Forza Motorsport has returned with its latest installment, and it’s safe to say that this game brings some notable improvements compared to its predecessor. Although the graphical leap may not be as significant as one would hope, other aspects, such as the audio, physics, and AI drivers, have noticeably improved.
The highlight of the game is its handling model, which is what keeps Forza fans coming back for more. The “drivatar” technology, which simulates competitors, provides a more enjoyable racing experience with less rubber banding. Whether using a force feedback wheel or a gamepad, players will feel a stronger connection to the car and the road surface, creating a more immersive simulation racing game.
While Forza Motorsport may not have the most extensive list of cars and tracks compared to other racing series, Microsoft plans to add more content over time. The frequency and cost of these additions will likely influence player satisfaction. Additionally, Forza Motorsport is the first game in the series to embrace the live service gaming era, meaning players can expect regular updates and events to keep them engaged in the coming weeks and months.
In terms of graphics, the game holds up well, especially when ray tracing is enabled. The support for Nvidia’s DLSS 3.5 technology is disappointing at launch, but playing on a system with an AMD 5600X CPU and Nvidia 3070, players can still enjoy smooth gameplay even with high resolutions and other settings enabled. The built-in benchmark is a useful feature for system builders, providing quick results to optimize performance.
On Xbox Series X, players have a choice between Performance mode, which offers up to 4K resolution and 60 fps without reflections and ray tracing, and Quality mode, which maintains the best ray tracing and reflections but lowers the frame rate to 30 fps. There is also a Performance RT mode that strikes a balance between the two, with reflections on cars but not on track surfaces. Performance RT mode seems to be a suitable compromise, although the differences may be difficult to discern in video captures or screenshots.
However, the gameplay experience is not without its flaws. Forza Motorsport has taken a step back from the car collection aspect that has been central to the series, instead gating vehicle upgrades behind the need to earn Car Points and raise a car’s level through actual driving. This change in progression and rewards may frustrate players accustomed to previous entries, where cars and upgrades were easily accessible. It adds an RPG element to the game, where players must devote time and effort to develop their cars.
Despite this shift, Forza Motorsport still offers an extensive driver education experience, with features such as suggested racing lines and various assists to improve performance. The game provides detailed feedback to help players understand their performance and areas for improvement. It’s a far cry from the simplistic time attack mode of the past.
Overall, Forza Motorsport impresses with its improved gameplay mechanics, including enhanced handling and comprehensive driver education features. While the shift in the car collection aspect may divide fans, it adds a new layer of depth to the game. With regular updates and events planned, Forza Motorsport aims to keep players engaged for the long haul.
Forza Motorsport will be available starting October 5th on Xbox Series X/S, Windows, and Steam for Premium Edition owners with Early Access, followed by a wider release on October 10th.