No series in the history of gaming has celebrated car culture like Forza Motorsport has. It’s interactive automotive porn for armchair racers and gear-heads alike, has been that way for ten years now and doesn’t show any sign of stopping. That’s something we should all applaud, because not only have its numbered releases given us some of the best simulation racing out there, but its spinoff, arcade-focused Horizon brand recently bestowed upon us what is arguably the best driving game of all-time in Forza Horizon 2.
This month, the ever-popular genre behemoth is going back to its roots with Turn 10’s magnum opus, Forza Motorsport 6. A game that many have been eagerly anticipating, it’s crammed full of great racing, visceral car culture and informative history, all of which has combined to create the best simulation racing game in existence.
Following in the footsteps of Forza Motorsport 5 — a very solid Xbox One launch title, albeit one that was criticized for lacking content — Forza Motorsport 6 is a game that is tough to complain about. From the get-go, it’s obvious that Turn 10 was not only given more time with this sequel, but that its members took past detractions into mind during development. There’s a very robust, content-filled and replayable racing game here, which should appeal to everyone with interest.
Not only does the game ship with a whopping 460 cars from quite possibly every category in existence, but each one can also be explored in full. This is all thanks to ForzaTech and ForzaVista technology, which allows players to go in close and examine every vehicle they buy and customize. Open doors, peer into the trunk or examine the cockpit if you wish, because it’s always a stunningly realistic experience. Furthermore, vehicle-specific audio clips are available for you to listen to, and they offer both interesting information and neat historical context.
A total of twenty-six real-world tracks complement Forza 6‘s impressive roster of metallic chariots, and it’s a list that includes newcomers as well as returning favourites. Having been laser-scanned, they’re all lifelike and incredibly detailed, with each one having its own unique characteristics, pros and cons. This is something that is further complemented by a brand new weather system, which brings rain, fog and puddles into the mix, along with nighttime driving.
Much like in the real world, rain can be a real nuisance here, although it also has its fun moments. One must always be aware of track conditions before approaching every turn, or deciding how fast to go, because the water puddles in realistic fashion and affects the cars’ wheels as you’d expect. Driving too quickly through one will often result in hydroplaning, and that can mean the difference between a win and a loss. This is true of even the game’s lowest difficulties, as uneven Driveatar skill levels can sometimes make things more challenging than they should be.
As time progresses, the wet weather also combines with the track’s surface temperature to create fog that hovers above the roadway. It’s a really nice-looking effect, which adds extra realism to an already lifelike experience, and it thoroughly complements the rain itself. I especially liked seeing the raindrops hit and linger on the camera and the cars’ windshields.
Don’t expect to be bothered by constantly having to race in wet weather, though, because Turn 10 has intelligently spaced such events out within its career mode. This allows for a nice mix of environments, including sunny days and nighttime driving, which is, itself, a notable challenge because of a combination of high speeds and limited visibility.
Said career is advertised as being 70 hours long, and is split up into several different categories. These tiers begin by featuring regular and commonplace vehicles from today and throughout history, and progress towards the most badass cars out there. It’s a design that works well, and one that is full of variety, because it allows the player to choose which type of car to race with during each event. What I mean by this is that, although you’re limited to a certain class, you’re given the option of choosing current or historical vehicles, and different varieties upon that. This includes opting to race against classic muscle cars instead of modern ones, or choosing to drive an SUV instead of a car.
Prior to each race, you’ll have the opportunity to tune your vehicle, change your Driveatar opponents’ base difficulty level and equip mods, the latter of which are new to the fold and act as game-changers. Available for purchase in randomized packs, or unlocked via prize spins that follow every driver level increase, mods fall into single or unlimited use categories and either give you bonuses or dares. Bonuses come in the form of things like increased grip, a better hole shot or the chance to earn more credits, whereas dares can limit your view and turn off assists. Use them if they appeal to you, or avoid them altogether if you wish.
Progression through this lengthy mode also unlocks a plethora of showcase events, which come in many different types and offer a nice assortment of objectives. There’s car bowling, slalom courses and events that harken back to automotive history, plus special races and a one-on-one challenge against Top Gear‘s Stig. One that really stands out, though, is an average length race that pits early, pre-War cars against each other. Much like the majority of this game, it does a good job of mixing a history lesson with fun and leaves you thinking.
Outside of its all-embracing career mode, Forza Motorsport 6 features a bevy of different gameplay options, as well as all the customization one could ask for. You’ll find the expected quick race scenario-builder, solid online play that supports up to twenty-four players and rivals challenges that task you with trying to best a peer’s score. They’re all complemented by a new leagues mode, which will definitely appeal to multiplayer-loving gamers.
Leagues work by pitting twenty-four similarly skilled players together in their own division. Races are scheduled, and those with interest can spectate if they’d like. That’s the gist, at least, as I wasn’t able to give this mode a shot due to scarcely populated pre-release servers.
Moving on to the game’s presentation, I must admit that it’s tough to fault this fantastic effort, outside of some rare and hardly noticeable pop in. Each car is detailed to the nines, as is the case with every real-world track; all of which are complemented by incredibly lifelike visuals and 1080p/60 frames-per-second performance. It’s a beauty to not only behold, but to also listen to, thanks to booming and realistic car sounds, as well as knowledgeable narrators with lots of interesting information to share.
Needless to say, Forza Motorsport 6 is an absolute win and a must-buy for all simulation racing fans out there. If you don’t own an Xbox One already, this is a killer app worth purchasing one for, and Turn 10’s best without a doubt.
This review was based on an Xbox One exclusive game that we were provided with.
Forza Motorsport 6 is, without a doubt, the best simulation racing game ever made. Not only is it chock full of content, but it's also fine-tuned to near perfection and an absolute blast to play.