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Forza 6 photo
Forza 6

Forza 6 reps American muscle for Xbox One


Leak details confirmed
Jun 15
// Steven Hansen
Microsoft Euro-trashed the pop fun of Forza Horizon with a somber, American muscle-y showing of Forza 6 at its press conference, confirming all the details that leaked last week: "over 450 cars, 1080p60 visuals, 3D puddle effects, night racing, 26 'world-famous' locales, 2-player split screen, 24-player races, and the return of the Drivatar AI system." It releases September 15.
Quarter mile at a time photo
Quarter mile at a time

Forza Horizon 2 gets free, standalone Fast & Furious expansion


Free for the first two weeks
Feb 25
// Steven Hansen
Get ready to live your life a quarter mile at a time. An Xbox and Universal partnership has borne Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, a standalone expansion.  Not only do you not need to own the base game to pl...
Forza Motorsport 6 photo
Forza Motorsport 6

Microsoft announces Forza 6...with a nice, stationary model of a Ford GT


Forza Motorsport 6
Jan 12
// Steven Hansen
Forget the Euro-dynamism and great soundtrack of Forza Horizon. Microsoft and Turn 10 have announced Forza Motorsport 6, baby!  Look at that well-modeled Ford GT, Forza 6's "cover car." Look at it. Look at it again. Exc...
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.
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...

