Forza Motorsport 6


The Forza Motorsport series has had its fair share of ups and downs. The original was a revolutionary racing sim that raised the bar in many ways. It pioneered decal creation in racers and delivered a massive car selection that wasn’t quite on par with Gran Turismo in terms of quantity, but offered up a higher-quality racing experience. AI racers were more aggressive and a drivatar system enabled the game to learn how you raced and basically auto-race for you to aid in completing the campaign. It also featured the best-looking graphics for a racing sim at that time and made people salivate at the possibilities of the franchise on the 360.


The Xbox 360 saw the series reach new heights with Forza 2 refining what worked with the first, while 3 brought in a slew of new cars and a simplified menu system while also enabling a user-created auction house for content, and 4 brought with it a car exploration mode that remains impressive to this day. The mode has since become a bit of an afterthought on the Xbox One, but it was revolutionary then while Horizon changed things up and opened up the world on both the Xbox 360 and took the normally rigid series and made it more fun-focused with a festival vibe.

Forza 5 brought the series to the current generation with jaw-dropping graphics and a change in the game’s overall makeup. Microtransactions were made more prominent and the online auction house was replaced with a livery-picking system. It still worked reasonably well at giving you some designs to choose from, but definitely reduced your overall options for car designs. Free-to-play game elements like daily login bonuses and microtransaction prompts also crept in and made it feel like a bit of a money grab – which is never good for any game, let alone a $60 release with a slew of DLC.


Forza 6 is a lot more generous when it comes to handing out cars than 5 was, and the game as a whole feels like a make-good effort for that game’s shortcomings. Before Horizon, the Forza games allowed you to earn a new vehicle with each level gained in XP. This was done away with in 5, which was a fairly big annoyance. Now, wheel spins are back from the Horizon games, but they’re now basically on a bingo card and wherever it stops, that’s what you get. Goodies range from cars to tons of credits – I lucked early on getting a car for my first level up, and one million credits for my second one.

Of course, having a garage full of available cars and not having a fun racing game to drive them in wouldn’t serve much of a purpose. Luckily, even with issues, the Forza series can always be counted on for its on-track prowess. The drivatar rivals from Forza 5 are back and race a bit more like people would than before. Drivers will occasionally spin out, hit walls, or even slam into tire walls. For the first time I can recall, hitting a tire wall doesn’t stop you dead in your tracks. In one of the game’s more realistic touches, the tires just explode and leave a plume of smoke in the air.


It’s such a small thing, but it shows that great care was taken to bring you into the game. Speaking of which, Forza 6’s biggest upgrade to the core game lies in its weather system. A variety of rain and puddle effects are now included, and it’s one of the better weather systems in a racing game ever. I say “better” because while it does top DriveClub’s rain, it doesn’t top what Project Gotham Racing 4 did on the 360. With that, you could have rain, snow, and set the intensity for each track – plus change the time of day alongside it. In Forza 6, you can do night courses and day courses, but can’t just do a time of day for every track – it’s an odd issue, but not a huge deal.

Racing through the puddles feels more realistic than it did in either of those games. They vary in depth, and just like in real life, going through a shallow puddle makes it a bit harder to steer while a deeper one almost stops the tires that it comes in contact with. In the game, it feels almost like a pothole, but less severe. The vibration functionality adds a lot to the experience too, with the end resulting being a weather system that helps the game greatly, even if the weather effects are a bit more limited than other games.


Forza 6’s main campaign is a bit more lively than the last few entries. Ever since Forza 3, they’ve felt like endless series of races and menus. Now, you’ve still got some menus, but there is a greater sense of structure and progression with the “stories of motorsport” setup giving you the ability to try out just about every major kind of car in the game. Single events allow you to do things like race in Formula-style cars, and you’ll even be able to take cars out on the legendary Daytona track throughout the campaign.

Visually, Forza 6 fixes up 5’s rough edges. Cars lack the jagged look they sometimes had then, but retain the stunning paintjobs with even more details visible. Jagged areas are still a problem with custom paintjobs though. If they’re not done properly, you’ll see jagged designs that stick out badly. Some pre-made designs to avoid this that would still give cars some personality would have been nice even if the included fan-crafted picks were meant to do that same thing. Forza 6’s rain buildup on the tracks is impressive, as is the sheeting of the water on the windshield. It’s a shame that thunder and lightning aren’t included, because those would add a lot to the atmosphere of the game as well.


As expected, AutoVista mode brings out the beauty in the cars as you explore each part of them. The revamped voice work isn’t quite as good as it was with the Top Gear crew, but does explain things nicely and in an almost relaxed tone. Music is strictly a menu-based affair and like Forza 5, strikes a balance between relaxing and epic to soothe you or amp you up depending on if you’re exploring the car or preparing for a race. The sound effect work brings you into the game with subtle effects for car on car action that rubs paint off, while collisions sound as violent as they should – especially when walls are involved.

Forza Motorsport 6 rights a lot of Forza 5’s wrongs. The emphasis is placed back on the track where it should be and the more obtrusive elements of the menus have been done away with. The racing action is a bit more intense than usual, but the user-friendly approach keeps things very accessible. The all-new weather effects add a lot, but can definitely be refined and improved upon. Still, there’s a solid base here, and hopefully the next mainline entry in the series perfects things a bit further than this one does. If you’ve fallen out of love with Forza due to 5, give the sixth entry a shot.




Reviewed By: Jeremy Peeples
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Rating: 96%

This review is based on a digital copy of Forza Motorsport 6 for the Xbox One provided by Microsoft Studios.

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