Turn 10 released a stinker. Maybe patches, DLC and expansion packs will eventually make this worthwhile, but I’m not buying anything piecemeal hoping it’s going to magically fix this based just on rumors and Turn 10 PR. I’m going to wait and see if there is enough post launch support to make this worthwhile to sink more money into. This game is so bad as is I would wait for a FM5 Ultimate Edition that contains all the add-ons at a discounted price. As it stands there is no way I’m pre-ordering another Forza game and I may be done with the series entirely. From this point on I’m waiting for fan feedback before buying another game from Turn 10.
Don’t hold your breath for a Kitchen Sink modified for FM5. The Tonka Tuner seems to work okay as is and Manteo Max (see my links over to the right) does a car list spread sheet.
I got the game on Launch day and after 2 hours of installation and patching started playing a little. I’ve had conflicts over the weekend that ate into my play time along with being social, so as not to piss off the significant other. However I did find some time to race. I am LVL 30 with 75 races for 454 miles over 5.75 hours (4.71 in Hyundai the rest in rivals) with 1,787,396 cr (310,000 from Forza Rewards, 558,466 racing and the approximately 900,000 remaining comes from levelling bonus) and 6 cars (4 from Forza Rewards, 1 starter and 1 bought). During that time I burned off 335 tokens on XP accelerators for 3.5 hours. That’s a little under 100K per hour in race winnings, with the largest chunk of income coming from running XP accelerators to level up faster.
Slave Munky found a review that covers the omissions pretty well so I won’t go into detail on that. As it stands this game feels like a stripped demo of a better game. I was under the impression the Airfield Test Track was a family of tracks like the old Benchmark Test Track. It turns out to just be one ribbon so FM5 comes in with a smaller selection of tracks than Forza Motorsport 2 and only 1/3 of what was in FM4.
There isn’t much of this game that I can’t criticize from the graphics, to the user interface and on to several of the choices in the game design mechanics. I’m staying away from the physics as that changes from game to game anyway. One positive thing that is absolutely awesome to me is the rumble triggers. I use a controller most of the time anyway and this just seems so natural for brake and gas feedback.
Graphically it looks better just because it’s rendered at 1080p instead of 720p. Jaggies are still present where you would expect to see them.They just aren’t as noticeable at the 1080p resolution or when the camera is stationary but on my 1080p monitor when the camera makes a slow pan it seems like the screen has glitter all over it. I was blown away by how poor the game looked compared to the press pictures. I’m also seeing moire effects on tight patterns like carbon fiber and sometimes chain link fencing. I honestly don’t care that much about the higher resolution graphics, I’m more concerned with how it works as a game, but I would prefer 720p with anti-aliasing over this.
Lens flare and sun glare effects are ridiculously overdone. The sun doesn’t even need to be in the field of view. On top of lens flare there is glare that Turn 10 simulates with what looks like the gamma cranked up to wash out contrast and colors. I’ve stopped on track at times and located the sun and several times the effects are coming in when the sun isn’t even on screen it’s high or off to the side. When I drive my car if the sun isn’t in my line of sight I never have the problems this game simulates. It also bothers me that there are lens flares even when driving open top cars, the Mk.1 human eyeball doesn’t do this, so why simulate it. Please turn this shit off and give us anti-aliasing.
The user interface took a step sideways and is a cluttered mess. The Windows 8 influence is evident and it looks more like GT5 than FM4. I’ve always thought it bizarre that the garage and buying cars is under the career path with the offline career races instead of at a higher level or grouped with the tuning.
I’ve never been a fan of the Forza menu layout and this time I think it’s worse than FM4 because of things that got cut. The problem here is leftover pieces of cut features got shoehorned into odd places. For example, searching for a vinyl graphic someone else created is now in the vinyl objects pallet menus. I never thought to look there and had to ask on the forums where it went. Searching for tuning setups is in the Tuning Manager where you used to go to rename and delete tunes. Conceptually these seem inconsistent. The old storefront interface should have stayed with the price component locked out, as it was an easy place to browse for content and manage your shared content.
I’ve also run into features that menus indicate are present, but don’t work. Distance ahead/behind indicators aren’t present, but there is a selector in the HUD menu options to turn them on. Clicking the right stick should toggle the heat/damage display and the built in help menu says it’s there, but nothing happens.