Review: Forza Motorsport 5

Nov 20 // Dale North
Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One)Developer: Turn 10Publisher: MicrosoftRelease Date: November 22, 2013 Forza Motorsport 5 is the biggest and best series game yet, packed with loads of new features and new eye-busting visuals, but it sticks to its guns on a few key features. First, it's still all about the thrill of driving in the greatest cars to ever hit the road, with Turn 10's superb physics and car modeling. Cars still take damage on tracks, though this time around the damage looks more real than ever. And the oops-I-took-that-corner-too-fast rewind feature also returns. All the things you'd expect from a Forza game are here.  As for the new stuff, the biggest change to the Forza formula is the Drivatar AI system, which learns the driving habits of all players, and then turns profiles created from this data into computer opponents. This means that, even when real players aren't there, it feels like you're playing against real people. No longer are your opponents shiny boxes moving along scripted paths. Your data is also being pulled after each race to build a Drivatar of your own, and it will be sent to the cloud so that your friends can race against it in their own games. When you're not playing, your Drivatar is out competing in (and hopefully winning!) races for you. Logging back in, you'll collect your Drivatar's win earnings. So it's definitely worth working toward a good Drivatar. Every car has a Drivatar name assigned to it, which gives you a chance to watch it and learn its personality. After a few races you begin to see who has racing chops and who doesn't. You'll begin to watch the particularly good ones closely so that you might have a strategy for when you are running neck and neck alongside them, just as you might with a real person. You'll grin as you speed past the incompetent ones, knowing that you'll never see their name anywhere near yours on the leaderboards. With Drivitar, it really is like always having a room full of people to race against.  It's kind of comforting to see that your AI opponents aren't computer perfect. An AI-controlled driver might slide out and hit the dirt in that one sharp turn in Laguna Seca, for example, as that's what its real-life counterpart might have done there. And when you're being beaten, where previous series games might have had you cursing the game AI in general, Forza 5 will have you cursing a specific Drivatar's name. This all completely changes how the game feels as a single-player experience, making it the most engaging racer campaign I've ever played. This happens because the Drivatar system learns each driver's tendencies, and then places them into your CPU opponents. So, if you're up against my Drivatar, expect corner cutting and lots of rubbing. What's interesting is that adding friends that are great Forza 5 can increase the level of challenge. For example, I had several other games writers in my friends list, but none of them were particularly great at racing games (sorry, friends), so I breezed past their Drivatars. But, days later, after adding Turn 10's Community Manager, Brian Eckberg, I found that I wasn't taking the gold in all of the races. Even now I'm often taking second place in races. I wonder if I can delete him as a friend (sorry, Brian). Forza 5's driving feels better than ever. While Turn 10's unending work toward driving realism is to be credited, a nod also has to go to the Xbox One controller. The new trigger buttons are game changers with their smooth throw and dampened end strike. Their movement is so nice that it's really easy to feel completely tuned into the game's acceleration and braking. The haptic feedback motors inside these triggers let you feel when your tires or slipping, or when you're overdoing it on the gas pedal. I've never felt more connected to the virtual road. After taking your first car for a spin a few times, you'll be let loose to tackle Forza 5's league offerings, free to jump into any event you'd like. There's no progression to follow this time around, so you're free to hop around and play what interests you. Well, mostly free. You'll have to work your way up to some races, depending on the amount of credits you've earned. Don't expect to be able to jump from D-class competitions to a league where exotic cars are used. You won't have nearly enough credit for any of the recommended cars, like the Aston Martin One-77 (which costs 2,051,300 credits).  The freedom is nice, but with no set career structure, some that enjoyed the preformed path of previous series games' career modes may feel a bit lost. If it wasn't for the narrated league openings, the single-player experience would feel kind of empty. But I enjoyed the freedom. I explored sports cars for a bit, then jumped into a league of hot hatchbacks. For each league entry, I dipped into my earnings to buy one of the 200 or so cars that Forza 5 offers, buying to meet league qualifications. Of course, cars can be upgraded and customized freely. A quick upgrade feature can make easy work of taking your favorite car up a class as it figures out the required parts for you. After doing as much damage as I could in a replica of my own car, a Mazdaspeed 3, I tried rally racers, compacts, and historical cars. I'm saving up for the exotics. I want that One-77.  These leagues take you to racetracks all over the world, from the Bernese Alps to Abu Dhabi. The track number has been cut nearly in half from Forza 4, down to 14 tracks, which has you revisiting them often if you spend any decent amount of time with the game. Depending on how you jump around, you may be looking at a lot of the same scenery for awhile. At least it's beautiful scenery. Different event types keep things lively, though. The passing game (Track Days) returns in Forza 5. In this, you work to overtake as many cars as possible in a number of laps. I also enjoyed racing The Stig clone (there's even a story to explain his cloning) in head-to-head matches, and the silly obstacle course race at the Top Gear track was good fun. But, again, with 14 tracks, things start to look the same after awhile, and you start to miss some of the old standbys. New tracks, like Spa Francorchamps and the hilly Bathurst are wonderful additions. But where's Suzuka and Tsukuba? And Maple Valley would be so pretty on the Xbox One. Sadly, I fear that these will come as DLC later. It's understandable that a lot of work goes into taking these tracks up to 1080p, but it feels like too few tracks went into the game.  