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Forza Motorsport

Storm Island photo
Storm Island

Forza Horizon 2's first DLC takes places at the ominous Storm Island


Gee, I wonder what happens there
Dec 16
// Brett Makedonski
Forza Horizon 2 shipped this fall with plenty of inclement weather, unlike some other game. Nevertheless, its first add-on centers around even more torrential downpours on the paradisiacal sounding Storm Island. Storm I...
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Link: Open letter to Microsoft, Turn 10, Playground Games on DLC


Nice work, Cheapy D
Oct 07
// Dale North
Forza Horizon 2? Pretty damned good, right? Having to buy a car pack to get the most desired DLC car? Not so good. I have strong feelings of my own on that and other DLC topics surrounding the Forza franchise, but I can save ...

Review: Forza Horizon 2

Sep 25 // Brett Zeidler
Forza Horizon 2 (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Playground Games (Xbox One) / Sumo Digital (Xbox 360) / Turn 10Publisher: Microsoft StudiosReleased: September 30, 2014MSRP: $59.99 (Xbox One) / $49.99 (Xbox 360) If you're familiar with the first Forza Horizon, you'll feel right at home. The Horizon Festival is taking place again, except this time it's all the way over in southern Europe by way of France and Italy. Your role is, yet again, to become the top Horizon racer by collecting different colored wristbands as you win championships and work your way up the ladder. Your progress is tracked a couple different ways. Obviously an overall level is raised by completing activities, and every level gives you one Wheelspin. The Wheelspin is a slot machine that either gives you a credit payout or a free car. I've gotten some sweet rewards from this thing. Tracking your progress is really easy with a win/loss ratio, but in Horizon it's all about how cool you look while doing all this. Drifting, near misses, getting air, and destroying things in the world can all add to a skill chain if done in a row. After accruing up a certain amount of points, these unlock skill points that can be spent on perks. Everyone loves perks. These are pretty standard, and increase things like bonuses, XP, or unlock certain abilities that make life easier.  There's a couple characters that interact with you over the course of the game; Ben and Ashley. Ben is the guy. He's the type of guy everyone wants to know, party with, and, in Horizon 2, he's that guy everyone wants to drive with. He's the guy leading the Horizon Festival, after all. Be prepared to hear him say "mate" at the end of every single race. I promise it gets funny eventually. Ultimately, he ends up helping the player learn the mechanics of the game, suggesting where they should go next, and even hooks them up with new rides every once in awhile. Ashley is the mechanic that fixes up all those new rides, and that's all she's really present for outside of being a support character. As far as story and character development goes, that's as in-depth as it gets in Horizon 2. That's really all one expects from a racing game, anyway. It's non-intrusive (nor over the top) to -- and provides a good foundation for -- the real focus: racing. Forza Horizon 2 doesn't attempt to shake up the tried-and-true racing formula. The championship event races break down into one of two types: beat everyone to the finish line in one long sprint or in a traditional lap-based race. Instead of structural variety, Horizon instead relies on locale and visual variety to keep players interested. This was totally the right call. Forza Motorsport 5 was already a visual treat, but the heavily modified engine used in Horizon 2 is absolutely breathtaking. All of the 200-something cars are painstakingly detailed (interiors and all) as always, and are convincingly true-to-life. Southern Europe features back country, densely packed urban areas, coast towns, and everything in-between. It's a very, very big world that's incredibly open and just begs to be explored. For the first time, Forza now has a dynamic weather system. Truly, this is the standout visual element in the game. Sunsets and sunrises are amazing, and never look the same as the cloud placement/density changes their appearance every single time. At any moment, thick clouds could fill an entirely blue sky and, suddenly, there's a downpour of rain. Radio personalities will also comment on this when it happens, which is also pretty cool the first few times it happens. This isn't just a visual trick either, as rain will puddle up in the roads, bead up on the cars (and windshields), and create slick conditions. The visual effect on the windshield is particularly jaw-dropping; light will refract off of each individual bead of rain and cause visual interference just as it does in real life. Windshield wipers will automatically clear the windshield, and will leave a line of water wherever their turn radius ends. You have never seen something like this done in a racing game before, and it's something you really need to see for yourself. In motion, everything comes together to create one of the best-looking titles out there right now. Horizon 2 runs in full 1080p at 30 frames per second, never dipping below that. Some may have an issue with a racing game running at 30 FPS, but it's honestly no problem here. Everything runs incredibly smooth and feels perfectly responsive. If I wasn't told it ran at that frame rate, I would've been none-the-wiser. Having a vast, detailed world can still feel empty fairly quickly if there's not a lot to do, and thankfully Horizon 2 does not come up short in activities to partake in. Outside of over 150 championship events, there are Showcase events, barn finds, Bucket List activities, speed traps, and online modes. Showcases have the player up against some type of machinery (not a car) in a head-to-head race. They're easily the craziest out of all the events, and, despite being blatant smoke and mirrors, created some of the most memorable moments in the game. Since there's so few of them, I won't spoil any of the surprise. Definitely be on the lookout for these every few championship events. Barn finds are nothing new, and still task the player with finding an old, rusted-out vehicles in abandoned barns around the map. They're actually pretty difficult to find. I found an army jeep in one of them, which felt particularly silly to bring into a racing event, but things like that fit right in with the rest of Horizon. It's just a fun atmosphere. Bucket List activities are pretty straightforward as well. These also involve finding cars around the map, placed on the side of roads. However, these cars are usually the best in the game and give a taste of what they're like by completing small activities in them (with varying degrees of difficulty). Speed traps are simply just cameras that radar how fast you're going on a particular road. Sometimes I'd try and beat my personal best on these over and over before I realized I spent a good twenty minutes doing this. At any point, two button clicks will take you to the online lobby system. No menu navigating or lobby juggling needed, as it just works within the game and brings you together with strangers or friends in the full game world. You can participate in road trips, championship events, or explore parts of the map together. It's the type of thing where the structured events are certainly fun, but I imagine the community coming up with pick-up games that add to the multiplayer's longevity. The avoidance of too much menu navigation extends into the rest of the game as well. If you have a Kinect hooked up, a digital personal assistant named ANNA can take your commands and make life a whole lot easier. ANNA allows you to just about play the entire game without ever using a menu of your own doing. Say you know you just want to do the next championship event -- you can have ANNA set the GPS navigator to take you to whichever one is nearest. She'll also provide suggestions of things to do occasionally, or you can just outright ask her what it is she thinks you should do next. This system creates a nice flow, and truly enhances the experience. It's the perfect use of the Kinect. I'm all about a stellar soundtrack, and Horizon 2 nails it. There's something to be said about driving a Lamborghini through a super dense field somewhere over 150 mph, barely able to see, with Chvrches is playing in the background. A soundtrack where Chromeo, The Clash, or Thee Oh Sees are just as likely to play as Vilvaldi, Schubert, or Tchaikovsky excites me like nothing else. Playground Games really knows how to make a road trip playlist. With the original Forza Horizon, we were a little disappointed in the frequency and length of the loading screens. Unfortunately, that's still the case here. Again, the loading screens aren't overwhelmingly long, but they appear before and after every single race. All that time adds up to quite a lot. It's understandable that they're there, but I could've done with less of them. If you were a fan of the original or its simulator brother, there's no reason to pass up Horizon 2. It's simulation enough to not lose longtime fans, while easing the realistic driving just enough to allow new players to jump in and not feel like the car physics are working against them the whole time. Every element in Forza Horizon 2 adds up to an exceptional experience. The story isn't over the top so as to get in the way of racing, driving feels as good as it ever did in Forza Motorsport, there's a ton of things to do, and the game looks absolutely beautiful -- especially the long-awaited dynamic weather system. Forza Horizon 2 is a must-have on the Xbox One.
Forza Horizon 2 review photo
Good racing, mate
The original Forza Horizon impressed us back in 2012 with its ability to incorporate what we already loved about Forza Motorsport into an absolutely massive open-world sandbox racing game, while not completely ditching its si...

