Debuting on the Xbox One, Turn 10 turns to the cloud for their next evolution in the race game.
The ‘Forza Motorsport’ brand is one of the premier racing franchises the last two generations and it seems like ‘Turn 10’ isn’t ready to give up their podium position anytime soon. With a strong showing on Microsoft’s new console, the ‘Xbox One’, Forza Motorsport 5 is everything the previous entries were and more. While the formula might grip the road in familiarity, the goods are found purring under the hood. Dynamically charged, it is true - Forza Motorsport 5 could only be built for the Xbox One.
A Copy of a Copy
The big story is a three syllable word, “Driveatar”. A “Driveatar” is a virtual copy of your in-game self that remains active even when you’re not. Basically by studying in every single jerk of the controller, Turn 10 records, analyzes and regurgitates your driving style into the game as your own A.I. component. This comprehensive breakdown really captures every nuance of your driving style; including your consistency, reckless or conservative nature. In truth, your Driveatar probably knows more about your driving habits then yourself. This takes away the construct of standard A.I. behaviors with real data recorded from real players. This makes each race dynamic, almost like you are playing online alongside other challengers. This system is the perfect concept to apply to a racing game; and from what we can tell, FM5 pulls it off with perfection.
Driveatars never stop learning too, so your virtual clone of progresses along with your advancement. So learning or becoming more erratic or cornering just a tad better will be reflected in your digital ghost. Even better, your Driveatar earns credits when you’re logged off making Forza an ongoing investment. The difficulty can also be adjusted for each race which allows you to add more challenge if need be. The best aspect is the “real world” applications like racing against your friends when they are not online. It is definitely an interesting dynamic that is the future of the racing, if not all A.I. builds in the future.
Even more interesting is that you can even ask your Driveatar to race for you. Yes, lazy or brilliant, your Driveatar can take on an entire career, race against your friends, and do what you don’t feel like doing within the game. While it won’t be for everybody, simulated races will be more reflective of your real-life aptitude within the game. The only change I would like to see is more feedback on your Driveatar’s performance when you are not playing. At the moment its limited to a small message with the amount of races you took part in and the credits earned. It would be really nice to see the ranking move up as you improve within the game.
Life is a Highway
The race mechanics remain mainly the same, blurring the lines of simulation racing to the player. The options in Forza have always been staggering, and this trend continues in Forza 5. Giving the player this amount of freedom really allows Forza to be that game for everyone; a feat that isn’t easily balanced. This continues with the slow, yet smart build of the games progression, which allows you to jump around and compete in multiple series without working your way up the ladder. A new micro-transaction option is also added to the games infrastructure; however, you can earn enough credits that hopefully it deters developers from pushing progression micro-transactions in the future.
Gripping the Wheel
The redesigned Xbox controller adds another element of control with its new trigger vibrations that help you “feel” the road better. Having individual feedback to each trigger really allows you to feel how your car is performing. It’s not overly pronounced which is nice and surprisingly intuitive to how the game feels. The subtlety of this feature gives the Xbox One a one up from the last generation model.
Now that wasn't too Hard
Bringing in more new, Forza 5 has restructed its podium system with more "forgiving" placements. The first three entries now earn a gold medal and so on down through silver to bronze. The altered focus on finishing in the top three, now rather brackets makes the competition more balanced without having to get the number one spot. While it does take away from snatching the number one position, it makes the racing more exciting when you are fighting for the seventh place, almost as much as first. This gives unproven racers more of an inventive to stick with the game, even if they are not placing first. Driveatar difficulty can also be juggled, so you can still get the completive feel if need be.
New Hardware, Great Visuals
Forza 5 graphics and roaring sounds are veryimpressive on the new hardware. The amount of detail and clarity in the graphics truly show off the next-gen sheen. Unlike other cross-platform titles on the new hardware, you don’t have to question its fidelity as Forza pumps out 60FPS in true 1080p. While Forza looses a little bit of quantity with slightly fewer tracks and cars, the quality remains on par with our expectations. Really it is hard to complain with 200 comprehensive vehicles across 50 manufactures. The lack of tracks on the other hand does make racing a little more repetitive. All-in-all, the options still will keep you busy for endless hours and the inclusion of the Top Gear cast give Forza a much needed splash of personality.
Forza Motorsport 5 is the Xbox One’s current champion for showcasing the new platform. The blend of realism in both its gameplay and graphical faddily mixed with the new “Driveatar” technology is a leap beyond what could have been accomplished on the Xbox 360. While it’s not “in your face” groundbreaking, all the changes under the hood truly make Forza Motorsport 5 the next evolution in racing games. While Forza abet “dry” style isn’t for everyone, this is the most accessible version to date, making it a smart choice for those who are braving the next leap in gaming hardware.
Similar Games: Forza Motorsport 2 (9.0) | Forza Motorsport 3 (9.5) | Forza Motorsport 4 (9.5)