Forza Motorsport 6
- Total Score - 9.5/109.5/10
Forza Motorsport 6 is the most realistic and true to life, dynamic racing game I’ve ever played.
“It’s not about why we race, just that we always will”. Forza Motorsport 6 reignites the franchise and shows that it wants to celebrate cars as opposed to just having them in their game. It reignites the established formula set by its antecedent with a huge array of improvements. There is a gigantic roster of 460 launch cars that all feel amazingly different from each other. The supercars handle with crisp turns, 4X4’s feel like they’re going to flip at any given moment and all the rest have their own, individual play outs. With all that has been added along with the existing that has been improved on, Forza Motorsport 6 is the best racing game in the business by a large margin. The 460 cars can be used over 26 different tracks each having the ability for either day, night, rain racing or a combination of the three. Before we go on, we’ve listed all the combinations below for you for each track: Day = D, Night = N, Rain = R
- Bernese Alps – D
- Bathurst – D
- Brands Hatch – D, R
- Catalunya – D
- Circuit of Americas – D
- Daytona – D, N
- Hockenheim – D
- Indy – D
- Laguna Seca – D
- Le Mans – D, N, R
- Lime Rock – D
- Long Beach – D
- Moriza – D
- Nurburgring – D, N, R
- Prague – D
- Road America – D
- Road Atlanta – D
- Rio – D
- Sebring – D, N, R
- Silverstone – D, R
- Sonoma – D
- Spa – D, N, R
- Test track – D
- Top Gear – D, R
- Watkins Glen – D
- Yas Marina – D, N
The career mode begins with three simple races that take you through the ins and outs of Forza 6’s basic maneuvers. You can’t skip these races which may seem like a bit of a hassle for vets of the franchise, but it still helps integrate the newly added options into the game. Newcomers will need to take advantage of these races as they help get a grasp with the most realistic physics in a racing game to date. Each race earns you affinity and racer level points that net you a prize spin every time you level up. These spins can earn you anything from Forza credits to mod packs to actual vehicles. Of course, Forza Motorsport 6’s main new additions are the night and rain racing. With all we heard about them, few things live up to the hype but these two new additions did.
The rain racing in Forza 6 is quite possibly the most realistic depiction of driving in any racing game I’ve ever played. Everything from the handling of the vehicle to how the rain is physically portrayed on the track. The tracks in Forza 6, for the first time, are interactive. Tire walls, orange traffic cones are all able to be crashed around the track at will. If you cut the corner in the rain and drive over part of the grass, the grass gets ripped away as it’s wet and easier to remove. As the race goes on, the puddles that accumulate in these areas grow as more rain and water enters them. As the rain hits the screen or windshield if you are in first person view, you are able to see the drops in a 3D format. They fly off the windshield just as they do in real life and even get removed faster if you take a quick turn. If you are going to drive through a puddle, best be sure to hit it with all four tires or else you’ll ricochet out of control if your speed isn’t just right. This is all due to Turn 10 Studios visiting the real life locations of tracks utilizing rain, puddles and how they accumulated. It took multiple visits as well as studying film in order to achieve. Remember, this isn’t just rain on a track. It’s fully interactive. Puddles get larger as the race goes on and this all happens with out any loss of performance. Also, it’s not just the puddles getting bigger that makes them interactive, but how they interact with your car. You may run straight through the puddle and be fine if all your tires hit it. On the other hand, hit with two tires while taking a turn and it’s lights out as there’s no way to recover over a certain speed.
Night racing is also just a pure thing of beauty. Often times in racing games you are so situated with taking the turns just perfectly that you miss out on the details put into the track and environment themselves. In Forza 6’s night racing, I found myself crashing more than usual as I was fixated on the reflections. The manner in which Forza managed to recreate reflection of vehicles in other vehicles was absolutely incredible. We were able to take part in an online closed session as part of the review program. We’ve posted it on our page as well. It was a 24 player online night race so there was always someone around you. At one point, three of us tried to take a turn right about the same time and our car was in the middle. With the vehicle behind us shining our headlights past our car onto the car in front of us, we were able to see our own vehicle’s reflection on the car in front of us as he took the turn. It’s little details like these that require incredible programming and are often neglected as you are just trying to edge the cars in front of you. Even the way the light reflects off of the ground is true to life. Ever go for a walk at night and the street lights or the moon is bouncing off of the street? That’s in Forza Motorsport 6. At first it sounds simple; reflections big deal right? Wrong. All of this requires dynamic programming that must be done in a way to change real time all without losing gameplay performance.
