Menu Close

Forza Motorsport Review – Has Me Hooked

Forza Motorsport, the 8th entry to the racing series from Turn 10 Studios, has done away with the numbering as this is a new iteration built from the ground up with new technologies. Launching on October 10 (11th for us in ANZ) on Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, Steam, and Game Pass, this is a fantastic racing game to suit most racing fans, even for someone like me who prefers the more arcade style of Forza Horizon. I feel a constant improvement in my driving skills and the progression system, both in car upgrades as well as track unlock progression, creates a clear pathway I can cater to my playstyle.

I must admit that my last foray into the Motorsport series was Forza Motorsport 4 on the Xbox 360. I was enjoying it so much that I bought the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel as I was struggling to get the precision required to keep up with the pack with the standard 360 controller. However it started to get a bit too serious for me, especially with the longer endurance races becoming too difficult to complete for the time sink. Once Forza Horizon came along the next year, I left the sim racing series behind. I am glad that I gave this new take on the series as a go as it has it’s hooks in me.

Even if you are a true Forza Motorsport fan, it’s still been six years since Forza Motorsport 7. It is clear that Turn 10 took the extra time to push the games technology to produce not only a highly technical game if you want to turn all assists off, but also on the graphical front. The game looks outstanding on the Xbox Series X with the track and car details being superb. Puffs of dust as you cut a corner linger as you look in the rear mirror. The crowds in the grandstands look a little less detailed, as is the same with most other racing games, but the scenery beyond the track is akin to those you would see in a Forza Horizon game. Different weather effects are fantastic too with raindrops on the screen and depending on the assists you have on, can really add some difficulty to your racing.

Each event has a practice race where you must complete the required number of laps and you also must beat a set lap time. I always beat the required lap time on the first lap so it was an indication that I should lessen off some of the racing assists. Once you finish the 3 required laps, you are welcome to continue racing and learning the tracks curves and bends, or quit out and get stuck into the actual race event. After the first hour or so it did start to become cumbersome to have to do three laps of practice for every event. Perhaps just one or two laps would be a better balance.

Another point to make about the practice laps is that each lap is broken down into race segments indicated by gate flags. You are scored on how well you complete each segment out of 10, and this flashes up on the top right corner of the UI. You earn car XP for pretty much everything you do, whether that is overtaking someone, completing a segment for the first time, beating your previous score for a segment, and many other things. Before long, your car XP levels up with a fairly big icon top centre of the UI for a second or two. Once in the real races remembering the segment zones becomes muscle memory, with the XP rating letting you know if you had a bad segment or made improvements.

For the first few hours in the game where you are racing in a few different cars, this flashing of gaining XP and the icon of levelling up the cars is happening so often it quickly became a bit of a nuisance – sometimes the car would level up 2-3 times in a single race. I put up with it because who doesn’t like some instant gratification when you’ve nailed a chicane or won the race having started at P13 but it is enough to break concentrating ever so slightly.

I started Forza Motorsport with most assists on and quickly learned that, as much as I liked being effectively chauffeured around the track with assisted breaking and assisted turning, I wanted to really test my driving skills and start to see and feel improvement the more I played. Turning down the braking and turning assists certainly reminded me of how bad I am at these sim racing games, locking up the wheels and going off track, but thank you rewind function! Depending on your assists and where you started onto the grid will earn you better rewards.

Levelling up car and driver XP earns you car upgrade parts, and before each race you are given the opportunity to replace various parts that you have unlocked. For someone with very little mechanical knowhow, I appreciated the button to automatically apply appropriate upgrades. It gave me a preview of what benefits or hindrances those upgrades added, and kept my car within the rating limits for each race. There is another section where you can tune the car but I have never understood enough about cars to use these.

The game’s menus are laid out simply and effectively, showing the pathway to progression to unlock different cars and event classes. Your first couple of hours are pretty linear as you complete event blocks which unlock the next ones. It’s sometimes too easy to stick to what you know in games like this, for example if you love muscle cars, you would just get the tutorial races out of the way and then smash muscle car races only. However each icon shows clearly what is required to unlock it so you can map your own path through the game depending on your interests.

Of course there are multiplayer options for those that want to test their mettle against real players, and there’s online public and private multiplayer modes. There is featured multiplayer that requires you to qualify first. You’ll need to complete three qualification races which will determine your skill and safety rating. This can change and evolve as you gain proficiency in driving, and are used for matchmaking. It sounds like a cool thing, though I wasn’t able to join the reviewer multiplayer sessions so I cannot comment on multiplayer performance.

Forza Motorsport launches with over 500 cars, 20 completely rebuilt tracks and new career and online racing modes, though I see myself only sticking to a few regular few cars that I gel with and will continue to upgrade parts to increase their ratings. There is a massive amount of racing content to get you well on your way, and content for the game will continue to grow over time. New free tracks will be launched on a regular basis, however we’re told the monthly updates may not feature a new track each time. This is due to the extensive development timeline required to accurately rebuild these detailed environments to work with the new physics systems. Turn 10 Studios has indicated that Yas Marina – completely rebuilt using the latest track layout – is coming in November with Update 2.0. To read more about future updates to the game, head over to the official website.

Overall, for someone who had left the Forza Motorsport series behind by favouring the more arcade Forza Horizon series, I can firmly say that Forza Motorsport has got me hooked once again. Taking extra time to hone the new technology available has meant Turn 10 Studios has produced an outstanding racing sim that will appeal to a wider audience and helped by being on Game Pass. From incredibly detailed graphics and smooth racing on the Xbox Series X, to the highly customisable racing assist system, and the constant flow of car and driver XP netting car upgrade parts, it’s easy to lose hours in the game and feel a steady increase in progression and skill. With monthly content updates, this is a game I am definitely adding onto my rotation to revisit.

This review utilised a key provided by Xbox ANZ and Forza Motorsport will launch on October 10 (11th for us in ANZ) on Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, Steam, and Game Pass.


Related Posts