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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

Xbox One X
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4

Game Profile
GENRE: Racing
PLAYERS:   1-2
May 03, 2005
Forza Motorsport 7

Forza Motorsport 6

Forza Motorsport 5

Forza Motorsport 4

Forza Motorsport 3

More in this Series
 Written by Leigh Culpin  on October 01, 2004

Get Your Drive On: Forza Motorsport: Gran Turimso? We don't need no stinkin' Gran Turismo.

Never in it's now somewhat considerable history has the Xbox had a true Gran Turismo-style game; one where you can customize nearly every single aspect of your car's performance and race in a simulation based environment. Well, for everyone out there who's been waiting for one, the wait is almost over.

Slated for a January 2005 release, Forza takes one part NFS: Underground, one part GT, one part Project Gotham and one part brand spankin' new and meshes them all together in what is perhaps the Xbox's grandest racer yet. I'm not going to throw around terms like "Gran Turismo Killer" because it's not, the games aren't even on the same bloody system. I will say, however, that this game has the potential to be the best damned racing game you've ever played.

With a team comprised of those who made games like Project Gotham, Rallisport Challenge, Morocross and Midtown Madness, there's no lack of experience behind the wheel. As if that weren't enough, the developers have partnered with Toyo tires for ultra-realistic tire data (tires will deal with heat, wear, pressure and load sensitivity in the game) and even Ferrari's F1 program to make sure they get the game's suspension engine just right. They aren't cutting any corners either.

Much like the racing progression in Underground 2, Forza lets you make your way to the top in a combination of linear and open-ended gameplay ? you can race the type or races you prefer to make your way to the top instead of just playing a whole bunch of races in a pre-set order. And, as you progress through both the real-world and fictional tracks, earning cash as you go, you'll be able to purchase cars from over 60 manufacturers, slap on body kits (which affect weight and aero-dynamics), graphics (anywhere, not in preset locations), and tune the hell outa your ride. Apparently engine swaps, suspension, superchargers, brakes and tire options weren't enough, so the guys over at MS decided to let you customize details as fine as your ignition timing, boost pressure, fuelratio, gear ratios and an entire raft of other things whose terminology would scare the pants off of most every day drivers.

In addition to having what is possibly the most in-depth racing engine of any game to come before it, Forza offers a brand spankin' new type of AI ? one that truly learns as it goes along, and perhaps best of all every single AI car follows the same real-world physics the player does. No more rocket cars on a single spline path. The team's even added a difficulty option for the AI so it can either race near-perfect every time through or make human-like mistakes such as late breaking or apexing in a turn, making for the most realistic single player experience possible.

The features list gets better too ? the game includes full damage modeling, which alters not only aesthetics but how your car drives. Unless, of course, you use the game's options to turn the physical damage from ultra realistic to semi-sim or even off, making for a more customizable game. And Forza is all about customization.

Interestingly enough, collecting all the cars in the game won't be as simple as sit down, race all the races and buy all the vehicles. No no no. When creating your driver profile, you'll choose a local region ? either the US, Europe or Asia. The twist is that the availability of each car varies depending on what region you're in, meaning Asia's gonna be the hot spot for most tuner culture, Europe will have all the exotic fans and the US contingent will be comprised of? well, a little bit of both. How does one collect all of the game's cars then? Simple! You trade them on Xbox Live! You can, of course, use memory card swaps as well, saving you from dealing with the masses of jerks commonly found on Xbox Live, but then again no one ever liked car salesmen anyways.

Naturally the game looks and sounds amazing, though how it compares to other races of recent release is yet to be seen. Having said that, I could really care less ? this game's going to play so well it could be done with N64 graphics and I'd still play it.

So it turns out the PS2 isn't going to be the only platform with an ultra-mondo racing simulation title anymore. Luckily for Xbox owners, that isn't going to be remedied with some half-assed GT4 rip-off either, it's coming in the shape of brand spankin' new Forza Motorsport this January. And what a game it shall be.

On-Target: Possibly the best thought out racing sim ever to grace our console; extreme amount of detail for both visual AND performance related mods for your cars; online capable; full damage models!!

Hit or Miss: Simulation racing may have a smaller audience on the Xbox, especially without the extreme speed sensation you'll find in games like Burnout 3 or Underground 2; collecting all of the game's cars through online trading could get tiring.

Dead Center: The game is ambitious and massive. The Xbox is well overdue for a racing sim of this scale and it's finally almost here.

Conclusion: Picking one of these four racing games as the best is a trifle difficult, especially with two out and two unreleased. Having said that, Burnout 3 is in position to be the ?Box's best arcade racer, Underground 2 the most enticing import tuner game and Forza is clearly a sim racer's dream. While there's certainly nothing wrong with SRS, it almost feels like to little too late when compared to the competition. Check back soon for reviews!!

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