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Play Forza Motorsport 5 for free this weekend


Win a chance to race IRL
Sep 03
// Dale North
Xbox One-owning Xbox Live Gold members can play Forza Motorsport 5 for free this weekend, starting 12:01 a.m. Pacific time September 4, running through midnight on Sunday. The entire game is available for free play. It's a bi...
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Forza Horizon 2 demo coming to Xbox One on September 16


Achievements announced
Aug 27
// Dale North
A demo for Playground Games' Forza Horizon 2 is coming to Xbox One on September 16, just ahead of the September 30 release date. They promise a "brief taste" of what to expect in the full version.  You'll find an Achievements list for Forza Horizon 2 below. Some of the names are super silly.
Forza Horizon 2 photo
Forza Horizon 2

This Forza Horizon 2 trailer uses the word 'social' too much


Social, connected, social, connected
Aug 12
// Alasdair Duncan
Okay, maybe the snarky headline was a bit mean but the devs behind Forza Horizon 2 are really making sure that you know that the game is social and connected. Aside from those buzzwords, what does that actually mean in terms...
Forza Horizon 2 photo
Forza Horizon 2

The new Forza Horizon 2 cars are mostly vehicles you'll never drive in real life


I bet you could swing a 1977 Ford Escort, though
Aug 05
// Brett Makedonski
The new batch of cars revealed for Forza Horizon 2 brings about a bit of a staunch reminder that open-world racing games aren't all that realistic. Let's face it -- there's a slim chance you'll ever be behind the wheel o...
First 100/200 cars photo
First 100/200 cars

There's a Hummer H1 in Forza Horizon 2, and these 99 other cars


Over 200 in total, here's the first half
Jul 22
// Steven Hansen
I hate Hummers so much. Only in America would a car that stupid get that popular. Of course, Forza Horizon 2 has the H1, the actual Humvee-looking one that isn't any less stupid for civilian driving, but at least it doesn't look like a gangly, overgrown Power Wheels like the popular H2 you still see out and about sometimes. The first 100 cars are listed here.
Forza Horizon 2 photo
Forza Horizon 2

