Why do you race?

Note: Skip to the video below for a quick summary if you can’t be bothered reading the whole thing.

For a long time Forza has been my go-to racing simulator. It’s the only game I’ve ever felt truly represents motorsport accurately and being able to customize every car in whatever way I wanted didn’t make it a hard game to love. When Forza 4 launched in 2011 I didn’t think it was going to be possible for a game to top it because it had just about everything any car enthusiast would want in a game. I did eventually start to get a little bored with Forza 4, right around the time Forza Horizon was released, which was a breath of fresh air and a risky move for Forza and one that not a lot of other games could have pulled off. But they did and it was great!

When Forza 5 was announced as a launch title for the Xbox One, I instantly knew I would be lining up at 11:59pm ready to hand over just about all of my hard earned money so I could be racing until the early hours of the morning. Forza 5, while visually impressive, was not even close to the game Forza 4 is. There was a small amount of tracks and cars which left a lot to be desired for fans of the series. For those of you like me that felt a little bit unimpressed, Forza 6 is exactly what we were hoping for in a current generation racing simulator.

The People’s Race

Forza is anyone’s game. By that I mean the foundations are all there for you to tailor to your own personal style. Never played a racing game before? Not a problem, turn on all the assists until you feel comfortable enough to start turning them off. You can even set it so the game helps you steer and brake, which you can then start to adjust as you get more familiar with the game. There’s also a ‘rewind’ feature which allows you to go back if you make a mistake until you get it right. It’s really easy to pick up and play, the term “easy to learn, hard to master” is a very good way to describe Forza’s gameplay.

I personally like to turn all assists off and use the manual with clutch function. The only assist I like to have on is the braking line which is a suggested glowing red line that tells you when you should brake. Even then once I know my way around a track as well as what gear I need to be in on a certain corner, all assists are off and I’m chasing those fractions of a second to make up my best possible lap time. It’s such a rewarding feeling when you have a few assists on and start to remove them, only to improve your lap time significantly.

The customization doesn’t end there either. You can upgrade your car from something low key like turbocharging a Mini Cooper, or changing a Subaru BRZ to an AWD configuration, to something ridiculously over the top like putting 700+ horsepower through the rear wheels of a Volvo family wagon. After you have finished making your monster, you can then get into the paint/design features of the game which allow virtually limitless possibilities. In the video below you will see I managed to get the Zen Garage logo into the game and on my car in around 20 minutes. There’s a huge online Forza design community constantly working and adding new designs into the game which you can download and slap on your car.


Formula Fun

Forza 6 is ridiculously fun. I would even say it’s addictive. In the 2 weeks that I’ve had the game, I spent many hours trying to shave mere milliseconds off my time so I could be the fastest lap on the leaderboard. I’m not really the competitive type, but Forza 6 stirs something inside me by making it fun. The game is set up in such a way that you actively want to try new styles of racing, which is a really good thing.

The main career mode is chock full of events. Ranging from classic car racing to dedicated Japanese coupe events, the game really caters to everyone and also encourages you to broaden your horizons with real world automotive journalists and personalities introducing you to each new event series. The showcase events are highlights because they invite you into new styles of racing. I never thought I would enjoy racing 50 year old Ferraris around Le Mans at a max speed of 110kph, but somehow Forza 6 made me not only want to live out that part of motorsport history, but also have me want to come back for more.

Another example is that I’ve never been a fan of Formula Ford or Indycar racing. However after Forza invited me into that Showcase event I now think that it’s some of the most exciting racing I have ever done in a game. Split second decisions and railing a corner at speeds over 200kph is exhilarating.

Mods are a new addition to the Forza series which act as extra challenges and bonuses. If any of you have ever played Halo before then you’ll find the Mods act very similar to skulls. It’s a cool addition to the game but one that I think could have been executed a lot better. For example, one of the Mods I like is the helmet cam lock, which basically forces you to view the action from inside the car. This is particularly challenging on the night time levels because visibility is already reduced.

But some of the Mods, like the ‘+12% grip’ seem a bit redundant. If I wanted more grip, I’d get better tyres, or spend some more time tuning the car. It feels like some of the Mods weren’t that thought out. I would much rather have ridiculous Mods like icy roads or low gravity to add a tongue in cheek challenge to the game. The way it works is you buy a pack which you then open and sort through your Mods which range in rarity. You can sell the ones you don’t want off but ultimately I found myself forgetting about them more often than not but I still like that it’s been included.

Multiplayer is also as good as ever, with split screen making it into the game (a move that not a lot of games are making anymore) meaning you can battle it out with a friend in the same room as long as you have another controller.

