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Review | Forza Motorsport 5

by on January 15, 2014
 

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Forza Motorsport 5, like Forza 4 on the Xbox 360, is a showcase for how beautiful a game can look on a new console, and though it’s not without it’s problems, is a fun game with the potential to keep improving.

The first time I laid both eyes and hands on Forza 5 was at a press event a few months ago, and what I saw was enough to get me excited for what was to come due to it’s pretty graphics, tight controls and fun factor.  Now that I’ve gotten the opportunity to put in countless of hours into the game, I’ve come away feeling much the same way as I did before.

The game features over 200 cars, which is quite a bit, but also comes as a bit of a downer when you consider there were over 600 in Forza 4, though the ones that did make it into the game are excellent choices and they all look fantastic.  You get classic cars, muscle cars, European cars, old school American cars and more, and there are of course those that are available via DLC.  I do have to say though before moving on, that there is DLC plastered all over the game, and while I do like DLC to be available, it almost feels like it’s just too much.  For those wanting to get a closer look at some of these cars, there is Forzavista mode, which lets you get up close and personal, inside and outside, to gawk at all of the details that look picturesque.

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Graphically, all the tracks look amazing as well, and I even went back to play a few races in Forza 4 just to compare and it wasn’t even close.  Lighting is fantastic and you can really appreciate things like shadows, reflections off each car, the detail of the roads and of course, the great scenery. Pit-stops are probably the worst looking area of the game though as they appear like a late minute add-on as they don’t look anything like the rest of the game, but that’s assuming you even get into one.

Gameplay wise, I loved the addition of the force feedback from the shoulder buttons, which gave me a real sense of how I was driving, as the feedback let me know if my tires were slipping due to my speed while breaking and it made a huge difference in how I approached turns and the like.  What I will say though, is unless you’re a hardcore Forza player, and by that I mean, you are really good at it, you’ll want to make sure you have most of the assists on.  I tried having most of them off and I grew increasingly frustrated at how easily I tail-spinned, ending up on the side of the road more often than not. I got so irritated with how often I spun out of control that I wanted to launch my controller to the other side of the house.  My madness waned a little though when I put a lot of the assists back on and the fun factor returned, so be careful of not trying to let your egos get in the way of getting a little help.

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Upgrading your cars always helps as well and it’s half the fun just purchasing new upgrades and applying them, though I was not happy that in free-play mode, you can only use the cars you own or you can rent one but the selections are small.  While upgrading the cars I did have, it thought it was cool to search and pick up other players’ designs and it made me want to take the time to create some of my own, which admittedly weren’t that great.

I can’t get through this review without also talking about the new Drivatar A.I. that has been implemented in single-player.  Rather than just going by what typical A.I. behaviors would be in a game, Turn 10 has implemented a new system that more or less mimics what real-life racers do in any given race.  You’ll come across friends from Xbox Live that will almost trick you into believing that they area really racing next to you.  It makes things much more unpredictable and it was cool to see them even crash once in a while, instead of the usual perfect driving of normal A.I. racers.  You can adjust the difficulty level of the Drivatar A.I. as well, and it’s not necessary to win every single race. The more difficult the settings are, the more XP you earn, so keep that in mind if you’re looking to upgrade quicker.

increasing the difficulty so it’s totally worth having it set where it’s hard to win but you’re still able to progress.

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If I had any other complaint about Forza 5, it would be that the track selection is also smaller than the one found in Forza 4, though I do have to say that the ones that are in the game, not only look amazing, but are also diverse. I would’ve liked to see some dynamic weather though, as well as changes in time of day, as I think it would’ve added a certain change of pace, after going through the same tracks over and over, since there are only 14 track locations.

For those who dug the Rivals functionality in Forza 4, this too returns, which gives players extra XP and cash for beating out players ahead of you, while the standalone mode is also there and as expected, multiplayer is also quite entertaining, when you don’t want to race against A.I. anymore.

I’m not sure I would call this the best Forza game ever, but it certainly looks the best and plays about as good as other entries in the series.  With Need for Speed Rivals being the only other racer available on the Xbox One, I think it’s still the best of the lot and provides racing enthusiast with the kind of simulator that they crave.

Final Score: 4 out of 5

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