XBOX PREVIEW: FORZA MOTORSPORT
Hands On: I remember seeing the press info for this game when I first wrote the preview. I was thinking to myself "Wow this looks great". I think most of us that like racing games thought the same thing. I even heard some people referring to Forza as a new Gran Turismo for the Xbox. After all, looking at the features listed and the press on the game, it sounded good - a game that has 60+ cars, exotic tracks and you get a chance to tune and change parts. Add in the fact that the game has been being worked on for the last 2 years at Microsoft and it seemed like it was going to be a great game. Now I write the hands on previews for a few reasons. Our members like to see what we think of the game so far and we also like to see if the game shows potential. While it is still a demo and subject to change, it can tell us a lot. I received 4 different versions of the demo. Well, 2 technically since 2 of them were exactly the same but were shipped at different times. I held off on writing a hands-on preview for this one. I really thought something was wrong with the first demo. After playing them all, the demos are not the problem. It's the game. My first impressions of Forza are simple. If this is the best and most realistic racing game ever made, someone needs to check their facts out and fast. In short all the demos had the same look like they where of a pre-beta game that were just started. When in fact the game is slated to hit stores next month! Why would I say this? Read on and find out.

The opening is impressive. It shows off what the cars can look like after getting parts and tweaking the cars, a 30 second morphing sequence that would make any racing fan excited. Then you see the cars again, not bad and a wide selection for a demo. The problem is they all handle the same when picked - like crap! Nothing is different other than the look and color and the cars. While on the track, they look like they slapped the shell of each car on top and forgot to fill it in. The track looks like they simply overlaid it then placed everything on top of it. It looks washed out and to be very honest I have seen better PSOne graphics. Now for the worst part, the controls are horrible. They feature ABS, traction control and stabilization control. It would be great if they helped, but the truth is turn them on or off and every car handles the same way. Far from being the most realistic racing game ever made. I think Microsoft had a great idea but may have promised a bit much. Just read on and see the features listed for the game. Now while you have to feather the brakes and try and stay on the track without spinning or not braking right away, the AI cars are zipping along like mad.

The sound effects seem once again to fit a pre-beta demo and are weak at best. After playing the 2 different demos and attempting to go back and double-checking I was not missing something (even checking the other demos that were the same), I can't recommend this game at all not even for a rental at the state the demos were at. If Microsoft were smart, they would take a long hard look and delay the game for a long time, not just a month or two. I am not trying to be funny but I could go down to the local Wal-Mart and place a quarter in the toy car and have more of a realistic driving experience than what the demo of Forza provided for me. I am still shaking my head in disbelieve at this one. In case you're wondering I was looking forward to the game. Now I am wondering what went wrong and how could it still be slated for a February release? Unless the plan was to release a crappy demo and then a great game, I think Forza is doomed.

Features:

  • Make every car yours: Collect models from more than 60 top car manufacturers, including Mazda, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Porsche, BMW, and Dodge. Trick out sport compacts with real-world body kits, rims, spoilers, decals, side skirts, fender flares, and hood scoops. Add motorsport decals and team paint-schemes to supercars, GT racers, and exotics. Transform production cars into racetrack monsters.
  • Tune it up: Take your car to the garage and install alternative engines, suspension kits, bolt-on superchargers, brakes, rims, racing slicks, and more. Fine-tune gear ratios, fuel-mapping, forced-induction pressure, tire temperature and pressure, and ignition timing for the ultimate setup.
  • Experience the most technically advanced driving simulation on Xbox: Top automotive engineers teamed with experienced programmers to create an advanced physics engine for Forza Motorsport, designed to simulates authentic car performance. Cars incur damage and wear, which affects car performance. Advanced tire and suspension models respond to heat and pressure changes as well as weight transfer and aerodynamic load.
  • Drive in gorgeous track environments: From the famously challenging Nurburgring Nordschleife to the spectator-lined streets of Rio de Janeiro, race on meticulously designed tracks with an incredible sense of speed and realism.
  • Check out the revolutionary A.I. Drivatar technology: Train your own A.I. "Drivatars" to use the same racing techniques you do, so they can race for you in competitions or train new drivers on your team. Drivatar technology is the foundation of the human-like A.I. in Forza Motorsport.
  • Take online racing to the next level: From intense multiplayer wheel-to-wheel racing to challenging individual bests and beyond, Forza Motorsport's Xbox Live gameplay will deliver innovations that reinvent the online racing experience.
  • Enjoy a graphical showcase on the most powerful console: Well-balanced reflections, lighting, and shadows tie together highly detailed cars and smooth-edged environments. Camera effects like blooming, lens flare, heat shimmer, light rays, depth of field, and haze create TV-quality presentation. Unique road textures, surface irregularities, persistent oil and skid marks, and scraped walls deliver an incredible sense of speed.
Preview By Chris

Microsoft has been working on this one for over 2 years now and it looks like the work is soon to pay off. For fans of racing titles and owners of an Xbox this may be the next racing game you will want to get your hands on.

The game is going to be a mix of arcade-style racing and enough sim-style to keep any racing fan busy. The screen shots attached are the real screen shots and not the wrong screens. It looks so real that at first I thought this is not from the game. The game style will be a mix of PGR 2 and Sony's Grand Turismo series. Fans of PGR and PGR 2 loved the games but wanted to toy with the engine, the suspension and other aspects. Leave it to Microsoft to pull it off and in a stunning way. Even though this one won't be out until early next year it is getting attention.

After writing for the site for several years, I have noticed when it comes to racing games gamers can be very particular. You have two types of racing fans those who just want to race and those that want to tinker with the cars or "Gear heads" and that is not put down. Other gamers read about games that will require them to adjust and change things and they get turned off. At times it might be that they love racing but do not know about real engines. Other times they might have played a game like GT where you really need to know certain things to do well in the game. It seems Microsoft has taken care of this part. While you will have to tweak settings and change parts, the game will have a help system. While no details of how this will work it when announced, it sounds like gamers will get info on the screen when they make adjustments. They may have an auto setting where the changes are made for you until you get the hang of the game?

Forza's main mode will be the carrier mode with over 60 tracks you will have to master. It sounds like the biggest of any racing game ever. The tracks will take you all the way around the world and all the tracks were modeled after the real tracks. The control system seems to be great so far. The game will also feature real time damage and wear and tear on the cars. The word about the sound effects is the most realistic sounding in any racing game ever. That's a bold statement to make by anyone and I can't wait to see if it's true or not.

This one seems to have everything for the racing fans out there including a ton of officially licensed parts and cars. Players can change almost every look of the car right down to the rims. The most impressive feature is the fact that the graphics won't be just for show. Gamers will have to watch for oil spills on the tracks and also watch for the best line by looking for tire marks on each turn. As far as the online modes, Microsoft has been very quiet about details. They did say players could build their own racing clubs and even trade cars online. We will keep you updated on this one. Take a good look at the screen shots and see why this one is getting attention so early. We will update the preview with all the details as soon as we get the info from Microsoft. On a side note to Vaughn "stop drooling at the screen shots man, they are only cars!" (editor - I definitely don't drool over cars Chris. I drive a Sienna mini-van - Vaughn)

Click For Media
System: Xbox
Dev: Microsoft
Pub: Microsoft
Release: Q1 2005
Players: 1-2-Multi
Preview By Chris
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
NA
GRAPHICS
NA
CONTROL
NA
MUSIC/FX
NA
VALUE
NA