Forza Motorsport 6 Review (XONE)

Forza 6 screen
Forza 6 screen. Microsoft

Forza Motorsport 5 may have earned lower review scores than other entries in the series, but it wasn't because the racing was bad.  No, the presentation and gameplay were better than ever.  Forza 5 stumbled because of screwy microtransactions and a broken in-game economy that was later fixed via patch.  Microsoft and Turn 10 learned their lesson last time, thankfully, which means Forza Motorsport 6 is the game you'll be able to love right from the start.

  It builds on the already solid foundation laid out in the last game while adding a ton more cars, nighttime and rain races, and tightens up the gameplay and visuals even more to create the ultimate racing sim.  Forza Motorsport 6 rocks!

Game Details

  • Publisher:  Microsoft
  • Developer: Turn 10
  • ESRB Rating: “E" for Everyone
  • Genre: Racing
  • Pros:  Accessible gameplay with options to suit your play style and skill level; gorgeous visuals; rain and night races make old track feel fresh; 450+ cars; tons of content
  • Cons:  Load times; intrusive tutorials

Features and Modes

Forza Motorsport 6 features a huge on-disc selection of cars at more than 450, all of which are fully explorable in the Forzavista mode.  A certain other competing sim racing franchise might offer more cars in its games, but I feel like Forza's more focused list offers a higher percentage of cars you'll actually want to drive versus just having a ton of cars for the sake of having them.

    The game also features 26 tracks, each with multiple routes, which brings the total number of track variations into the dozens and dozens. 

The big new feature in Forza 6 is the addition of rain and night racing.  Not every track features these, and you can't race in the rain at night at the same time, but a fair number of the tracks offer either one or both.

  Racing in the rain in particular really changes the way the tracks feel and make them almost feel totally new.  The rain, unfortunately, isn't dynamic so there will always be the same amount of rain at all times, and the puddles on the track are always in the same spots.  Likewise, the time of day doesn't dynamically change as you race.  It would be nice if more tracks had night or rain racing, and if they were actually dynamic and changed throughout a race, but it is still definitely a solid first step for the franchise.

One thing I realized while playing is that while we have seen almost all of these tracks before - Laguna Seca, Le Mans, Sebring, Brands Hatch, etc. - in other Forza titles or other simulation racers, I'm not tired of them.  In fact, I'm actually relieved to see them.  I've been driving on a lot of these tracks ever since Gran Turismo 2, and seeing how their videogame representations have changed, and how the gameplay in the games have changed, is strangely satisfying to me.  I love driving on a familiar track where muscle memory can take over.  I already know the braking points and the proper lines.  Simulation racing is considerably more challenging and demanding of your concentration than other racing games, yet I actually find it relaxing to take laps at these familiar locales.

  Laguna Seca in particular is like my racing game security blanket that just makes me feel better about everything moving forward. 

Modes include a shockingly deep career mode that actually teaches you about the various racing disciplines you compete in.  There is also a free play mode, of course, where you can either use your tuned career mode cars or "rent" any car you want to race on any track.  There are a ton of events to compete in which will keep you busy for dozens or even hundreds of hours before you finish them all.  Online races with up to 24 players, across quite a few modes besides just standard races, are available as well.

  We didn't get to try the online play much, so can't comment on how the servers will hold up.

Gameplay

The racing gameplay itself is simply fabulous in just about every respect.  Forza has always been great about offering a lot of different options and assists to ensure everyone can have a good time, and Forza 6 is no slouch in this regard.  You can set up the game to feel and play just the way you want it, which is just amazing.  Similarly, Forza isn't strict about penalties and punishing you for not racing the way the game wants you to like some other franchises.  You may get a time penalty or something, but nothing more than that.  You can just have fun and not worry about accidentally slipping a tire into the grass or something.  Forza is a sim, but it isn't a jerk about it like Gran Turismo or the new F1 games.  It is about having fun first, and being a snooty racing snob second (heck, probably further down the list, actually), which is why it is my favorite racing series.

Each car you drive actually feels different out on the road.  They all have different weights and powertrains and horsepower and suspension and a dozen other factors, which mean they all feel unique when you drive them.  Every upgrade you equip them with and every change you make in tuning makes a difference you really feel on the track.  This is why Forza is so satisfying to play - it always feels different and fresh, but not for artificial or random reasons.  It changes and molds itself around you and your playstyle and how you want it to play and feel.

The A.I. also deserves some praise.  This is the third game now with the Drivatar system - the A.I. drivers you race against are based on the driving styles and skills of other real players - and it is much more refined here.  In my experience at least, the A.I. is less likely to just plow into you in corners and run you off the road.  At the same time, they also seem more likely to make more human mistakes like over driving corners and spinning out than in previous games.  You'll also occasionally come across an A.I. that drives an entire race perfectly and totally blows you away, too.  This unpredictability is what makes the whole drivatar system worthwhile, though, and I'm glad to have it.

Graphics & Sound

Visually, Forza Motorspot 6 is absolutely stunning.  With full 1080p/60FPS visuals during races, the game is gorgeous.  The cars are all fully detailed and up to current-gen standards (no gross last-gen models mixed in here) will full interiors and they all look great.  The tracks look fantastic as well and actually look "alive" with lots of spectators and support vehicles and other stuff off to the side.  You can still stop and gawk at cardboard cutout-looking spectators here and there, but if that is your only measure of graphical quality you're really missing the point.  The game looks gorgeous in motion, and darn near photo realistic during rain races.  The only slight downside is that the load times can be kind of long, but it takes a while to load all of those "P's". 

The sound also more than lives up to the standard set by previous Forza games.  There is little doubt in my mind that Forza 6 has the best engine sounds in the entire industry. 

Bottom Line

Forza Motorsport 6 is the biggest and best Forza sim yet (I think I may prefer Forza Horizon 2 overall, though) and no Xbox One owning race fan should pass it up.  It looks great, sound great, has a ton of features and modes and cars, and handles simply incredibly out on the track regardless of your skill level thanks to a wealth of options that ensure everyone can have fun.  It also can't be understated just how great it looks.  If you still need a current-gen graphical showpiece, Forza 6 definitely qualifies.  If you love racing games, there's no reason not to buy Forza Motorsport 6.  Its fantastic.      

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.