At the time of writing this I have only managed to play around 30 minutes (Australian internet issues, not the game’s) of online multiplayer with 24 players racing at once. It’s frantic fun with everything you’ve come to expect from Forza’s online modes. There’s a range of online modes to enjoy ranging from drift events to monthly challenges, but my favourite has to be Rivals mode. Rivals mode is essentially versing a ghost of a another player, allowing you to challenge their best lap time. The game basically selects people for you to race against their ghost/drivatar but you can also set certain players as your chosen rival to skip the queue and race the top dogs.


Dark & Rainy Days

The most notable new feature of Forza 6 is the addition of night time racing and rain. These conditions not only look amazing, but they also make even the most experienced racers have to second guess their lines. I have driven some of these tracks multiple times and know my way around them quite well, but in pitch black with nothing ahead besides whatever your headlights can see, it adds a whole new level of “how fast am I willing to push this corner if I want to win”.

Rain is also an impressive addition. While it isn’t dynamic in the sense that it doesn’t change from dry to wet, the puddles do accumulate. Even if you find a good line around a small puddle, by the time you come back around in the next lap that puddle will almost certainly have gotten bigger, meaning you have to either slow right down, find a new line or spin out and hit a wall. I found myself really focusing on the puddles and constantly planning my route, how fast I could accelerate through them and how hard I could turn if I wanted to make it through. The rain adds another level of strategy to the game and I am really loving the effect it has on the game.


Across The Line

For all it’s good points, there are a few minor things that I would have liked to have return from Forza 4. Most notably the Auction House. This was such a huge source of fun for me. I would spend hours buying, tuning and selling cars in the Auction House, while always chasing the ever so rare Unicorns. I think that feature was a great way to keep players invested in the game after the main career had finished because those cars weren’t cheap. That meant that if you wanted one of the cars in the Auction House, you had to earn it, in turn making you have to earn credits from things like online racing and selling designs. It’s a real shame the Auction House didn’t return for Forza 6 considering how many fans want it back.

Another issue I have is the lack of lesser known but still popular Japanese cars. I realize that not every car can make it into the game but I don’t understand why cars like the Toyota Chaser, KE70 Corolla, Nissan R31 Skyline and Subaru Liberty/Legacy STI Wagon have yet to make the cut. I have seen countless comment after comment requesting these cars make it into the game, that said hopefully Turn 10 will release a ‘People’s Choice’ car pack at some point to give us, the players a chance to have a say in what cars are in the game.

I was also really hoping for a track creator this time around. I think when you’re into the 6th game (8th if you count Horizon) there really should be something like this. Even if the track isn’t as glossy or well rendered as the pre-installed tracks, it would still be an amazing feature to add. Considering how strong the online Forza community is, I would love to see the amazing stuff that players come up with given those tools. Perhaps Forza 7 will have this feature but for now I feel like this is a missed opportunity.

Lastly, I was expecting there would be events for drifting. Forza has always had a huge drift community but apart from the multiplayer drift events and scoring which can be turned on, there isn’t a lot of content for people who like to get sideways more than set fast lap times. Drifting is a huge part of motorsport and Forza does a lot to accommodate, but I don’t understand why they wouldn’t have a dedicated drift event series in the game’s career mode. All the ingredients are there, tracks like Long Beach, cars like the 370z and S13 as well as full control over tuning your car, there could have easily been a bunch of dedicated drift events and I would have loved to have seen a buy a crappy beater, start from nothing and work your way to the top style event.


Final Thoughts

All in all these issues are squashed out by the sheer brilliance of the game. I’m not even sure how practical some of those things I mentioned are. I more just wanted to mention what I thought could take this game from amazing, to absolutely perfect. You can tell that a lot of people who really love cars poured everything they had into making this game what it is – a masterpiece!

It’s easy to say this game is a must have for any car enthusiast or fan of the Forza series, or even for someone who just wants to get into racing games. Forza 6 is the best Forza game to date in terms of technicality, realism and fun.

– Stunning graphics
– Addictive gameplay
– Realism
– Ease of use for new players
– Challenging for veteran players
– Loads of cars and track
– Customize just about everything
– Rain
– Night racing
– 24 person multiplayer
– Real world personalities voice work
– Showcase events

– No Auction House
– Not a whole lot else

Should you buy it?

Yes, without a doubt.

If you have any questions feel free to comment below, add me on Xbox for a race (Gamertag: Super Pikalew) or tweet at me on twitter @pikalew