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PAX Prime 2013: Forza 5 Hands On

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Pretty much the first thing I wanted to get my hands on at PAX this year was my most anticipated launch title, Forza 5 for Xbox One. The 6th title in the Forza series is exclusive to the next gen system and is a show piece for Microsoft.

The game is simply gorgeous, filled with amazing detail in every aspect of every car. Stitching and bumps in carbon fiber can be seen all over the super cars. While these cars have more polygons than ever before, that means little when traveling at a 100 mph through a bend. The worlds are more alive in Forza 5. Looking off in the distance, you can see activity everywhere. Little touches such as a helicopter flying around in what appears to be a fully rendered city in the distance.

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I actually played the game twice, once with a new Thrustmasters wheel, and once with the controller. The wheel setup was nice with strong force feedback and heavy pedals. I asked the representative if this wheel was launching with the system like the Mad Catz one was, but he couldn’t comment. ¬†Unfortunately for the wheel demo, they were leaving the difficulty on easy. Easy mode in Forza basically makes the car break and turn for you. The controller demo I played felt good, but I was expecting to be blown away with the new haptic trigger feedback, but I don’t think it was on, or it was so subtle I didn’t notice. Either way, the racing in Forza¬†feels like Forza. It’s a simulation racing game that offers enough assists and rewind abilities that anyone could play any car.

That’s the main downside to Forza 5, if you’re looking for some incredible new gaming experience, you’re looking in the wrong place. This is a racing game that plays like Forza, but looks incredible and runs super smooth.

The build I played was running on real Xbox One hardware, and it’s still early, but I have to mention, the load times were really long. After picking a car, it would load into an auto gallery view, showing you every angle of the car. I thought several times I had pushed the wrong button and was just in ‘look at car’ mode. But no, it was actually just showing me that until it could load the car color selection. It was about 15-30 seconds, which is a long time when you just want to get into it. After selecting the car, a non skippable cinematic view of the course would play for another 15-30 seconds before finally letting you play. Now, this could be just them wanting demo’ers to see the new pretty graphics, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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I came away from Forza excited. Excited to get a next gen console and have a very pretty racing sim to show off how I didn’t waste our vacation money again honey. No seriously, look at the stitching in the passenger seat. So pretty…

One comment

  1. How do you know it was actual XBox One hardware?

    Did you see the console?
    Was it in final casing?
    Did you see that it was connected to the TV screen?
    (And nothing else was?)

    A bit curious as BF4 was running at what looked like PC
    (could be with developer versions with XBox One main board)

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