I know people who find it astonishing that Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport franchise is so easily identified as something that’s innovative. To the untrained eye it doesn’t always seem as if video game developer Turn 10 is doing something innovative. After all, the nature of racing games hasn’t exactly changed. Players are still on a track trying to go as fast as they possible can. I didn’t expect Forza 6 to suddenly morph into something different; I’ve racked up roughly 10 to 20 hours in Forza 5, it’s direct predecessor. I also didn’t expect upgraded weather effects, improved graphics and a night driving mode to be interesting new features. Fortunately, they are exactly that.
Just before this years E3 2015 Media Briefing I was able to get some hands-on time with Forza 6. Coming this fall to the Xbox One, Forza 6 is just one of the games Microsoft hopes will get users to upgrade to its Xbox One entertainment console over the PS4 or sticking with the Xbox 360.
Forza 6 Impressions – What’s Included
First, there are the things that every video game buyer expects from a new title in the franchise. Releases of Forza Motorsport are sandwiched in between releases of Forza Horizon, another Xbox exclusive racing title. Horizon focuses on arcade street racing in exotic destinations. Motorsport aims to give Xbox owners the ultimate driving experience.
Forza Motorsport 5 did most of the heavy lifting. That game was the first in the franchise to arrive on Xbox One and included new cars, more detailed tracks a cohesive multiplayer experience and Drivatars for playing against your friends even when they aren’t online.
Adding more detail is the theme of Forza Motorsport 6. There are 25 different new locations and 450 different cars to chose from in Forza 6. When it arrives on store shelves and the Xbox Store, players will be able to compete head to head in matches with up to 24 players. The game has a resolution of 1080p and will run at 60 frames per second, which is a long way of saying Turn 10 built this game to look absolutely stunning.
Forza 6 Impressions – New Weather Effects and Night Mode
Using a pair of Turtlebeach headphones and a standard Xbox One Wireless Controller, I was able to select from a few different modes during my time with Forza 6. The two highlights are night driving and an upgraded weather system that forces you to reconsider how you drive.
Next to visual effects, handling is the holy grail of video game development. Having a realistic handling system allows players to feel like they’re driving on real streets in real situations. If a car is traveling through a windy area in the real world, the car sways slightly as the driver tries to resist the natural forces acting on the car. Forza 6’s new weather system acts the same way. During a race, rain builds up on the tracks themselves. Less ambitious titles would simply let players drive through that water unaffected. Forza 6 forces players to take the change conditions into account. Running straight through a puddle will have you looking at the tail end of other drivers. I ended up in 8th place after deciding to test out the new water physics for myself.
In a way, figuring out how best to deal with the puddles while maintaining top speed became a mini game into itself, one I failed miserably at. Dealing with the water effects isn’t too difficult, but there is a learning curve. I’ve never driven at top speed on a race track in the rain before, but the sliding action that happens in Forza 6 feels realistic to me. The Xbox One Wireless Controller’s rumble motors hit at just the right time, keeping you immersed in the avoid-the-water mini game.
I didn’t get time with the game’s night driving mode because there were other eager testers behind me. That being said, I did watch a few night driving sessions and it appears to be exactly what you’d expect. Just like in the real world, driving at night limits your visibility. Every corner feels dangerous; every decision feels crucial. The default track for the Forza 6 demo didn’t have lighting, forcing players to rely on their car’s head lights and their own decision-making.
Forza 6 Impressions – Takeaways
It’s almost impossible to overstate how absolutely amazing Forza 6 and how well down those new visual effects are. Every rain drop, every speck of precipitation looks realistic as it hits your windshield. Water streams over the smooth edges of your car as you race through each track. The interiors of the cars seem as detailed as they’ve ever been.
Whether you should purchase Forza 6 depends on your gaming habits. If you’re seriously into racing definitely consider it – the overwhelming number of cars and new environment options are terrific. Forza 6 for Xbox One arrives on store shelves September 15th.