One of the highlights of Microsoft's Xbox One launch later this month is no doubt Forza Motorsport 5. A series that has only gotten better with age since its inception on the original Xbox, Forza Motorsport slowly turned into the go-to racing simulator for many players, even standing toe-to-toe with the mighty Gran Turismo franchise.
With Forza Motorsport 5, the series went through several upgrades that heightened the general racing experience. Instead of a typical rock soundtrack, you're now racing to a number of symphonic melodies that turn a racing event into an epic drive for a first-place victory. Obviously, the upgraded visuals make a difference as well, thanks to photo-realistic cars that capture being behind the wheel of a luxury car. This may be the closest you get to driving a Lamborghini.
Perhaps where Forza Motorsport 5 has changed the most, though, is its feel. With Forza Motorsport 3 and 4, Turn 10 Studios tweaked the game controls so they're more realistic than other racing games, while at the same time offering a little something to everyone. Forza 5 will keep up this status quo, thanks to a control scheme that rewards those who master the racing options available to them.
The first thing you'll notice is your car's overall performance. Turn 10 tweaked each vehicle to come across like the real thing. The team even managed to bring on the Top Gear team from the popular British racing show for good measure to make sure the authenticity was spot-on – and it shows. The sleeker cars feel like dreamy racing machines, but that doesn't mean you should go crazy on the drifts. You'll have to handle your car like a pro if you want to get through each lap looking like a winner.
That's not all. Forza Motorsport 5 also has a dynamic damage engine that can actually effect how your vehicle handles throughout each lap. For instance, if you take a few too many dings crashing into walls or opposing players, not only will your car lose some of its precious polish, but it'll perform below standards under the hood. Knock your left side out of alignment and you can actually feel your vehicle struggle between turns, thanks to the optimization that went into the Xbox One controller.
Using haptics to balance the vehicle controls, you can feel pressurized force on your car going into turns or slow drifts, or even managing any damage you maintained throughout a race. You'll also feel the slight vibration coming from the engine, same as you would sitting in the actual seat. Turn 10 calls it a "three-dimensional interaction.”
When you're not racing, you have a number of management options available to make each car better. You can check out a variety of parts on your vehicle simply by looking closer at them, and get an idea of what you can tweak –or replace – in order to improve overall. This includes even the smaller things, like suspension, that can make all the difference between a first and second place victory. Car nuts will no doubt dig deep into this feature of the game, and only come up for air with the post-race stat screen.
Your reputation in Forza Motorsport 5 will be just as important as your garage, so it helps to have your Drivatar customized to perfection. This A.I. driver will represent you not only when you're going hands-on with a race, but also when you're offline, as your ghost competitions and programmed challenges will keep other players busy. Then, when you hop back online, you can get right back into the action. Of course, if you prefer direct challenges against players, you're always able to hop into online events via Xbox Live.
Last but certainly not least, you'll have a diverse selection of cars to choose from. If the Lamborghini isn't your thing, there's always the Mazda RX-7 or the McLaren F1. This is just scratching the surface of available vehicles, with 200 available in the game and over 10 a week being added via downloadable content. First day game buyers will also benefit from a supply of bonus vehicles.
The more cars the better, because you'll have a number of tracks to challenge your best racing skills worldwide. Forza Motorsport 5 provides such legendary raceways as Mount Panorama Bathurst Circuit, Spa-Francochamps and the Swiss Alps, among others. DLC could add even more circuits down the road (mind the pun), so keep an eye open for new terrain to cover.
Forza Motorsport 5 will easily define how next generation racing games should perform when it arrives for Xbox One on November 22nd. We'll be back with a full car guide, along with tips on how to master the best tracks. Buckle up, this is gonna be a ride to remember.