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Forza Motorsport 5 Review

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On 02/12/2014 at 12:00 PM by Chris Yarger

Sweet eye candy with a bitter gameplay aftertaste

Great installment for any fan of realistic racing

Forza Motorsport 5 is probably one of the most beautiful games I’ve played to date. Honestly, it’s not uncommon for me to stop paying attention when I should be braking into a turn, simply because the beautifully crafted background grabbed my attention -- much like a gorgeous woman gracefully striding past me on the sidewalk. And, just like how I often walk face-first into a sign or lamp post while gawking at a stunning woman, my Forza 5 car often slams into a concrete barrier while cruising at 200 mph with my focus on the magnificent graphics as opposed to the course ahead.

While you are sitting comfortably in the front seat of the beast known as Forza 5, you should be aware of the passenger riding shotgun next to you: the Drivatar. Drivatars are the newest innovation in the Forza universe, and the sole purpose of its existence is to observe how you play, and adapt the AI’s play-style to yours. Essentially, if you bump and go, you’re Drivatar is going to be able to mimic your style. While it seems like a great idea, I can honestly say that I haven’t really noticed an abundant amount of similarities between my Drivatar and myself. I’m normally a bump and go driver, utilizing a pit maneuver to spin my opponents out into the dirt, but the Drivatar has yet to really attempt such a merciless strategy, thank God. The interesting factor of the Drivatars, though, is their impact in career mode.

Your friends’ Drivatars will make an appearance in your single player game, and they will mimic your friends’ racing style. The plus side to the Drivatars is the ability to instantly nerf them if you deem them too difficult via the options menu, although you will lose a small percentage of XP and CR (in-game currency).

Speaking of currency, Forza 5 features numerous in-game micro transactions if you’re willing to pay the piper to excel faster. While some people have qualms over this model, rest assured that you don’t actually need to buy anything in order to shine in this game. With some patience and a bit of grinding, you’ll be making more than enough CR to purchase any of the cars and accessories without needing to fork over your real hard earned cash. If you want to be the best faster though, then feel free to spend a few bucks and nab a particular car!

As I stated before, this game is absolutely gorgeous. The cars have a realistic design and the tracks look absolutely fantastic. However, for being a next-gen title, I was really expecting crisper damage models.  The paint scratches off and de-buffs, headlights smash out, there are occasional dents, but that’s all. Bumpers don’t fall off, side mirrors are seemingly invincible, and the dents never worsen or cause anything more than slight cosmetic discomfort. The de-buffed paint looks  the same whether you bump an opponent or slam into a wall at 150 mph. Damage controls can be tweaked a bit to allow for higher difficulties and more problematic mechanical failures within the vehicle, but it still feels fake and unrefined.

While I’m normally an over-aggressive racer who regularly spins out opponents, I’ve come to realize that such maneuvering doesn’t necessarily penalize the AI nearly as much as it penalizes the human driver. There were a few times I managed to over-correct a turn and fly into the dirt, and where I felt like a T-Rex doggie paddling through a lake of tar, but the AI was able to quickly bounce back into the action.  

Another annoyance is the simple fact that the introductory tutorial and the circuit cut scenes can’t be skipped. I can understand being unable to skip the tutorial, but seeing as how it never really teaches you anything is rather inexcusable. It doesn’t mention the gas or the braking buttons, and in all reality, it serves no real purpose other than allowing you to drive a top-tier car momentarily at the beginning of the game. The cut scenes that show up before you start any given circuit are cleverly thought out and voiced by those who produce the Top Gear show, but sometimes I don’t want a history lesson about cars before racing -- I just want to hop into a 1966 Stingray and race.

Don’t let my negativity fool you though, for there are a lot of redeeming factors that help the game shine. The cars handle realistically and each car is specially crafted accordingly. A front wheel drive Hyundai feels different maneuvering around a turn compared to a rear wheel drive Mustang. A light car can easily begin to drift whereas a heavier car will maintain its traction. But the options don’t stop there, since every car can be customized with numerous products and parts that further boost performance and overall rating.

Cars handle very well around turns, but it really takes some effort to get used to using a thumbstick to turn. While your turning may be twitchy at first, you gradually grow accustomed to how lightly you need to push the thumbstick while heading into a turn. It may take a race or two before you’re fully habituated to the controlling mechanics, but when they click for you, you find they’re hard to put down and easy to pick back up.

The little things are surprising as well. While no one may notice, I found that switching your view point often triggers different motor sounds. At one point while racing in the farthest camera angle possible (we’ll call it third person for short), my roaring Mustang sounded like a tiger ready to feast. When I switched to the camera angle inside my car (aka, first person mode) though, it legitimately sounded as if I were really sitting inside the car and the sounds instantly dampened. Another aspect I found amusing was being able to watch myself shift gears as I was racing in third person mode. While it’s a simple animation, it still left a sense of awe in terms of the amount of detail that went into the game.

Forza Motorsport 5 as a whole is definitely a great installment in the series. While the Drivatars are the only real innovation, you’ll find that there is a lot to enjoy. Whether you like the little things such as gear-shifting animations, or the sheer thought of your Drivatar wreaking havoc in someone else’s game, there is plenty to enjoy. Though it may not be completely fresh or new, it’s definitely a beautiful game that will consume you for hours.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.




02/19/2014 at 11:03 AM

I totally agree with your reveiw I got bored an hour after the graphics factor wore off they need alot of work if there going to keep Forza series alive.

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