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Forza Motorsport Review (Xbox Series X|S & PC)

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Well, you asked for it, and Turn 10 Studios was there to process the request accordingly. In a bid to breathe new life into the racing simulation saga, the devs have essentially dropped the numerical formula, and rebooted Forza Motorsport from scratch—a move that has single-handedly made an otherwise phenomenal series into a whole other ball game for next-gen hardware. And honestly, what better way to see out our time in The Crew Motorfest’s Hawaiian love letter than to reunite with the asphalt in Turn 10’s beloved poster franchise? It’s fair to say that, as far as new releases go, this is the one we’ve been waiting for — and it overjoys us to know that Game Pass extended its hand to welcome aboard the latest chapter earlier this week, too. Cheers, Xbox.

So, having spent a number of hours coursing around the asphalt and sand in Forza Motorsport, I can just about chalk up a few conclusive words on the project. To get there, however, we’ll first have to take a few lunges back, to the preliminary phases of that first all-important qualifying circuit. Care to ride shotgun with us on this one? Here’s how that high-octane blitz went, and how that checkered flag fell into my hands after dozens of hours of stomping on the metal.

Motorsport Is Back

Forza Motorsport marks the return of a classic series that predates the beloved Xbox 360 era—a time that once hosted extraordinary mechanical triumphs and spectacular first-class racing scenarios. Granted, the series itself has come a long way since 2005, and to say Xbox Game Studios’ rather capable hands have lost their magical touch would not only be a lie, but a stain on their image. Sure enough, I couldn’t dare to bring myself to do that, as I have yet to find an entry in the Forza IP that hasn’t knocked me for six or left me with some form of post-victory lap depression.

Rolling up to the latest track in 2023’s Forza Motorsport after a relatively long hiatus felt like coming home after six long and grueling years. And while the likes of Forza Horizon did keep me on my toes for the duration of the mainline series’ garden leave, at no point did the festival-centric spin-off ever feel as authentic as the original. And that, to me, is why Forza Motorsport arrived at the perfect time.

So what is it, exactly? Or a better question would be, what does Forza Motorsport have that Forza Motorsport 7 doesn’t? Well, for starters, there’s the improved mechanics—a reworked series of functions that not only promote better handling, but more authenticity in the driving simulation experience itself. And boy, what a facelift that turned out to be.

Tuned Up

To put it out there — Forza Motorsport isn’t just your bog-standard wishy-washy racing game. Case in point, it employs features that you wouldn’t often find in a franchise like The Crew or Need for Speed, such as fuel maintenance, custom tyre compounds, or other in-depth elements, to boot. To this end, Forza Motorsport is far more authentic, and not to mention thrice as ambitious as the common racing saga. And it works, too — even by today’s standards.

Driving intricacies aside, Forza Motorsport lays the groundwork for yet another stellar simulation experience, and one that features all the same high-class visuals and core game modes as its predecessors. There’s the standard Career—a series in which players are invited to trial various classes of vehicle and essentially build the Holy Grail of circuit cruisers; Free Play—a mode that lets you experiment with different courses, settings, and mods; and the signature online multiplayer mode, which basically speaks for itself.

The objective of Forza Motorsport is simple: work through each of the seasons laid out in the Career mode, and build a car that can secure you a frequent podium finish. To reach the summit, you need to boost your Car Level, which can only be done by getting behind the wheel and putting in the manual hours over an extended period of time. Nothing particularly new there, but it’s definitely a step in a different direction as far as progression goes, anyway.

Picture Perfect

I won’t beat around the bush here. Visually, Forza Motorsport is absolutely stunning, and not to mention swarming with glossy embellishments and locales that are anything but mundane or slapstick. True to their word, Turn 10 Studios took full advantage of its next-gen engine and churned out something that was evidently flawless — and we’re all for it. Even on an Xbox Series S—a model that often struggles to tap into 1440p—the world looks incredible, and more importantly, it breathes like any good racing game should.

Forza Motorsport boasts twenty tracks in total, which, in all fairness, is 10 less than Forza Motorsport 7’s — but, you know, whatever. It isn’t all that much of an issue, though, as each track grants you the power to alter certain aspects, including the time of day, weather, and even the textures. What’s more, with Turn 10 Studios announcing its plans to bring even more tracks to the base game over a series of free updates, it’s hard to complain, really.

