I’ve played a hell of a lot of Forza Motorsport 5, Forza Horizon 2 and Project CARS when they released and can’t count how many days of my life I’ve invested in racing around a digital track. It’s a passion of mine and one I can’t shake even though I often feel like I’ve “been there and done that” before in all my years of enjoying racing games. Forza Motorsport 5 is rather special to me as it was the first game I played on Xbox One when it released. With its 1080p 60 frames per second visuals I was more than impressed with the visual upgrade compared to its predecessor on Xbox 360 despite a lesser number of vehicles to race in. Turn 10 did good although was anything less expected from a first party studio?
Slightly Mad Studios Project CARS came as a breath of fresh air in the sim racing genre (considering there are so few games) and I loved its level of options despite some dodgy control issues (which I mastered eventually) and again, a lack of vehicles. The dynamic day/night and customizable weather was excellent and the sheer number of opponents available really gave me the power to make my own race weekend rules. Although the framerate wasn’t as good as Forza 5 it was still a great sim racer which I still play a bit to this day. It’s obvious its budget was far less than Turn 10’s offering and the lack of exclusivity to any particular console meant some middle ground had to be met. Despite this there’s a charm about the game which is unmatched and when I eventually played the PC version I was blown away.
I played the original Driveclub on the PS4 when it released and to this day I believe the visuals are second to none when it comes to racing in the rain (see comparison video). The gameplay wasn’t so thrilling for me though with its arcade approach, tough as nails opponents and tracks based on Evolution Studios own vision rather than real world circuits. It’s a very competent game but not something I would class as a sim racer in my book and one that has taken a back seat if I’m being brutally honest especially after the honeymoon wowing of the visuals wore off.
Now that Forza Motorsport 6 has arrived and I’m bowled over again by what Turn 10 are offering even if that makes me sound like a Forza fanboy, although if I am to be critical it does feel like an expansion of ideas born from the previous game. The new tracks are awesome – especially Rio – and the vehicle count increase is fantastic. I have to commend them for the new night racing and wet weather although I was extremely disappointed to discover when I first booted up the game that you can’t manually choose to have these extras across all circuits like you can in Project CARS. Once I had gotten over the similarities with Forza Motorsport 5 and lack of overall options compared to Project CARS the level of polish in this game is phenomenal and really does put the others to shame when you consider its slick presentation in the menus, top quality audio, customization options, special effects when racing and often dodgy but realistic Drivatar AI. I’m impressed and can see this game lasting me a long time even if the feeling of repetition fails to escape me (as usual). Simply put, I think Forza Motorsport 6 is the best racing game this generation. A title Turn 10 rightfully deserves considering the 10 years and six games they have nurtured since the original Xbox console in 2005. The only question I have to ask myself is what direction does Forza Motorsport 7 take and can the upcoming Project CARS 2 put up some healthy competition.