- The latest iteration in the Forza Motorsport series has quickly turned my excitement into disappointment with its leveling system and several aspects that could have easily been improved.
- While it improves upon some of the recent titles, it fails to meet the expectations; the claim that every car will be remodeled seems like a bunch of hogwash when no cars have been laser scanned.
- One thing that was heavily pushed in marketing was its graphical capabilities, which, after playing the game for over a week, appears to be misleading from what was initially shown in the gameplay reveal.
Forza Motorsport was released not even two weeks ago, and it has become extremely easy to point out the things you may not enjoy about the game. It is surprising because just before release, the game had immense potential and was, at multiple points, considered to be the next benchmark for racing games. Unfortunately, it seems like Turn 10 Studios did not deliver it the way we expected.
Speaking of expectations, the fans had every right to expect so much from the game as it marketed many things, one of the best being its graphical capabilities, which were supposed to set a new high for such video games. Being the thirteenth iteration in the Forza series and the eighth in the Forza Motorsport, one would expect it to do many things right by learning from its predecessors.
Although it managed to outclass the previous titles on the Motorsport side, it seems as though some features and lack of much-needed quality changes have made it not enjoyable at all, at least from the perspective of a casual gamer. And speaking as someone who wants to try many different things in-game without spending countless hours leveling each car, Forza Motorsport made me go back to Forza Motorsport 4.
The New Levelling System Sucks The Joy Out Of The Game
Seeing how the leveling system has become the most controversial feature in-game, I believe it would be better to get this out immediately as it is the worst part. Coming into this game as someone who has stuck to this franchise since the day I started gaming, it surprises me how fast the game became one of the least enjoyable titles in the Forza series.
Forza games, or any racing game in that aspect, are so enjoyable because you hop into any car, customize and tune it the way you want, and you would have the freedom to explore as much as you want with nothing holding you back. But if you introduce a leveling system into that, there’s a sense of grind, and you must spend preposterous amounts of time leveling up one car.
Aside from the adventure genre, I’d say that racing games are the best place to have that sense of tranquillity. You don’t need to grind excessively to get better, but you still need to work hard to get different cars, win races and achieve that moment of accomplishment. Not to mention, the leveling system is even worse for tuning enthusiasts such as myself.
Another thing worth mentioning is that it becomes nearly impossible for an average gamer to experience every car in the title at its best. If a game has hundreds of different cars, and you can only level one at a time, how can you expect them to achieve perfectionism? It would require players to spend more time grinding in a title like Forza Motorsport than in most RPGs.
As can be seen from the above Reddit post, many players are frustrated with this feature and can even see themselves dropping the title if the feature persists, which it most likely will. After playing many RPG games and getting that same grind feeling in Forza Motorsport, I immediately had to switch to Forza Motorsport 4, as it is perhaps the best title in the Forza Motorsport series and one of the best overall.
Who Thought RPG Elements Would Go Well In A Racing Game?
It is always great to take that leap of faith or be the one to take risks to succeed. However, it should be done with some logic or factors, at the very least. Racing games differ greatly from your average role-playing titles, and merging elements can undoubtedly create an interesting game. But if you are seriously going to do that, maybe do it all the way.
Even in RPG games, there is almost always a back door if you change your mind. I am talking about the basic principle of respeccing, which you can find in many titles, like Elden Ring, Diablo 4, Lords of the Fallen, The Witcher 3, etc. So, even if you mess up and feel like you have wasted your resources in leveling up something you didn’t want, you can eventually redirect those levels elsewhere with little to no drawbacks.
However, if you were to level up a car in Forza Motorsport, spending many hours to reach that max mark, only to realize that there’s a different car you like more, and maybe that’s the one you will stick with. In that case, you can’t transfer those levels. Instead, you have to redo the grind until you eventually find another car you like, which will be very common in a game with 500 vehicles, and do it all over.
The game may have been better if there was a way to transfer that progress into another car. It wouldn’t waste the grind, and you will be more open to trying various things, but that’s not the case here. Even for people who love RPGs and would be interested to see some of these elements in a game like Forza Motorsport, I am pretty sure they would look elsewhere after understanding this feature.
