I’ve never been a huge fan of serious racing sims like Forza or the Gran Turismo series. In fact, last year’s Forza Horizon was the first realistic racer that I actually enjoyed playing and got good at. Forza 5 seems to be the best of both worlds – the accessibility of Forza Horizon with the depth and seriousness of Forza 4. Playing the demo was the first time I got to try out the Xbox One controller and you can tell that Forza 5 was designed to fully take advantage of the new console and controller features.
You get a better understanding of why racing games as a genre have become a staple of console launch titles. The game looks gorgeous by any standard, with an almost picture-like quality to the visuals. The amount of detail that the devs put into each car is on the verge of being overwhelming; I had to switch from a cockpit view to an external view within the first few seconds of the race. One of the new features of the Xbox One is the trigger response that you get via a slight rumble when you switch gears or hit the brakes. This will be invaluable when it comes to racing games since it gives you a more tactile awareness of the car, allowing you to handle courses like you would in real life instead of trying to fly into a 90 degree turn at 100+ mph.
An interesting aspect of the demo was the frequent and sometimes lengthy load times. You would think that with 4 cars to choose from and only one track – on a next-gen console! – there would be minimal to no load screens. Other than this little irritation though I enjoyed my time with the game and even willing to start thinking about getting an Xbox One, if only for Forza 5 (something I never would have even dreaming of saying before today).
Forza 5 will release for Xbox One on launch day, whenever that is…