Tuesday September 29th, 2015

As the 10-year anniversary for the Forza series arrives, you just knew that Turn 10 Studios would step up its game up with Forza Motorsport 6, and it certainly did not disappoint after reaching this pivotal milestone. With 460 cars available at launch, 26 tracks to race on and an estimated 70-plus hours worth of content in the career mode, this is the biggest game in the series to date.

While the staggering amount of content is enough to impress even the most seasoned veterans of the Forza series, all of it would be irrelevant if the gameplay fell flat. It’s clear that Turn 10 has grown more comfortable working on next-gen console technology with two additional years developing for the Xbox One, and it shows in the fantastic gameplay. Whether you’re using a controller or a racing wheel, the gameplay has been refined to give you a greater feel for the car you’re racing in and the relationship to the track it’s on. The feedback that you get while racing keeps you constantly engaged, and the experience simply feels more realistic than any other racing game I’ve played before. But don’t let this talk of realistic, sim racing scare you off if you’re a newcomer. Forza 6 is accessible to long-time veterans and newcomers alike. You can turn the various assists on and off, depending on how experienced you are, and you’re able to also tailor the experience to fit your skill level and style.

Visually, Forza 6 is stunning, and it can comfortably claim the crown as the best-looking racing game on the market right now. Running at 1080P and 60 FPS, each race is a smooth experience from the start right up until you cross the checkered flag. From a graphics standpoint, you’ll start to truly appreciate the work that went into the game once you see the first drops of rain hitting your windshield or the amount of detail that went into faithfully recreating every inch of each car.

That also brings me to two major additions to the Forza Motorsport series: rain and nighttime races. While they don’t sound particularly revolutionary and neither are dynamic, you’ll quickly understand how much of a difference each makes once you get to experience them for yourself.

Rain is a unique challenge on the track. Not only does rain limit your vision, but also the puddles that form at various points across the track act as another obstacle for you to avoid as you race to the finish line. Approach even the most seemingly insignificant puddles with the utmost caution. Hitting a puddle at high speed and at a bad angle could send your car careening out of control as you hydroplane across the track.

Racing under the cover of darkness is nothing new to racing games, but it is implemented particularly well in Forza 6. You’ll come to appreciate how much of a difference racing in broad daylight can make after you race with little more than your headlights, the taillights of the car in front of you and the dimly lit track to illuminate your path for the first time. Each mode breathes new life into each track, adding even more variety to the game.

Like any good racing game, being able to tune and modify cars plays an integral role. For you gearheads out there, you’ll be happy to know that you’re able to tune each car to your heart’s delight. There’s also a new mods system in place that allows you to add mods both good and bad to your car for each race. Some mods are permanent and can give you an edge by improving things such as the power under the hood or the grip on your tires, while others can handicap you in exchange for higher rewards. There are also single-race mods that can provide various boosts, such as giving you higher rewards for performing specific tasks, such as perfect drafts or turns.

Of course, while Forza 6 does so much right, the game is not without some missteps — most of which are minor quibbles. Instead of using a points system in each series of races, you must place in the top three of each race to advance. This does not allow for a very high margin of error as one mistake could easily knock you completely out of contention. Although, your mistakes can often be covered up by the Rewind feature. I also consistently ran into an issue where my car would stutter right out of the gate, forcing me to restart.

Drivatars, in theory, are a great idea, but they can be both a gift and a curse. Using a profile created of the driving style of your Xbox Live friends, it simulates their racing style and allows you to race against a simulated version of them even when you’re playing solo. The problem, however, lies with the racers themselves. I’ve found that a majority of players generally tend to be overly aggressive on the road (I’m partially guilty of this when racing offline), taking a no-holds barred approach to racing. You have the option to limit aggressive driving, but there were a few drivatars that consistently rammed into me and ran me off the road.

Should You Buy It?

Absolutely. Forza 6 is a return to form for Turn 10 Studios and the Forza Motorsport series. Forza 5 was by no means a bad game, but it felt rushed and as if it could’ve used a bit more polish.

The latest entry in the Forza Motorsport series offers a tremendous amount of content, the gameplay is superb, every aspect of the game is gorgeous and, most importantly, it’s an absolute blast to play. Whether you’re a gearhead or just a casual player that likes to burn some rubber every once in a while, Forza 6 has something for you. If you’re looking to get the best bang for your buck, Forza 6 is jam-packed with enough content to keep you busy and entertained for quite some time.

Forza Motorsport 6 was reviewed using both the standard Xbox One controller and the Logitech G920 racing wheel. You can find a full review of the Logitech G920 racing wheel here. We will be giving away a Forza 6 Limited Edition Xbox One bundle on Thursday, Oct. 1, which is provided by Xbox and Turn 10 Studios. Make sure to check out Thursday's A.M. Hot Clicks to enter.

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