Forza Horizon 2 will have a digital personal assistant named ANNA


Interesting
Jul 03
// Chris Carter
Forza Horizon 2 is coming to the Xbox One and Xbox 360 later this year, and more details are starting to arise with every passing week. The latest development is "ANNA," the "digital personal assistant" of Forza Horizon 2, w...
Forza photo
Forza

Forza Motorsport 5's Hot Wheels Car Pack is silly


They're not, like, miniature die-cast cars or anything
Jul 01
// Jordan Devore
Hot Wheels? I'll admit it -- I got slightly excited. Those plastic orange tracks were my jam as a kid. But Forza Motorsport 5's Hot Wheels Car Pack, the last of the monthly car packs for the game, is really just more real-wor...
Just say no photo
Just say no

Forza Horizon 2 won't have 'token' microtransactions


Forza Forza!
Jun 17
// Steven Hansen
Forza Horizon 2 creative director Ralph Fulton told Digital Spy that it would eschew the series' microtransaction currency, tokens. "The approach we've taken is that we've designed our game at Playground Games from ...
Forza Horizon photo
Forza Horizon

Video: Bust up some guy's vineyard in Forza Horizon 2


E3 2014 impressions from Mike Cosimano
Jun 13
// Jordan Devore
In Forza Horizon 2, you're headed to Southern Europe. We sent one of our video guys, the energetic Mike Cosimano, to check it out at E3. He really, really dug the last Horizon and it sounds like the sequel is more of the same on a grander scale, for better or worse. That includes Drivatars. They're back, with a vengeance.

Why the heck is Forza Horizon 2 trying to get me killed?

Jun 10 // Steven Hansen
[embed]276206:54279:0[/embed] Seriously, who did they hire to run this event? It started out well enough, driving through some scenic roads that gave way to a farm setting. I tried to race carefully, following the helpful race line that goes green when you're free to speed up and warns red when you should be breaking. Break before the turn, punch it in the turn. Some of the AI racers, at one point, cut through a cornfield to get an edge. Have you ever driven through a cornfield? At 140 miles per hour? Bad idea. I kept to the road like a responsible driver. Then the race line led me through a corn field. The heck, guys? I was still holding a respectable, middling 6th/7th place or so at that point when the race route led into a regular road full of cross traffic and commuters. Someone is going to get killed! Not me, because I have a helpful rewind button. I tried not to lean on it, but when I went grill to grill with oncoming traffic, I used it. I tried not to rewind further, which you could do. Just the one, I thought. When I resumed, I still didn't have room to veer out of the way. I smashed into some poor soul and got myself knocked into about 11th of 12. Then the thunder claps. Rain started, making roads even more squirrely.  I would never recover, even when the rain stopped, roads still left wet. I cruised into a 12th place finish and enjoyed the sun reflecting off of the rain slick roads. I may suck at racing games, but the Forza Horizon series continues to still make it fun as hell regardless, like a photo realistic Mario Kart.
Forza Horiszon 2 hands-on photo
Cutting through cornfields, racing against oncoming traffic, and more
Driving is dangerous. We take it for granted, but you're more likely to die driving to the airport than zipping through the air a mile high in a heavy, metal tube. I am pretty okay at driving, but I am notably not great at dr...

E3 photo
E3

Forza Horizon 2 hits Xbox One on September 30


Playground returns for another open-world racer
Jun 09
// Jordan Devore
Playground Games announced a September 30, 2014 release date for Forza Horizon 2 during Microsoft's E3 2014 media briefing this morning. The Xbox One version was mentioned specifically during the event, but the game is also ...
Free Forza 5 track photo
Free Forza 5 track

Nürburgring track available free today for Forza 5


OMG DLC!
Jun 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Forza 5 gets a free downloadable track based on the the Nürburgring motorsports complex in Nürburg, Germany. It's free starting today, Turn 10 Studios announced today during Microsoft's E3 presser. In addition to a Grand Prix track, there's a longer loop vaunting 12.9 miles of tarmac and more than 1,000 feet of elevation change from its lowest to highest points.
Forza photo
Forza

Forza Horizon 2 will display at 1080p, running at 30 frames per second


The difference between a game with set tracks, and an open world
Jun 06
// Abel Girmay
So it seems Forza Horizon 2, unlike Forza 5, will not be running at 60 frames per second. While it will still display in 1080p, the open-world nature of Horizon doesn't seems to play nice with the idea of a locked 60fps rate,...
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Forza Horizon 2 coming this fall for Xbox One and Xbox 360


Drivatar comes over
Jun 02
// Dale North
The follow-up to 2012's Forza Horizon is coming to Xbox One and Xbox 360 this fall. IGN has the scoop on Microsoft's announcement of open-world racer Forza Horizon 2. They say it's being handled primarily by the group that di...
Deals photo
Deals

Xbox One Kinect and Forza 5 bundle $120 off at Walmart


With your choice of Call of Duty or NBA 2K14
May 27
// Abel Girmay
If there are still any Xbox One holdouts among you that would like a Kinect included, Walmart is running a pretty nice promotion. For the standard SKU price of $499, you will get an Xbox One with Kinect, a down...
Forza photo
Forza

