Review by dwight

Reviewed: 06/01/05

Forza Motorsport has upped the ante three-fold

Once in awhile a game comes out that packs more features in it than you can shake a stick at. These games are far in between. Forza is one such game that tries hard to include everything you'd expect in a current generation racing game while it even even delivers more. The game has a much steeper learning curve than arcade style racers as this is a simulation racing game. But even an unfamiliar gamer will be able to dig into it and appreciate what it has to offer.. if they give it some time and practice.

Game Modes & Features

***** Career Mode - 10/10
Career mode is where the player can advance through the race competitions to unlock and purchase cars, win cars and receive in-game cash (credits), tune cars, purchase and install upgrades and design custom paint schemes. At the beginning you will pick what region of the world you want to start in. This will effect what car manufacturers and brands are rare or common in availability while advancing through the game.

Some of the race competitions are not strict where you can bring any type of car to the track. However some races have restrictions where your car must be in a certain class, under a certain horsepower rating or limited to a certain model of car or a car having to be in stock form and not modified. There is a lot of variety of competitions and tracks to race on. There are even Endurance races but they have been slimmed down in Career mode with most lasting around 30 minutes or so to complete. There are hill climb tracks, point-to-point tracks, real circuit tracks, fantasy tracks and city tracks.

Career Mode can be played offline against the AI or even on Xbox Live against other real people instead of AI.

***** Cars - 10/10

Forza Motorsport includes a huge variety of cars. You'll see your common Mini Cooper, your Honda's, Nissan's, Chevy's all the way to the Exotic Ferrari's, Porsche's, Saleen's and Koenigsegg. There are even ultrafast GTS and P1 race cars that will have your eyes pop out while you're trying to sort your insides out. Of course if you like Muscle cars or Classic cars there's a good amount in here too from various manufacturers that should please you.

***** Difficulty options - 10/10

You can pick easy, medium and hard difficulties which will effect how hard the AI drivers are to beat and also result in more race winnings the harder you make it. You can also set damage to cosmetic damage only, limited or full damage. There are also driving assists and aids that are there to help if you choose to turn them on such as Traction control, Stability Management and ABS braking. A racing line can also be turned on to help the player learn where to brake and turn if they need it.

***** Online Multi-player - 10/10

You can play on Xbox Live against other real people from anywhere across the globe. Up to 8 players can compete in one race on any track. They can be point-to-point races or circuit races. The amount of laps can be adjustable from 1 lap in circuit races all the way to 75 laps. The host chooses whether damage is cosmetic, limited or full. ELO can also be turned on or off in the session by the host. ELO is your over-all ranking that is calculated but how well you race against other drivers on Xbox Live.

The game runs very smooth on Xbox Live with no evidence of lag even with full rooms. This is one of Forza's strong point in my opinion as the Online part is the most fun. Pit stops, fuel/tire wear can also be implemented/used on Xbox Live.

Car Clubs can also be made on Xbox Live. You can join or make your own Car Club and recruit other members to join. Much like a clan system in other Online games.

Scoreboards are very plentiful in Forza. There are well over a 1000 individual scoreboards that keep track of the best laps on any given track to the best final time of any career race. Be sure to sign onto Xbox Live to upload your times if you are in career mode or Free Mode by yourself. Ghosts and car set-ups can be downloaded from the leader boards for you to race with. In Career mode races you can download the actual "streaming" replay of any person in the top 100 of any track.

Buy & Sell Lobby is where you can browse through what car's other people have for sale or you can sell your own. Good for people that don't have the time or patience to finally unlock that Enzo Ferrari and want it now. Also good for acquiring custom paint jobs and collecting those rare cars.

***** Decal and paint shop - 10/10

The paint editor in Forza is where you go to customise the exterior appearance of your car's paint and graphics. The possibilities that can be achieved are almost endless. Mainly limited to only your artistic ability and patience. Racing cars on Xbox Live is fun. But showing off your custom ride in races with other people is even better. The editor gives you the basic tools and shapes to create many complex designs, logos, characters and original designs to paint on your car. There are even communities on the web that are devoted to just the car designers in Forza. It's like a game in itself to some people.

