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Checking In: Forza Motorsport 6

"Porsche, NASCAR & What's Next for Forza?"

Forza Motorsport 6 was Turn 10’s second game on the Xbox One and their first one not trying to rush towards the console’s launch. With more time with Microsoft’s current console, they were able to improve on the game’s visuals and gameplay. The rain mechanic alone was what impressed me the most with this latest sequel, but Turn 10 was not done after launch. Other than consistent releases of new cars, the developers were able to release two big downloadable expansions for Forza 6. Earlier this year focused on Porsche and it’s catalog of cars through the years and the NASCAR expansion came out last week. Both expansions expand the game’s reach to more horizons even though there is a high chance we see Playground Games’ Forza Horizon 3 being officially announced at E3 next month.

On the track with NASCAR Expansion

The NASCAR expansion comes with the game’s most significant update gameplay-wise. One of the big visual additions is new HUD arrows that tell you where an opposing car is nearby so players can use them to potentially avoid wrecks especially in online races. The drafting mechanics have also improved because it plays a pivotal role in NASCAR racing, but the major gameplay additions are rolling starts and quick pit stops. Rolling starts remind me of the beginning of NASCAR races and one solution to avoid first corner wrecks in online races, but even months later these still happen a lot and it’s still frustrating. Quick pit stops add some strategy to the table especially where some races in the NASCAR career mode require at least one pit stop. Choosing when to pit as seen in past racing games that have this mechanic has always been a difference in victory or defeat and it’s nice to see Forza Motorsport 6 implement that.

Both Porsche and NASCAR expansions offer a lengthy career mode as well as more showcase events to complete with these cars. While the career events still offer the same grind as the main game, being more specifically focused on a certain car culture or style of racing makes you respect Turn 10’s passion for cars even more. Going out of their way to get folks from Porsche and NASCAR drivers to chime in on their stories at the race track is cool even though it may seem half-baked to some folks. I was more into the premise of the Porsche expansion than the NASCAR because you’re driving through the progression of one brand’s cars driving some oldies to it’s future at the end of it’s career mode. The NASCAR career premise feels more uninspired, which is about how do these stock cars stack up against the GT or F1 cars in the most iconic tracks around the world. There’s still races against other NASCAR opponents at the ovals with the current season’s lineup of cars to choose from and that is what I wished this expansion had more of surprisingly because that’s what NASCAR is really about. Knowing when to draft to overtake an opponent or pitting at the right time is what I miss about normal Forza races. Of course, you still turn left a lot especially when one of the showcase events is a 200-lap endurance race at the new Homestead Miami Speedway.

NASCAR racing on Rio

Separate multiplayer hoppers, leagues and rivals are also available for the expansions, but I wished the new rolling start and quick stop mechanics are integrated better within the main game since both expansions have their own section on the main menu. Plus both of them cost $19.99 each, which may seem expensive for some, but considering the amount of content offered the length of the career modes and showcases I can see why Turn 10 would charge that much. More races to play as with different cars in this game is not a bad thing still being my listen to music/podcast game.

Assuming the cycle that has been going the past several years, this is the year for Forza Horizon 3 to happen by Playground Games (hopefully both Xbox One/Windows 10 versions out on the same day with cross platofrm play) as mentioned earlier in terms of what’s next for the franchise. I am ready for a new one considering how great the last game, but I can also see one more big Forza Motorsport 6 expansion by Turn 10 later this summer the size of the last two being out. There’s still a healthy scene online playing the game along with e-sports events. Plus, the Apex version for Windows 10 is coming out soon and currently in a beta state. From what I seen of the slimmed down content-wise PC version, the game with more and better visual settings to tinker around with is the next best thing for the Motorsport side of things. The simulation racing genre focusing more on specific elements of racing with these expansions and what Gran Turismo Sport is offering is refreshing to see than trying to have everything in one game at the cost of quality. In the meantime, both Forza Motorsport 6 expansions are worth checking out if you’re itching to play more Forza till Horizon 3 becomes official.

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