all forza motorsport games ranked
Image Source: Xbox Games Studio

All Forza Motorsport Games Ranked From Worst to Best

How much higher can the bar get?

Since Forza stepped on the racing simulation scene in 2005, it’s been able to set itself apart from the rest of the genre with the accuracy of the mechanics and the quality of the graphics — for their respective times. As it goes, for a franchise with eight entries there’s got to be some that are better than others, so here’s our ranking of the Forza Motorsport games from worst to best.

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One thing to keep in mind is that these games have come out over many years and multiple generations of consoles. It would be unfair to look at them from the lens of the modern day, so they’ll be ranked according to what they brought to the table at the time of their release. This is definitely a ranking where the gap between first and last is incredibly small.

8. Forza Motorsport 5 (2013)

forza motorsport 5 box art
Image Source: Microsoft Studios

After its previous installment having been a favorite of mine, Forza Motorsport 5 kept the calming voices behind Top Gear, but unfortunately hadn’t kept my attention. While it was still an excellent racing simulator, it didn’t have the variety that had been established in the prior game. One of the main benefits came from the fact that it was the first Forza game on the new Xbox One generation of consoles, and it certainly took advantage of those graphical jumps.

Forza Motorsport 5 delivered on the graphical promise set forth by the stunning visuals of the fourth game, but with more sharpness, higher resolution and more accurate tracks. As Clarkson put it, “This is a shrine to power, to speed, to metal made beautiful.” The Forza stamp is as clear as day, but the decrease in content from its predecessor puts it lower on the ranking.

7. Forza Motorsport 7 (2017)

forza motorsport 7 box art
Image Source: Microsoft Studios

Coming in hot just before the Motorsport series took a hiatus, Forza Motorsport 7 once again brought high-quality racing to the next level with lighting, textures and physics. Being stuffed with over 700 cars and a microtransaction system on par for its time, the game had its fans among the community, while meeting some resistance from some who felt it was a bit too bloated.

Continued refinements are always integral in a game that’s got the weight of being the seventh in a franchise. However, it does get difficult to find new features and systems to set something apart compared to generations of being the best in the business at racing simulation. Being the last installment for six years certainly gave Forza Motorsport 7 the air it needed to breathe.

6. Forza Motorsport (2005)

forza motorsport 1 box art
Image Source: Microsoft Game Studios

The one that started it all. Forza Motorsport entered a market of racing games that weren’t necessarily focused on the accuracy of the driving experience, outside of Gran Turismo 4 which was setting the bar in regards to racing simulation. Forza managed to succeed by doing the same things that it still holds to its core today, bringing together responsive, impactful gameplay and high-quality graphics to immerse players in the race.

Looking back, the experience is very similar to the current one, with adjustable camera angles, timed laps, driving assists and unforgiving physics. The main differences are in the sense that it’s simply dated from being a few generations old, yet for how well it still conveys the racing simulation, that’s a testament in itself.

5. Forza Motorsport 2 (2007)

forza motorsport 2 box art
Image Source: Microsoft Game Studios

Serving as the first sequel of many, Forza Motorsport 2 was an incremental upgrade to the first game, but with slightly clearer graphical quality and a more refined physics system. The franchise already had its foot in the door with the first game having been successful and gaining attention, so this game had to shoulder some heavy expectations and it delivered on them very well.

This second installment of the franchise brought in a more customizable form of damage, allowing players to choose between Cosmetic, Limited and Simulation damage for the first time in the series. This further solidified Forza’s name as an accurate and enjoyable racing simulator that was pushing the boundary of what the available technology could do at the time.

4. Forza Motorsport 6 (2015)

forza motorsport 6 box art
Image Source: Microsoft Studios

The sixth entry in the Motorsport franchise managed to continue the general upwards trend of the games, further improving the graphics and frame rate, while continuing to also push the boundaries of its console generation. Doubling the amount of cars from Forza Motorsport 5, 6 answered many of the concerns of critics while still holding true to what the series has always been.

Not only did Forza Motorsport 6 bring a career mode with plenty of content to dive into, it also became the first Forza game that was brought to PC. A year after its initial release, Forza Motorsport 6 Apex was released for free on Windows 10, allowing those with a system strong enough to run it to enjoy the simulation for themselves — just likely with a steering wheel or controller hooked up.

3. Forza Motorsport 4 (2011)

forza motorsport 4 box art
Image Source: Microsoft Studios

A personal favorite of mine from having been my introduction into the franchise, Forza Motorsport 4 did a stunning job of capturing cars from all the right angles on a console that was halfway out the door. The new Autovista feature instilled a love of cars into me thanks to Jeremy Clarkson and his explanation of Ford v Ferrari. Getting to have such a hands-on interaction with the cars that you can then drive a simulation of felt unreal at the time.

The sound design of the game was breathtaking, especially as having been my real introduction to racing games. While I wasn’t the biggest user of the Kinect features, it’s always nice to see games trying new things and once again being at the forefront of their class. Now I’m starting to sound like Clarkson.

2. Forza Motorsport 3 (2009)

forza motorsport 3 box art
Image Source: Microsoft Game Studios

The third Forza Motorsport brought with it not only the same bump in graphical quality from the first to the second games, but it also added a bunch of the features that players recognize as being indicative of the franchise. These features not only stood out from the previous games in the series, but they stood out from the other racing games that were being released that same year.

Among these features included things like a cockpit view of the car, drifting, vehicle rollovers with detailed undercarriages and larger cars like SUVs and crossovers. The third game also added the customizable multiplayer modes that have become so popular in the modern games, so Forza Motorsport 3 made a lot of leaps for the genre while still remaining strong at its core.

1. Forza Motorsport (2023)

forza motorsport 8 lighting render
Image Source: Xbox Game Studios

Cars are more than simply machines that we use to get from point A to point B, and 2023’s Forza Motorsport reminded the community of just what they can do. The racing is more gripping than I had remembered it being, with the visuals and sound making me feel like I was going to crash in real life if I made a mistake. The experience felt more refined than it ever had before.

On top of further improving the graphics, they made the online multiplayer mode feel more like proper racing events than sitting around in a lobby and waiting for a countdown. Turn 10 made the racing experience feel more natural than I feel it had ever been prior, while also making it more addicting than I was anticipating. As time goes on and technology continues to improve, it’ll only be a matter of time until they surprise the community again.


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Author
Nick Rivera
Nick Rivera graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2021 studying Digital Media and started as a Freelance Writer with Twinfinite in early 2023. Nick plays anything from Halo to Stardew Valley to Peggle, but is a sucker for a magnetic story.