Let me be honest right out of the gate. I’m a Forza fanboy. I love all things Forza, whether it’s the Motorsport series or the Horizon series. They both have their own strengths and weaknesses. As part of the Forza Rewards program, I’m at the max tier only a few hundred points short of being maxed out completely. With that being said, I will not review this game with blinders on but with a critical eye and the fair assessments that I’ve always offered of the games I play.
I just completed a nearly 3 hour long, 300 mile endurance race on a rain covered Sebring track with 22 cars. A seasoned Forza veteran can learn a lot from this statement. Endurance races are back, night and rain driving are in, and the number of cars on track have been increased. This just scratches the surface of what’s new and improved in Forza Motorsport 6.
When Forza Motorsport 5 came out, it was rebuilt from the ground up for the Xbox One. As a launch title it was a great, but essentially barebones title with just over 200 cars and only 15 tracks. Everything that was done in FM5 laid the groundwork for the fantastic game that is Forza Motorsport 6. Whether people want to believe it or not, Turn 10 actually listens to the fans that play it. Everything in this game is improved and there are some welcome surprises that were added to the mix. FM6 now features more than 450 cars and 26 tracks. For the first time we are finally seeing night and rain racing, although it’s only on select tracks. The number of cars on track has been increased to 24 cars every race. The brand new mod system adds a great deal of depth to the game itself. Now let’s dive into the all-important details.
First off, the graphics in this game are beautiful. Every car and track is more detailed than ever, and even with added cars on the track and night/weather effects the game stays at a perfect 1080P/60 fps display. I’ve heard they might be using the power of the cloud to achieve this, I say that I don’t care at all what they are using because it’s working and it looks incredible. Every car in the game is available to look at in great detail in ForzaVista if you want to. Previously only a select portion of cars were available for this mode.
Perhaps most importantly, the racing itself is the ultimate star here. The race field has now been increased to 24 cars and having 26 tracks brings a needed variety to the game. The racing in FM6 is accessible to all levels of drivers with a huge amount of optional assists. I’m a veteran driver and consider myself pretty good but I still use an automatic transmission, in car assists such as traction control and anti-lock brake systems, and a braking line. “Hardcore” players that hold #1 in the world lap times would probably scoff at me, but the game is fully customizable to their level also so they can race with a manual transmission, no assists, and no racing line. The game also rewards players for turning off assists and increasing AI difficulty in the form of credit increases at the end of each race. Therefore, racing in this game feels the way you want it to, and this reviewer believes it feels extremely solid.
On another note, all of the tracks have seen a nice visual upgrade. From the forests and trees lining the tracks to the track crew or audience, everything looks more populated and that much more realistic. Turn 10 has introduced some new smoke effects that really shine, not only when they come from the tires but in the appearance of campfires happening around the track. On an open portion of Laguna Seca I had a dusty haze coming across the track. Last but not least, when racing in the rain there are patches of foggy areas.
Night and wet weather racing are a welcome addition for much needed variety, even though it’s only available on select tracks. Racing in the rain changes everything, and I believe Turn 10 has went as far as to accurately place puddles based on where they occur in the real tracks – possibly the reason we don’t see it on every track yet. Night racing also has a different feel to it, whether it’s racing under the lights in Daytona or in the extremely dark Old Mulsanne Curcuit at LeMans, it definitely brings you to the edge of your seat and heightens your driving skills that much more. However incredible both of these features are, truthfully it’s disappointing that these exciting new features are only available on certain tracks. Perhaps with any luck we’ll get an update that enables night and wet weather racing on more tracks in the future. For the record, it’s not unheard of for Turn 10 to provide free content post launch. In FM5 they gave away Nurburgring and Long Beach after they finished their work on the tracks, which makes this a tangible possibility in my opinion. Oh and by the way, my favorite night race is Yas Marina. The lighting on that track is absolutely phenomenal and joyous to race on.