I'm perfectly fine with the car count, though. There are more than 200 insanely beautiful cars to race in Forza 5. While that's a fair bit less than its predecessor, these 200 or so cars look unbelievable, and it would take a player ages to acquire them all. That's enough game for me. While I understand that some series fans may feel like the car count is low (Forza 4 had over 500 cars), they have to remember that so much more went into each of Forza 5's cars. It's quality over quantity. If you need more cars, there's certain to be plenty of DLC to buy. A $50 season pass will be offered as well, letting you pay once to have new cars delivered with every update. I'm guessing that some series fans will see the lowered car and track count and point to the $50 season pass as milking. The car models in Forza 5 are so detailed that looking over them gives you a real showroom floor browsing feeling. Both the Forza and Gran Turismo franchises have histories of bringing high quality car models to their games, but nothing we've seen before even comes close to what Forza 5 brings. The drool-worthy models in this game look like they're really made of metal, and painted with fine finishes. They reflect light in such a realistic way that the league opening segments look like luxury car commercials. Interiors, exteriors, trim -- everything down to the lug nuts looks perfect. And when you bang your cars up on the track, even the damage looks real. Forza 5 has so much visual detail that some may never see all of it. But it's not just the cars that look fantastic. Every stage is photorealistic, with details so fine that you'll never catch them all unless you're watching someone else race. The level of detail is scary sometimes, as seen in my favorite course -- Prague.  Every building has a facade so detailed that they almost look like photographs at points. I love coming through the track's white archways and around a corner to have the sunlight hitting my eyes, flooding the cobblestone streets with their afternoon light. All of this is happening at 1080p, running at 60 frames per second.  Forget racers. This is one of the best looking videogames I've ever laid eyes on. Forza 5 also sounds nice with its classy string-based musical score, though I liked the menu selections more than the race music. The race music is fast-paced and sufficiently full of energy, but it's lacking in low frequency content, which has it getting lost in the mix. The fast string work over busy percussion might sound fine on its own, but up against the noise of cars, it's a sonic mess, and is sometimes hard on the ears.  If you're like me, and getting all the good cars is your end goal, you'll be at it awhile as a lot of the top cars are really expensive. But you can build up your earnings in a few ways. For example, affinity bonuses have manufacturers paying bigger payouts the more you use their cars. You'll earn experience and credits in multiplayer, so that's another way to rake in earnings. A "Rivals" mode also lets you take on friends' rankings on the leaderboards at your leisure to earn credits and experience. Forza 5 lets you accelerate your experience level with tokens. To try it out, I bought a 30-minute experience accelerator for 75 credits (the game gives you 100 credits automatically; 100 tokens costs $0.99 in Xbox Store). With the clock ticking, I participated in as many races as I could, doing my best to place highest so that I'd get the most out of my time as I was earning twice what I would have without the accelerator. I suppose this option is nice if you didn't have time to work your way up the ranks, but I'd rather take my time and enjoy the experience.  Taking a spin in Forza 5's online multiplayer prior to launch didn't give us much of a chance to experience its match-making technologies. A Smart Match feature has the game's dedicated servers pitting you against other gamers that play the way you play, so a straight-laced player would not go up against a cheater. If it works as intended, cheaters would be placed in matches with other cheaters. Let's hope Smart Match Works! I tried jumping into a few of the multiplayer hoppers, all of which went off without a hitch in matches up against a dozen or so other players (up to 16 supported), looking as good and playing just as well as single-player does. Categories for hoppers included monthly sets, league sets, class races, and specialty (drifting and others) races. If you have a qualifying car in your garage, join in. If not, you can rent a car to play, but you won't earn experience. Beyond all of the fancy AI tech, physics calculations, or high quality visuals, what I really love about Forza Motorsport 5 is that it's packed full with automotive adoration. For me, the walkarounds of a collection of cars narrated by Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson are just as enjoyable as any race. Being able to pore over every detail of every car I've ever dreamed of owning in Forza 5's virtual showroom, ForzaVista, is fantastic. It's a car lovers happy place on a disc. This all helps make up for what feels like a thinner game than its predecessor. Even with all of its visual wow and cloud features, Forza 5 feels like there should have been more to it. In some ways it feels like an incremental content update with brand new visuals. Maybe more tracks would have helped. Or maybe some kind of underlying progression in the career mode would have made a difference. But, 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. 
Forza 5 review photo
Next-gen racing
We've had plenty of racing games come out at console launches, but we've never had a Forza Motorsport game. Don't get me wrong -- I love powersliding around silly tracks while rocking out to Japanese techno anthems. It's just...

