Forza Motorsport has been around for 18 years and has made some great strides with every release. While some have been better than others, it has remained near the forefront of simulation racing games.
Turn 10 Studios’ latest game in the series claims to be a new era for not only the Forza franchise but racing games in general. In a lot of areas, it backs those claims, but it falls short in a few too many spots that keep it from being an all-time great racing game.
First, let’s talk about accessibility. Forza Motorsport has some of the deepest accessibility options I’ve seen in a racing game. Whether you are a longtime racer completely new or need help for a variety of reasons, you can tailor the game to what you need. It’s basically Turn 10’s way of ensuring all are welcome to play.
There are over 500 Forza Motorsport Cars to choose from at the game’s launch, which is quite a bit less than the 700 the past games have offered. Still, the offerings are strong, with a mix of modern and classic cars of all different classes.
For the most part, each car feels unique, with some offering tighter turning while others just zip through the course with no remorse. Getting comfortable behind each car you choose is arguably the best gameplay aspect Forza Motorsport has to offer.
All 20 courses in the game at launch are beautifully recreated. Every inch on the track looks spoton to what you would see in real life, if not better. Even the sound design is a second to none experience that helps immerse you into each race.
The game features a day and night cycle that is incredible when running long races. I suffer from an astigmatism, one of the symptoms aside from general blurry vision, causes bright lights to display differently to my eyes in the dark. When racing at night, the lights cause the same vision issues. I would suffer driving at night in real life without my glasses or the wrong pair. Personally, that’s one of the aspects I absolutely love.
But with everything Forza Motorsport does right, there’s quite a bit it does wrong. Race settings are limited to one of the three rule sets. Rather than be able to do races where you have full damage or rewinds on, you have to choose between one or the other. It’s an unnecessary limitation, especially if I’m playing free play races by myself.
Speaking of damage, that’s one area where the game really disappoints. Even with full damage enabled, you can drive full speed into a wall or a car and your vehicle will only show various scratches on the surface. Sure, there will be damage within your car like your suspensions or whatnot, but that takes away from a bit of the realism Turn 10 was likely aiming for.
Your car looks the same, whether it’s cosmetic or full damage after taking a major hit. For a game with as much attention to detail in areas, like rain, track surface, and dirt, the damage omissions are a real head scratcher .
Then, there are little things that bother me like not being able to cycle through cars when looking to buy them. By that, I mean once you get to the end of the list instead of going back to the beginning, you have to manually go backwards through everything.
Another one is searching for liveries for your car. It often takes a long time for them to load up, which leads me to just backing out and doing something else in the game.
Again, these are small things, but it’s enough to annoy me when playing. Career Mode is where you spend most of your time outside of the game’s Multiplayers. And to be completely honest, it’s a big letdown. It follows a basic formula of practice, race, upgrade your cards if you can and repeat. There’s no real feeling of investment in the mode aside from trying to earn Forza Motorsport Credits (in-game currency) to buy or upgrade more cars.
It would be nice if there was more of an atmosphere surrounding the events in your career. Multiplayer allows you to race with friends in private lobbies or online with others around the world. There are featured races to take part in after you complete qualifier races as well as other events like Rivals, which essentially are time trials.
Overall, Forza Motorsport is a fun racing game. Each car feels enjoyable once you learn its nuances and the tracks all look incredible. It’s just a disappointment. It comes with a run-of-the-mill career mode that doesn’t keep you wanting to play for enjoyment, but more a feeling of requirement.
With content updates during its life cycle, Forza Motorsport can become a great game in its own right. For now, however, it remains just a solid game with a little too much empty space off the track.