E3 2013: Forza Motorsport 5 Hands-On Preview – Shiny Fast Cars
Written Thursday, June 13, 2013 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Forza Motorsport 5's cars are shiny. They're the shiniest shiny cars we've ever seen anywhere virtually or in reality. Look too hard at their shiny paintwork, and chances are you could go blind, but then being an Xbox One launch title, incredible 1080p visuals are pretty much par for the course. Still, there's no understating just how good Forza 5 looks. It is after all the first thing that hits you when you pick up the controller.
The next thing that hits you is the Xbox One controller itself. It's lighter, more comfortable and pulling the triggers provides some neat feedback in Forza 5. Accelerating, you get to feel the varying surfaces of the track, while braking conveys the bite of the brake shoe against the brake discs. It sounds like small potatoes, but it does add something to the sense of immersion. And there are plenty of bumpy surfaces to speed over in our hands-on demo.
Racing on the exotic streets of Prague in a bright red Pagani Huayra, Forza 5 handles like pretty much every Forza game before it, striking a good balance between accessibility and simulation. It all moves along at a good lick too, thanks to it all running at a smooth 60 frames per second, making each curve and turn feel responsive and immediate. Racing purists will no doubt appreciate what it feels like to drive in Forza 5, although we can't comment on the rival AI.
Why? Because there aren't any rivals in our demo, which is a race against the clock through nigh-on photorealistic scenery. However, Turn 10 is promising the next step in AI behaviour that replicates the tendencies of human racers with the game's horribly named 'Driveatar' technology that utilises “the power of the cloud.” What does it do then? In a nutshell it creates a network of opponents that are constantly learning apparently, presenting new challenges and rivalries.
There's obviously still multiplayer over Xbox Live if you want a proper battle against real people, with dedicated servers and a 'Smart Match' matchmaking system that finds suitable opponents of a similar skill level to race against. There are a crapload of cars to choose from too, with this first demo alone including the McLaren P1, Ferrari F12 Berlinetta and more. The game will also tie-in with upcoming F1 movie Rush, adding 70s cars from the sport as well as new open-wheel Indy Cars. There's plenty of car porn then.
You'll be able to customise all of those cars as usual too, with paint schemes and decals that can all be chucked onto that ever-reliable cloud. Each ride is also made up of tangible, detailed materials, from the tiny rubbery bits to the big metal bits, making for the most realistic car modelling we've ever seen in any racing game. There's that shiny car stuff again... Have we mentioned how shiny the cars are? They're really, really shiny.
They become slightly less shiny as you progress, with every fleck of dirt, every bump and scrape fully modelled, while particularly nasty prangs will put an end to your race completely. You can still rewind the action as much as you like at the touch of a button should you screw up, although it feels a lot like cheating. At least in Codemasters' racing titles the power to rewind is limited, making its use a little more strategic and less of a crutch. But then it's a Forza staple now, so whatever.
What else is there then? Well, Autovista has been beefed up and renamed 'Forzavista', while the Top Gear content now takes advantage of the entire team of presenters, if you care about such things. Being able to take on the Stig on the Top Gear Test Track is in there too, which will surely be a treat for Top Gear fans the world over. If you couldn't give a flying one about Top Gear, you can still enjoy putting in a Power Lap on the track regardless.
Forza Motorsport 5 is more than just shiny cars then, with weighty, satisfying handling and neat feedback from the new Xbox One controller that stops short of being a distraction, enhancing the driving experience rather than detracting from it. We're not entirely sure it's the leap over previous Forza games that we're hoping for in terms of what it offers, yet there's something about Forza Motorsport 5 that feels inherently cutting edge and exciting.
A retina-scorching treat for the eyes, from its laser-scanned real-world tracks (Prague really does look amazing) to those oh-so beautiful cars, Forza Motorsport 5 is the best next-gen racing game we've played at E3 so far, and we've played more than one. It also has really shiny cars. We did mention those, didn't we?
Forza Motorsport 5 is set to launch with the Xbox One in November 2013.