Forza 5 trailer photo
Forza 5 trailer

Forza 5 launch trailer does a lot of impressive car stuff


Catchy racing phrase
Nov 11
// Brett Makedonski
In the weeks leading up to the release of new consoles, we're being bombarded by a series of trailers for each and every game that's set to launch alongside its respective hardware. This isn't a surprising practice; it's all...
Forza Motorsport 5 photo
Forza Motorsport 5

The Forza Motorsport 5 Car Pass is kind of gross


'Forza Motorsport and add-on content have become virtually synonymous'
Oct 29
// Brett Makedonski
It's usually not particularly surprising when a major release announces that it's sashaying to market with a season pass in tow. I mean, we live in a time where the game you bought isn't the game you get, as former EA CEO Joh...
Forza photo
Forza

Forza 5 limited edition and day-one editions detailed


Buy the game at launch for three more cars at no extra cost
Aug 15
// Jordan Devore
Are you still into buying special editions? I really, truly was, for a while there. Haven't bought one in years -- and it feels great! With Forza Motorsport 5, there are two options: a limited edition ($79.99), and a day-one ...
Forza photo
Forza

Forza Motorsport 5 has an answer for griefing


I still can't believe 'Drivatar' is a word
Jul 26
// Jordan Devore
Through its Drivatar tech, Forza Motorsport 5 will create an AI version of you that learns more about your playstyle and driving techniques as you continue to play the game. Other players can compete against this approximatio...

Forza Motorsport 5 is set to lead the next-gen pack

Jun 17 // Dale North
Other cars were available for the one test course Turn 10 had set up, including a Ferrari F12berlinetta, but seeing as how Microsoft sprung for having one of two existing McLaren P1 cars in their E3 booth this year, I felt I had to at least give that one a virtual test run. While the in-game model couldn't hold a candle to the real thing that sat some 15 feet away from where I played, we still have to give it to Turn 10 for reaching a new level of photorealism in racing games. The pre-race car porn shots had the P1 shimmering in the sunlight. Detailed close-up shots of lights, wheels, and trim had me shaking my head in disbelief. Forza 5 was easily one of the best examples of Xbox One graphical muscle flexing at E3 this year. The photorealism carries over to the courses. It was hard to keep my eyes on the road with all of the eye-catching background elements found in the sun-drenched Prague course. Insanely detailed roads, sidelines, buildings, sky, and other props looked a world away from the previous Forza title. The jump in quality is crazy -- it's something you'll have to see for yourself to understand. Mind you, this is all running at 60 frames per second at 1080p.  I asked for some kind of measure of how much more is going on in the background over Forza Motorsport 4. Turn 10 executive producer Trevor Laupmanis told us that capture work for the course took a year, 2 billion scanned points, and terrabytes of captured data. How's that for detail? He told us that there is so much visual data for this stage that they can zoom in on any little point and have a high level of detail.  It's not all looks, of course. Being a series fan, I found that I was able to get comfortable very quickly in my test run. Even with as fast as the P1 was, I settled into a groove in no time, which told me that Forza 5 is similar to its predecessor under the hood. But there was something I couldn't put my finger on that felt different. Better, perhaps. When I asked about what I might be feeling, Laupmanis acknowledged that there's definitely something else going on in the drive engine, but said that they weren't ready to talk details yet. He did hint that the Xbox One was able to pump much more data through at once, and this somehow relates to the difference I felt.  Now, one change I could put my finger on (literally) was the haptic feedback felt in the Xbox One controller's triggers. It may not sound like much that the very tips of of the triggers vibrate separately from the controller's standard vibration, but I think this could be a potential game changer. Feeling how sudden braking or acceleration sort of came through the controller was surprising at first, but I found that I had quickly dialed into the feeling, and came to rely on it in turns. Having the brakes shake under your finger just as they would under your foot in a real car is something so useful that I now can't imagine playing a racer without that feature.  I asked Laupmanis about it and he told me that the feature is a really recent addition to the game, from about two weeks before. That is quite impressive for how realistic it felt! He explained that they're still tuning it, and that they're exploring more options for feedback.  During this limited hands-on we weren't able to explore the features of the dorkily named Driveatar AI system in the E3 demo. We'll look forward to seeing more of this later this year. Beyond this, over previous games, all we know so far is that Forza 5 is going to have impossibly realistic visuals, impressive haptic feedback, and even better than before handling. Really, the driving alone was good enough to have me revved up for the next Forza game. The rest is gravy, and I'm sure much more gravy is in the works.
Forza 5 hands-on photo
Orange car alert!
We'll start by saying that what we were able to see of Forza Motorsport 5 was not nearly enough. Though Turn 10's next game is slated to be a launch title for the Xbox One this fall, they were only offering a sneak peek at E3 2013. Still, what we saw was enough to know that we're in for something bigger and better with Forza 5. 


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