Turn 10 is adding 20 more cars to the Forza Motorsport 5 season pass


Good for them
May 23
// Jordan Devore
The Forza Motorsport 5 Car Pass will give owners more than initially promised, which is the kind of sentence I rarely if ever get the opportunity to write. Let's cherish this moment. Specifically, Turn 10 Studios has plans fo...
Forza photo
Forza

Forza Motorsport 5 gets another free track tomorrow


And more cars, if you're a season pass owner
Apr 09
// Jordan Devore
Additional tracks for Forza Motorsport 5 is a very good thing indeed, I think we can all agree. Especially when they're delivered as free DLC. Like the Road America track before it, Turn 10 is giving away another course, sout...
Forza photo
Forza

Forza 5 DLC cars can now be accessed without in-game currency


And all 200 launch cars can be rented
Mar 28
// Jordan Devore
Turn 10 Studios is still attempting to win back disappointed Forza fans following its launch of Forza Motorsport 5 in November. In an open letter, creative director Dan Greenawalt has announced more changes for the game relat...
Xbox One news photo
Xbox One news

White Xbox One coming this year, update coming this March


A huge flood of Xbox One leaks slowly being corroborated
Jan 30
// Steven Hansen
I don't want an Xbox One, but if I did, I'd want One in white. An anonymous NeoGAF poster let loose a flood of leaks, including word that October would see a white Xbox One bundled with Insomniac's Sunset Overdrive. A 1TB con...

Review: Polk N1 Gaming SurroundBar

Jan 17 // Dale North
Polk N1 Gaming Surroundbar Manufacturer: PolkMSRP: $299 (available at Amazon) The N1 is a sharp-looking but compact (about 39" wide, 4" tall) sound bar that manages to pack in four small drivers and a subwoofer behind its cool horizontal slats and under its brushed-top finish. It might be a tad bit bigger than the models that have a separate subwoofer, but it's nice and tidy, and still small enough to fit underneath your television's screen. It's available in both black and white finishes. You won't find a wealth of ports on the N1, but it does have all the bases covered. Two digital connections (SPDIF and Optical) and one 1/8" audio jack will cover just about any need. There's also a SUB-OUT port for those that would like to add a subwoofer. Connectivity is expanded by the built-in Bluetooth chip, which lets you stream audio from just about any compatible device. Polk came to Microsoft for a bit of help with the sound processing for the N1. They were paired up with 343 Industries and Turn 10 Studios to work with their engineers to create a couple of genre-specific sound modes for the sound bar. There are even little buttons on the remote that feature the Forza and Halo logos. Of course, you don't have to be playing Halo 4 or Forza 5 to benefit from the shooter and racing genre modes of the N1. My first impression was that the N1 gets loud! A big sound comes out of this relatively compact sound bar. I did not expect it to put forth such a clean, full sound. That subwoofer may be invisible, but it's definitely working somewhere in there. The N1 has a full range sound that is well-balanced and tight. There's none of that nasty time separation between highs and lows (a wireless sub problem), and it gets away from the hollow, processed sound that so many sound bars suffer from.  The game sound processing modes are interesting in that they perked up the sound of the games I tried it on without harming the audio quality. Too many of the EQ curves thrown into gaming audio products hype frequencies to be exciting, but eventually end up causing ear fatigue. Trying the racing mode with Forza 5 had the sound field widening a bit, making the sound effects more immersive. The shooter mode seemed to make all the foreground sounds even more pronounced. It began to wear on my ears at high volume, though. Neither mode as as gimmicky as I originally feared, and the racing one in particular is quite good. There are a few drawbacks of note for the sound processing. The sub can distort with some of the sound processing on at higher volumes. Also, you need to be sitting dead center for full immersion. Anything outside of that skews the sound field in a weird way.  The non-gaming modes, Music and Cinema, were as useful as they were named, with the Cinema preset working well for content that I tried with my cable box. Again, the N1 put off a rich, full-range sound, with this mode bringing more pronounced dialogue than the others. The N1's sound can easily fill a large room. The Bluetooth streaming mode works like a charm, and it has great range, too.  A few gripes: The remote is a tiny little thing that seems to respond when it wants to. I don't expect it to hold up. Thankfully there's a programming feature included to let you use your existing remotes. I also found that there aren't enough steps between the digital volume settings to fine tune the volume exactly to my liking. And not having a sound-mode button on the speaker is an oversight. My personal preference for gaming, music, and movies is stereo speakers and a proper receiver. While you couldn't manage full tower speakers and an amp for the N1's $299 MSRP, you could swing a budget receiver and some fuller-ranged bookshelf speakers, or a budget set of powered monitors. Even Polk's TSi100 Bookshelf speakers would be a great solution for gaming and music. But the N1 is better than any sound bar that I've had in my home so far, and it has gaming sound modes to boot. Its Bluetooth connectivity makes it even more useful as a big wireless speaker system. If you want a tidy, clean, and loud solution that fits underneath your television set, the Polk N1 Gaming Surroundbar is a solid choice for your gaming rig. 
Polk N1 soundbar photo
With Forza and Halo sound modes
I don't have the best history with sound bars. I had this bigger JBL one that sounded nice, but it stopped working. Kaput. I tried to replace it with one of Sony's budget models, but that one sounded so bad that I laughed at ...