***** Drivatar Feature- 10/10

The Drivatar feature in the game is very unique. Basically you train your own computer controlled driver to race like you do. It mimics how you drive whether it be good or bad. Sometimes it darn right scary how close it does drive like you. You can train multiple Drivatars and even have races against them or let them race themselves against each other. It's a neat feature and fun to watch. It's also nice to use a Drivatar in a race where you don't feel like doing it at the time because it's too long for you or you have some other reason.

**** System Link and LAN - 8/10

If you have multiple Xboxes, multiple Forza games and Tvs laying around you can play Forza against another person/people in your home on a LAN with the necessary Ethernet cables and/or hub/router. You can even race your own profiles against each given that they are both on those separate Xboxes. (you cannot copy Forza game saves). There is no split screen in LAN mode. There is also no option to include AI racers in the races on LAN like in TOCA 2. With that reason I give it an 8/10 only.

*****3 Screen Peripheral View Mode - 10/10

For the real race enthusiast that has everything getting 3 Xboxes, 3 copies of the game and 3 TVs of the same size set up next to each other is the ultimate racing experience on any console. You set up the middle TV as the main view and the other two TVs as side views. The result is breath-taking to say the least. It feels (looks) like you're inside a real race car. You can also choose an Xbox and monitor to display a rear view or replay view. I've heard you can link up 4 Xboxes for this view but I haven't tried more than 3 myself.

So you can't seem to find the option for this network mode? Seems the developers thought it would make a good easter egg. A great easter egg it is. It is hidden but easily accessible. Look in the codes section here at GameFAQs for how to do it. This mode can be played in all the modes in Forza. Race against AI drivers in Career or even go on Xbox Live with it. It works there too and you only need one gamertag in this mode.

***** Graphics - 9.5/10

The graphics in Forza Motorsport are very good. It has very long draw distances and very detailed tracks and environments. The cars are also very detailed and look like they have real time lighting/reflections. Paint scrapes left behind on the walls, skid marks on the track and car parts that fall off remain there and do not disappear the next time you come around. They stay. The damage to the cars looks good too but don't expect absolute ruins. It is limited in how much you can bend up and tweak the hoods, bumpers, and sides much like in PGR2. The game runs at a rock solid 30 fps offline and Online. 60 fps would have been better but it might not have been possible with so much detail.

For the graphics I give Forza a 9.5. I really like how well everything looks while racing and the custom car decals/designs really make the game graphics shine in this dept.

***** Sounds - 10/10

Excellent. The sounds are exactly like you'd expect. Each car is very unique and even upgrades will effect the way a car sounds in this game. The crowds cheering in Tokyo and on other tracks is a very nice touch too. Although the default soundtrack gets repetitive...Custom soundtracks can be added in this game making the soundtrack the best ever and how the player wants it.

***** Controls - 10/10

Excellent. The game has a steep learning curve but the controls are implemented very good. The use of the analogue triggers on the Controller "S" for gas and brake work very good. A steering wheel can also be used for Forza. There is a Force-feedback type wheel that I haven't yet tried for it. I did use my Madcatz MC2 wheel for it and it responded very good to Forza. I can't honestly say that with many other games. So whether you like the controller or the wheel I think you'll be more than happy with either set-up in this game.

For controls I give forza a 10.

***** Replay Value 10/10

If you honestly are wondering about replay value than I would suggest reading the review again or better yet go out and purchase the game. There is no question that this game is a must buy and not a rental. Even without Xbox Live this game should keep you occupied for many months with over 200 cars to race with and a variety of tracks and the decal editor.

With Xbox Live the replay value is even greater with this game and only limited to when the next racing game comes out that dethrones Forza.

***** Overall 9.9/10

Overall I give Forza a 9.9. It is that good. I have a feeling the next generation of consoles will produce a better racer but on this current generation I doubt any racer will take the crown from Forza Motorsports. Pick it up today.

Rating: 10

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