Forza Motorsport reaches players around the world in less than a month with the promise of revolutionizing the franchise. For developer Turn 10, it’s not just about taking advantage of the visuals of new generations of consoles and ray tracing, but also about changing the gears of a franchise that flirts with simulators, but makes a point of bringing speed and technicality to everyone’s reach.
Reinventing the wheel in a racing game, however, is not the easiest task and it’s not like the company has done it — which is great. The first lap around the revamped version of Maple Valley, the classic Forza Motorsportshows clearly and precisely that we are still at home, at the same time that, pardon the cliché, there is a new, pulsing engine under the hood.
In the initial section of the game where the FreeGameGuide had access, we are taken from the steering wheel of a prototype that represents the most advanced on racing tracks to production cars that introduce the player to the world of speed. A suitable introduction to a game that, despite having cars as protagonists, seems to be more focused than ever on who is behind the wheel.
Power is nothing without control
When returning to the most basic aspects of Forza Motorsport In its eighth iteration, Turn 10 completely modifies its internal structures. In the main change of the new version, the old credits system for purchasing cars and improvement parts gives way to a looser platform of evolution, focused on players’ achievements on the tracks and rewarding users’ experience with the game.
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Basically, the more time you spend riding, the more elements you will unlock. Improvement parts, for example, are released as we progress through the competitive series, with the tuning being linked to each machine specifically. This is what leads to claims from developers that Forza Motorsport it would have an evolution dynamic similar to that of an RPG. It may even be true, but in an extremely simple and direct way.
The game rewards us all the time, leaving aside the focus only on results to also award experience points for well-done overtaking, mastery of complicated curves or good times in complex sectors of a circuit. There is always a rising count being displayed on the screen, much like what happens in Forza Horizonto make it clear to the player that each kilometer traveled represents a little more evolution.
It’s as if Turn 10 wanted to create a closer relationship between the driver and the vehicle, with customizations playing a greater role than just increasing performance. The perspective, too, is an alternative approach to the “sticker album” format that we had in previous games, almost as if each machine was an individual character.
In this case, the interface can become a bit cluttered with the number of indicators, which of course can be deactivated and manipulated through the configuration menus. At the same time, the short sample made available by Microsoft left doubts about how the approach will work in the long term, mainly in relation to the time needed for more advanced vehicle evolution, within different driving disciplines and a “menu” with more than 500 cars available at launch.
For now, however, the feeling that remains is one of satisfaction, in yet another aspect that speaks directly to accessibility. As in previous versions, it is possible to customize the difficulty of artificial intelligence and the influence of assistance on driving, with brake aids, curves and stability controls; The adjustment remains fine as always, providing gradual learning of the dynamics of the races.
Alongside the evolution systems, there is also an incentive to disable such aids, since the greater the control over the cars, the faster the player’s progression will be. Winning previous series, with more basic cars, unlocks new vehicles and advanced competitions, as well as new tracks and elements, with a kind of combined advancement that covers practically every aspect of Forza Motorsport.
Not to mention, of course, the piloting assistance for people with visual impairments, certainly the biggest new feature in the game coming this year. We have already talked about it and the public availability of the test version for journalists and influencers showed that the ideal of Turn 10 is possible. For that alone, she deserves a trophy.
Polishing the bodywork
No new generation game, especially one with so much focus on performance and simulation, would be complete without its graphical options. Forza Motorsportlike every exclusive option for a given platform, arrives with an almost obligation to deliver the pinnacle of what is possible in visual terms.
On the Xbox Series X, where we tried it, the title features three graphical configuration options, equally geared towards the type of experience expected. There is the traditional performance mode, which maximizes the frame count per second, or the visual preference, which focuses on resolution; In between both, there is also the addition of ray tracing, with an intermediate adjustment that tries to include the feature without doing so much harm to the frame rate.
When viewing vehicles and cut scenes, details shine, while in races, it was not possible to notice significant performance reductions, even on night tracks and with a large number of vehicles on the screen. More than keeping an eye on a performance counter, however, it is worth paying attention to the details of panels, steering wheels and reflections, which contribute to a more immersive experience.
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Outside of the tutorial series, where we drive production vehicles, and in addition to the well-known Maple Valley, Forza Motorsport shows what came in your graphics package in the second run. Driving the Cadillac V-Series.R at dusk on the fictional Japanese track of Hakone, one of the new features of the new game, leaves a feeling of wanting more that encourages the aforementioned progression and departure from the base categories towards the star of competitions.
When leaving the high-performance races for the initial series, during our experience with the game, one gets the feeling that the true charm of Forza Motorsport materializes at each player’s fingertips. Without leaving the simulation aside, what Turn 10 seems to deliver is the most personal experience ever prepared in the franchise.
Between technical aspects, new mechanics and renewed visuals, the real revolution is in the complete package, not in specific elements. By embracing the entire audience, from newcomers to veterans and even those who believed they could never try a racing game, the producer takes Forza Motorsport to an even higher peak than all the previous ones.
When will Forza Motorsport be released?
Forza Motorsport arrives in PC and Xbox Series X and Series S versions on October 10, 2023. The game will be available on the Xbox Game Pass service on the release date.