Forza Motorsport 6 embodies Turn 10 Studios’ best concepts and past successes, and molds them in what may be the finest virtual racing simulator to date. Like the universally praised CD Projekt Red, Turn 10 Studios is dedicated to their fans. Forza 5 was a solid entry, but like many console launch titles, it suffered from anemic content and a lack of innovation. Fortunately, every single Forza 5 complaint has been addressed, and Forza 6 is a fresh start. It’s their first true next-gen racer, and it’s the first Forza title since Forza 3 that feels like an evolutionary step forward.
Turn 10 Studios isn’t shy when it comes to taking inspiration from other titles in the genre. It’s clear that the developers aren’t just fans of their own game. (I’m looking at you Polyphony Digital.) They study their competition extensively, and Forza 6 carries traces of numerous popular racing sims, including the recent Project Cars. Some might argue that the addition of weather effects and night racing is nothing more than Turn 10 Studios playing catchup, but it’s the developer’s commitment to perfecting each of these areas what makes Forza 6 truly spectacular.
From the moment Forza 6 boots, the game’s presentation impresses more than any other Xbox One title since the console’s launch. I’m not just talking about the stupendously detailed cars and tracks, I’m referring to the expert art direction responsible for the sleek menus and stunning design elements prevalent throughout every part of the game. As a result, everything in Forza 6 feels more cohesive and intuitive.
"Fortunately, every single Forza 5 complaint has been addressed, and Forza 6 is a fresh start. It’s their first true next-gen racer, and it’s the first Forza title since Forza 3 that feels like an evolutionary step forward."
Forza’s car models have no equal. Turn 10 Studios is known for throwing absurd amounts of details at their vehicles, but Forza 6 takes the team’s obsession to a whole new level. One glance at the new Autovista mode (which now displays every vehicle in the game), and you’ll start to question whether you’re looking at a render or even the real thing. It’s that good. The same attention to detail extends to track designs and weather effects. Rio de Janeiro is one of the best looking tracks I’ve ever seen, and while returning tracks don’t carry the same wow factor, they’ve been meticulously refined since Forza 5.
Of course, small compromises had to be made in order to achieve such visual fidelity. Since the game is running at a rock solid 60 fps, most of the new weather effects aren’t dynamic, and are baked into the environments. After playing with the dynamic weather in Project Cars, Forza’s weather system comes off as somewhat static. Nevertheless, the actual experience of driving though the rain or night time, or both, is unparalleled. Water puddles on the road can quickly spin your car out of control, and the lack of visibility during nighttime is terrifying.
"Showcase events are my favorite addition to Forza 6, as they keep the career mode exciting and unpredictable throughout."
Forza 6’s gameplay is a notable step forward when compared to its predecessor. Major differences may not be noticeable right away, but once the faster cars are unlocked, it becomes evident just how much effort went into tightening the handling model for both gamepad and steering wheel support. My only gripe is with the breaking, which still feels flimsy and sloppy when driving at high speeds. Luckily, it’s easy to adjust after a few laps, and it certainly isn’t a game breaker.
Turn 10 Studios has taken a slightly different approach to the career mode. It can be best described as a combination between the recent Project Cars and Gran Turismo 6. Racing disciplines are divided into different panels, and you slowly work your way up to higher powered machines. To keep things interesting, showcase events are offered between races where you’re given the opportunity to race specifically chosen vehicles and experience key moments from different times in racing history. Showcase events are my favorite addition to Forza 6, as they keep the career mode exciting and unpredictable throughout.
Another new addition are mods. Mods are used for either boosting your car’s performance or adding unique challenges to specific races for increased rewards. Mods come in three different categories: Boost, Dare and Crew. For example, you can temporarily change your car’s handling during a designated race to gain extra points, or you can assign a permanent performance boosting mod that gives you an edge against your competition, but also voids extra bonuses. Mods cannot be used in multiplayer or league modes, but they’re another great element that keeps the career mode diversified during the 60+ hours of gameplay.
"Forza 6 is Turn 10 Studios’ finest work yet, and it’s the best racing game in years (if not ever)."
Turn 10 Studios has also added the wheelspin from Forza Horizon 2. It’s a redesigned version of the spin, which lets you see all available prizes beforehand. Wheelspin prizes are awarded when players level up, and they’re a great way to earn extra credit or exclusive vehicles.
The Driveatar technology originally introduced in Forza 5 has been almost entirely revamped. Personally, I was frustrated by the erratic AI behavior in Forza 5, particularly the constant corner pileups during each race. Now, the AI behavior is dramatically different. Drivers behave more naturally, and I never experienced the AI spazzing out mid race like before. In fact, the Driveatar technology has improved so much, I almost completely forgot about the multiplayer portion during my first ten hours of gaming.
Forza 6 is Turn 10 Studios’ finest work yet, and it’s the best racing game in years (if not ever). It’s a technical marvel, and it’s packed with so much content, it’s easy to forgive the developers for their sloppiness in Forza 5. As someone who’s been let down by Microsoft’s exclusives so far (Horizon 2 excluded), I can confidently say that Forza 6 is the reason to go out and get an Xbox One.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Xbox One