AS apologies go, Forza 6 wheels out a pretty special one. A decade after the series made its debut as Microsoft’s riposte to Sony’s authentic racing sim Gran Turismo, Forza 6 resumes the revolution that took a nosedive with Forza 5.
The previous instalment impugned Forza’s impeccable credentials with a paucity of courses and cars, not to mention an intrusive microtransaction model. But developer Turn 10 appears to have learned from the backlash and Forza 6 delivers the goods in spades.
Raw numbers don’t make a game but with 450 machines and 26 tracks, Forza 6 doubles the content and restores the franchise to the lofty heights of Forza 4. But the new game goes considerably further, polishing up the visuals to a dazzling sheen, intensifying the handling and introducing a stunning wet-weather system.
Not every one of the 26 tracks had been modelled in the wet but on those that have, the racing changes out of all recognition when the rain comes down. Puddles gather at corners and rivers cross the straights. Just as on a real road, the cars aquaplane and skid dramatically when you hit the water.
Somewhat disappointingly, however, the effect of rain isn’t dynamically modelled. The pools of water always form in the same places and in the same shapes, which detracts from the pleasure of repeated exposure to the elements.
Elsewhere, though, Forza’s thrilling racing stretches across several disciplines – except rally, sadly. New “perk” cards – such as extra grip or more power – modify the challenge from race to race, according to taste. These cards – called “Mods” – require in-game currency earned from skilled racing.
Thankfully, Turn 10 has resisted the temptation for now to sully the perks with microtransactions – but hasn’t ruled out reintroducing some form of grubby money interactions in a future update. Alas, the curse of launch-day DLC does besmirch Forza’s reputation, with no fewer than three packs available already, each with their own exclusive cars.
Nonetheless, what’s on the disc offers a wealth of content and will keep you racing for yonks. An expansive single-player mode includes Stories of Motorsport, which straddles street racing to open-wheelers. Interspersed at regular intervals are Showcase events, which drop you into a random supercar or event that gives you a taste of the high end of motoring.
Best of all in career mode, there’s no more unskippable voiceover from Jeremy Clarkson, though James May and Richard Hammond put in appearances. But you can’t have everything.
Forza 6 isn’t perfect – we’re still waiting for fully dynamic weather, for instance – but with its gorgeous car porn and challenging opponents, it takes console racing to a new level.