Forza Motorsport – Game Review


Forza Motorsport

(Available on Xbox Series X & S, and PC. Xbox Series X version used for this review)

Forza Motorsport has been a game that Turn 10 Studios has worked on for quite some time. Despite being the eighth game in the series, the number has been dropped for this new release, almost signifying a new beginning for this series. We have been seeing that for quite some time, it was first shown off during the Xbox showcase all the way back in 2020 and obviously the pandemic caused huge delays. Despite the fact that the game seemed like it was constantly getting delayed, it is now available on Xbox and PC. It is also a part of your Xbox Game Pass subscription if you have one, with early access going to people who have the Premium edition, which is how I was able to play the game early.

The Premium Deluxe edition (if you are interested) is still worth it even after the wide release, due to the fact that the game gives you a few cars to help you get started with your game. It also came in handy for me, which meant that I was not hampered buying a lot of new cars for events in the Campaign Mode. Full disclosure, I have not finished the campaign, but I have a lot of reviews to get out in October and I made sure that I got as much of the game in as possible.

This is a fairly simple game, it’s a basic driving simulator that acts as Xbox’s answer to Gran Turismo, and so obviously I will be comparing it to Gran Turismo 7 a lot. I will stress that I don’t believe that these games are in direct competition to each other- they might influence people’s console preference, but most people (especially with rising costs) don’t have both PS5 and an Xbox X or S- even with S coming in as one of the cheaper consoles on the market. That being said, the comparisons are still going to be there and are unavoidable. Forza is very similar to Gran Turismo in many ways, but recently they both have very different game structures.

This is another driving sim, but they have added a few elements that I like. They tried to turn it into a Car RPG, which they are calling a CaRPG. This basically means that you won’t be doing loads of races to grind for money- you will be gaining money through levelling up your driving, but you won’t need to spend it to upgrade your car, which comes from prizes from winning, as well as experience points you earn during races. I do think that this aspect is a decent shake-up that will adhere to the audience that would not necessarily pick this game up, especially since it goes away from the wacky nature of Forza Horizon 5.

PROS

  • Graphics

Much like Gran Turismo 7, Forza Motorsport is a powerhouse to demonstrate what the console is capable of. We have been told a lot that the Xbox Series X is the most powerful console on the market, and this is one of the games that proves it. Forza Motorsport looks amazing. It is not just the tracks and the cars, but the environments as well. I would also like to compliment the sound design, which does a brilliant job as well.

If I did have one complaint about the environments, it is that there is not as much of a variety of tracks as there is in games like Gran Turismo, because it is trying to be realistic to the motorsport experience. As a result, I think some people might get tired of these environments. I looked up a lot of the comparisons between this and Gran Turismo, and I kept going back and forth between what game I thought looked better. I consulted with my colleague Reece, who wrote the review on the site for Gran Turismo 7, and his response was that he felt that GT7 had better and more realistic lighting, he thought that Forza was better to look at since it made all of the instruments a lot clearer to read.

I also posted in my family WhatsApp group a picture of two of the tracks side by side, and the majority of them said that Forza looked better but that there was very little difference between them.

The game comes with several modes, Performance Mode, Performance Ray Tracing, and Visual Fidelity. I would say to take the recommendation that they give you at the start of the game and play Performance Mode. You get excellent 4K 60FPS, which means that you get brilliant visuals, and the framerate is at a consistent level that you need for a game like this. I do not think that the Ray Tracing is necessary for enjoying this game.

  • Gameplay

Gran Turismo 7 did not really excite me too much since it has a slow build-up and burn. Forza does not really have that because you are constantly seeing new tracks and driving with new cars. The Campaign Mode is excellent in that regard.

It also lets you move between different campaigns; you are allowed to stop a series partway through and keep your progress and try another one if you are getting bored of a certain car. I was able to bounce between doing the event for Muscle Cars and the event for Sudan.

As for the RPG aspect, you are not earning all of your experience points after the race, but instead during the race. For example, when you do your mandatory practice laps (because it wants you to learn the track and how your car will handle on there, which is another aspect that adds to the realism), the game will give you several sections of the track and if you can beat your time on another lap, you’ll earn more experience points. You get points for overtaking, for performing parts of the track well, and you can level up mid-race. You will not be able to spend your points until after the race is done, but it does capture what good RPGs will do- it is fun to see the number go up!

The driving also feels very good, I’m not so good without Driver Assist, but if you don’t want to have your hand held completely, the settings will let you customise how many assists features you use, and the accessibility features are excellent too. I did not want the cars to break for me, so I turned that off, Partially Assisted in fixing that for me without being completely handholding.

It is also realistic for cars to go wrong. You cannot just do a bunch of collisions, because you will feel a visible performance fail in your car. You could also incur penalties for that and for going off course, and the game will be more or less lenient depending on what your difficulty level is, which is also customisable.

I thought early on that it did not create the same feeling of speed as something like Forza Horizon 5 did, but later on in the game when I was upgrading my cars, it really did feel like I was going way faster.

CONS

  • Length of Races

This only applies to some of the races, but I found that this game does not have the same play feel that the Horizon games have. I found that there was one race that I did where including the practice laps, it took me 20 minutes- and that was just one race! If you only have a few hours a night to play this game, you will not get much done. It made it a bit of a slob to get through certain cups.

Fortunately, you don’t have to make sure that the auto-save is going off every single moment since the Xbox’s feature of holding your place in 8 games simultaneously means that if you’re getting bored, you can just use the instant return feature to go and play a different game and then come back to where you left off. While this feature has lost my progress in a couple of games, I found that the Xbox was consistent with this game.

  • No Music During Races

I wish that there were an option to have some music in these scenes but considering how many Forza games Xbox had to delist from their shop due to licensing issues, I can see why they didn’t. But I would like something other than engine noises during races to be an option at least.

  • Multiplayer

Multiplayer itself is just as good in terms of gameplay. My problem with it comes with the fact that it is limited to certain times of the day. If I missed the feature which meant I could play at any time with random people, I apologise, but I could not find it. This was the one feature from Gran Turismo that I did not want them to bring over.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Forza Motorsport definitely does a good job at bringing people who don’t normally play driving simulators into the genre, but I would say that in order to keep the people who do like them, they haven’t quite got enough as Horizons. It is a good entry which is a little light on content at launch, but it has more planned down the launch in updates, and I think they did an admirable job.

The RPG mechanics work out well and it controls really nicely, with a consistent framerate.

My major issue is the fact that the multiplayer feels very limited, and I just felt like some of the race went on too long, and it should have been cut down by a couple of laps.

If you have a Game Pass, it will not cost you anything to try this out, I personally think that it is a really good game, but I liked the Forza Horizon games a lot more since I felt like they had more personality. I would say that if you like the Horizon games, Motorsport will be easy to jump into since it uses the same user interfaces, but it possibly won’t give you the same enjoyment.

FINAL SCORE: 8/10

Calvin
Director of Axia ASD Ltd.
Self-proclaimed Nerd Consultant
and Head of Axia’s Film Society.

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The Next Axia6th March 2024
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