One of the things that has become apparent since we’ve had Forza Motorsport 6 in our lives is that Forza Motorsport 5 was a bloody well made game for an Xbox One launch title. Forza 6 pushes the franchise forward in an interesting, if not slightly pretentious, way that takes some of the best things from Forza Horizon 2 but also gets rid of some of the best things from Forza 5.
The biggest addition to the game is the Mod system so let’s get this out of the way now. The Mod card system is excellent. It brings a brand new dynamic to the game that isn’t a full trading card or cheat system but a good way to give yourself more of a challenge for more reward or allow you to bump up the difficulty without completely destroying your races with overly zealous drivatars.
The way the system works is pretty simple. You buy the pack using the in-game currency or win them from levelling up. They come in three types, the dare mods which add a great difficulty like forcing assists or specialist views, the crew mods which add a buff like extra grip or power but can also add track specific buffs, and the boost mods that will give you extra rewards like driver XP, affinity or money payout. As long as you’re clever about it, it can really up your game progression and you don’t really need to keep purchasing these packs. Some of them expire but some of them stay, and you can sell duplicates that you don’t want. Also, you don’t need to use them at all if you don’t want to. It’s a very good system that so far is very removed from the micro-transaction hell of previous iterations.
The game itself is, again, a wonderful display of the power the Xbox One can achieve with exactly the same level of 1080p 60fps detail seen in Forza 5. Which also begs the question of how much actually has improved. Well, quite a bit, especially now we have two new modes to race in. The ultra wet weather is an excellent addition to the game which I’ll go in to more detail about shortly, and the night racing is great at showcasing those reflections and curves in the excellent car models. Night racing is also rather tricky too, especially if you’re on a track with minimal lighting and end up smashing your headlights out in a needless collision.
The thing is that whilst other things are visually better and further reaching in their weather effects (the dynamic nature of both Project Cars and Driveclub are well known), the wet weather effect is a testament to how good something can be with just a singular focus. Whilst it is very over the top (and quite possibly way too much for what you’d actually be allowed to race in with certain formulas), it is definitely the best representation of wet handling that I’ve played. Not how the car handles in the wet but what happens when you hit water. I know this because I drive and have done this myself and spent a good five minutes after trying to calm my heart rate down. When you hit water your car has no connection to the road anymore. The weight of the vehicle makes the tire sink in to the standing water, pulling it like the tide pulls you about on a choppy day in the ocean. You then have no grip, a car in the wrong direction and no control. That’s what Forza has expertly managed to replicate.
The differences then from Forza 5 are mostly in the type of racing available, but there are some other subjectively positive changes. A few cues have been taken from Forza Horizon 2, the most obvious one being the wheelspin function when you level up, which is also the best way to make money and get cars. The handling does feel slightly more arcade based than previous games which again feels very inspired by the aforementioned spin off. Some people might not like that but the more puritan car appreciation is still in the game.
Which leads me to a bit I miss. Top Gear. Never thought I’d say it but the Forza 5 presentation with the trio of Clarkson, May and Hammond was excellent fun and only appreciated when you don’t have it. Their quips and love for cars are accompanied brilliantly with great shots of the cars. But in Forza 6 this has mostly been replaced by a scaled down look at the different racing disciplines with static pictures and racing drivers/voice overs not being able to pull off the jokey sass when introducing people like The Stig (the entire dialogue is completely recycled too). And in fact it’s the presentation that gets the good, easier to navigate UI for car selection and shopping, and the choice of Forzavista locations, that also lets it down by not doing enough to live up to the almighty passion the game tries to communicate about the cars.
The showcases are a little bit copy and pasted from the previous game but some of the newer additions like the high speed chase and the manufacturers showcases are great fun. The online modes are fun as well, although if you’re not in a club or can get enough for a private lobby then it can get a bit like car pinball. The rival challenges are great and the photo mode is once again incredibly powerful (as you can see by the shots I’ve included here. All me, thank you), which is combined with great community support and competitions for these ancillary features on the forums.
The pretentious nature of the game that makes the appreciation of cars the sole focus does come up a soft thanks to that. It’s also not a million miles away from Forza 5. But if you can see the screen shots, and love this kind of game then it’s the best one out there that isn’t pure racing or arcade based. It feels different enough thanks to the lessons learned from Forza Horizon 2, and it looks absolutely voluptuous. And, if we’re honest, who doesn’t want to race around Indianapolis at 200mph, or cruise Brazil in a LaFerrari?
Forza Motorsport 6 adds a lot to the already established franchise and takes some of the best things from Forza Horizon 2, and some great new modes including the wet weather. It still loves cars to cringe-inducing amounts but that only happens because of the light presentation which is missing this time around. It’s still the best all round simulation based racing game for the Xbox One though and with a bit of the previous games presentation, or more dynamic environments it would be the best racing game full stop.
[tab title=”Good Points”]
Great new weather and night racing
Mod system is easy to use and fun
Good lessons from Forza Horizon 2 in wheelspins
[tab title=”Bad Points”]
Presentation lacking from last year
Not enough of the weather across the available tracks
Not a million miles away from Forza 5
[tab title=”Why an 8.5?”]
Because in my mind the rating system works like so. Forza 5 was an 8/10. This is better. I’d rate Forza Horizon 2 as 9/10 though as that was a near perfect game. Forza 6 is excellent but with a bit more work on the weather effects, more dynamic feeling and more of the atmosphere of Forza 5‘s Top Gear presentation and Horizon‘s accessible party vibe, it’d be perfect.