Forza Motorsport 5 has just been shown off at E3 on Day 2 of the Expo. So how is it?
Graphically it's leagues ahead of its predecessor. Reflections of the driver and his movements look back at you while the sun glares off the wind screen. Brakes glow molten-orange after an intense race. The view distance goes as far as the eyes can see. White sunlight literally makes the world light up and blinds you as corners and straights are torn up with premium rubber. Flaws in bodywork are easily visible while rubber and dirt from opponent vehicles and environments stick to expensive body panels post-race. Bug splash is sprayed all over the bodywork as the race ends. The world is alive with activity all around your car. The track featured in the demo was Prague, and what a beautiful rendition it was. The ability for light to interact with three layers of textures at a time makes for some truly fantastic eye candy.
The improvements are not just limited to visuals. Sounds have been drastically improved. Everything from the forced induction and flaming exhausts of the McLaren P1 to the tires shredding their way through the tarmac are rendered clear and crisp. The soundtrack, while very similar to Forza Motorsport 4, was composed in conjunction with Lucasfilm's Skywalker Sound who assisted in creating more immersion with the music. Fans of the series will be relieved to know that Lance Hayes is still working on Forza Motorsport 5's soundtrack.
We all know that racing games are the best looking games on any platform, so we'll take it as given that it would look and sound as good as it does.
Indycar and classic F1 racing will also be making an appearance. Forza 4's Autovista mode will be extended to every vehicle in-game. For those not familiar with it, this mode allows the player to explore and investigate every detail on every car available. Tiny details like tachometers, alcantara surfaces and xenon headlamps will most likely be lovingly rendered for car lovers to ogle over.
As for the cars, this is what we know is in the game: Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, McLaren P1, McLaren F1, McLaren MP4-12C, Mercedes-Benz CLA45, Pagani Huayra, Audi R8 V10 5.2 FSI and a Lamborghini Aventador.
In terms of realism Turn 10 has turned to Science and Technology firm Calspan to improve further on the series. Pirelli was previously consulted with in Forza Motorsport 4. For those not familiar with Calspan, the firm was founded in 1943. They have since grown to the scale that the US Department of Defense now turns to them. Interestingly, Calspan never specialised in tire physics and as such began researching this when Turn 10 approached them. Apparently the benefit of this research is not restricted to Forza 5, and will be to the benefit of everyone. McLaren has been assisting with Aerodynamics as well.
As mentioned before, the Drivatar system will feature in single player racing and multiplayer. The system in a nutshell collects data from players' gameplay from all over the world and randomises the behaviour of A.I. opponents. Effectively offline opponent behaviour is crowdsourced. For those concerned that they will be facing off with opponents that won't be up to the challenge be rest assured that this has been addressed. How you ask? Well for one thing certain races, conditions and tracks have to be completed to build a complete picture of your behaviour before it is certified and distributed to everyone else. There are varying levels of difficulty for those looking for a greater challenge.
As for controls some interesting improvements were made. The triggers on the Xbox One controller have separate motors to the main device. This allows players to feel the difference between hard and soft acceleration and the forces in-between. This will make actions like braking and accelerating out of a bend better due to the extra feedback provided by the new controller.
Forza Motorsport 5 will release with a new Thrustmaster steering wheel setup for those wanting to purchase a more immersive controller setup on top of the standard Xbox One controller. While no pricing was announced for the additional hardware, be rest assured that with the purchase of the $499 console, Forza Motorsport 5 and the steering wheel things may turn out to be quite expensive.
The whole experience looked overall impressive, with the fifth iteration of Forza Motorsport promising to be not only technically brilliant but also fun and innovative. So far it looks to be the celebration of motorsport it wants to be.