During the career event, you progress through multiple levels each consisting of their own amount of races which increase as you level up. Beating certain amounts of races unlocks various showcase events which you can take part in. In fact, there are 87 different showcase events alone. These require you to use the vehicles in question, usually from a choice of 3 or 4 cars, whether it be an Indy car or 4×4. It’s a one lap race to see which one of the listed vehicles is the fastest; or in other words – Showcase the cars. One unfortunate thing about these is the game brings you into this showcase and out of the career mode as it’s unlocked initially causing you a slight delay in continuing the race. It’s not too big of a deal but it was something of note. For the most part, Career mode functions as it normally has with not too many changes of any significance.
The visual stimulation presented in Forza 6 is really something to be marveled at. From the quality in the night racing to how the cars physically react to the rain as mentioned, every little detail is capitalized upon in this year’s version. As we noted in our early demo, the Prague race track portrays some of the most beautiful landscapes we’ve witnessed in a racer. The helicopters circling overhead, vintage era buildings, stone bridges and more make for an extremely complete race track that is rarely seen in game. There are a lot of tiny, realistic additions in Forza 6 that are easy to miss but when added together make for an extremely accurate portrayal of driving. At one point, you take a left turn and begin to come down a hill. Normally, this wouldn’t sound like a big deal. Add in the backdrop of Prague’s countryside, the sunset over the mountains, light bouncing off the landscape and it’s a gorgeous setting that must be appreciated.
For one, if you happen to have a spoiler on your vehicle and play in third person view, you’ll notice it lower and raise dependent upon the amount of down force on it. Burnouts and skids leave tire tracks that are visible as you make your way back around the track. If it was done in the grass after spinning out on the rain, the skid mark accumulates rain water. If somone hits a cone or tire wall and sends one of them flying, it remains in the middle of wherever it landed until its disturbed again and doesn’t do that disappear after a few seconds thing if it’s in your way. Crashes add the paint color of the car that hit you onto your vehicle and if you crash into the wall, your paint color will be there your next time around the track as a subtle reminder of your inaccuracies. Sunlight and moonlight make your vehicle’s reflection and shadow bounce off the environment. Forza Motorsport 6 is truly a visual marvel.
There are also permanent and single use mods that can be added along with the standard assists. Mods like an increase in tire grip are permanent or the more accomplished drivers can add single use mods like increased payouts or earned credits. There are dare mods that can be added as well. I suggest staying away from these if you’re not a veteran racer as they consist of things like decreased braking % in the rain. This makes the race much harder while also increasing your credit payout. We’ll get more in depth with mods in a bit.
Once you have your vehicle all setup, you can head over to Rivals mode which also makes its return. Whether it’s to challenge a friend after a text saying they beat your time or just one of those late night ghost runs, Rivals sticks to the certain cars on certain tracks formula that really test out your driving skill. You’ll be pitted into a certain car and need to beat other players times. For example, you’ll be put in a new Ford GT on the Rio track and try to earn the fastest time. Each lap you’ll get a notification when you beat your current rival as well as which rival is next. While highlighted in the main menu, each Rival race shows your standing in the world, your current country as well as who the current #1 is for the respective race.
League play is also a new addition presented in Forza 6. These are timed events requiring specific skill levels in order to take part in. For example, during this early access portion for reviewers, there was only one league available; Introductory League. It was open for everyone and runs until today, September 8th. You are able to race as much or as little as you want during the times the leagues are open as long as you maintain the skill and vehicle requirements. For example, the Introductory League was open from 1pm to 1am every day. Now, obviously the more racing you do during the league time the better and you earn your payout once the League’s time period is complete. They function essentially as skilled match making races with the car and skill level requirements needed to enter. Many more leagues will be available on launch and others will be added as time goes on. Seasonal leagues like Halloween, Christmas time frames and other events can be added at any time and function as there own individual games within the game.
While in the online pre race lobby, you’ll also notice a few subtle changes. For one, it now shows who made the livery and tune that each car is using as you scroll through the lobby. It’s not a huge change, but it helps make other racers aware of who made the sweet looking design they want to download which, in turn, helps that racer get some credits as well. The online play we sampled was a full two and a half hours straight. Races consisted of 24 players, all human racers, under various circumstances. Daytime, night, rain etc. One thing we noticed is that even with 24 human racers online at once in the rain with dynamic, ever changing weather, puddles and more, there wasn’t any loss of performance at all. And we mean at all. Normally, I’m not much of one to clamour about a slight difference in FPS or resolution because I understand, like most of you, that it’s the overall package that means the most. The fact, however, that Forza 6 is able to maintain all of this at a rock steady 60 FPS is amazing. Remember, it’s not just rain or night, it’s dynamic interactive weather that changes as the race goes on and it’s something that hasn’t been done in a racer to date.
