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How Forza Motorsport 8 “Will Make You Fall In Love With Cars Again”

The Forza Motorsports games have been Microsoft and Xbox Game Studios’ go-to sim racing game alternative to the likes of Gran Turismo. Admittedly, the mothership games have taken a six-year break and let its more “free-roaming” exploration-heavy cousin Forza Horizon take the wheel.

Now, it’s making the mother of all comebacks after quite a hiatus with the eighth entry (omitting the “8” for I assume is for rebranding purposes), and my recent hands-on experience might reaffirm that quote on the title: how going back to its origin state can make you re-appreciate the company’s flagship racing simulation once more.

 

Back On Track

Falling in love with cars through skill & competition: that was the spiel of the folks behind Forza Motorsport during an online Q&A session with developer Turn 10 which we participated in recently. For avid car lovers, that line alone should be adequate. But for the casuals, what more is in store than just driving different types of cars countless laps around some of the world’s best circuits?

Keep in mind: while Forza Horizon was focused on exploration, Forza Motorsport dials in more on the nuance of driving. On top of the expected improved graphics and audio improvement (that spared no expense whatsoever), Forza Motorsport (or FM for brevity’s sake) aims to create new levels of immersion and connection with the (virtual) car you are driving thanks mostly to physics & AI improvements. By attempting to popularize the term ’10/10ths’ outside of the driving enthusiasts community, FM aims to encourage drivers to make the most of the car at all times on all parts of the track.

FM features a real-time coaching baked into the game that aims to improve on the oft-seen racing line guide we typically see in racing games. Rather than just telling you when to brake and accelerate whilst adhering to a recommended racing line, FM instils a Max Verstappen-ish mentality into its racers, constantly eking out the most out of their machine and of course, their own driving skill.

With an array of about 500 cars at launch, FM devs, with AI through machine learning, identified the theoretical best approach on each track, corner by corner. Not content with making sure you follow racing lines, the AI aims to coach you in order to optimize your braking and accelerating points. This aims to bring you to the fastest way possible through each corner of the game’s fictional tracks, from the series’ Maple Valley staple track to the new Hakone circuit.

 

Close To The Finish Line

Car mastery is the core principal of Forza Motorsport 8 and we feel that while the franchise would appeal strictly to a specific set of racing game fans, also leaves the door ajar for both casual and brand-new fans. The motivation to shave off seconds as the laps add up should get anyone with a drip of competitiveness to indulge in FM. Sometimes your biggest rival is yourself and from the look of things, FM challenges racers to improve each time they sit behind the digital steering wheel.

When asked what’s their core principles and vision during the development of this game, the devs explained that their main approach was to take a step back and actively identify what needed to be recaptured, remastered & honed for a modern take of the long-standing franchise. Essentially, it’s a rebirth and reimagining of the de-facto racing sim for the Xbox. My hands-on preview so far seems to show that it’s going in that particular direction and leaning on it very hard. Perhaps the game is delving into a “car RPG” structure that focuses on the player’s self-improvement when racing with digital cars. In any case, Xbox’s reiterated driving sim title shows promise.

Developed exclusively for PC (Windows) and Xbox Series X/S, expect more news to trickle in, and also our full review, as we head closer to the launch date of Forza Motorsport: 10th October this year.

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