By an Inch or a Mile

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We’ve all had it: You’ll be happily driving along the road, minding your own business, when out of nowhere some cunt suddenly pulls out on you and they give you a look like it was all your fault! It’s that fucked-up douche-bag mentality that perfectly sums up my mate @m0nkeymunch and what happened during a race in Forza many years ago.

To this day he not only protests his innocence, but he claims the error was on my part: that I rammed him off the road, making him career off the course like the massive n00b that he is. This simply isn’t the case. I’m an excellent driver and always race cleanly – even when faced with a Honda Civic driving granny, getting in my fucking way (aka M0nkeyMunch). Now I could waste time explaining how Munch – no doubt lost in thought about booking in his next blue rinse – lost control of his car, smacked into me (the innocent victim) and then completely fucks up the corner; or I could just show you the video evidence:

Even in the face of such damning evidence, Munch still refuses to accept responsibility for what he did. Being the bigger man, and with the imminent release of Forza 6, I’ve agreed to a re-match. The same course, the same stock Audi R8’s and no doubt the same inevitable outcome of me winning. Should Munch actually manage to beat me, he may not be able to undo his past ills, but at least he’ll be able to save some face.

In preparation of the race, I’ve found this video for you to hone your driving skills munch:

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Forza 6 Preview

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It has now been just over a decade since Turn Ten first launched the original Forza Motorsport off the starting grid; leaving its competitors for dust as it disappeared off in a cloud of tire smoke. See Forza didn’t just hit the ground running, it hit it with the nitrous button held down and stole the racing sim crown from the hands of some seasoned professions. In the years that have followed, Forza has managed to remain in pole position, delivering a consistent series of excellent racing games. It’s that consistency though that has started to become a bit of problem. As much as Forza set the bar high, it was never really able to push the bar higher; this could all be about to change though, with the release of Forza 6.

The game boasts a line-up of 450 authentically rendered cars, which you can hammer round 26 beautiful tracks; all at a fluid 60 fps and in glorious 1080p. As impressive as that is, and as crazy as this may sound, that’s pace car level stuff for Forza. It is merely maintaining the status quo of excellence that we’ve come to expect from this top spec racer. Where this game really stands out, and where series veterans will really be blown away, is the addition of night time and wet weather racing. The addiction of these factors adds a new dynamic that the series hasn’t seen before, and drastically changes the way you race. Although it may be true that neither of these things are new to the racing game genre, Forza has, of course, done an outstanding job in their execution.

Racing on the courses at night isn’t simply a matter of driving in the dark, in fact due to the fog lit courses, reduced vision isn’t really an issue. Instead it’s the reduced road temperatures that mainly effects conditions, lowering the overall traction and making it akin to driving in the damp. As the dangers created by the colder temperatures are unseen, expect to overshoot a fair few turns before you start to fully appreciate the effect they are having, and adjust your driving style accordingly. Racing in the twilight also gives the tracks a nice new aesthetic compared to their day time counterparts.

Racing in the wet is where things really start to get interesting though. These courses aren’t just a little bit damp, in fact if they got any more water logged, you’d be better off taking a boat. Rain hammers down constantly, drenching the windscreen and causing spray to kick up from rival drivers. All around the track large bodies of water gather, pulling your car off course and causing it to aquaplane on corners. From both a visual and a gameplay perspective, these are probably the most profound changes the series has seen and the end result is really impressive. As your hurtle round the course, your vision obscured by the driving rain, you’re forced to think on your feet, making split second decisions as giant puddles materialise on the track in front of you. Do you hit the water and hope for the best, or do you try and steer around them at the expense of the racing line? It adds a whole new dimension to the art of skilful driving and is a welcome addition to the series.

The only real gripe with these new features is that they neither merge, nor are they dynamic. You can’t race on a rainy night, neither can you race as the sun goes down, or during the onset of a sudden shower. It’s only a minor issue, but it does feels like a bit of a missed opportunity.

Elsewhere the game remains pretty unchanged. It’s still as visually stunning and silky smooth as ever, even with the increase to 24 cars on track at the same time. The top end stuff, like your S rank supercars and Indy cars, tear along at pant wetting speed. They’ve really managed to captured that whole essence of going fast, and at high end speeds you really do feel like you’re driving on the limit. If you cross that limit and lose control, your car will often pay the price, thanks to the realistic damage modelling that can be both cosmetic and mechanical.

Delving under the hood you’ll find the usual vast array of tuning options, where you can customise everything from performance enhancing parts through to it’s paint job, truly making the cars your own. Despite the staggering amount of depth, it’s all completely optional. Whether you’re the type of person that wants to tinker with gear ratios or simply have the game create a balanced setup for you, Forza has it covered. The game blends deep simulation with accessibility effortlessly. Everything about the game can be tailored to your individual needs, matching the challenge to your own ability. There are driving assists that cover everything from showing you the racing line, to assisting you with breaking and even help steer the car around corners. It really is a phenomenal system as it means that at one end of the spectrum you’ve got a hardcore simulation and at the other, an accessible driving game that holds your hand. Most importantly however, you also have everything in-between. If you want more realistic handling but easier opponents – or vice versa – there is even scope for that. It really is that diverse.

With Forza 6 it looks like the series has finally stopped resting on its (admittedly impressive) laurels and delivered a racing game that is to be nothing short of perfection. One of the deepest, most expansive simulation racing games that is yet completely accessible to all. The inclusion of night and wet races really change the way the game plays and is sure to be a welcome addition to series veterans and new comers alike. If you’re interested in the racing game genre, you really should be getting revved up for this one: it’s going to be sterling.