The meat of the game for most people is Career mode, and it has been improved as well. As always, you complete a series of races with certain classes or types of cars. They have separated the showcase events that used to be inside the career series of races, so instead of doing a few races and then having a passing challenge, you can simply focus on races. Showcase events are now separated, and very importantly feature the return of Endurance races. As my opening statement to this review showed, some of these races are no joke and not to be taken lightly. In the older Forza games that had Endurance races, none were ever as long as the one I just did. There are some shorter ones, such as 8 laps on Nurburgring but these races will still go easily over an hour. The other showcase events are passing challenges, Stig’s digital cousin, and factory spec races to name a few. I wish I could tell you that you didn’t have to complete the Endurance races to complete the Showcase mode but you really have to. Each completed event within Showcase opens up an event somewhere else, so for example I completed the Sebring endurance race, and that opened up another factory spec challenge.
Mods are a brand new edition to Forza Motorsport and likely a spinoff of what we see on sports games such as Madden and FIFA. I was skeptical about how well this would work for racing but they actually work very well and enhance the game in many ways. There are 3 different types of cards, Crew, Dare, and Boost. Crew cards give your car performance bonuses such as +10% power or +5% braking, or a combination of different things. Sometimes they are also track specific such as a Yas Marina Crew card that gives you a base of +8% braking, but a bonus percentage increase if you use the card on that track. Dare cards take you out of your comfort zone and add difficulty in a variety of ways and reward you with a credit bonus usually. One Dare card might be a 20% reduction in braking, giving you a +20% bonus in credits at the end of the race. Other dares encourage you to try new things that you might not be comfortable with, such as using the cockpit view with no driving line (called Immersion) or using a manual transmission. Boost cards are quite simple, it can be an XP or credit bonus, or performance bonus. Unlike Crew and Dare cards which are unlimited use, Boost cards are one time use so you have to pick when you use them carefully. When I did the Sebring endurance race I stacked several +100% XP boost cards, and the result was that when the race was over I went from Driver Level 8 to Driver level 40!
Speaking of driver level, Forza Motorsport now has the “wheelspin” for every driver level increase that first appeared in Forza Horizon. This really helps make leveling up exciting, and the wheelspins can issue credits, mod packs, or cars. So just by doing that single endurance race I earned 32 wheel spins which netted me over 5,000,000 credits, quite a few cars (both cheap and expensive) and mod packs. This is a huge improvement over FM5 which simply awarded 35,000 credits each level (or double if you were VIP).
Multiplayer mode has returned and is exactly as expected. You can enter multiplayer series of races by car class, or go into an entry level multiplayer hopper with collisions turned off. This is especially useful for newcomers as the first couple turns in multiplayer are generally wreckfests. Once moving into the “skilled” leagues you will definitely experience it time and time again. Every first turn has everyone on the edge of their seat, have some patience and you could come out unscathed. Just like real life racing, every risk has a reward and sometimes it’s better to just sit back and let everyone wreck in front of you, while driving through untouched. As with any multiplayer mode, there is a huge amount of variants with different tracks and class options, as well as a never ending pool of competing drivers so you will always have a new race.
League mode keeps you coming back for challenges, generally in weekly form. They vary in difficulty but usually have specific car requirements, sometimes with rewards attached to them. This is slightly different than multiplayer because the instructions vary. One weekly challenge might be to complete a hot lap in a certain vehicle, another weekly challenge will be to place as high as possible in a multiplayer race in a specific car class. The ever changing objectives keep things interesting and fresh. They have already showed the potential of leagues in a #TimetoShine Challenge where racers set their best lap time against Lotus F1 driver Romain Grosjean and Xbox’s Phil Spencer. I was able to beat Phil’s time, but not Romain’s time!
The graphics in this game are nothing short of breathtaking. Even with 24 cars on the track, even in weather or nighttime conditions, the game runs at a silky smooth 1080p 60fps. The way the raindrops dance across your windshield as you take a turn, the way the lights reflect off the car at night, every track recreated in stunning detail. This game is a visual masterpiece and can make a believer out of people who say the Xbox One is not capable of these types of graphics.
Forza Motorsport 6 is an improvement in every way over its predecessor, but Forza Motorsport 5 was simply there to lay the foundation for this incredible racing game. I still would like to see more tracks added and more night and weather racing options available, but these complaints are mostly with the longtime Forza veterans like myself. Regardless, This the best racing game that you can get right now, and probably will continue to be the champ until the next Forza comes out.