Preview: Forza Motorsport 5 is looking like a sweet ride
Over the years, Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios have turned the Forza Motorsport franchise into a real contender, even getting to the point that it's giving Sony's Gran Turismo series a run for its money. Forza Motorsport 4 is easily one of the best racing games for the Xbox 360, and is still quite popular today with the community.
Microsoft is heavily depending on said community, because the future of the racing series, Forza Motorsport 5, is right around the corner. Turn 10 is back behind the wheel, putting painstaking effort into the game so that it's the most visually spectacular yet – while at the same time sticking to the same authentic gameplay that's made it work so well over the years. The company recently invited us to a behind-closed-doors presentation to see how well it's coming along… and, well, it is.
First off, Turn 10 has outdone itself in the presentation department. These cars are STUNNING. Like, drop your jaw on the floor, pick it back up, and then drop it again when you see the glare coming off the top of the car stunning. The detail put into each of these models, from the Pagains to the super cars of the 70's and 80's, are absolutely remarkable, and they look just as good going in motion as well, even though we only saw the single race during our demo. It should also be noted that the international track we were on was quite captivating as well, as we raced around city corners, watching the sun screen off our car in a beautiful reflective manner. (Oh, and go inside the cockpit as well – that's the best view you'll find for a game like this. Just watch them gauges go!)
Likewise, the music is something else, too. Rather than go for the licensed rock psychobabble that has been put into racing games for years, Turn 10 has opted for a fully orchestrated soundtrack, one that changes tempo depending on what you're doing in the race. If you're just starting up, it'll be nice and mellow. However, in the thick of the event, it really pumps up, and sounds of victorious melody when you cross the finish line. A whole bunch of wow here, folks. The engines sound fantastic as well.
As for gameplay, we didn't get a chance to go directly hands-on, but the game is just as accessible as the original. What's interesting, though, is that Turn 10 is changing the experience on the fly, depending on your preferences. For instance, if you like drifting, you'll see more drifting challenges come your way. If you're an aggressive passer, the AI will pick up on that and prepare for your charges. It's really something to see in action.
Aside from racing, Forza Motorsport 5 also has a huge community outreach. You can create custom paint liveries with ease and share them, while profiting from any "sales" that you make as a result. However, as the buyer, you don't have to worry about spending any in-game currency. Just load up the skins, strap 'em on, and create your dream ride. No more having to spend like crazy, thankfully.
In addition to online play and other community events that will be hosted by Microsoft, the game also has a new Drivatar system, where your ranking is kept in check even if you're not playing. That means you basically have a "ghost" rider keeping track of your progress, then jumping right back into action when you return. It's a little complicated – and sounds creepy to some at first – but it'll build your reputation far better than most driving games would.
Finally, Forzavista gives you car porn lovers something to drool over. Utilizing this, you can get an up-close view of any car model, inside and out, to see what makes it tick. You can also turn over to the Top Gear experts, stars from Forza Motorsport 4, and see how these cars compare on their legendary track. These guys will also be involved in other aspects of the game, though Turn 10 isn't talking just how deep they'll be getting into it just yet. Soon…
If you need convincing that the Xbox One is the right gaming for you, Forza Motorsport 5 definitely makes a compelling argument for it. We'd like to get some hands-on time with different models to see how it feels, but, for now, we definitely like what's under the hood. We'll see how it finishes when the game comes out alongside the Xbox One as a launch release later this year.