The latest edition of the Forza franchise is Forza Motorsport and over the past week, I’ve had a chance to get behind the wheel and spend time racing it.
This time around, the focus is really on having amazing graphics, amazing racing and a great combination of a staged career mode, along with a diverse multiplayer option with regular side quests aka Multiple events.
The game is available across Xbox Series X|Sm, Xbox One, Windows PC, Steam and Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming service (still in beta). I chose to review the game on Steam and was able to experience some absolutely stunning visuals thanks to real-time raytracing, rendered with my Nvidia RTX 3080.
Any racing game is only as good as its car and track selection and in this game, you’ll be able to choose from a roster of 500 cars and tracks, with 20 tracks completely rebuilt, and 5 brand new tracks.
What I loved about the game was its return to focus on vehicle progression, meaning that when you buy a car, you spend time with it and feel like your ownership was actually worth the investment, because you’ll use it for a number of races.
Racing grows your vehicle level and with each level, you earn credits which can be spent to mod and upgrade your vehicle to help you outperform the competition in the next race.
Builders Cup Career Mode.
This is an all new, single-player car building experience with over 800 performance upgrades to build the ultimate racing machine the way you want.
Featured Multiplayer Events
Compete with friends in a race weekend inspired structure, equipped with new driver and safety ratings, AI-powered Forza Race Regulations to ensure clean and fair racing and more.
Complete Roster of 500 New Cars & Tracks.
Put the pedal to the metal on 20 completely rebuilt tracks from around the world, including 5 new- to Motorsport tracks along with over 500 cars released at launch.
You can see the initial car list here.
Exciting Photorealistic Graphics and Real-Time Ray Tracing.
Experience next-level visual realism and immersion to offer the most dynamic, intensive visuals to elevate your racing experience.
Immersive Sound Experience.
Transport into the world of racing through the latest immersive audio composition made to enhance your racing experience.
Performance and Gameplay
There are some really great experiences in this game, I remember distinctly when I saw the headlights automatically turn on mid-race. When I glanced up from the road ahead I noticed the sunsetting and while you can select the time of day and weather in some race types, I encourage you to select the time of day and play across a variety of weather conditions to have an authentic racing experience.
Something brand new to the racing in Forza is per-segment feedback on your driving. This helps encourage you to perfect every turn to improve lap times across all sections of the track, rather than just an overall lap time.
I love how this game feels in terms of driving mechanics, particularly when you experience this through a steering wheel and pedals. My setup was the Logitech Pro wheel and pedals bolted to a Next Level Racing GT Track racing sim. When you’re racing, it feels realistic, doing a great job of tricking your brain into thinking you are actually behind the wheel of the car on screen.
Part of this achievement is thanks to the stunning visuals, but equally has the audio department to thank as these cars sound absolutely amazing. It’s not just the engine and exhaust notes that they’ve nailed, but the sound, combined with the force feedback as the tyre smashes across the ripple strips is second to none.
The driving dynamics are also highlighted by the fact the game allows you to catch a drift, making the experience all the more enjoyable. In previous games, it took an insane amount of tuning to make a car handle in a way that was manageable, a workload most would never invest the time to achieve. Thankfully you can throw a car sideways or grab a bit of handbrake without the car spinning uncontrollably in the opposite direction. This makes the game lots of fun, particularly when you’re out in front and have time to trade for a few style points.
As good as the new content is, and as enjoyable as it was to learn the new tracks, I can’t help but wish there were more circuits. Turn 10 Studios has committed to releasing new content each month, so there is good news on that front.
While the number of cars in the game is seriously impressive, it’s clear that the way Forza reaches a number like this is by reusing car models from previous generations. If you filter the catalogue of vehicles for modern vehicles released in 2022 or 2023, you’ll find just a handful. There are a stunning amount of new cars that should be in this game and aren’t, so the opportunity for DLC to resolve this is enormous.