Forza photo
Forza

Forza 5 unlikely to get night racing or weather


If it does happen, it's going to be a long wait
Dec 13
// Jordan Devore
Speaking to IGN about the possibility of Forza Motorsport 5 getting night racing or weather effects, creative director Dan Greenawalt emphasized the amount of work that would need to go into such additions to the game. "When ...
Fixing Forza photo
Fixing Forza

Turn 10 wants to turn around fan perception of Forza 5


'I'm more disappointed in myself that I've elicited this reaction in people'
Dec 13
// Steven Hansen
Dale dug Forza 5, but the Xbox One launch title has been met with the most varied reviews in franchise history. However, creative director Dan Greenawalt, in an interview with Eurogamer, said he is "not really driven by Metas...

Gran Turismo 6 vs. Forza Motorsport 5

Dec 06 // Dale North
Cars: Gran Turismo 6 I picked cars as the first entry for this comparison so I can rant a bit. People were loud and mad at Forza 5's 200 or so available cars. Yes, GT6 has 1,200 cars, but I'm willing to bet that most gamers won't touch many of the cars in the bottom ranks. I mean, a Daihatsu hatch isn't something you'd brag about. And Gran Turismo games offer several variations on one model. Cut the ones you'd never drive and the variations and the number would go down quite a bit. Forza 5's cars look incredible. Given the next-gen advantage, I'm sure GT6's cars would look just as nice. But, right now, Polyphony Digital's work can't touch Turn 10's. They're eye poppers. Wowzers. And Forza has all the cars you'd like to drive (or own), with none of the duds or duplicates.  Still, GT6 has the number advantage, so it wins for me. It's so nice to be able to flip through all of the offerings and drool over virtual vehicles -- it's like a game in itself. And there are some strange offerings to keep things fun, like the moon rover. The fun of experiencing so many different types of vehicle types is what really keeps me coming back to GT6's career mode -- Forza 5 doesn't have that for me. At the end of the day, we play these games because we like cars. More cars wins. Tracks: Gran Turismo 6 My biggest complaint with Forza 5 is that there are not enough tracks to keep me entertained. The tracks are both beautiful and ridiculously detailed, but I would have rather had less shine on these tracks if I could trade that for more places to race. Again, the 14 tracks that are included are great, but you see them so often in career mode that you start to tire of them. The lack of variety is bothersome, but the lack of fan-favorite tracks really stinks.  GT6's tracks may not have the photorealism and high detail of Forza 5's tracks, but the number of tracks makes up for this many times over. GT6 has 37 locations and 100 layouts. Add in the variable weather and environmental changes and there's more than enough variety to keep things fresh for hours on end. They're all so impeccably crafted that I think tracks feel better on Polyphony Digital's side. Graphics: Forza Motorsport 5 Man. No contest. The graphical leap between current-generation and next-generation visuals is huge. A side-by-side test is painful. It seems like there's just enough power under the hood of the PS3 to make for a fine racing videogame. But you can't help but think that they ran out of power when you look at GT6's static scenery, pop up book trees, and jaggy edges. The cars look great, as do many of the tracks, but you don't have to look hard to find rough edges. There's so much more headroom with the Xbox One that Forza 5 gets 1080p 60fps visuals with some of the best lighting and detail work I've ever seen in a videogame. Polygon counts are much higher, and everything from car damage to shadows looks much more detailed.  Again, no contest. Control: Gran Turismo 6 The same difference in processing power between the two systems should point to Forza 5 coming out on top when it comes to control, right?  In my mind, the Gran Turismo franchise has always won out on driving physics. GT6 has new physics that dig down deeper into its already great feel. Handling feels better than ever now, and that's why I enjoy playing GT6 just slightly more than Forza 5.  I wouldn't be surprised to hear that there's much more going on under the hood of Forza 5 -- It certainly feels like there's a lot more going on. Forza 5 feels more dynamic, and there's certainly more visual feedback for what's going on in its simulations, but all the calculations in the world won't matter if they don't feel good. To be clear, Forza 5's driving feels great. But GT6's driving feels fantastic.    Career Mode: Gran Turismo 6 Gran Turismo 6 sticks to its guns, once again putting players of its career mode through a progression that has them working up from a little turd of a car to the fastest cars in the world. While I've never loved the license tests, I do enjoy the slow burn of the GT career modes, and I always appreciate having to earn my way into the best cars. There's also the joy of experiencing so many different types of cars along the way. GT6 keeps that spirit, so know that its career mode will take you a long while to work through. On the other hand, Forza 5 lets you hop into whatever you'd like and tackle any race that interests you. Pure freedom. You can just stay in one car if you'd like.  If you're a casual racing fan, you may not enjoy the two laps at 75 MPH in a budget hatchback that you have to get through early on in GT6. But, for me, I want to work through it all. And there's so much more to do in GT6 with its weather races, endurance tests, mini challenges, coffee breaks and more.  AI: Forza Motorsport 5 GT6's AI is better than ever, but there's better out there. I'm glad to say that gone are the days where you'd find that the second- and third-place drivers would magically appear behind you when one tire touches even the smallest patch of dirt or grass. It seems less about cars following scripted paths this time around, though I can't help but think that the heat is artificially turned up near the end of the last lap. GT6's AI is good, but it still needs work.  Forza 5's Drivatar system has the worst name ever, but it's a game changer when it comes to AI. By taking real players' driving tendencies up into the cloud and then down into your AI opponents' cars, single-player racing has never felt more real.    Online: Gran Turismo 6 Flat out, there are simply more cars, courses, and race options to play with in Gran Turismo 6. Polyphony Digital has set the stage for online that should keep you entertained for years. Controller support: Gran Turismo 6 [Edit: There are two $399 Xbox One steering wheels for Forza 5. This still doesn't beat GT6's back support, though.] Forza 5 only supports the Xbox One controller. That's it. GT6 has back support for several of the Thrustmaster, Driving Force, and G series of wheels. That's all great news. It's too bad that GT6 does not support the DualShock 4 controller, though.    Microtransactions: Gran Turismo 6 Since this comparison is coming from me specifically, I'm picking the game that doesn't seem to be built around making more money later. I love Forza Motorsport 5, but I could never shake the feeling that it was designed around a DLC strategy. From the lack of fan-favorite tracks to the ever-present reminders that you can buy credits to level up faster, an underlying feeling of being asked to pay more weighed on me a bit. I can't claim to know Turn 10's intent, but if I ever found out that they held tracks back to be sold later, I'd be very disappointed. Gran Turismo 6 does give you the option to buy game credits to let you skip over having to earn them through races. It's simply a shortcut to fast cars. While I think that skipping over GT6's wealth of vehicle and race types to get the fastest car defeats the purpose, I can appreciate that not everyone has the time required to work through its career mode. Furthermore, car pricing seems to be in line with what it was in Gran Turismo 5, so nothing seems shady so far.  While I'd rather that Polyphony Digital skipped the microtransaction option altogether, it's not intrusive, and you're never prompted or reminded. More importantly, nothing seems like it's missing from Gran Turismo 6. It's a full game that you can play for years on end without feeling like you need to buy something.    Load Times: Neither OH MY GOD. Both are terrible. Polyphony Digital has improved load times over their last release, but pre-match loads sometimes take 30 seconds or more. GT6 has a slow Blu-ray drive. What's your excuse, Forza 5? Summary: Again, you can't go wrong with either. I'm really glad I have both.  I think of Forza 5 when I want to race, while I think of GT6 when I want to drive. That's what it really comes down to for me. I go to Forza for the flash and spectacle, I go to Gran Turismo when I want to play in an automotive toy box. Hopefully that makes sense to you.  But, if I had to pick one racing game to take to a desert island to play for the rest of my life, it would be Gran Turismo 6.
GT6 vs. Forza 5 photo
Head-to-head comparison
[Edit: We updated the controller section as there are two $399 Xbox One steering wheels for Forza 5.] There's a racing simulation showdown taking place on gaming consoles this holiday season between PS3 racer Gran T...

