Uncle Chunt

Forza 5 – Xbox One Review

This title was one I had my eye on ever since they announced it as a launch title back at the infamous Xbox One reveal. Forza is series I only really got into when Forza 3 came out and it was really my first driving simulator I’ve ever bought and really enjoyed my time. Thus I subsequently bought Forza 4 and played it thoroughly so Forza 5 was a natural progression for me, clearly.

They have made some changes to the formula here with this instalment. You are no longer rewarded with a new car to choose from when completing a series. Now when you complete a series your credits and affinity increase as normal but you receive a bonus amount of credits. This means you’ll be playing the cars you buy a lot longer so you will need to be sure of each purchase as it does take quite an amount of time to work up enough credits to buy one of the higher tier cars in order to enter other series. I guess it kind of works as you become more attached to your car and you can still upgrade them if they’re capable in order to enter the higher series races and you have to think a bit more whether you just buy your dream cars out of pure bias or use your credits/tokens to buy a car you’re not a fan of but their stats suit what is required.

Speaking of purchases, this game has a controversial feature with micro transaction a la mobile games these days. You can buy in game tokens credits in order to either buy better cars or to by time base perks to increase the XP earned during said time. I’m not a fan of this and won’t be using this feature as I don’t believe micro transactions belong on console games and it cheapens the whole experience. Adding to this there are far less tracks in Forza 5 than there were in Forza 4 so things can tend to be a tad monotonous racing the same bunch of tracks sooner than you’re used to, and there’s 200 cards this time around out of the box which is less than previous again. You just know they’ll be adding cars down the road as DLC which I also feel is a cheap hit. The developers have mentioned that each car takes up to 6 months to complete for the game, so hopefully they have a number of modellers working around to clock to add more cars and tracks soon.

I know i’ve bee talking about the negatives, but trust be given, I just want to get it out of the way to hit on all the positives. This game still delivers as the premier driving simulator available. The driving mechanics are better than ever improving over what I thought Forza 4 perfected. Each different car i’ve tried thus far all feel distinctly different which is a real treat. Adding to this the game just looks absolutely beautiful. The cars are rendered masterfully, the tracks and backdrops are all stunning where at times I’ve crashed my car because I was too busy staring into the distance to draw in the view or looking at all the detail in the windscreen, the dashboard, the drivers arms or hands. This game just looks quality. Back to crashing, I had once instance where I slammed into another car and my side window was covered in cracks. As I continued driving I used my right stick to look around at the window and lo and behold I saw sunlight peaking through the cracks. It was one of those moments where the little details surprised me. Another time I actually took notice I was coming out of a tight bend and after correcting myself my driver took one hand off the wheel to stretch his fingers, this I felt a very nice touch as our driver isn’t just a crash dummy glued to the wheel.

The presentation overall is very classy. The menus are all clean and minimal as not to detract from what we’re really here for: all the pretty cars. The narration from the Top Gear lads is always a pleasurable experience and add to the authenticity that this is a car enthusiast simulator. The sexy female narrator is back between races too which I have a warm spot for. Did I mention how pretty all the cars and locations look? I seriously have had moments where I’ve thought to myself how real it seems in parts and how the cars look better than they would in real life. It truly is a great visual treat and running at a constant 60fps keeps everything looking very nice even further. The overall soundtrack is almost epic in sound and has a very orchestral arrangement which rounds off the presentation very well. Classy slick graphics with classy slick background music.

Another touted feature is the Drivatar system. This is basically using the power of Microsoft’s 300 dedicated servers of cloud technology for Xbox where the game will upload data about how you drive in the game so that while you’re not playing, like while you’re asleep or at work or you know just generally leaving the house, your Drivatar will keep racing earning you credits. I noticed quite often whilst playing even in career mode that a few of my Xbox friends seemed to have invaded my races but when I checked my friends list they were actually playing Killer Instinct or Dead Rising 3 so I was actually racing their Drivatars, it was a very cool moment. The Autovista mode has returned which is awesome as it’s great to walk around these cars, get in and look around at the interiors and learn more about each vehicle although so far I’ve only been able to it with cars I own whereas in Forza 4 there was a select amount available.

Online racing is still fun and I still get owned every time. I’m one of those guys who doesn’t race to win, I just race to drive my favourite cars: Nissan 370Z, Mercedes SLR, Mazda RX8, Chrysler 300c. So every time I go race other people online I will just use one of those, meanwhile I’m against people using super high tier cars who basically leave me racing by myself anyway, which is cool by me. I never had any trouble finding a race online and connection was always solid and no lag so that was nice.

All in all what can I say? If you don’t like driving simulators with a little arcade flair that you can enable then you probably won’t like this game no matter how pretty everything looks. I would strongly suggest giving it ago as this series is what got my attention after all these years and it looks like I will be an avid fan for the definite future. It so great to just chill out and race some expensive cars I will never afford to buy let alone will never be in the same room as ever in my life. I honestly believe this should be in everyones launch titles to pick up pile.

I give Forza Motorsport 5, 4 out of 5 Chunts.

Reviewed by Chunt.

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