It’s been nearly two years since the last Forza Motorsport, which was a launch title for the Xbox One. As is the case for the majority of launch titles, they’re great for showcasing a new console’s advancements over the previous generation, but they don’t exactly showcase its full ability, nor the full ability of the studio working on it. With almost two years under its belt since Forza Motorsport 5, Turn 10 Studios is releasing Forza Motorsport 6 next week. And after playing countless hours, I can say this isn't just the game to showcase Turn 10's capabilities. It's the best driving game I've ever played.
Kitchen Sink Included
While Forza Motorsport 6 doesn’t have the open-world vibe of the Forza Horizon series, I never felt like I was constrained with what I could do while playing. From the moment I started the game, I was given the opportunity to access a large amount of game modes: a campaign spanning across five volumes telling the story of motorsport; a free-play mode that allows me to drive any of the over 450 vehicles available in the game with the option of split-screen play; and a multiplayer mode that has several match options including an “All in Tag” match with players infecting each other with a virus, and several others. All the while earning credits, driver experience and affinity experience depending on what car manufacturer I’m using.
If I want to take a break from putting the pedal to the metal, I could spend my time gawking at the vehicles in my garage through a new ForzaVista mode. The ForzaVista mode is one of those things that doesn’t sound that exciting in text, but experiencing it firsthand is completely different. I can view nearly every inch of each vehicle and learn more about it and the manufacturer's history through visual cues. I can get inside of the car and view its dashboard, seats, stick shift, and other areas. And it’s all in beautiful 1080p running at 60fps, just like the rest of the game.
Pleasing To The Eye
Variety is the spice of life, and I could get bored with the look and feel of a vehicle. But the inclusion of both modes to customize and tune my ride keeps things feeling fresh. Nearly everything on my vehicles can be be changed to fit my personal driving style, or I could let the game do the work for me by automatically tuning my vehicle to meet the demands of future races. While I don’t consider myself a gearhead, I can certainly appreciate the option to give players the power over nearly every aspect of their vehicles that could help improve performance.
The customization doesn’t end there as Forza Motorsport 6 introduces modifications that can be introduced prior to the start of a race. While in the pit stop, I can purchase mod packs that will offer random mods depending on what kind of pack is purchased. Each pack varies in pricing, but the more I spend, the more likely I’ll receive a Super Rare mod. The inclusion of mod packs opens a whole new way to play Forza as I found myself constantly checking to see if using a certain range of mods could help me gain an edge over my competition.
Hit The Ground Running
Once I hit the road, I was impressed by the amount of work Turn 10 Studios put into each track that’s based on world-famous locales. I got to experience the thrill of racing on the Daytona International Speedway, driving through the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, and gained access to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway after its extensive track renovations were completed in 2014.
The most surprising experience I came across was how well weather effects and night driving was portrayed in Forza 6. The water droplet effects were incredible to witness, and for the first time in my experience, puddles on the track have a noticeable effect and can impede how my car performs. As for night driving, I was either in nearly complete darkness if I was driving on a track that was far from spectators, or the track had a fluorescent hue to it due to the shine from lights illuminating the track. The visuals of each track wasn’t the only difference in night driving as the cooler temperatures affected driving as my tires wouldn’t stick to the road as well, causing me to drift more than I would during the day.
The sense of speed is also impressive in Forza 6. I worked my way through the game’s campaign, which gave me access to more powerful machines to drive. But I decided to jump from a Category D vehicle, which is quite low, to a Category X, which is insanely fast, just to see the speed difference. I learned a valuable lesson that I should never think about driving a Formula One car at Daytona. The amount of casualties from my joy ride would easily reach the thousands.
Forza Motorsport 6 is what I always wanted a next-gen driving game to be. It offers beautiful visuals, a wide variety of options, and uses real-world physics to dictate how vehicles perform. I could easily see myself playing Forza 6 for several months, or even years. I've never experienced a driving game with this level of polish, and it's unlikely anything will unseat it in the near future.