Genre: Sport Developer: Microsoft Publisher: Microsoft Classification: TBC Release Date: 5th May 2005 Platforms:XBOX
Average of 23 Ratings
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The Good bits
The best console racer to date
Drivatar, Telemetry ingenious and implemented beyond reproach
Amazing level of online integration.
The Bad stuff
In a perfect world, there'd never be a loading delay. This ain't a perfect world.
Ever been the only one out the back at a glassy day, sitting on your board watching uniform corduroy wave perfection come rolling into towards you? What about... first up the top of the mountain, lifts operational but deserted due to a timely bomb scare, untracked snow beckoning? Or even out for a drink, surrounded by a string of gorgeous punters, all keen on you? Is there such a thing as being spoilt by excellence? Is it possible to grow complacent during a stream of sustained brilliance?
This is the ultimate lazy person's tool. The Drivatar is not just a ghost-style mimic of your laps on a track, hell no, it's much more than that, it's your fully fledged AI replacement. Getting one started is easy. Give it a name, then race through five tracks, using different cars. Each of the tracks emphasises a different aspect of driving, but it's the different types of turns on each one that Forza pays attention to. Every time you go around a corner, you're given a percentage rating, along with the type of corner you've just taken. These percentages get averaged out over time to apply your unique characteristics to your Drivatar.
You can revise your efforts on these tracks as you get better to upgrade your Drivatar's levels, create multiple Drivatars, and even have free trial races for your AI beast to boost those stats.
But the real usefulness of the Drivatar comes in when you get it to race for you. Immediately prior to racing, you will have the option to load the Drivatar, which will then race according to your weaknesses and strengths as recorded. Because the five race "learning period" applies, it's not a case of being able to juice up your Drivatar to infinitely superior levels either. And then you can kick back and watch as "you" run the race.
The Drivatar isn't perfect - there are some things it does as a race progresses that a human wouldn't. Just because I may have a bad habit of overcooking my corners and occasionally edging over the ripple strip onto grass, doesn't mean I won't learn my lesson in subsequent laps. However you'll note if you watch your Drivatar races that often each lap you will stuff up in similar spots. This is NOT to say it will do the same lap over and over. Run the Drivatar on consecutive, identical races and you will end up with different times, even different placings. My fortunes went from 6th to 1st when Drivatar screwed up and overcooked the final corner 4 seconds in front in race one, only for me to will it to not stuff up. It still screwed the corner, but not badly enough to lose. And sadly for me, that's exactly the kind of screwup I'd make. Spooky!
This is a minor *****, nothing has been ever pulled off that is this glorious in a racing game before, and it's an absolute cack to watch. And just in case you think - as I did initially - that this may be the ultimate way to skip through the game with minimum effort, be advised that you're levied a "charge" for using your Drivatar in a race. So that big payoff from winning without lifting a finger gets a huge chunk taken out of it. Ouch.
Microsoft are so stoked about the end result they have devoted a site to it. Check it out.
If the above examples elude you, allow me to direct your attention to the games industry over the last 6-7 months. Some of the best games of all time have been launched on each platform. Games that people will be talking about for years to come. And even now, in what is meant to be one of the slower times of the year, those waves are still rolling in. As Tom Cruise said in A Few Good Men... the hits just keep on coming.
"this game blurs the world of offline and online play like no other has been able to."
So it is with Forza Motorsport. It too is an excellent piece of coding, but then again with the time and resources that have been ploughed into it, Xbox owners have a right to expect nothing else. However there's a point where games go from being "excellent" and "well worth your time and money" to "brilliant" and "buy this immediately" propositions. Where there is no doubt whatsoever that you will derive your full dollar value, no matter how stingy or cynical a gamer you are. This... is Forza.
Let's dispense with the predictable comparisons in a couple of paragraphs. Forza Motorsport is as close to Gran Turismo as you will find on Xbox. Only better. This is not a statement to make lightly, and its coming from one who has an unabashed adoration of the powers of Polyphony Digital. GT4 is the benchmark by which console games are measured, yet on virtually every metric worth counting bar a couple, this game exceeds it. This is the new high water mark for console racing.
Things that GT4 does better? Framerate (see sidebar for our thoughts on this issue), photo mode and it also supports rally driving. Beyond that, it's either advantage Forza, or being generous, a tie. We're talking about things like car handling, audio, control, vehicle range (note: type of vehicles rather than numbers, which GT4 easily has the lead), tracks, the lot. And it helps that Forza has been able to incorporate vehicular damage. The cheeky intro is a classic example. It starts off very much along the lines of a Gran Turismo opening cinematic. Slow motion pit lane pans, swooping shots of vehicles racing bumper to bumper around corners... and suddenly a spectacular crash, with cars very obviously damaged. It's about as subtle as a sledgehammer.