Forza 5 photo
Forza 5

This Forza 5 Wind Waker car is glorious


Customization is key
Nov 29
// Chris Carter
One of the best parts of Forza games is the deep car customization, and Forza 5 is no exception. Xbox One user Nill31 seems to be of the same mindset, as they created this amazing new Wind Waker themed ca...

Turn 10 responds to Forza Motorsport 5 economy feedback

Nov 27 // Brett Zeidler
Starting this Friday and ending Sunday, all cars will be 50% off (both credits and tokens). Forza 5 VIP members will receive a 2013 Lotus E21 Grand Prix, and if they have already bought that they will receive a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. Players who have purchased the LaFerrari car pack or car pass will have the LaFerrari placed directly in the garage. For the entire month of December, credit payouts will be significantly increased through Forza Rewards. Turn 10 did not stop there, and issued an apology specifically to players who bought the limited edition of the game and were mislead to believe the 1,250 tokens included with the edition would be enough to purchase any car available in the game, which turned out to not be the case. Sometime between today and December 16, a page will go live that will allow these players specifically to add any car of their choosing directly to their garage. This is definitely a good start, but the vague promise of future permanent changes to the economy simply is not good enough. The presence of free-to-play microtransaction pricing (or microtransactions at all) used to hold back content with the intent of nickel and diming consumers in a $60 game is extremely off-putting and should have never been included in the game in the first place. If anything, these apology programs should be permanent until future revisions to the economy are made. It's a shame, because the game outside of these decisions is really good. Given the franchise's history, it's hard to believe the direction taken with this entry is entirely Turn 10's fault and probably came from higher up at Microsoft. We can only hope they understand this is not the way to go in the future.
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Implementing temporary programs to hold players over for permanent changes
If you've been playing Forza Motorsport 5, you're probably very familiar with the game's awful microtransactions. If not, basically the game uses tokens you buy in-game that can be used to purchase cars if you don't have enou...

