Within the past year a number of simulation racing games have come onto the gaming scene, but not too many have hit the right note. For a simulation racing game to be exemplary, it needs to maintain a stable balance of realism and a relaxed approach to achieve overall enjoyment. Too much realism and the game becomes an incredibly frustrating bore. Too much of a relaxed approach and it effectively becomes an arcade racer. The Forza franchise has always kept the balance right, and with Forza Motorsport 6, it takes an already working formula and refines it even further.
Forza Motorsport 6 is the latest addition to the franchise by Turn 10 Studios, and is exclusive to the Xbox One. The game features the largest collection of cars in all the Forza titles with over 450 cars to choose from, and 25 tracks from across the world to race on.
In very similar fashion to previous Forza titles, you start off with racing in the cover car being the 2017 Ford GT. This is a great way to throw you into the game as you’re immediately given the chance to give the car a really good go, as opposed to seeing the cover car as a long-term goal that you would only be able to obtain towards the end of the game. This opportunity also serves as the tutorial of the game.
After your brief joyride in the Ford GT, the campaign starts off as your racing career. Career Mode is divided into five volumes, with each volume featuring three series events and around five races in each series event. This seems a little drawn out at first, but don’t worry, Turn 10 have made sure every bit of the game keeps the player engaged and captivated.
A new feature has been added to Forza Motorsport 6 called Mods, which allow for three enhancements to be added to your car and can be switched out in between races. This works in a similar fashion to Perks in Call of Duty. Want a larger bonus payout for winning a race? There’s a mod for that. Need better handling for a particular course? Switch one mod out for that race. While you can win and purchase mods to add to your collection, they are not compulsory to use for your driving experience.
After each race, you earn Experience Points which add to your Driver Level as well as Affinity Points for the make of car you’re driving. This sounds same as usual with all Forza titles, but one thing Turn 10 have brought forward from Forza Horizon 2 is the Prize Spin. Each time your Driver Level increases, you’re given the chance to win a prize which could be more credits to spend, new Mods or even a new car to add to your collection.
In between races, Showcase Events can be unlocked depending on your progression through Career Mode. These events allow you to take a well-deserved break from your career and enjoy driving cars from a particular era or class of motorsport racing. Some are even just simple and fun challenges, such as passing through cone gates without knocking any down or trying to beat the Digital Stig.
Forza Motorsport 6 is abundant in detail and that’s not just limited to the stunning graphics. Small elements such as tyre temperatures can greatly affect your overall handling, so your only option is to give the car a really good workout to heat the tyres and, in turn, increase its grip. The game actually advises you to do this. The weather and conditions make a very significant difference in how you approach corners and other sections of a track. Hitting a large puddle of rain will almost certainly challenge your handling skills. Rain also affects your visibility and is only slightly improved with the windscreen wipers going. Night time racing is also an interesting feat as you’re relying only on headlights and other opponents on the track to give you a sense of awareness.
The difficulty can be changed rather easily in Forza Motorsport 6. If you’re finding that the Drivatars on the track are not playing nice or you want some extra handling assists enabled, this can all be selected at the race pre-start menu. Inversely, if you’re after a more realistic experience or you want fellow Drivatars to give you a run for your money, the difficulty can be increased and you earn bonus credits for every difficulty level you go up by. The change in Drivatar difficulty didn’t offer much of a difference as they tend to crash into corners a lot more than expected, an issue found in Forza Motorsport 5 and sadly still remains.
One notable element that Forza Motorsport 5 brought forward was adding a level of personality to a simulation racing game by including identities within the automotive scene, such as the Top Gear hosts and motorsport legends. This has returned in Forza Motorsport 6, with the game featuring a number of racing and automotive icons narrating sections. Often you’ll hear Richard Hammond or James May expressing their sentiments on particular car classes, or racing car drivers within the Nascar and Rallycross worlds offering their views on what it’s like to be part of such a sport.
What’s a racing game without some multiplayer? In a first for the Forza franchise, online races in Forza Motorsport 6 allow up to 24 players in a single lobby per race. This makes for one crowded but exhilarating experience, however you start to wonder how 24 people with different ideas and methods of racing can all get along in the same lobby. To answer this, Turn 10 have introduced a categorising system called Leagues which separate players into different divisions based on their driving skill and methods. In turn, this gives you a better opportunity to enjoy the multiplayer experience with players who are like-minded to your style of racing.
Forza Motorsport 6 has taken the greatest parts found throughout the franchise and combined them to produce a stellar product. With a refined system of driving realism balanced with a relaxed approach, it delivers a superb result and is sure to turn the heads of any racing game enthusiast. Turn 10 have created a game which ultimately captures the roots of what symbolises and personifies the automotive racing world.