Forza Motorspot 6 Critique, Analysis, and Review
“Why do we race?” That is the question that Forza 6’s magnificently stupid opening video asks, and –as much as I was baffled by the brainlessness of said video– it did send my mind racing (I am so, so sorry). Why do I race? Specifically, why do I love racing games so much? I don’t care about cars; I don’t even have driver's license. I am actually kind of scared of the speeding death-machines known as cars. Still, the question stands: why do I enjoy racing games? In theory, I should not.
You could subvert the question easily: I do not fetishize guns, and I do not care about killing people either though, obviously, that is exactly what a murderer would say). Still, I play a whole lot of games that are about ending people’s lives in a variety of psychotic ways. Violence is another question entirely, though, so let’s not focus on that.
Forza 6 is –or is supposed to be– a racing simulator. The series is well known for giving the player a plethora of options to adapt the simulation to his or her capabilities. In essence, it is trying to make you feel like you drive a bunch of expensive cars that you will never have the money to buy. Hence why it is addressed to car lovers first and foremost. But I’m not one of those.
If I had to guess, I would associate my love of racing games with my love of platformers. Both genres, distilled down, are about using the game’s physics engine – realistic or not – to navigate a course of obstacles. While racing games lose much of the notion of verticality, they regain complexity with a ton of different variables: tire traction, drafting, brakes, inertia, etc. At their best, you —as a player— only react on reflex and instinct; you do not have time to think. For lack of a better word, it’s the way playing ‘feels,’ and the Forza series always has been at the top of the genre in the thrilling ‘feel’ department.
But it’s been six games now, and the series is in need of a big change. The biggest addition in this installment of the franchise is its weather system. You can also race at night now, which obviously restricts visibility but also influences traction — and did I mention you can race in the pouring rain? It may seem like just a little thing, but it does actually change a lot of the game. Not only is the former really impressive looking, but it also forces you to rethink specific courses. Rain in Forza is not just a simple modifier applied to your car traction: your tires lose grip, and the track is also filled with puddles of water that you have to drive carefully through. It is impossible to explain how substantial that is; rain changes the game’s ‘feel’ with an entirely new set of physics you have to deal with. Sadly, weather effects are track specific, meaning that not all tracks can have them. I imagine that their scarcity is the trade-off for them being so elaborate, but it does feel like the biggest addition of this Forza iteration is a little too sparse.
Another new aspect of the game –which comes in the form of modifications that you can use throughout races– is much less successful. Being able to pass through other cars because of a modifier bonus seems like a cop-out: you’re sidetracking the simulation and not engaging with its systems. While you can completely ignore the modifications, it also means that you will be at a disadvantage. Since Forza 6 is —supposedly— a simulation, these modifications seem out of place. It is not enough to destroy the experience, but it does taint it a little with arcade-y concepts.
The question the opening video asks is never answered within the game. It is as if Turn 10 Studios weren’t actually sure why their players race. In a way, this is normal because so many different types of people enjoy racing games, whether it is car aficionados or challenge lovers like me. That being said, Forza 6 obviously suffers from uncertainty. Six games in, the series is trying to establish where it is going to go in the future. While the addition of weather is more meaningful than one might expect, there is also a sense that the game is less interested with the simulation than before. The core is still extremely well-made, which ends up being Forza 6’s saving grace. Still, instead of letting its big question go unanswered, Turn 10 Studios attempts to try and make Forza appeal to all types of players, rather than ask the Forza fan, “Why do YOU race?” If you bought a Forza game, it’s probably because it represents one of the best, accessible simulation games on the market. As good as Forza 6 feels, there’s clutter that should not have been there. It is still one of the best racers out there, but it is because its predecessor was already at the top of the crowd.
- Rumble triggers, light of my life, fire of my loins.
Drivatars are back! There is now an option to limit their aggression. They can still be assholes, though.
Recommending this game is a weird one. I do certainly enjoy playing it. I think lovers of the series will get a lot out of the weather system and thus find it worth it. I still think it is a bit disappointing in the grand scheme of things.
Progression is a little more restrictive than in Forza 5 (2013), but now the showcase races are outside the main career mode, ensuring that you will be able to try some of the most powerful car before you get access to them in the main mode.
No micro-transactions in sight. Yay!
The dumb FMV cutscene was fitting in Forza Horizon 2 (2014). Here it just feels weird.
I love the music of this series. It is simply super dramatic and extremely tense at all time, which makes driving those cars looks like a between life-and-death affair.
Please consider donating to Castle Couch. All of our content is handmade with real love — we couldn't do it without you.