Forza Motorsport 5
Fans of the Forza series know that they’re in good hands with the developers at Turn 10. It’s a team that’s made up of car fanatics, which is something that creative director Dan Greenawalt embraces. “We make car porn,” Greenawalt said before I took to Forza Motorsport 5’s sport compact series. Their love shows in the obsessive attention to detail that’s on display the moment you jump into this Xbox One launch title.
I had a chance to race several courses in this series, which took me to Florida’s Sebring International Raceway, Australia’s Mount Panorama, Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit, the cobblestone streets of Prague, and the Top Gear test track in England. During each race, I was amazed at how realistic each of the cars were. Reflections bounce off their windows, dirt subtly accumulates after venturing off course, and windows crack on impact. None of these features are particularly new to racing games, but I’ve never seen cars look this gorgeous in a game before. The cars are clearly the stars of the show here, as the crowds and a few backdrops don’t exactly scream “next-gen.”
Turn 10 has frequently touted its new Drivatar system in Forza 5, which uploads details about your driving style to the cloud after each race. This system is intended to allow for more complex AI behavior in single-player races, and I did see a little of that in action during my laps. Rather than adhering to standard, conservative driving styles, I saw several cars act in a more unpredictable fashion. On more than one occasion, an especially aggressive opponent would veer out of the line of cars for an aggressive takeover attempt, sometimes slamming into me in the process. It’s hard to tell whether this is thanks to the Drivatar system or simply a more aggressive AI code for that vehicle, but Turn 10 claims that Drivatar will substantially change single-player races for the better.
Even as someone who hasn’t done a deep dive on a racing sim since Gran Turismo 3, I found myself impressed by what I played in Forza Motorsport 5. Its stunning vehicle visuals and intriguing Drivatar system have me curious to try the racer out when it releases later this month.