Forza Motorsport 2023 – Review

For the last 5 years Turn 10 Studios have been developing the new Forza Motorsport, and I have a feeling that they should’ve taken another 5.

Upgrade System

When you complete a mandatory, non-skippable tutorial, guided by an assistant system that might test your patience, you’ll enter the Forza World.  Of course, the introduction course can be useful to newcomers if you’re one, so I can’t say that this is a big minus, although it could be shortened. If you make it past the first part of the game.

It’s time to take the car to the track . At first I was amazed by the XP system that seemed fair and engaging. Any overtake you make, any drift, clean sector is rewarded with XP, but that’s it.

And then we come to the problem, you need a ridiculous amount of XP to unlock all mods on the car, which also includes tyres. imagine playing a game for 2 hours just to unlock tyres. 

After playing the game for 3 or more hours, I realised that I would need to grind each individual car every single time. The game seems perfect if you always want to drive the same car all the time, but I will assume that you really don’t want to do so.

But to be fair, there are a lot of options that add value to the game and should be considered as an engaging model that was poorly executed.

AI Disaster

The game is split between online and offline mode like most of the sim titles.

Let’s begin with the offline mode, sharing the track with these AI racers is no walk in the park. Of course, these AIs aren’t just mindless, moving obstacles on the track, like the ones we’ve seen in games like Gran Turismo. And kudos to the game for mixing things up.

But, that’s where the good part ends. When you attempt to race side by side, whether you’re behind or leading the pack, things get messy, and fast. The AI doesn’t just race; they barge, push, and shove, with seemingly no regard for clean driving.

If you’re not the one getting pushed around, you’ll witness these programmed drivers aggressively nudging each other, resulting in what can only be described as chaos.

Now, don’t get me wrong; a bit of aggression on the track can be entertaining. 

But, AI consistently maintains this aggressive driving style, creating an annoying gap in skill and racing etiquette that is hard to ignore, no matter the series, no matter the car.

And as the field stretches out, these AI-induced incidents become less frequent but never entirely disappear. The whole vibe feels off, AI is overly aggressive, unpredictable, making the gaming experience less about skill and more about surviving the AI’s erratic behaviour on the track. Whether you’re a rookie or experienced player, the AI’s driving style remains a glaring challenge, turning each race into an unpredictable, often frustrating experience.

Driving Experience - Handling and Driving Mechanics

Cars, for the most part, handle as you’d expect them to. Power, acceleration, and overall handling reflect the unique layouts of individual cars. A front-engine, rear-wheel-drive car behaves as such, and the same goes for mid-engine vehicles and front-wheel drives. Punch the throttle mid-corner, and you’ll feel the understeer.

However, there’s a bit I can’t quite wrap my head around. Cars in this game can be extraordinarily drifty. 

There’s this ‘Need for Speed Shift’ vibe, where the cars feel somewhat floaty and overly responsive to inputs, yet it still feels distinctly like Forza. This leads me to believe the handling model lacks finesse.

Modern cars, and racing cars, in particular, seem constantly on edge in the game, even when they should feel stable, even with stock tires and suspension. I won’t say the driving experience is terrible — it’s not. But when compared to its rival, Forza falls short on some of the finer, clinical details in its driving mechanics, resulting in handling that often feels exaggerated and unrealistic.

Weather Interaction and Handling

There’s another aspect that seems excessive without adding value, which is how the game’s weather system interacts with cars handling. It’s mediocre, at best. 

I’ve yet to encounter a situation where I needed to pit for wet tires due to a loss of grip in challenging weather conditions.

It turns out, all you need to do is adjust your approach slightly: ease up on the brakes, modulate the throttle with care, and you won’t find yourself losing time against AI opponents, even those equipped with wet tires. 

The driving experience is not significantly impacted by the weather in-game, giving it the appearance of being an left out rather than an essential, well-polished game feature.

Force Feedback and Settings

When it comes to utilising the wheel for Forza, the experience is solid, mostly. For my gameplay, I mostly relied on the Fanatec GT DD Pro, links in description. This game creates a feeling of constant force, and that’s not exactly what I was looking for.

I tried to figure out the best settings and the best I got so far is this, you can also find the settings in the link below. 

But it’s not just bad, it’s different, you can notice that cars with stock suspensions feel somewhat floaty through the wheel, while those equipped with race suspensions offer a more tactile, agile feedback. The detailing through the wheel is precise and direct, with the game’s curbs feeling incredibly close to real track-day experiences. Forza’s force feedback shines, especially when it comes to understanding tire slip angles. It offers an intuitive feel of what the tires are doing at any given moment, making activities like drifting feel natural and accessible, not vastly different from other sims.

The default settings can feel odd. While Forza provides a detailed wheel experience, it requires some tweaking and attention to the settings, and there are certainly areas where the feedback mechanism could use some refinement and user-friendly adjustments, and we’ll hopefully see that in the future updates. 

Graphics Quality & Visuals

When it comes to graphics, Forza presents a picture that’s hard to ignore. The graphics feel aged and inconsistent, offering a visual experience that oscillates wildly from stunning to disappointing within moments. While my critiques are primarily based on the PC version, the Xbox edition doesn’t seem to offer significant improvements in this department.

There are instances where the lighting effects and sceneries are breathtaking, even surpassing its counterpart, Gran Turismo. Yet, moments later, the visuals degrade into a contrast-heavy, cluttered mess.

The car models also leave much to be desired. The interiors of the cars lack finesse, with jagged lines and unconvincing materials that contribute to a game that feels visually dated, even when newer models are in play. The reflections, paint quality, and lighting effects are from two generations ago. For a title that demands top dollar, these shortcomings in visual quality are hard to justify.

Track models don’t fare much better. Despite claims of laser-scanned precision, the tracks not only feel outdated but also inaccurate. These inaccuracies persist across various titles, leading to a gaming experience that feels predictably uniform, regardless of the title you’re transitioning from or to.

Conclusion

In essence, Forza’s newest edition seems to struggle with delivering a consistent, top-tier visual and gaming experience expected of AAA titles. With its unpredictable performance, missing content, and dated graphics, the game needs significant improvements to truly shine and justify its price tag. However, while the current state is disappointing, there’s always room for improvement in subsequent updates or editions.

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