Forza Motorsport 6: XBox One Review
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Format: XBox One
There's no denying this year has been a cluttered one for car games on the next gen consoles.
With Driveclub and Project CARS as well as Forza Horizon 2 still in the wing mirror, the platform and genre are already very well serviced in this area, so why would another version of Forza be needed?
Well, the simple reason is that it's essential and thrilling.
For the 10th anniversary of the Forza series, the game's pulled out all the stops to deliver an incredible driving experience that is a joy to play from the moment you load the game up to when you inevitably have to turn it off.
With over 460 vehicles to collect, there's more than enough to do with the racing side of things and with 26 tracks there are certainly enough choices to keep you occupied. Drivatars can be set to various skills and rewards can be gained, but at the end of the day Forza Motorsport 6 is all about the racing and little else.
And it's breathtakingly well-executed on the XBox One.
Graphically, the game soars with the sheen and shine of the cars being the main reason it looks so damn good as you hurtle around the tracks. And while the crowds aren't particularly animated as you speed by (just taking a picture of them in photo mode demonstrates this), the backgrounds are nothing short of stunning. Snowy mountains have contours and look beautiful as the sun's rays catch them and you as you burn round a bend.
But it's the wet weather that impresses too. While it doesn't come on naturally like other racing sims, even though you're thrown in to the middle of race where a downpour is ongoing, it's electric. Droplets of rain water track up and down your screen as if you're watching through a window on a rainy day - and with 3D puddles on the track, the game is changed. Because hitting one of those head on can send you far enough off course to lose your racing position without any warning. The simulated planing you do when you manage that - either deliberately or accidentally - is tricky to correct, but just occasionally, it benefits you.
Career mode is simply fun too; you're thrown into all kinds of cars that normally games need you to progress through as you go through the game. Whether it's because of the credits you accrue in the game or because of the spin fortune mechanism in place, it's great to have access to all of them right away.
Playing through five tiers of Stories of Motorsport, (with the likes of Top Gear stars Richard Hammond and James Mays narrating), there are some 70plus hours of driving to get through - including the Showcase events, where you can end up racing up to 320KPH in an Indy Car track.
There's also a new Mods facility, an in-game pack that you buy with your own credits and which give you a series of boosts or technical upgrades which last for a limited amount of time or are for one race only. It's not a micro-transaction but is available to all within the game and is a welcome touch, though it has to be said, it's not essential to your career if you don't want to invest in them.
Night-time races are also a blast, but make the motoring a different ball game. Set entirely in the pitch black of night the races are actually harder and will see you relying on your skills, map-reading and ability to read the other racers in equal measure. The issue is nothing can be taken for guaranteed and every race is fraught with a minor mishap causing you to tumble down the race ranks.
Endurance races, matches with the Stig, and a whole heap of other show case events will all easily eat up your time - a 40 lap endurance being the biggest ask for concentration and skill. There's certainly variety ahoy in this latest Forza outing and there's really no need to leave the game in the slightest.
Also on offer is the player multiplayer which I've yet to experience having missed the guided multiplayer time zones due to other commitments - stay tuned as that side of the review will be added in a later stage.
All in all, Forza Motorsport 6 is a top tier title. It makes the racing fun, is beautifully executed and makes a great case for this series continuing to be updated. If you're a racing fan, you can't afford to be without this game - and if you're not, I guarantee you should own it as it'll convert you with absolute ease.