Forza Motorsport (2023) Hands-On Preview
As many who frequent Player2 will know, I’m no revhead, in fact, I couldn’t really be much further from the kind of person who you might see getting excited by watching cars, bikes or any other form of motor-vehicle going around and around on a track. Consequently, racing games, aside from the very arcadey ones like Mario Kart, never sparked joy in the heart of me, and yet, upon sitting down to try out the upcoming Forza Motorsport, the 2023 franchise reboot of the beloved Turn10 series, there’s something stirring that I never would have been by a racing game.
As someone who feels like a stranger in a strange land when picking up the controller to play a racing game, I was immediately struck by how simple, yet expertly executed the game’s onboarding process was. I was first introduced to The Builders Cup, and the three cars that I could drive throughout this demo, the 2018 Ford Mustang GT, the 2018 Honda Civic Type R and the 2019 Subaru STU S209. Each had an enormous suite of “normal colours” to choose from but you were thrust into the action pretty quickly from here. It should be noted however that The Builders Cup in the final build of the game will include in excess of 800 performance upgrades, allowing you to tweak your vehicles in any way you like to create a speedy superstar of the circuit.
Build and tweak all you like, but for many, it’s simply about the thrill of getting behind the wheel, and I have to say, that I felt the thrill myself. This preview build allowed me to access several different tracks, from Maple Valley and Hakone, to Grand Oak, Mugello and Kyalami, each with their own unique quirks that make them both a challenge and a pleasure to navigate. Mechanically the game feels smooth as butter, even for those of us who lack experience in the genre, accessible for players of all levels of abilities, but also in possession of both a low floor, and a high ceiling for players who want to extract all they can from each track and tour.
The Builders Cup is a wonderful on-boarding experience, and it left me incredibly tempted to explore all that the game possesses beyond this. The Modern Tour, Enthusiast Tour, Power Tour, Legacy Tour, and more all await the most eager of racers each giving you the chance to test your mettle with a range of sedans, muscle cars, and some of the most elite machines. Modes like Time Attack, Freeplay, Rivals, and both private multiplayer, and multiplayer events will all be available at launch, fleshing out the Forza Motorsport experience even further.
Forza Motorsport is making huge strides in the realm of accessibility. With 2017 being the last time we saw a Motorsport entry, a lot has changed in accessibility features, and Motorsport 2023 features a range of additions, like a world colorblind filter, moving backgrounds, subtitles and audio descriptions, blind driving assists, fully remappable in-game controls and more.
Many of the mechanical elements that made Forza Horizon so appealing, but inaccessible to me due to its overwhelming size and open-world layout, are all key features of Motorsport and make this new, track-based entry instantly accessible, and immediately gratifying. Forza Motorsport is Turn10 observing the racing landscape, drawing upon all that its peers have been doing well, refining its own rough edges, building upon its long-established strengths, and being one of the most accessible, and interesting racing games I’ve seen.