Racing simulators have always provided enormous thrill, speed, and excitement. I can’t say that enough with Turn 10 Studios’ soft reboot of Forza Motorsport. The realism it exudes doesn’t just make me want to play more but pushes me to be competent in tackling tricky corners and challenging race tracks.
I’ve always considered Gran Turismo 7 the benchmark of racing simulators, but that may change after playing Forza Motorsport. Turn 10 didn’t hold back, and based on the hours I played, I can undoubtedly say that I love every bit of what the game offers.
Forza Motorsport isn’t just for racing sim enthusiasts alone; the sheer amount of helpful details and tutorials can make a casual gamer into a car-head in days. Upgrading engines, tuning your car’s performance, and balancing tire pressures and differentials can overwhelm new players, especially non-car enthusiasts.
Forza Motorsport helps you understand every car part in a user interface without flooding the screen with charts. Plus, if you don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of changing your exhaust or the camshafts, you can press the “Quick Upgrade” option for the game to give you the best, well-balanced upgrade you’ll need for your car. The simplistic interface that guides you through upgrading and tuning your vehicle is one of the things I love about the game.
You won’t get any narrative in most racing simulators in its single-player experience, unlike Electronic Arts’ Need for Speed franchise. Instead, Forza Motorsport features a career mode called “Build Your Legacy.” There are five racing tours with different sets of playlists explicitly made for types of cars. For example, let’s take the “Practical Performance” playlist under Modern Tour. You won’t be driving supercars or tuners; instead, you drive modern high-performance hatchbacks from brands like Volkswagen and Ford, while the “Built For Sport” playlist will feature performance cars like the famous Supra from Toyota.
I love how the game makes you go through distinct kinds of cars, allowing you to experience how each type of car feels. While for some, it can feel dragging to go through five different races in a playlist, it’s one way of collecting cars and upgrading them as you see fit for the track. But if you feel like wanting to dive onto other race tracks, Free Play is your go-to mode. All race tracks are available from the get-go; however, you will be limited to the cars you’ve already bought. You can rent vehicles by paying in-game credits, but I recommend purchasing the cars instead.
When it comes to racing games, controls are one of the critical factors to make it a great game. I’m happy to report that Forza Motorsport delivers a fantastic driving experience, better than Gran Turismo 7 actually. Despite only being able to use the Xbox Series X|S controller, I’m surprised that the driving feels smooth and responsive, allowing me to nail those apexes. What’s even more encouraging is that playing in the third-person view in Forza Motorsport feels much better than Gran Turismo 7. In Gran Turismo, the camera sticks at the rear of your car, making sharp turns in apexes difficult when the camera doesn’t move at an optimal angle.
The difficulty setting offers three different rulesets and a drivatar difficulty scale. Like other racing sims, the higher the difficulty, the better reward you receive after each race. When I play racing sims, I always set the rules to the most realistic simulation: simulated damage, tires, fuel, manual shifting, no rewinds, and full penalties. I drive a car, own a 2018 Mustang, and know my way around cars. So, I tested this “simulated damage” theory. What happens to my car when I accidentally downshift during high RPMs in Forza Motorsport? The car tends to jerk, and you’ll hear the engine hiccup at certain speeds, affecting your car’s overall acceleration and performance. You will have to go to the pit stop and fix the engine, which will take a few seconds more than changing tires and refueling. The game impressively simulates the possible problems you will face when you make such mistakes.
Unlike arcade racers such as Forza Horizon 5, The Crew Motorfest, and Need for Speed Unbound, racing simulators tend to be unforgiving when you don’t slow down at an upcoming sharp corner, resulting in a terrible accident like in real-life motorsport. Forza Motorsport showcases realism in a way that any other racing sim didn’t make me feel.
Progression in Forza Motorsport has been positively refined. Gone are days of prize crates that lock car upgrades behind loot boxes from Forza Motorsport 7. Car upgrades can now be purchased in the form of CP this time. The CP isn’t tied to the game’s in-game currency, but it’s exclusively used to upgrade your vehicle. You can earn them by finishing races, and certain car parts are locked behind your car’s level, so you need to complete more races to unlock other upgrades. As a player, this gives me a sense of purpose and dedication when I’m behind the wheel, and it makes every race count and satisfying to win.
Forza Motorsport features more than 500 cars, and if you’re the collector type of person, you’ll have a ton great selection of vehicles to choose from. As a fan of muscle and tuner cars, there’s an overwhelming amount of car models I can’t wait to add to my collection. Of course, as a huge fan and a proud owner of a 2018 Ford Mustang, I’m happy to see that a 2018 model is in the game! It’s such an empowering feeling to replicate my car’s design in the game and drive it, and I’m glad that Turn 10 didn’t exclude the 2018 model of the Ford Mustang.
Forza Motorsport looks visually striking. I love every bit of detail Turn 10 managed to put into the game. The race track looks and feels so alive; you’ll even notice new tire tracks on the road when you’re racing plus the car damage perfectly simulates the amount of scratch and dent your vehicle gets when hit another car. Even the tiny little graphical details, like the dashboard’s reflection in the windshield and the raindrops, are impressive enough to make me adore and say that it can easily beat Gran Turismo 7 aesthetically.
Forza Motorsport shines and takes the top place on the podium. With the sheer amount of cars, and the amazing race tracks it initially offers, race sim fans and newcomers will find Forza Motorsport inviting and fun.
Almost perfect if not for the nitty-gritty. If it’s quite there but not enough to push the boundaries, it’s still an awesome game.