In movies, the best special effects are the ones you don’t notice. Forza Motorsport 6 is overflowing with artistic detail and technical prowess that take a backseat, pardon the pun, to some of the best gameplay from 2015. Still, it won’t win any Game of the Year awards. Maybe because it’s the sixth entry, or because it’s a racing game, but Forza Motorsport 6 deserves to be recognized and, more to my point, played.
I don’t typically covet digital ‘things’ but these cars look and drive so closely to the real thing, I started saving up for the next best model. This is the closest I will ever get to hopping in to a Ford GT and I am totally fine with it. Somehow, Forza Motorsport 6 makes me feel okay about never owning these cars in real life. I don’t yearn for them because a video game provided me with an experience that satiated me. That’s a level of immersion most would consider only possible through virtual reality, and I just played it on my Xbox One.
Fittingly, for a driving game, I always felt like the game was carrying me forward and making progress. Every race trains my Drivatar, rewards me with credits, gives me a chance to win a car, and opens new doors for even more ways to play. The sense of speed and inertia is impeccable – sometimes I would begin to feel my stomach turn when coming to a hairpin turn just a little too hot. Plus, Forza 6 Motorsport perfectly employs the individual force feedback packs in each trigger. Hitting a hard left turn, feeling RT juggle as the right tires catch the red-and-white bumper on the far edge, then peeling out with an intrinsically rewarding “Perfect Turn” not-too-conspicuously displayed is something every gamer should experience, regardless of your genre disposition.
Forza Motorsport 6 will never get enough credit for its accessibility. It is impossible to feel excluded from the experience thanks to the a la carte approach to difficulty levels. Rookies can start with 100% assists and are not deducted points for this. Instead, you are encouraged to remove the assists for additional rewards. It’s like taking the training wheels of a bicycle and learning to ride a big kid’s bike.
This is a game that you’ll pop in and say “I’ll just do a couple races”, and then realize it’s time to shave your face because three days have passed. There is so much to do and it’s all at your fingertips. Multiplayer is a blast and matchmaking was never an issue for me. I was always pitted against similarly skilled players. Tuning your vehicle can be as easy or complex as you like, and again, you never feel like you’re missing out by taking a shortcut.
Racing laps is innately repetitious but there is so much variety in the tracks, vehicles, and competition types that I was never bored. This is a racing sim for the ADD-afflicted gamer who is always looking for a new distraction. Rivals is a training mode in disguise allowing you to challenge lap times from around the world and crawl up the leaderboards. After a while, I was pleasantly surprised to see my gamertag jump from the 80th percentile to the 50th, then 40th, and so on.
Everything you do in Forza Motorsport 6 encourages you to keep going. Your Drivatar, this generation’s most understated innovation, will compete in races around the world while you’re away. Come back the next day and you’ll receive credits to purchase new cars or upgrades to play more – to receive more rewards to…you get the point.
I would keep going on about Forza Motorsport 6 – how it plays as well as it looks, how not playing it puts me into a withdrawal, how it makes me forget about real-world responsibilities, and how perfectly it capitalizes the Xbox One’s hardware, software, and cloud-based technology – but instead I’ll just go back to playing it. And you should too.