Forza Motorsport 5 – Final Review

Welcome to our final review of Forza Motorsport 5 by Turn 10 for the Xbox One.

I’m not going to go into too much detail on the gaming aspect of it, but more on how it performs as a driving or racing simulator. Can’t comment on the multiplayer as I haven’t raced anyone online with it yet. But I can comment on the AI, physics, force feedback, graphics, sounds, damage, etc. The stuff us hard core sim racers want to know about when it comes to racing on a console.

In the video above, I take the VW Scirroco for a test drive at Prague and I talk about the physics as well as force feedback and how it feels. After that I take my ZR-1 Corvette for a spin at a Silverstone VIP Rivals event that’s has an autocross course setup.

Physics / Driving – Right off the bat the first thing you feel is torque steer as you launch through the wheel. Then as the car shifts, you can feel it pull (more torque steer). It’s a very cool effect and let’s you know that this tire model and force feedback are the real deal.

Driving at Prague, you can feel the car hop over the curbs, the cobble stones, rumple strips, and watching that video, the cars “bumpin and banging”.

Next up, I take my ZR1 Corvette to the autocross course. I really like how you can steer the car with the throttle. The new tire model paired up with the force feedback coming from the Thrustmaster TX One racing wheel is spot on. I can really feel the edge of traction as the rear end breaks loose.

The new Forza Motorsport 5 tire model, in my opinion is the best I’ve felt on a console. Big leap from Forza 4 where at about 180 degrees, where the tires would start to lose grip, the FFB would drop off like a rock. Not the case with FM5. Make sure you warm your tires up before pushing it too hard.

I have to admit, before the patch on December 18th and when we did our first look, I was struggling to get a feel for the edge of traction especially in a rear wheel drive car. Now I feel like I’m truly driving a car and am very impressed with what they’ve done.

Now, that doesn’t go for every car and one of the things I think they miss the mark a bit, is the braking. Feels like the cars brake too well. But, I’ve never driven any of these cars at speed, so I don’t know for sure. Just basing this on hardcore PC sims and how they react under braking.

Not every car is equal in that category and I feel that the F1 car is off in regards to grip and braking.. But I’ve never driven one except in a sim, so what do I know…

Force Feedback – As mentioned above, before the patch, I was really struggling to control some of the rear wheel drive cars as you can see from our first look and this video of me driving a Ferrari F12berlinetta at Le Mans.

Most of it due to a lack of feel around center. Since the patch that came out on December 18th, it’s MUCH better ! To the point that I consider this the best feeling force feedback on the console to date. Also to the point that I think it’s better than say the latest offering from Sim Bin on the PC.

Graphics – Graphically, Forza 5 is the best on the console. Hard to compare to anything else right now since it’s the only next gen racer (Xbox One & PS4) available. But, they have set the benchmark for sure. They tout 60 frames per second and I don’t doubt that at all as I have yet to see a frame rate hiccup.

The lighting effects are really cool. A lot of times in sim racers the sun or bloom effect is overdone. I don’t feel that way in FM5. Just wish that they had a time of day change at some of the tracks so the sun isn’t in the same exact spot every time.

An area I don’t like about the graphics, and I’m not sure where else to mention this is the field of view (FOV) in the cockpit. I hate it ! It sits you too far back and too low so that you are looking right into a steering wheel. Forza 4 at least had the tweak where you could tell it to run multiple displays and adjust the FOV to your liking. Best way to run now is from the hood and that takes away from the simulation aspect in my opinion.

Sounds – The Forza franchise has always been known to have very realistic sound effects and that’s the case this time around. Almost too real when you run in the cockpit. It muffles the sound like you have the windows up. That’s the way the car is running in the game. But.. At a track, they make you roll your windows down.

Matter of fact, I found this rule at a track day site.

Front Windows Open While On Track.

In the event you have an accident and the safety crew is dispatched, it is very difficult to retrieve a driver from a car with the windows rolled up. Keep the front windows rolled down while on track.  In the event of inclimate weather (rain), we may allow windows up (track specific).  This will be determined at the mandatory drivers meeting before each track day. 

That being said, I consider Forza more of a “Track day” then actually racing and having the windows open makes a lot more sense to me. So does unleashing those awesome sounds. Only way to do so is from the hood view.

Cars – Plenty to choose from. I honestly don’t need 1000+ cars and have half of them be duplicates or not fun to drive. My favorite makes are represented and all cars can be modified.

Tracks – Supposedly they are laser scanned and I wonder if that’s across the board, or a select few. Either way, the track list is shorter than previous Forza titles and a lot smaller than what Gran Turismo 6 offers. I would have liked to have seen Nordshliefe as well as a some others that have been in previous titles. Maybe it’s due to the limited development time of this next gen title and hopefully they will offer some free DLC tracks in the future. But we’re talking about Microsoft here..

Damage – Great as usual! Pretty much sets the benchmark in the sim racing industry, console or PC. You can damage pretty much every part of the car to the point of killing it. I have had to restart my fair share of races due to being broken down on the side of the road.

AI – As you may have watched in that first race of mine, they pitch me sideways into turn one. I’ve actually seen a lot worse early on in my FM5 career. It has seemed that as my Drivatar sync percentage goes up, the racing has got a little better. I do have to say that compared to say Gran Turismo where the AI seem like drones, these computer components are much more exciting to race against. They have definitely taken me out of a few races, but it makes for a much more exciting grind.

Fun factor / long term play-ability – With the rivals mode and ability to race online (yet to try multi-player), FM5 offers a lot of long term play-ability. It keeps drawing me back, especially in rivals mode.

Revs Scale – Hard for me to not give this a 9. May not have said that at launch, but based on the fact that I want to keep coming back for more. More tracks are definitely needed and almost pushed my score to an 8. But,  I really like Forza Motorsport 5. Thats as a driving simulator. As a racing simulator it leaves a lot to be desired.

Racing or driving simulator – This is definitely more of a driving simulator than a racing sim. There’s no yellow flags, pit stops or anything that equates to a real race except the start and finish of a race and the others cars on the track. It does make for a great track day or driving simulator though. If you were looking to simulate your favorite real world racing event, you’re not going to do it here. That being said, why bother having race cars ? I guess you can test drive them, rivals mode them or run some races that consist of 3 laps.

I would like to see Forza offer more options to make it a racing simulator. Day to night transitions, weather effects, pit stops, caution flags, etc. They have a great base to work with, now they need add some real racing to it.

That’ll wrap things up and our coverage of Forza Motorsport 5. I’m sure I’ll keep playing and would love to do some multiplayer racing with you guys out there. Matter of fact, if I can find a good league to run with, or a quality group of drivers, I’ll cover the race and post it on You Tube. Add me as a friend, hit me up if you have a league, but I want to do some racing with this. My Live account name is DarinSRT.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this review of Forza Motorsport 5.