200+ cars in game, and we pick your mum's Sigma. Doh.
So is it smash 'em up derby time? No sir. While you can bash into cars and barriers, Forza succeeds because it really punishes you. For starters, any high speed screwup will cost you major time - just like in real racing. There is no rebound off metal barrier effect to keep you moving. And even worse than performance hindrances, damage to your car comes out of your winnings. And because you need every credit possible to upgrade and buy new cars, that's gonna sting. You find yourself adopting the reverse GT tactic - now you're wincing every time you brake early, only to have some goose run up your backside.
Credits make the world go around in Forza. Not only does it allow you to buy stuff, the running total of your earnings dictates what level you are within the game (which in turn affects your access and pricing of parts). In a nice touch, selling your car after you have worked it actually boosts its resale value somewhat... so you don't feel like you've thrown away a stack of progress and dollars when you upgrade vehicles. And on an individual basis, what you do to your car determines where you can race it. If you do too much, you risk shifting grades - which means suddenly instead of schooling everyone else's car, you're a tadpole in an ocean full of sharks. For more of a detailed rundown on the racing grades, head to our page 3 sidebar, "Class Warfare".
Forza Motorsport, a new driving game on Xbox. Oh, just another hyped up game from Microsoft Games Studios... think again. Hyped up, or not, the hybrid of spot-on physics, clean-cut graphics and the most intelligent multiplayer implementation on Xbox Live, with an appeal to both car enthusiasts and non-racers, all make Forza the most realistic car simulator to-date. Indeed, the best simulator ever has arrived on Xbox (or any platform for that matter), even against the likes of Project Gotham Racing and the much-respected Gran Turismo.
Forza has come from nothing to the first GT beater in one product cycle. No other game has combined realistic handling, imagery and audio to such a degree. This is a game that can be picked up and played by any genre lover, but obviously racing simulator fans will appreciate the truly finer points of this game and what can be achieved with the appropriate tuning and perfromance parts.
Damage to vehicles, whilst not completley panel dropping, is still enough to destroy your car and lose any hope of finishing and winning.
A new age simulator racing title produced by Microsoft Gaming Studios that allows the gamer(s) to step away from the arcade realm of racing. To step up, with the license of 200+ car that players can chose from. and the variety of custom parts will get most rev heads motors running.
so i thought it would just be a rip off of gran turismo, how could it be any different, well it can be and it was! it uses the platform which the granturismo seires has laid down and not just made a copy of, but improved, every aspect of the game. it is dangerously addictive and so much fun.
Motorsport is an area of gaming which is fairly well covered by software companies. A gamer has a great deal of different titles to choose from which include a different range of styles. From your pure simulation based gaming such as Live for Speed and GTR to the arcade styled games Burnout and Ridge Racer. While many of these titles have been around for some time and have become successful franchises (Colin McRae & V8 Supercars) the Xbox has not had a title which has been able to rival the Gran Turismo (GT) franchise. Forza Motorsport attempts to break the stronghold which has become a quality gaming experience in GT for the Playstation. Where Forza Motorsport has it all over Gran Turismo is the simple fact that Forza has damage. GT does not.
Forza Motorsport has been developed by Microsoft game studio and Microsoft is not a newcomer when it comes to racing. Microsoft successfully resurrected the Project Gotham series from the unsuccessful Metropolis Street Racer on the Dreamcast (remember that console? Maybe not). However, Project Gotham was not a serious racing series. It was all about drift racing and kudos where you would drive stock standard cars. Even so, it was a rewarding and enjoyable gaming experience. Forza attempts to be something completely different. It is a racing simulation. This is what Microsoft claims anyway. I wouldn’t go that far. After playing Live for Speed and GTR I would have to say that Forza has nothing against these games when it comes to car dynamics and physics. If you are after a real racing sim then look at these other titles. Forza Motorsport is not a true arcade racing game though. It will suit console gamers down to the ground who are looking for a little more action than some of the other racing titles in the market. The other disappointing thing about the Xbox is the complete lack of force-feedback. It amazes me that a console which rivals the PC does not have this awesome feature implemented as it would greatly improve the driving experience in the game.
Awesome game totally beats grand turismo 4, absolutely fantastic, best driving game to date. The game is the new console racing king. 200+ cars how could you got wrong with that selection and the online play is awesome. It is a must get to all racing fans.