The best and worst games of the week - Xbox One is here!

Nov 23 // Wesley Ruscher
Need for Speed: Rivals (PS4 [reviewed], PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC)Developer: Ghost GamesPublisher: Electronic ArtsRelease: November 15, 2013 for PS4, November 19 for Xbox 360,  PS3 Even with the balance issues and design missteps, Need for Speed: Rivals is a blast. Literally. Plowing into cops to watch them explode off the side of the road as you zip by is never not fun. So is blasting them with EMP to watch them flip in the air. And through AllDrive's connectivity, I loved being able to race up alongside someone and mash L1 to instantly challenge them to a head-to-head showdown. Ramping jumps, drift contests, dodging speed traps -- it's all a blast. There's simply too much fun to be had here to get hung up on the gripes. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Need for Speed: Rivals review Crimson Dragon (Xbox One)Developer: Grounding, Inc. / Land Ho! Co. Ltd.Publisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $19.99 Crimson Dragon was a pleasant surprise. As a massive fan of the Panzer series, I was worried that this wouldn't quite honor it, but there's plenty here for gamers who have been longing for an entry since 2003's Orta. There are some mechanical problems, but any old-school rail shooter fan will be able to handle them. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Crimson Dragon review Dead Rising 3 (Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Capcom VancouverPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Although it sacrifices a tad of its loveable camp factor and neon style in favor of a few other advancements, the outcome is a much stronger, more involved Dead Rising game. For once, I actually felt overwhelmed in a zombie outbreak, which is a real example of how next-gen technology can be used to do more than simply "make things look better." Out of all the launch titles I've played on both new consoles, Dead Rising 3 is my personal favorite, bar none. Verdict: 9/10 Read the full Dead Rising 3 review LocoCycle (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Twisted Pixel GamesPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $19.99 LocoCycle tries a lot of new things thematically, while simultaneously paying homage to classic arcade racing shooters. It doesn't succeed in everything it sets out to do, but if you're looking for a decent arcade shooter to toy around with on your new Xbox One, LocoCycle is it. For everyone else, you'll have to wait until it hits the Xbox 360. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full LocoCycle review Legends of Aethereus (PC, Mac, Linux)Developer: Three GatesPublisher: Three GatesReleased: September 27, 2013MSRP: $29.99 Legends of Aethereus is flawed, but not to the point of being offensive or terrible. While the setting is interesting, the weak combat and poor level design make it hard to recommend. You can experience everything the game has to offer in a couple of hours, and for an RPG that's never a good thing. Verdict: 3/10 Read the full Legends of Aethereus review Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD TokyoPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 There was a moment where I was taking in the beautiful soundtrack, hovering over a tricky jump as cat Peach, and watching the glistening water below where the game really came together. It was then that I realized that Super Mario 3D World had achieved a level of platforming design that's close to perfection, and there was almost never a moment where I didn't have a smile on my face. This is the unequivocally the best Mario game since Galaxy 2, and it shows up anything the "New" series has ever done, and then some. Verdict: 10/10 Read the full Super Mario 3D World review Tearaway (Vita)Developer: Media Molecule Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Release Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $39.99 Everything just works so well in unison. The soundtrack is delightful and odd, at times reminiscent of Paprika’s parade fanfare with its lively horns. The world, put together in paper scraps, is unbelievable in its artistry and function. Tearaway’s paper water and ripples as you walk through it are more impressive than any realistic water graphics I’ve ever seen. The level of unique detail in the world is staggering. Every moment spent immersed in it is heartwarming. Fittingly, it feels positively handcrafted. Verdict: 10/10 Read the full Tearaway review Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One)Developer: Turn 10Publisher: MicrosoftRelease Date: November 22, 2013 ...At the end of the day, the racing is what matters. And with this game, the racing is fantastic, and Turn 10 is really onto something with this Drivatar stuff. It alone gives Forza Motorsport 5 something over every other racer out there, pushing the genre forward. They've remedied the racing genre's biggest problem: scripted AI cars. For this, Turn 10 deserves high praise.  Verdict: 9/10 Read the full Forza Motorsport 5 review AquaPazza: Aqua Plus Dream Match (PS3)Developer: ExamuPublisher: AtlusRelease Date: November 19, 2013MSRP: $29.99 I guess good things do come to those who wait. AquaPazza is a charming little fighter that should highly appeal to anime fans and the most hardcore of fighting denizens. Beautiful visuals, catchy music, and a fighting system that perfectly culminates everything Examu has done up to this point. It’s a strong technical fighter that exudes fun and gives me some old-school Waku Waku 7 vibes with its eclectic cast. Verdict: 8.5/10 Read the full AquaPazza: Aqua Plus Dream Match review Powerstar Golf (Xbox One)Developer: Zoë ModePublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $19.99 ...Powerstar Golf isn't particularly special, but it'll win over the hearts of golf fans for sure. If all you're looking to do is whack a ball down a course on a next-gen system with the occasional bit of positive reinforcement, Powerstar is your huckleberry. