Dec 30

Review: Forza Motorsports 5

We love racing simulators and in fact Infinite Garage was largely born because of Forza Motorsports. So in a way we owe a lot to the series. One winter night a few years ago myself, Reno, and some of the other IG contributors were all sitting in a Forza Motorsports 3 lobby talking about reviewing cars. Well a few conversations and a big what the heck later IG was born. We’ve come a long way since then. However we still play the Forza Motorsports series regularly. When the newest installment Forza Motorsports 5 came out I just had to give it a shot.

sam posey rear
Chances are if you have any interest in the Forza series you have already read about Forza 5, but most of the reviews out there are from a gamer’s perspective. I’m not a gamer. I’m a car guy who likes racing simulators so I think I may have a different take.

She’s got the look
The first thing you notice right away is how pretty the game is. It is seriously good looking, from the cars, the lighting, the menus, and especially the tracks. In fact I think the tracks are the real stars of the show here. Every detail is finely recreated and the tracks themselves are laser scanned for superb accuracy. However, what does it for me is the ambiance. The crowd noises, the flags flying, the trees, and the sounds of the cars going through a tunnel, or down the main straight. Little nuances that just make the game. Watch out for the wacky inflatable flailing arm flailing tube men. Those things always crack me up.

The Driving
The game drives as good as it looks. The physics are superb and after a little adjustment to the controller settings and of course turning off all the assists the cars come alive. The new feedback triggers on the controller really help round out the feel of the game. It is very easy to find the braking threshold with the rumble triggers.

More importantly the cars feel right. A Corvette feels like a Corvette, and a big AMG Mercedes feels like an AMG Mercedes. Cars like the Subaru BRZ have great balance and make for a very fun drive while the big Hemi Cuda rumbles around the track with all the grace and poise you’d expect from a car with an elephant under the hood. Did I mention the shaker hood actually shakes? Very cool.
Burnouts are fun with the C63 AMG Black. I had read other reviews that the tire smoke effects were down from previous games. I can only imagine those limp wristed reviews were driving Honda Civics or maybe a Toyota product. The big AMG has no problem lighting them up.
Mercedes burn out
Content is king and sometimes lacking.
You’ve heard it from others and I’ll say it too. Content is slim. With just 200 cars and about a dozen tracks you’ll be longing for more. The Forza series always needed more tracks and now to have less is a shame. However it is not a game breaker and this being the first on the next generation console I am sure this wrong will be righted when we see Forza Motorsports 6 in two years. T10 and Microsoft took a pretty good smashing from fans and the press for their blatant pay to play tactics and lack of content. I have no doubt “pay to play” is here to stay but I’m also sure more content on disc will be in the future too.

While I’m talking about pay to play gaming, meaning they want you to pay real money for in game things, and use downloadable content as a way to milk the customer for more money. It is not nearly as in your face as some have tried to make it out to be. Yes there are suggestions at the begging to buy “tokens” and yes you are often given choices that involve dlc you may not own, but it’s not “in your face.” I think this was largely an exaggeration by media types trying to drum up hits to their site and internet complainers who just like to complain. Again nothing here is a game breaker.
Painting and Community
I put painting and the community together because they have always gone hand in hand. Sadly the community aspect has been gutted to some extent. I don’t know if it will come back in this iteration of the game or ever, but clearly T10 has left it out for now. That is pretty sad because sharing cars, tunes, and paint was always a great between friends. Let’s hope this makes a comeback.

The paint booth is awesome. Much improved over the past games. With new textures such as carbon fiber, matte, and satin paints, as well as new layers, more layers, and the awesome graphics amazing race replicas or fantasy liveries can be recreated easily. Once your custom logo catalog grows it gets to be a pain to find what you want, but that’s always been the case. Other then that, no complaints in the paint department, it’s fantastic.
sam posey

The hills are alive
Sound is stunning. The Hemi Cuda sounds like a Hemi cuda. T10 absolutely nailed the sound in FM5. From track ambiance to exhaust noise crank up the surround sound and enjoy.

All in all Forza Motorsports 5 is a big upgrade in every department but the number of cars and tracks. If you can look past that, and you should the game is an absolute home run. Single player is thin but fun. The drivatar really ads to the racing excitement, but where Forza has always shined was getting together with friends and running your own race series. That still is where it’s at in Forza.

The good
amazing visuals
stunning sound
your creativity is your only stumbling block when it comes to car design

The bad
The menu system is terrible
it could use double the tracks
career mode is short

The conclusion
Go get it! See you on the track.

If you are interested in friendly, fun, no assist racing for all skill levels check out Exodus Racing. Sign up and introduce yourself.