Forza Motorsport 5 is Turn 10’s first effort on the Xbox One and they have done an amazing job. Running at native 1080p at 60fps, Forza 5 is a truly beautiful game, in more ways then one. Aesthetically it is gorgeous as you race around tracks like the Yas Marina Circuit or the Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe. The audio is on point making it feel like you really are there on the track and the new impulse triggers in the Xbox One controller gives you that extra level of immersion that you really haven’t felt before. Forza 5 offers many different cars and tracks to choose from and, like previous entries in the series, you can customize your car as you see fit and then share your design(s) with the rest of the community.
Forza 5 is breaking new ground in a few different ways with perhaps the most significant being the Drivatars. Instead of using traditional A.I., the development team over at Turn 10 decided to use Microsoft’s cloud service so you could race against your friends, even when they aren’t playing the game. When you first start the game you are put through a few races to try and bring you up to speed on Forza 5 and after a little while the game learns enough about your driving behavior and habits and syncs it to the cloud and the Forza 5 community. The more you play the more the game will learn what kind of driver you are and it will continually update your profile to reflect how you play the game. Once your Drivatar profile has been synced with the community you will participate in races without even playing the game. The way it works is that when one of your friends is playing the game they will race against a group of other cars like you always have in the past, instead this time one of those cars could be you. The game measures a variety of things such as you take turns, whether you are an aggressive driver and various things of that nature. When you are playing the game you will play against your friend’s Drivatar and how their car acts during the race will reflect how they have acted in some of their own races. It is a really interesting concept that I think works really well and I’m excited to see how Turn 10 tweaks the idea with future Forza 5 content as well as future Forza titles. When your Drivatar participates in a race you will also earn some credits. These credits don’t automatically deposit into your account though. You will need to log into Forza 5 every day and check your messages where you are told how many races your Drivatar participated in and how much credits were earned. These credits are only good for 24 hours though so if you forget to log in on Tuesday then you won’t be able to get any of the credits your Drivatar might have earned for Monday. I love the fact that you can earn credits when you aren’t even playing the game but I don’t really like how I have to log in to the game every day to get them. It’s true that it only takes a few moments to do that but it seems an unnecessary restriction.
Forza 5’s career mode will keep you busy for quite a while, especially if you are a completionist that wants to try and do everything. There are eight leagues for you to work your way through and each league has a variety of different things you must do. There is the Sport Compact league, the exotic cars league, vintage cars league and much more. Within each league are a variety of Championship Series such as a modern sport compact championship series, a super mini championship series, a production rally championship series and more. Each one has different races that you need to successfully complete and then once you meet those requirements there will be bonus events for you to do as well. Turn 10 was really great here with their information as you can tell with only a quick glance whether a particular championship series is complete and how many gold events you have left to complete in any given category. They will also tell you where your current car is eligible, where cars are affordable and where the cars you have in your garage are eligible. It was nice being able to have all of that information right in front of me, pretty much at all times so I didn’t have to guess whether I missed a race or forgot to do an event.
Much like in previous entries into this franchise, racing on the track is only part of the fun. You can customize your cars how you see fit as well whether that means creating a custom design to put on your car to show your artistic flair or tuning your vehicle to shave off that extra second at the finish line. When you are upgrading and tuning your car you can get as involved as you want to be. If you want you can improve your car’s performance by adjusting its tire pressure, gear ratios, wheel alignment settings, brakes, suspension settings and more. Or, if you prefer, you can simply do a quick upgrade where all available upgrades for your car will be examined and the best are selected and instantly applied. It did seem like you would get better performance out of your car if you went in and did everything manually though. As a test I did a “quick upgrade” on one of my cars and then went in and added a lighter flywheel, which made car a little lighter which allows the engine to respond to the throttle more quickly which provides better acceleration.
In addition to career mode there is also Rivals mode. This is where you challenge a rival’s best attempt at a specific event. There are monthly challenges you can participate in, spec challenges, time attack challenges, drift challenges and more. If you happen to beat your rival’s time or score then they will receive a message saying that you just beat them. There is a free play mode where you can play split screen or create a custom match. You can set a bunch of different options here such as the game type, drivatar difficulty, how many laps in the race and various other things along those lines. Then, of course, you have the multiplayer. Multiplayer gives you a plethora of options to choose from beginning racers, La Ferrari vs P1, picking your different leagues, your class and more. Once you select what you want and pick your car, you will be put into a lobby. If there is a race currently going on then you will have to wait until it finishes. Unfortunately there isn’t a way to watch the race in progress which would have been a great feature. During my time racing online everything seemed to run really smoothly. There was no lag at all and I was able to avoid coming in last place which is always a good thing.
Forza 5 is also one of the first titles to take advantage of the new Xbox One impulse triggers. For those who aren’t aware, the impulse triggers are rumble motors put in the triggers to raise the level of immersion in the game. When I hit the gas in Forza the right trigger rumbles to simulate my racing car revving up. If I hit the left trigger which is the brake it feels like it is “gripping” the pavement. Additionally, when you are racing if the left side of your car is on grass or other rough terrain besides the race track the left part of the controller to rumble to quickly indicate to you that you need to correct something. It really is well done and the exciting part is that studios are only scratching the surface here as to what is actually possible with this new tech.
Forza Motorsport 5 is the first sim racer on Xbox One and Turn 10’s first crack at this new hardware. They have done an amazing job with it which makes me excited for future Forza titles once the development really gets to know the hardware and begins to understand just what it is capabable of doing. Forza 5 is a beautiful title and is definitely one of those games that you can use to showcase the early power on Xbox One. If you are a racing fan then I highly encourage you to pick this up. You won’t regret that you did and, perhaps, our Drivatars will meet on the virtual track.
Originally posted on Gaming Target