high gloss metallic finishes are a great indication of just how far the game has come. The game responds beautifully at 1080p – running at 60fps – without stuttering or lagging when cars are covered in the highly reflective chrome finishes, and the reflection of other other cars, lights, roads, trees, and other scenery is absolutely stunning when experienced in real time. No matter what view you drive in – cockpit, hood, 3/4 back, the scenery and cars look absolutely outstanding.
The graphics in each new Forza Motorsport game have always taken the franchise to the next level, and this is no exception. The cars are even more beautiful than in previous iterations and the attention to detail is amazing, especially once you get into Forzavista view and actually poke around the vehicles. If you have skipped over this feature in previous versions of the game, you’re really missing out. Forzavista mode lets you get into any car in the game, open the hood, the doors, the trunk, and poke around each vehicle and view it in pretty much any angle imaginable. I think the only thing missing from this mode is the ability to get under the car and have a peek at the undercarriage.[c[clickToTweet tweet=”The night driving and weather effects in @ForzaMotorsport 6 are beyond stunning! #FM6 #Forza” quote=”The night driving and weather effects in Forza Motorsport 6 are beyond stunning!”]p>Back to the gameplay graphics, the new night driving and weather effects are beyond stunning. The glow of the headlights and brake lights on the asphalt, the lighting in the windows of buildings, the glow of neon and coloured lights on certain structures, really make you feel like you are in fact driving at night and not just in some darkened room. Playing mostly in cockpit view, the interiors of the vehicles at night is well done as well, although the dashboard gauges do seem to be a bit dialed down in most cases.
The rain is the most realistic weather effect I’ve experienced in any game, I was impressed with it in Forza Horizon 2 but the effect of the rain on the windshield, and splashing up from cars in front of you has been greatly improved in Forza Motorsport 6. Not only that, but the wetness of the track, including the puddling as mentioned above looks fantastic, and more often than not it’s very easy to forget that you’re playing a game and not watching along some racing sporting event.
The more I play, the more I notice the little sounds – which, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, depend on the view you are racing in. Cars sound different if you’re racing in cockpit view than they do if you’re in hood or 3/4 chase view. I prefer cockpit view not only for the experience but because I get to also experience how that particular vehicle sounds when driving it.
And it’s not just the vehicles that sound bang on – from the engine sounds to the squealing of tires, it’s also the environment sounds. If your speakers are on loud enough, or you’re wearing headphones, when racing in the rain you can hear the raindrops on the vehicle if in cockpit view, or hear the wet sound the tires make on the asphalt if you are driving in an exterior view. Should you stray off the course, there’s a definite difference in the sound of the vehicle on the smooth asphalt, driving through dirt and sand, or the crunching sound it makes while spinning out on the grass.
For all the sound effects in the game, Turn 10 has finally added background soundtrack music during the race. In previous games, you were simply stuck with your usual race sounds – which you would think was just fine for most people, but I do like having the added music which is just subtle enough to be noticeable but not too overbearing to be distracting. I’d love to see the Xbox be given the ability to play your own tracks as with the Xbox 360, but that’s a conversation for another day. In the meantime, the addition of background music while racing is a welcome addition.
I’ve never been a huge multiplayer fan for most games, and my biggest issue with Forza Motorsport games in the past was the amount of time it took you to get into the race, and then some of the jankiness and glitching that would occur while racing. But in the spirit of doing a complete review, I jumped into some League mode to test it out again.
Sadly, it still takes a bit of time to get into a race, about half the time I was thrown into a lobby where it indicated that it was waiting for the participants to finish the current race. Backing out and going back in again seemed to get me into a lobby that was just readying up about half the time, much to my delight. The intro league, which is only running during the early access period to those who purchased the Ultimate Edition before launch, has collisions turned off by default. It made it interesting as your time is then 100% dependent on how well you can follow the line. On the positive side, you don’t have to worry about the way others drive. On the negative side, you can’t use them to assist you in taking your inside corners ::wink::.
In previous versions of both Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon, I did notice opponent cars would sometimes jump around – most likely due to a slower Internet connection somewhere along the way. In the few online matches I’ve played in Forza Motorsport 6 so far, I didn’t notice any of that. I’m hoping it’s because Turn 10 fixed the issues, but it’s hard to say at this point and if the issue persists, it’s sure to be more noticeable when everyone starts to play after it launches.