In addition to the twenty core tracks, there are also a total of 500 vehicles to collect, again, coming in at just below the benchmark of 700 set out by Forza Motorsport 7. Again, hardly much of an issue, as the 500 vehicles in question all vary in make and model, and don’t, for example, duplicate certain features vis a vis Forza Horizon. However, there is something that the latest mainline entry introduces, and that’s an RPG-like progression system, which we’ll touch base on in a moment.

Only Nineteen Miles to Go

Let’s get down to the intricacies, or better yet, the fine-tuning segments and the customizable features that the latest entry in the Forza Motorsport series adopts. To put it out there, it is a bit grind-heavy, and as such, an uphill struggle for those who, like me, entered the battle with the hopes of earning the best for last…first. But alas, this isn’t the case in Forza Motorsport. Instead, you’re asked to earn an in-game currency called Car Points, with which you can use to purchase various parts and upgrades away from the circuit. As for how much you can spend on any particular vehicle, unfortunately, revolves around the star rating of the car in question. Simply put, the higher the level, the more you can earn to beef up your ride.

To make it clear, at no point during your career in Forza Motorsport will you unlock a pristine motor that’s already laced with all the bells and whistles. No, to get that, you’ll first need to pour dozens of hours into sitting behind the wheel of each vehicle, and earning a set amount of Car Points until you’ve maxed out and have nothing left to work towards. After that, it’s merely the case of equipping parts and finding the sweet spot to suit your chosen play style. It’s getting to that point, however, that’s the challenge.

There is a plus side to all this, and that is, the wheels continue to turn regardless of the outcome or activity. Fact is, you could be romping through the Career mode, or thrashing it out online; you’ll receive levels and points in any case. For that, you’re never led to believe that all your hard work is for nought. Can’t complain all that much there, to be fair.

Worth the Drag

Fortunately, it doesn’t matter all that much if you can’t unlock all the tools of the trade right off the bat, because honestly, the gameplay is so darn digestible, that it’s easy to get caught up in at all, anyway. And as for those “dozens” of hours I quoted earlier, well, let’s just say that, behind the wheel of the right car, at no point did it ever feel that long. On the contrary, I was more than happy to pour heart and soul into building the right super car from the rusty axis up, and at no point did it ever phase me to know that I had a long ways to go before being able to reap the benefits from my actions and gradual ascension to the pinnacle of the podium.


Forza Motorsport 2023: Everything We Know

Forza Motorsport isn’t just your run-of-the-mill rehash of the seventh mainline entry, so kudos to Turn 10 Studios for that. No, evidently the team went above and beyond to overhaul the design and mechanics for the latest iteration, and thus chose not to emulate what was already in place several years prior to its inception. Mechanically, the latest installment is on point, and quite frankly, a testament to what makes Xbox Game Studios’ racing anthology the bastion of success that it was, and more or less is.

Given the fact that there’s so much more left to remove from the locker, it’s easy to see why fans of the series are flocking to the likes of Game Pass to get their fill. And honestly, I can’t blame them, as Forza Motorsport is, in its current state at least, an absolute delight to play and experience — even from a lonesome perspective. As for its multiplayer counterpart, well, that’s another story altogether, and one that serves as a credit to not only Turn 10 Studios’ talented developers, but the Xbox brand, in general.

To answer the question, is Forza Motorsport worth picking up? Yes, yes it is — and it’s definitely worth ditching Forza Motorsport 7 over, too, what with Turn 10 Studios working to rustle up new content for the next several weeks, months, and perhaps even years to come. Truth is, if this is what the future of authentic driving simulation looks like, then allow us to settle in for the long journey ahead. Hats off to you, Turn 10.

Forza Motorsport Review (Xbox Series X|S & PC)

A Triumphant Return

Forza Motorsport marks the new beginning of a fantastic racing simulation franchise for modern consoles and die-hard Xbox fanatics alike. Its RPG progression system is a little meh, sure — but visually, mechanically, and aurally, you’ll struggle to find something as authentic as Turn 10 Studios’ latest installment.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.