Once upon a time, in a land far removed from that which we now know, something appeared that was to change the face of the racing video game scene for ever more. Forza Motorsport hit the original Xbox to great applause, turning the genre on its head as realism, tight track racing and drop dead gorgeous visuals took hold. At the time, I remember thinking nothing could better it as a racer, but boy was I wrong. Forza 2 dropped onto the Xbox 360 a couple of years later, taking everything that was good about the original game and moved it up a level or two.
Forza 3, Forza 4, Forza Horizon, Forza 5 and Forza Horizon 2 all then bettered their predecessors in such a way that the franchise has ensured it has gathered a following among race fans, and in particular, Xbox racers, as the go to game for any serious petrol-heads.
So, ten years on from the first title and Turn 10 are still churning out the Forza series. With Forza Motorsport 5 and Forza Horizon 2 sewing up both the simulated track racing and open world point to pointers remarkably well, I wasn’t sure that there would be a need, or indeed a place for Forza 6.
Guess what, I’m wrong again.
Forza Motorsport 6 is bloody marvelous and Turn 10 have celebrated ten years of being at the fore of the racing scene in spectacular fashion.
You can always tell when something is going to be a little special just by the way it is slowly introduced. Forza has that in bucketloads and from the very first foray down the streets of Rio De Janerio in the cover star – the 2017 Ford GT, you’ll be wowed by sights and sounds like very little else currently available on any console. Roaring down the road, whether you decide to take in the view from the gloriously complex cockpit, or sit further back with one of the multiple third person views available, you’ll be entwined into a way of the racer, pushing to hit every apex and powering it down the straights like never before. The sounds you get from the Ford GT are unbelieveable and drag you off your sofa and into the drivers seat from the very first press of the start button.
Forza 6 isn’t just all about the new 2017 Ford GT though. With 459 other cars to get to grips with, all from the very start if you so wish, whether you like to spend time behind the wheel of an old classic, strap yourself in to a street racer or clamber into a rocketship destined for the long straights of Le-Mans, you’ll find something for each and every occasion. With a car roster that blows away all competition, Forza 6 is off the grid before its fellow racers can even get into gear.
Each and every car has been created to the most extreme quality. With new details popping up from every angle, and a huge amount of collision damage included if you don’t have a high sense of spacial awareness, the love that has been included in every one of the glorious machines oozes from each panel. The inclusion of ForzaVista gives you even more of a chance to get down, dirty and personal with your favourite machines, with many of them having an included history and numerous other fun facts for you to listen in on.
But no matter how much you wish it were, Forza 6 isn’t about sitting around looking at pretty cars; it’s about taking to the track, taking your grid spot and leaving your opponents for dust. With the Drivatar system from previous titles back in play, even when you are playing solo, you’ll still be taking on your best friends and worst enemies as the cloud based system brings them into play. Racing is tight and tough, with little rubber banding present and as long as you end up on the podium, you should gather enough credits, win spins, affinity and experience points to ensure you can fill your garage with your most favoured of cars. Each of which can be tuned to a massive degree (maybe too high a degree for the casual racer), customised with new wheels, spoilers, paintjobs and liveries and taken back onto the circuit to fight it out for the first corner once again!
As is now always the case with a Forza title, if you’d prefer to just keep plying your talents to the racetrack, leaving the tuning and visual beauties to others, a quick mosey over at the marketplace will enable you to pick up the very best tuning options and most beautiful of liveries from other gamers. You’ll of course have to pay for the privilege but at least you won’t have to waste your time creating a literal mess.
When you do hit the track, to help you out even more, ‘Mods’ have been introduced to Forza this year. Now, depending on your point of view, you’ll either love or hate the ‘fun’ that these bring. With up to three being able to be used at any one time, these will give you higher grid positions, an increase in grip or speed, or as some of the super rare ones bring, complete and utter domination of the race with the advantage of your car taking no collisions. Purchased using your in-game credits, you’ll need to decide whether to spend your cash on a new motor, or a new Mods pack in the hope that you’ll be able to implement a card that will help you out in the next tricky race. I’ve always seen Forza Motorsport as the racers racer and am still unsure whether Mods have a place in a serious experience. As an addition to the Horizon series, then I’d go with it and I’m guessing this will just be the start of something more complex for FH3, but many will see the inclusion in Motorsport 6 as a bit of a sacrilege.
If the Mods aren’t a big enough help to your racing prowess, then the inclusion of the now standard customisation options that frequent a Forza title are all in abundance. Whether you wish to up the level of aggression your fellow racers take on, switch on or off some basic car aids or grab the stick shifter and manually choose the best gear for each corner and every straight, Forza 6 has you covered.