Clear-Cut Case Of Misleading Marketing
It has become a widely known fact that Forza Motorsport is not like how we saw it in the 2022 gameplay reveal trailer. Surprisingly, it is not just ray-tracing, one of the most significant selling points during marketing. These changes range from lighting, car damage, density and vegetation rendering, reflections, the environment, and much more.
It appears to be a clear-cut case of misleading marketing, enraging many fans who were looking forward to the entry. Without these changes, the game doesn’t come close to being the next-level racing game that it was supposed to be. And even though Turn 10 Studios claims to be listening to player feedback, I am pretty sure it would take a long time before the game reaches the same level it was showcased at.
On the other hand, there have been several cases of Microsoft allegedly deleting reviews for Forza Motorsport to make it appear less awful. Even if that is the case, the rating still appears to be low, showing what other fans like myself think about the game. It has created further distrust between the Forza community and Microsoft, the former believing this could spell the end for one of their most beloved franchises.
Turn 10 Studios Peaked At Forza Motorsport 4
The quality of video games, especially with Forza Motorsport’s recent iterations, has been a downgrade ever since Forza Motorsport 4. The Xbox 360 era was so good because of it, and it had done everything perfectly, making it even more enjoyable than the most recent entry, at least for me. Sure, the graphics may not be as good as the most recent iteration, but it deserves that leeway, especially since it is over a decade-old title.
Forza Motorsport 4 had a great car variety, from regular common models to supercars you may not have even known existed. In that massive catalog, the best thing was the addition of regular cars because you could make it feel more like a driving simulator game rather than racing. Not to mention, seeing your family’s in-real-life car in your favorite game was its own experience.
It has excellent tracks, Positano, Fujimi Kaido, Tsukuba and much more. And speaking of tracks, the soundtrack makes the game feel so much better. Granted, they weren’t my go-to tracks to listen to when in a race, but outside of that, the menu soundtrack was exceptional. Listening to Lance Hayes’ soundtrack was one of the best parts of this game.
Another thing that I did not appreciate as much as I do now is Top Gear in Forza Motorsport 4.
If you didn’t know, content from the show has been provided to the franchise since Forza Motorsport 3 after a long-term deal was signed in collaboration. Hearing Jeremy Clarkson in the game’s intro and Autovista makes it feel better despite it not affecting the gameplay in any way.
The ability to sell cars quickly without dealing with the auction house or throwing them away was also excellent. Although nostalgia also plays a factor, I believe many Forza Motorsport fans would agree that the series peaked at the fourth iteration, and no game has outclassed the title since then. It had a mix of many small and big features that made the game feel so good.
Downturn In Quality In Recent Titles
Since Forza Motorsport 4, the games have declined in quality. The fifth entry did well but not as well as the earlier iteration, and it seems like the trend has continued with the most recent game. I remember when I hopped into Forza Motorsport and attempted my first race; the moment I went into the first corner, the AI started doing demolition derby, which reminded me of Forza Motorsport 7.
The AI hasn’t improved that much in all these years, and the overall upgrades are barely noticeable if you have played earlier games a lot. Another thing worth pointing out is the game’s performance on Xbox Series S. Although it doesn’t look that bad, it somehow looks a bit worse than Forza Horizon 5 on Series S. Considering how this is supposed to be the next best Forza game, I expected a lot more from the title.
The game might get better after frequent updates, which it likely will since this is a massive project. Even then, it still doesn’t compel me to give the game another chance unless these updates drastically change the video game. As much as I love the series, I find it better to stick with Forza Motorsport 4 or Forza Horizon 5, as these are some of the best Forza titles.
Forza Motorsport has been nothing but a disappointment; the gameplay is not as appealing as its older titles, and the promise to add so many new things, only to see it crumble down, has been very upsetting as an avid Forza fan. I hope the game receives updates and reaches the quality it initially aimed for, but it may still not be enough for me to return, at least not until the leveling system has been revamped.
The game does not offer that sense of tranquility that its predecessors do, and the grinding aspect has sucked out most of the joy from the game. It is not a title that newcomers should jump into, as it can disfigure their expectations from racing games. Forza Motorsport did its best to soak in the elements of an RPG but forgot the most important thing, and it is getting punished for that.
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