|System: Xbox One|
|Dev: Turn 10 Studios|
|Pub: Microsoft Studios|
|Release: September 15, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080i||Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.|
by Sean Engemann
When Forza Motorsport 5 released alongside the Xbox One, there was no denying its beauty. A bona fide racing simulation, it was the best showcase of the new console's graphical prowess. However, looking past the gleaming facade revealed a lacking amount of content. The car roster and track selection weren't even close to previous entries in the series, and the game was incredibly stingy with dishing out dough to purchase new vehicles. It's likely developer Turn 10 Studios was under time constraints to meet the system's launch date, and forced to trim down the features. Those criticisms are absent from Forza Motorsport 6. With time and resources at their disposal, they have loaded the package, complete with some interesting new options; enough to make you believe its predecessor never even existed.
To begin, the game foregoes a title screen, instead strapping you right into the cover car - the 2017 Ford GT, that is as sleek as it is powerful. With gorgeous Rio de Janeiro as your initial backdrop, the casual first race is more for enjoyment than a test of your driving capabilities. As are the next three qualifying races, which introduce you to some of the driving mechanics and adjustable gameplay elements.
Assists make a return, and are as convenient and lucrative as ever. Individual functions such as braking and steering can be aided by the AI, though this strips away a measure of freedom from the player. Lowering or removing Assists not only makes the ride more authentic and challenging, but adds to the amount of credits (the game's currency) earned at the end of the race. Turning the controls to full manual requires a steady hand and a skilled mind attuned to the subtle details of each course. Gauging your speed when approaching a tight turn or adjusting the tire pressure to provide suitable grip on the varied surfaces are just a couple of nuances required to finish in a top spot. However, there is a handy rewind feature that prompts on the screen whenever the slightest error is made, allowing you to adjust your approach without restarting the entire race.
A couple of entertaining additions to Forza Motorsport 6 infuse the simulation with a few "arcadey" elements. Mods, which function like booster packs, offer a random assortment of single and unlimited use buffs, such as better starting position and improved grip. You could also turn over a Dare card and use it to add restrictions to the race, such as a locked camera with the Suggested Line turned off, with extra credits rewarded for completing the objective. Then there are the Prize Spins, awarded each time you gain a level. This random roulette yields various amounts of credits, Mod packs, as well as new vehicles to add to the garage. My second spin hit the jackpot and filled my account with a million credits, which I promptly splurged to purchase a few of my dream cars - the Ford GT cover car (which is surprisingly cheap), the 2008 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR (my childhood favorite), and the 2012 Aston Martin Vanquish (though with a little more cash I would have preferred the 2010 Aston Martin One-77).
I immediately took my new cars for a close inspection in the Forzavista mode. Here you can get up close and personal with your vehicle, getting inches away from the rims, dashboard, headlights, pretty much every part, while listening to some fascinating history and notable tidbits about the car's maker. And unlike the limited selection viewable in Forza 5, every one of the 400+ vehicles can be given the white glove inspection this time around.
I could say that the graphics are absolutely stunning, but then again, so were the visuals in Forza 5, and that was two years ago. However, considering the pedigree the franchise has carried over, the depreciation value falls at a much lower degree. Every vehicle looks like it was waxed a hundred times over, and the sun reflecting perfectly over every inch is a testament to the authenticity given to every frame of animation. Forza Motorsport 6 pulls ahead of its predecessor in its stunning night races and flawlessly rendered rain. At night, fireworks fill the sky with color, headlights are given a reason to shine (literally), and tight corners can be hidden deceptively in the dark. But the real beauty and challenge comes in the form of a downpour. Despite gray skies withering the color palette, the rain hitting the windshield, camera lens, and terrain itself is so realistic, you'll feel the need to have an umbrella and galoshes nearby while playing. Puddles form and cause your vehicle to hydroplane, and grassy turf becomes a muddy mess that is difficult to escape from. The only slight criticism I can give to the visuals is that certain user-created liveries reveal jagged edges when racing using the hood cam.