The Forza 6 NASCAR Expansion was quietly released without alot of prior notice and hype. Forza 6 has been very highly regarded (including my own review here) so it only seems natural that the expectations for a NASCAR expansion would be very high, especially as NASCAR fans are very dedicated and true to the sport. The NASCAR Expansion adds a 10 hour campaign, 24 NASCAR cars, and the addition of one new track, Homestead Miami. Keep in mind that this is not a stand alone expansion pack, and requires Forza 6 to play. Lets get to the real question though, does the NASCAR Expansion deliver?
The real meat of the NASCAR Expansion is the 10 hour campaign, in which you race in a variety of situations. Since there are so few NASCAR tracks in the game (only 5) they take you around the world to “discover” new tracks that NASCAR hasn’t been on. In my opinion, this is just a cheap but creative way of getting around the fact that this isn’t a full fledged NASCAR expansion. They do many creative things like doing interclass races where P1 cars and NASCAR models share the tracks like other series do, but again I think it is simply to hide the fact that there isn’t enough real NASCAR content here to be true to it. There is a simple feature that is really nice and easily overlooked, and that is there are brief voiceovers at the beginning of some races or series in which the driver will speak about road courses or specific conditions that are difficult to race in. However, they are brief and quite honestly few and far between.
The NASCAR Expansion adds 24 cars to the game, but it’s really only 3 models which are the stock models of the Ford Fusion, Chevy Impala, and Toyota Camry that are used in the series. The additional “cars” are simply alternate paint jobs for some of the most popular drivers. It should also be noted that while NASCAR has a 40 car field, Forza itself is still limited to 24 cars on track so it really isn’t authentic in that way either.
Additionally, the NASCAR Expansion adds a rolling start to all races which is true to the real thing. It also introduces Quickstop races which basically forces you to make a certain number of pit stops in a single race. This is meant to introduce strategy but once again, falls short for several reasons. Pit stops are vital in real NASCAR for that exact reason, but Forza fails to allow you to make some of the crucial decisions that would play into a real race. It doesn’t take into account tire wear, or allow you to only make a 2 tire stop instead of a full 4 tire stop. It doesn’t allow you to take only fuel for a true quick stop. Oh, and you wouldn’t know that anyways because there still isn’t a pit crew around your car making the changes. Instead they created an overlay to go over most of the screen when you are in the pits to show you who is also in the pits and who is staying on track. It’s decent to look at, but make no mistake it is there to distract you that these things are missing.
Speaking of what’s missing, the presentation isn’t even close to watching it on TV. It looks exactly like you’re playing Forza…and that’s not a bad thing but this is NASCAR. It would have been nice to tap Fox Sports 1 and add some overlays to make the game really look authentic as if you were watching it on TV. Adding that level of presentation surely would have taken some effort, but would have been worth it for the immersion and to differentiate the overall feel of the expansion from the base game.
The NASCAR expansion only adds one additional NASCAR track to the game, and that track is Homestead. While it’s nice having another track available, I don’t think it was the best choice nor is it enough to justify calling it a NASCAR Expansion. I personally would have rather seen Pocono added instead. With the true authentic track count being at 5 of 23 series tracks, that means you only have roughly 20% of real tracks to race on. I think this is the biggest downside to this entire pack is that the number of tracks truly detracts from the experience. No matter how they spin it in the campaign they cannot hide the fact that they simply don’t have the content to match the name. They even tried to spin an XFINITY track (Road America) as something the main series races on.
Maybe I’m being a bit harsh but I think that this NASCAR Expansion is overselling it’s actual content and overpriced. It is fun to play if you can look past all of the downsides that I have described here. If you can let these things go and just enjoy the racing than it is fun, this is Forza after all. However, I do think it’s a stretch to call this a NASCAR Expansion when so many things are missing that keep it from being anywhere close to authentic. It might not be a fair comparison, but you probably wouldn’t play an NFL game with only 1/4 of the teams that are actually in the league. It’s kind of the same thing here – you only get a portion of the real experience in the form of drivers and track selection.
If you are a NASCAR fan (like me) than you will surely find some good in this Expansion. I found myself smiling at a few of the things, like the driver voiceovers to certain tracks. If you can get past all of the promotional fluff and just accept that they have added another 10 hours of content to Forza Motorsport 6 for you to race with NASCAR liveried cars and non-true to form races, than you will have a great time with the expansion. I seriously don’t think the NASCAR Expansion is worth the full asking price for the amount of new content you get so I would try to catch it on a sale to get the maximum bang for your buck. If you are looking for a true to form NASCAR experience, than I would wave the yellow flag for you to take caution when you consider buying this expansion and you might be better considered waiting for NASCAR Heat Evolution.