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full Powerstar Golf review Wii Fit U (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 5, GanbarionPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: November 1, 2013MSRP: Free for one month ($19.99 for full game with Fit Meter) ...Wii Fit U's mini-games are fun, but still suffer from being single-player/non-simultaneous multiplayer and there just isn't that much new stuff. If you're looking for something that will keep you motivated and get you moving, it could definitely work and the Fit Meter is an extra level of motivation, but if Wii Fit didn't do it before then I'm not sure it will work for you now. The good part is that the game is free until the end of the month so you can find out for yourself. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full Wii Fit U review Ryse: Son of Rome (Xbox One)Developer: CrytekPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 ...Ryse looks great and has a lot of great ideas, but it falls flat in nearly every respect in regards to its core story. If you're a hardcore action fan you may get some satisfaction on the highest difficulty setting, but even then I'd wait for an equally hardcore price drop. Verdict: 5/10 Read the full Ryse: Son of Rome review Super Motherload (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: XGen StudiosPublisher: XGen StudiosRelease Date: November 15, 2013 (PS4) / November 26 (PS3) / 2014 (PC)MSRP: $14.99 Super Motherload is simple enough so that anyone can pick it up and play, but complex enough for mining veterans to keep coming back to fully upgrade characters or even risk playing in hardcore mode. The sci-fi ’80s vibe is delightful and the perfect setting for this ridiculously addicting game. I find myself coming back to it at the end of every day, ready for a new adventure underground. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Super Motherload review Foul Play (PC [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: MediatonicPublisher: Devolver DigitalRelease Date: September 18, 2013MSRP: $14.99 Foul Play isn't necessarily a bad game, it just doesn't do anything to prove otherwise. It is a by-the-numbers game with a brilliant aesthetic, which in the end is just a by-the-numbers videogame. It's too long for its own good, which only highlights the mediocrity even more as the same enemy behaviors are encountered for hours. The lack of depth hurts Foul Play the most, and it's really a shame considering how brilliant the aesthetic is. I wanted to run around the stage, but playing the game made me exit stage left. Verdict: 5.5/10 Read the full Foul Play review Zoo Tycoon (Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Frontier DevelopmentsPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Zoo Tycoon has a distinct lack of depth, but if you're capable of sitting down with this simplistic simulator, you'll smile more times than you can count. The simulator fan in me was a bit disappointed by the ease of it all, but the child in me couldn't help but enjoy myself. Verdict: 7.5/10 Read the full Zoo Tycoon review Killer Instinct (Xbox One)Developer: Double Helix GamesPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease Date: November 22, 2013MSRP: Free ($4.99 per character, $20 Season Pass, $40 Ultra Edition) Killer Instinct may not be the new king of fighting games, and it feels a bit rushed in terms of content, but it is very solid and far exceeds my expectations for it. With a pricing scheme that doesn't feel exploitative and a balanced character roster, the well developed mechanics will keep you busy until the new content drops next year. It'll be interesting to see what the community at large thinks of it over time, but in my living room, it's a welcome addition to my fighting game roster. Verdict: 7.5/10 Read the full Killer Instinct review The Shivah - Kosher Edition [PC]Developer: Wadjet Eye GamesPublisher: Wadjet Eye GamesRelease Date: November 21, 2013MRSP: $4.99/£3.99  Whilst the graphics are up to the same standard of previous titles from Wadjet Eye, they're a big improvement over the 2006 edition. The Shivah will run in a low-res window, so it's not going to look great on a big monitor but will look just fine on a laptop. The new music score is low-key, melancholic, and fits the mood of the game and there's a nice treat post-credits where you can listen to some out-takes from the recording sessions. ...Despite its short length, The Shivah is worth playing for its story and to see how far adventure games have come in the last few years. Verdict: 7/10 Read the full The Shivah review Company of Heroes 2: Victory at Stalingrad (PC)Developer: Relic EntertainmentPublisher: SEGA EntertainmentRelease Date: November 12, 2013MSRP: $9.99 It will take you about three to six hours to play through all of the content once, and it will probably take you a few tries to complete some of the challenges. Each battle also has quite a bit of replay value -- you could easily add another 20 to 30 hours of life to Company of Heroes 2with this DLC. No matter how you slice it, that's worth the price tag. Verdict: 8/10 Read the full Company of Heroes 2: Victory at Stalingrad review
Reviews!!! photo
Review Round-up: Week ending 11/23
After last week's PlayStation 4 review domination, Microsoft finally got it's chance to strut its stuff with the Xbox One. Forza Motorsports 5, Dead Rising 3, Killer Instinct, Crimson Dragon, Ryse, and a handful of other excl...

Jimmy Fallon photo
Jimmy Fallon

Jimmy Fallon and Will Forte race on waves with Xbox One


Spoiler: Jimmy loses
Nov 21
// Darren Nakamura
Last week on Late Night we saw Jimmy Fallon and Ice-T kick some robots around with the PlayStation 4 for its launch. Naturally, the Xbox One couldn't go without being demonstrated for its launch week, so Blain Howard visited...

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