“A Triumph of Virtual Motor Racing”: Forza Motorsport Review

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The Forza series has been the go-to racing series for Xbox players since all the way back in 2005, and in spite of various challengers nothing else has quite compared. Along the way, gamers have also been introduced to the Forza Horizon series, with an expansive approach to racing in a series that is always improving. Now, Turn 10 Studios is back with Forza Motorsport, returning to the core franchise.

Forza Motorsport looks to provide another comprehensive motor racing experience. Promising over 500 cars to choose from and 20 real-world tracks with varied layouts, it aims to give another Forza game that delivers a veritable racing buffet. As it turns out, the final version of the game does a fantastic job.

Let’s Race

Forza Motorsport Nighttime Mercedes

When it comes to moment-to-moment racing, Forza Motorsport truly delivers. The variety of the circuits and the options for car models means there’s a tremendous scope for different racing experiences, so the player can pick and choose what works for them if they want to just play around.

This is mainly down to the brilliant way that Forza Motorsport provides a different feel for each and every car. This is something that Forza has always been able to execute well, and Forza Motorsport doesn’t buck the trend. Whether it’s the tetchiness of a Ferrari if the driver doesn’t lean into its strengths, or the raw power of the game’s American muscle cars, everything has its own distinct driving style.

Forza Motorsport also does give players a decent level of customization when it comes to options like difficulty and driver assists. This means that users can help create their own experience tailored to their preferences, although it doesn’t quite reach the levels of customization that the likes of the wonderfully malleable F1 23 can provide. In particular, the AI driver difficulty perhaps doesn’t have as much nuance between levels that players may want, nor the set-up of things like damage to cars and penalties.

A Structural Change

Forza Motorsport Jaguar POV

One of the biggest changes that Forza Motorsport makes is the way that it sets up its single player mode, the Builder’s Cup. This mode takes the player through a variety of different tournaments based around different tiers of cars, and tasks the player with becoming a master of each one. There’s a heavy emphasis on car customization and tweaks, which ties into some of the most enjoyable moments of previous Forza games.

Something new that has been introduced is taking part in practice sessions before each race. Much like in real world motor racing, this gives drivers an understanding of the racetrack, and Forza Motorsport incentivizes this by providing XP back to the player for completion. This adds an element of realism to the game, much like the game’s penalties for collisions or going off track, but it does mean that those players who want to skip practice sessions may feel like they’re being penalized. Nonetheless, it’s still a good addition, particularly for drivers who play on high difficulty where no mistakes are acceptable.

Of course, there are other gameplay options outside of Builder’s Cup, including a free race mode for those who want to just pick up and play. Notably, one of the biggest draws of Forza Motorsport will be the multiplayer; the quality of this will very much depend on how it holds up under full weight of players at launch and how its community grows, but the groundwork is there at the moment.

New Generation Improvements

Forza Motorsport Supra Rain

Turn 10 Studios has also aimed to bring Forza Motorsport up to speed for the modern generation in other ways. One of these is improved AI for the game’s ‘Drivatars’, and for the most part AI drivers are great to race against, feeling dynamic, aggressive, and making little mistakes of their own without player involvement. It’s not perfect, though, sometimes making odd decisions or steering into the player, but for the most part it’s quite thrilling.

Visually, Forza Motorsport is also impressive, with realistic car models and a strong understanding of its real world circuits. In particular night and evening racing is a treat, and there’s something truly exhilarating about driving Spa-Francorchamps with only headlights for company. The game also represents a sense of speed very well, especially at high octane circuits like Le Mans.

Our Review Score & Final Thoughts

Overall, Forza Motorsport is a triumph of virtual motor racing. Turn 10 Studios has brought the Forza franchise to a new generation with aplomb, and although not quite all the updates entirely land, it’s a tremendous racing game that could be nearly perfect with just a handful of tweaks.

Source: Xbox / YouTube

Forza Motorsport releases 10 October 2023 for PC and Xbox Series X/S. Screen Rant was provided with an Xbox code for the purposes of this review.

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