To experience all the vehicles available, your best bet is to throw yourself headlong into the career mode. Set up with numerous sections, Turn 10 promise 70+ hours of investment needed before you can even think about nearing completion and with it being split into two prominent sections, the Stories of Motorsport and Showcase events, the career is just as comprehensive as previous Forza titles. You’ll find yourself starting off with the slower cars in the Super Street catalogue of races, but it won’t be long before you find yourself competing in quicker cars, and at a higher level with the Sport Icons, Grand Tourers, Pro Racing series or the pinnacle of Forza racing; the Ultimate Motorsport. You’ll need to compete in and win (or at least place in the top 3) in most races in order to unlock each ‘Story’ but once you have, multiple car options included in each will ensure that you’ll be flipping back and forth for a good few months yet. How you tackle each career stage is up to you. Just ensure you grab a decent car, tune it up and get racing!
The Showcase events meanwhile intersperse the Stories and allow a bit of excitement in amongst the sometimes sterile main event. With Autocross events urging you to weave through cones at the quickest pace, the chance to take on The Stig from Top Gear, settle down for some long endurance events or experience some of the most iconic of motorsport moments in a number of the very best historic cars, the option to jump in and out of the Showcase at will makes sure that nothing every gets too repetitive.
If the career is not to your liking, then the return of a comprehensive Rivals section, giving you the chance to battle it out against your friends’ times, or the inclusion of a new league format will no doubt suit. Never seen before in a Forza game, the online league system looks to be a great feature and should give all those who are slightly wary of entering the world of online racing a decent foothold. Throwing you into a league that matches your own skill level, the more you win, the higher you place and the further you’ll find yourself climbing the league ladder. Drive like a nutter and expect to be racing alongside those who just don’t give a damn, but learn some Christian motoring and you’ll quickly find your fellow grid takers should be of the kind and caring variety.
Whilst the cars are very much the stars of the show, the circuits on offer really don’t disappoint either. With some fan favourites like Spa Francorchamps and Silverstone making an obvious return and the inclusion of some new tarmac from the iconic Monza right up to the modern day Circuit of the Americas, you can be ensured that the average gamer will be more than happy with what is on offer. They have all been replicated beautifully, with handily placed bollards ensuring those shortcuts that many abused in previous games are no longer in play. Many an early multiplayer session is going to turn into a bit of carnage whilst racers from around the world try to forget everything that was previously laid in front of them and learn a new way to get round the circuit as quickly as possible. Even the fictional tracks that Turn 10 have included have a sense of realism and beauty about them!
Many may argue that Forza 6 doesn’t do much more than Forza 5. But whilst the title that helped launch Xbox One a couple of years ago was a little bereft of initial tracks and vehicles, the extra oomph that Turn 10 have provided in both these areas ensures that 6 is a big enough step up to warrant another purchase. Personally speaking, I’d like to see a ton of new circuits included as after ten years of going round the same old loops, there are times when I’m pretty certain I could now close my eyes, ties one hand behind my back and still set a competitive enough time. For the vast majority of gamers though, the 26 locales on offer should be more than enough.
On the multiplayer side of things and it’s near on business as usual. With plenty of online hoppers in play, bringing online racers closer together on the tracks and formats that they love, I’d hazard a guess and say that there won’t be any time soon when you’ll be struggling to find a decent lobby to compete in. Of course, if you fancy just taking on your friends, then a private lobby with fully customisable features is the way ahead. Whether your party fancies some straight out D-Class racing, a blast in some of the world’s fastest supercars or the odd game of Tag or Virus, then Forza 6 will happily comply.
There’s even the option to run through some free play racers in split screen mode. So if you’ve got a sofa friend who reckons they can take you on, set the options to your liking and show them who’s boss.
So, Forza 6 is, as I’ve already confirmed with the above, the new benchmark for racers both on Xbox and indeed rival consoles. But I still haven’t mentioned the new weather system that ensures each race is in the lap of the gods.
With new rain and fog effects in place, if you have any inkling for victory, you’ll need to bring with you the utmost concentration as both you and your car will be immersed in a weather system that is simply stunning. Hydroplaning is a real issue as water builds across proper 3D puddles and the deepest darkest nights ensure that a number of the circuits take on a whole new characteristic, with stadium lights helping out massively when your standard headlamps just don’t have the power to cut through the pitch black night air. Without a word of a lie, I’ve constantly sat open mouthed in awe at how great the inclusion of the weather effects have been and how hardcore the night time racing plays out, especially as the cool night air plays a massive effect on the amount of traction you’ll get from your worn tyres. It really does have to be experienced to believe it.
And seeing to believe is pretty much where we stand with Forza Motorsport 6. It is nothing short of exemplary, it looks stunning, it sounds stunning and it plays even better. Whether you’re a hardcore racing fan sitting in your cave with a full wheel setup, or just like to sit back on the sofa grabbing a controller in order to hit some quick races with a friend, Forza Motorsport 6 is the racer for you.
It’s been one hell of a decade!