Visually there is no doubt, this game is stunning, as long as you have the GPU to power it. I raced between a 75″ 4K TV and a 49″ Ultrawide running 5120×1440. Both experiences were brilliant and I was frankly blown away at times by the environmental lighting effects like thick and heavy fog, crazy rain and most surprisingly, the blinding sunlight as it burst through the trees.
This is the most realistic racing game I’ve played ever.
I did test dropping the quality down to see what effect it had on the game and the impact was substantial, with lighting, reflections, shadows and texture quality all taking a hit, it almost looked like another game. I haven’t yet had a chance to play on the Xbox Series X, but that’s on the cards for this week. I know the game will only hit 4k30 there, but I expect that’ll be plenty for a great racing experience.
Regarding the AI opponents, there were plenty of accidents, which if they’re simulating real racing, does happen, so it’s great to see when they do crash, there’s typically debris including grass and dirt on the track as well as a healthy dust cloud that can block your vision.
There are different levels of aggression you can choose with your opponents and the higher you go, the harder the race will be. You should be warned, that if you turn this up, they do not mess around and penalties for impacting the races of others or cutting the course are definitely something you will experience. For the most part, I agreed with the race director’s decision, although there were times when I felt hard done by (doesn’t every driver).
While racing, I noticed on more than one occasion that pop-in can be an issue and there were times when graphic glitches meant the entire road surface was missing, but this was isolated to a specifc corner of the track.
I expect this may be fixed by the time regular customers get access to the game. As I write this, the game is downloading a new patch that is 5.64GB in size. which adds to the 118GB size of the game on Steam.
As I raced, I noticed that I was watching the pending decision at the top of the screen far too much and would prefer audio feedback, rather than visual. When you think about how this occurs in reality, it’s typically your race engineer who feeds you information about penalties and they don’t always do this immediately, to allow you to focus on the race. I think Forza should move to this model.
Price & Availability
Forza Motorsport is available on console with the Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and PC, Steam and streaming via Microsoft’s Cloud Gaming Service (beta). The game is included with Game Pass, so if you already pay for that, you’re getting a new AAA title to add a whole lot of value to that subscription.
From today, you can pre-download the game if you buy the right tier (Deluxe, Premium), so you’re ready to jump into Early Access starting on Thursday, October 5 at 12am local time in your country. This is up to 5 days ahead of the broader launch on October 11th.
The game on Steam (reviewed) costs the following:
- Standard Edition – A$119.95
- Deluxe Edition – A$139.95
- Premium Edition – A$149.955
Forza Motorsport may be missing a version number, but it does not lack stunning graphics, realistic racing, and one hell of an enjoyable racing experience.
If you’re a casual racer, I think you would enjoy this game, but if you are serious about your racing, then this is a must-have in your racing collection. While I’ve been a little critical above about the lack of new cars, this game will inevitably solve that through DLC. over the coming weeks and months.
There are many, many hours of racing to be had here and it’s the close, competitive racing that really makes you want to come back time and time again. There’s a diversity in the races that feels great and while you can spend a number of races in the same vehicle, I like that, rather than racing to the best straight up.
I never felt the racing was a grind to get to the next vehicle, but rather just another race to enjoy and have fun in. After practising a track for 3 laps, I would also beat the bonus challenge of setting a specified lap time. I enjoyed the challenge of selecting my starting position in a race and trying to exceed the projected race finish position.
What the developers have been able to achieve on a visual side is nothing short of amazing and from the physics side of things, they should really take a bow, this game is excellent in its feel of being behind the wheel.
There’ll be many, many more hours in the racing sim after this review is live, exploring all corners of multi-player and unlocking as many achievements as possible. It was great to be able to connect Steam and Xbox and have Achievements count on both. There’s also a series of monthly challenges to keep you coming back for more, spread across a range of racing disciplines, to make you a better driver and well rounded racer.
Something also to consider is the fact that the upcoming Meta Quest 3 VR headset will support Forza Motorsport.