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I had planned to write something about the Borderlands series, but that will have to wait. I have something I need to get off my chest first. It's very personal, and I hope the two or three of you who follow my sparse blog will spare me this moment. I joked in my review for the bizarre...

Road to Release - Forza Motorsport 5

Posted on Thursday, November 14 @ 00:23:12 Eastern by GR_Staff

Release Date: November 22, 2013
Platforms: Xbox One Exclusive
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
 



The Forza Motorsport series, since its debut in May 2005 on the original Xbox, has been described as Microsoft's competitive response to Sony's exclusive Gran Turismo series, but that ignores the features and stylings of Forza Motorsport that distinguish it from other racing simulations. For starters, the series has maintained a consistent biannual release and has featured commentary by the beloved Top Gear team from the popular British show. It also allows its community of fans to design custom car skins and purchase other players' vehicles with in-game currency. The rewind feature cannot be left unmentioned either, as it balances the series between arcade and racing simulator, but any assists that are turned off—rewind feature included—translate into hard-earned reward multipliers. Forza Motorsport 5 for Xbox One leverages not only these original features from the franchise, but also brings next-gen improvements through the use of the cloud and unbelievably realistic modeling and environments.

Comparing the launch lineups of the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, the latter's is indeed stronger with the assistance of Forza Motorsport 5, particularly as Gran Turismo 6 will remain on PlayStation 3 and with no next-gen update in sight. As such, Forza Motorsport 5 will be the first racing simulation to take advantage of next-gen hardware, promising to run consistently at 1080p at 60 frames per second and to include hi-res dynamic damage modeling and mind-boggingly gorgeous textures for metal, glass, leather, rubber, and concrete. After all, the slogan is "As Real As It Gets."

At the centerpiece of Forza Motorsport 5's emphasis on realism is Microsoft's Drivatar research technology, which will lay the foundation of every player's AI driver and also transform simplistic AI opponents into ones with more human-like intelligence. As players complete races on international circuits, the game will keep track of their tendencies—when they brake, how aggressively they pass on turns, how fast they come out of a corner exit—and develop a Drivatar, a portmanteau of "Driving Avatar," that corresponds with their racing ability. In effect, it creats a probabilistic model of the player's prowess and driving style.

Some of the AI opponents players will compete against in Career and Arcade races will be based on the Drivatars produced from Turn 10 Studios and the numerous community of players for Forza Motorsport 5. Better yet, players can compete against their friends' Drivatars in Head to Head custom races, and learn from their mistakes, their tendencies, and their successes. To do so, the player will need their friend to copy their Drivatar to a memory card from the Xbox dashboard and then copy it to the player's console. This ensures that there is no Drivatar cheating involved.



If players have no interest in a particular event in Career mode or have difficulty with a particular track, they can assign their Drivatar to stand in their place. In fact, the entire Career mode can be done entirely via Drivatar, though it will demand a portion of any credits earned. That might be hard to swallow, but this is a great alternative for players who simply want to set it and forget it, letting the Drivatar do the work while they watch the "Live TV" style coverage of the race.

To remain worry-free, however, players will need to train their Drivatar vigorously to take first place through a series of five Drivatar lessons of three laps each. Over time, the Drivatar will better understand how consistent the player is with specific turns, in line, position, acceleration, and exit speeds, all while the player is seamlessly lead through the driving-shool tutorial. Once the player's Drivatar is ranked "mature" by completing the lessons, it can be further improved through additional Free Training as the player begins to become more accustomed to the optimal speeds and positions for a particular track. Since the Drivitar has specific data to each track and to each driving class, it's important for the player to revisit each nook and cranny of a track to keep the Drivitar driving straight and true.

Forza Motorsport 5 will come packaged with a host of authentic tracks and over 200 cars (some of which are featured in the Eye Candy section of this feature) from over 54 manufacturers, plus six add-on packs as downloadable content with each pack containing 10 cars. The first pack, the LeFerrari Car Pack, will be available at launch. Players can purchase every pack individually for a total of approximately $59.99, but they can also purchase the Car Pass, the de facto season pass for DLC, which only costs $49.99 for a sweet discount.



Forza Motorsport fans will be familiar with the Forza Rewards system, and for Forza Motorsport 5, they will be gifted several cars and thousands of credits for being a loyal customer and player. Once registered with the Forza Rewards website, players will receive specific, stackable rewards for reaching specific tiers:

Tier 2 - Forza Fiesta ST + 10,000 Credits
Tier 3 - Audi RS 7 + 20,000 Credits
Tier 4 - Ferrari F12berlinetta + 40,000 Credits
Tier 5 - McLaren P1 + 80,000 Credits
Tier 6 - 160,000 Credits 

This means that reaching Tier 6 will earn players 4 free vehicles and 310,000 credits as a starting bonus. That's not too shabby, especially since games rarely reward fans with in-game bonuses nowadays.

Forza Motorsport 5 will release for $79.99 on November 22, 2013 at the same time as the Xbox One and will be featured in a Forza Motorsport 5 Limited Edition Day One Version that comes with commemorative Day One packaging, the five-car Limited Edition Car Pack, VIP membership with various VIP perks and access to special multiplayer events and 1,250 Car Tokens for instant access to any car in the game. Pre-ordering from GameStop will also net a three-car Day One Car Pack.

Next Page: The Legacy>>

Related Games:   Forza Motorsport 5

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