The individual skill leveling has also changed. Rather than earning simply credits for leveling up, you will see a 9 block square in a 3×3 format. The middle square will be a high level vehicle unlock like the Bugatti Veyron for example. The 8 other blocks around the square will feature various things like mod packs, vehicles, credits, etc. Once you unlock a car it is yours. If you own the car already by any chance, you receive the listed amount of credits pertaining to the vehicle. It works quite easily. Simply press A to start the bouncing square around the screen. The prizes on the block change randomly and stop when you press A again. The square continues to move around at a slowing pace before finally coming to a stop on your prize. Easy peezy.
I mentioned mods above but saved the details for this part specifically. They are completely new to Forza and add a new level of tuning to your vehicles. I touched on the Dare mods above and these make the race much more difficult for you. They can range from anything to starting at the last (24th) pole position to having decreased braking or power %. The second group of mods is called Crew and these give you a slight advantage in the race. Anything from increased braking % to a decrease in vehicle weight will help all racers, especially new comers to the franchise. The last group of mods are called Boost mods. These work like burn cards in Titanfall and are single use only. Depending on how you finish in the race, you can earn an increase in credits or even a bonus for not crashing at all for a certain portion of the race itself. Every car is able to have three mods applied to it for every race. Dare and Crew mods are permanent and last until you remove them while Boost mods, as noted, last for one race. You won’t be able to go crazy for extra rewards though. You will be able to put on up to 3 boost mods to fill up the slots but only one Dare or Crew mod can be on at once.
You can buy mod packs in game using credits that come in various tiers. There are common, rare, super rare and all provide a different level of percentage efficiency for the mod in question. Of course, super rare packs can also be earned in your prize spins for leveling up but they do not come often as is the case with their name. Basically, mods add an extra level of tuning to your vehicles and can work hand in hand with your assists. For example, if you need a lower level of difficulty to win which of course works out to a lower credits earning post race, you can always apply a Dare mod to get those credits back.
Customizing your vehicles has also received an increase in features. Everything from paint color and shade to spoilers, suspensions, rims, tires etc can all be customized to your heart’s content. Air intakes, turbos and more can be added to upgrade your vehicle’s class level to whichever you want. Individual prices can vary and be expensive so you’re better off using the quick upgrade option. You can make your vehicle in a single click go from D class to S class for about 45,000 credits while individual upgrades will cost over double that.
Of course, all of the 460 cars are viewable in Forzavista as well. Here you can get a walk through of any car in your garage down to the most minute detail of factory settings. I mean, just opening the drivers door shows the factory label settings on the frame. Even the placement of the screws is accurate to default. Personally, I don’t know much about the technical side of cars. My neighbor is a mechanic and I asked him to take a look to see how accurate it really is. This is a guy who’s been working on cars for over 30 years and his personal quote while standing in front of my TV was “That’s incredible. Even the screws are…wait a minute. Did you put a turbo in?” I replied that I had and asked how he could tell and his response was something true to how amazing the game’s development was. When the turbo was added, he could tell while looking under the hood because although it was slightly visible, the alignment of screws and other motor parts had been changed. Things like this don’t happen easily or at all actually as Forza 6 is the first game that shows this level of detail and realism at all levels of development without the loss of performance.
Overall, Forza Motorsport 6 is the most realistic and true to life, dynamic racing game I’ve ever played. I should correct that to be honest. Not just racing game, but any game for that matter. There have been racing games focused on customization but not performance and vice versa, but no game has done what Forza Motorsport 6 has done to date. The amount of detail and realistic simulation present in the game makes for an overwhelming experience. Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios have essentially created a hybrid racer and racing simulator that blends all aspects of both types of game without sacrificing a single thing. Whether you are a fan of racing or not, Forza Motorsport 6 puts you in the drivers seat of a must experience game that truly shows what the current generation consoles have the power to deliver us.
Overall Score – Day 1 Purchase
Audio – Exactly what you want in a racer. The engine sounds don’t get drowned out by background noises. The environmental sounds like the roving helicopter birds, in game music etc all work hand in hand
Graphics – Amazing. The lighting, shading, reflections and interactivity with the weather blend seamlessly
Gameplay – The most realistic and true to life portrayal of a real life aspect in a game that we’ve ever seen