Turn 10 Studios is back with Forza’s latest edition in Xbox’s flagship racing sim series, and it might be the best yet.
Forza Motorsport 6 is as pleasing to the eyes as ever at 60 FPS in full 1080p. Exclusive to Xbox One on Sept. 15, you’ll see right away it looks and feels like a new-gen game in every way. It looks great and meshes perfectly with the system’s controller rumble triggers.
You will literally feel every turn. The controller’s battery life will take a hit but hey, it’s worth it.
And it’s apparent out of the gate that Take 10 has addressed much of the criticism levied at Forza 5 concerning its lack of meaty content. Forza 6 doubles the amount of cars and then some with more than 450, and ups the ante with 26 locations to race across the globe (10 more than Forza 5).
After the initial intro practice and qualifiers you can begin the career mode, which has five different series of races.
Finish third or better in each race to advance. Completing races also earns you XP, which go toward your Driver and Affinity levels (which earn you bonus credits with particular makes of cars at each level gained).
Each time you level up your driver you win a spin, a quick mini-game that pays out in cars, credits and mods. Mods are new burn card elements you can play before each race.
You also gain credits through racing, events and daily payouts just from logging in. Your drivatar will compete while you’re away so be sure to check the message center and count your winnings each day.
There’s also a new Xbox One companion app, the Forza Hub, which pays out credits and all sorts of goodies for as little as logging in. I was awarded two cars for hopping on for the first time, and credits the next day.
Coming by cash to buy new cars and upgrades doesn’t seem to be a problem in Forza 6, and you’ll be swimming in credits before you know it. The second race introduces a new gameplay element fans of the series have been craving — night driving, where field of vision is severely limited.
The tracks are also cooler than in the daytime, which has an effect on your tire traction. This allows you to drive more aggressively since your tires won’t get hot as quickly. But it’s also hard to see so you have the find the right balance.
Turn 10 also included inclement weather in Forza 6, which can wreak havoc on every track.
Hitting puddles can cause your car to hydroplane and spin, or at least slow you down. And the driving line assist, if on, often directs you through puddles so you have to pay close attention to the track ahead.
If you happen to go too far off course, good luck getting back on. It can be frustrating as your car spins out in off-road puddles and mud while other drivers are passing by.
Both rain and nighttime driving make courses you might be growing tired of feel like all-new challenges, but they aren’t without their frustrations.
A new feature to Forza 6 is mods, which allow you to tweak car and race elements (like 50 percent bonus credits in the next race or a better starting position). Some are good for just one race but other, more rare cards, you can use as many times as you want.
Credits never seem to be in short supply (until you want a seven-figure car) but do yourself a favor early on and take a look at the pre-race assist settings. There are several different types of assists, and turning them off will yield you a greater percentage increase in credits.
The first thing I turned off was brake assist after my car was auto-braking way too much. You get a 10 percent credit boost and it really allows you to dive-bomb turns and make up ground.
Of course, this becomes a risky proposition on wet tracks so plan accordingly when picking your pre-race presets.
Forza 6 is all about options and there are a bevy of categories in the pre-race menu. Just about anyone at any skill level can jump right in and play. You can change mods, or advanced players can go super in-depth with car tuning.
You can also change drivatar difficulty (determines the skill level of your AI competitors) and the type of in-race assists the computer affords you.
Even take a practice run to test out your tweaks and make sure they’ll suit your playstyle and the course ahead.
After completing the qualifiers you open up the first of five volumes, the “Super Street” circuit of races. Each volume has several series, and each series has four to six races to conquer.
The career path is linear but extensive, and a couple of hours in you should unlock your first Showcase Event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This is where the real fun begins — flying around maybe the world’s most famous race track at speeds in excess of 230 MPH is exhilarating.
And that’s just the first of 96 events in 10 different categories of challenges and races. Be warned, some of the Showcase Events are grueling tests of endurance that might go 15 laps for XP and credits.
You can blow through most of the campaign races and finish at least third to advance on medium difficulty, earning credits along the way to build and upgrade an ever-expanding stable of cars.
The more you race the more you earn and learn each track, so you can up the difficulty just about as far as you want — even against drivers all over the world in Forza 6’s multiplayer hoppers.
Races with up to 24 human players sound like a great idea but the starts can be a bit chaotic with that many cars bumping into each other. Unless you get a spot near the front, you could be in trouble early on and some people will quit.
The biggest problem with online, mulitplayer racing games (other than awful headsets) is too many drivers who are more content with crashing into you and ruining your race than actually competing. That problem continues in Forza 6 but there are workarounds.
This isn’t an issue in the intro class because of ghosting — cars ghost in and out of of each other — but some will inevitably resort to griefing when they feel they’ve already lost.
And that’s where leagues come in. Leagues main purpose are to group like-minded and similarly skilled players together. So that should help separate those who think rubbing is racing from those who don’t exactly prefer bumper cars.
There was also some lag to contend with in the days before the game’s retail release. Suddenly you’ll get hit by an invisible car that appears from nowhere, or you might lag out and nearly wreck into a wall once you come back in.
At launch there are seven different multiplayer game types: Exotic Showdown, Introductory Racing – C CLass, D Class, A Class, Unlimited Drift, RWD Unlimited Drag and Tag (virus).
Another problem with multiplayer is the amount of time spent just waiting in lobbies. You’ll jump into a lobby only to see everyone else is already racing and you have to wait for them to finish.
There is a spectator mode to keep you occupied but still, waiting for more than a minute or two is no fun. There’s also a short intermission period after each race to sit through while players vote on which track to run next.
Forza Motorsport 6 isn’t without flaws. The career path is a bit too linear and vanilla, and the rainy tracks can be treacherous. The long load times in the single player campaign and wait times in multiplayer lobbies are a bore.
But bottom line, if you like racing games, Forza is a great series and Forza 6 continues that rich tradition. There is a ton of content with insanely high replay value, so you will get your money’s worth.
If you’re a gearhead or just a fan of racing games, it doesn’t get much better than Forza Motorsport 6.