Tire heat indicators are very poor. It took me a while to figure out that they are clear for normal temps. I thought they were broken. With them clear there is no indication of whether the camber heating effect is right. It should be shades of green as before with some gradiation to indicate which side of a tire is hottest. It only does this when you are too cold or too hot.The Telemetry menu doesn’t respond quickly at all so hunting for tire heat takes too long in a race.
It also sucks that you can’t use Telemetry in replays to review how your setup is working, but I guess whiners complained that people were stealing their tunes from telemetry so we can’t have nice things. To me the simple solution is you lock out telemetry if the tune is locked or the car isn’t yours. You don’t kill it for the most useful place to have it.
With all the things cut from the game it seems Turn 10 is intent on killing many of the social aspects of the game. Yes you can share designs, but there is no gifting, so easy collaboration is gone. For someone like me that paints race cars that means each and every logo must be made by me, no logo swap groups and shared logo cars. I have very little desire to paint anything at the moment. Community run contests where a community member gifts the winner a prize are impossible. Transferring credits from one player to another is also gone.
However, my biggest gripe, and the one that will kill this game for me, is the cost/reward scheme this go around and micro-transactions. I liked FM4, I played a lot and made a lot of money, had any car I wanted and cash to buy any car as I wanted it, but not so much that I just bought every car in the game. I still had been judicious in my purchases, I had about $40 million by the time I quit playing regularly, but only about 200 cars.
I thought FM3 was a grind, this seems worse and it seems designed just to fleece players for more cash. Maximum car prices are lower, but minimum prices are higher, so that the average car prices is slightly higher than FM4 at 460,000 cr vs 450,000 cr. Parts pricing is ridiculous. For example, a Hyundai Veloster price in-game is about what one would cost in dollars at around 24,000 cr, but with upgrade to max it out at C class add another 45,000. That a one class jump.
Base race rewards are around 4500-5000 for gold in the career plus bonuses. I run with a +45% assist bonus and +35-40% drivatar bonus. Driver level rewards appear capped at 15,750 cr per level for normal players and 31,500 cr for VIPs where 100,000+ per level were more typical of FM4. There are also no credit awards for leveling up manufacturer affinity while you got a lot from FM4. Award cars are no longer in the game, and you don’t make enough from race rewards to buy them as you level up. I’m wondering if this was a late design decision when someone realized that if you gifted cars at the pace of FM4 you would give the player 25% of the available cars for free. So, Turn 10 cut them and didn’t think through the rate players would be earning credits.
Manufacturer affinity is virtually worthless. Last go around it took very little effort and you had 100% discount on parts. I’ll admit it was probably a bit too easy, but it did encourage swapping parts and tuning all sorts of combinations. This go around you always pay full price. I’m finding parts pricing far outstrips the cost of cars. Sucks to be a tuner. Artists on the otherhand can paint any car, they don’t even need to own it. So those that only paint can just paint away, make money and never have to spend any. Racers and tuners have to buy cars and parts to have a chance to make money.
Instead of a parts discount you get a percentage increase in race winnings, I’ve stuck to one manufacturer for 4.7 out of 5.7 hours and got me to a 21% bonus or about 1,000 cr per race. The rate is increasing at 1% per affinity level. I have no idea if affinity or driver level maxes out. It also seems very strange that you can’t sell parts or cars back to the game. There is an option to remove the car, but I’ve been too chicken to try it because I don’t want to waste money.
Shifting gears, the career is nothing special. It’s just the same old event list reshuffled to deal with a smaller car list. There are 8 leagues with 42 events. There is a Top Gear intro to each event that is a good time for a bathroom break. Each event consists of a championship series and bonus races. You have to race the championship series to unlock the bonus races in all it’s about 13-15 races per event where half are the championship and the rest are bonus. These races (so far) have been made up of 2-3 laps around each of the circuits plus at least one worthless Top Gear race, passing challenge or chase.
One league is class based all the others are restricted by Body Type. Every car is assigned to one of 34 Body Types. This is somewhat hidden from the user but can be seen in the Mulitplayer race setup. In the past body types were very generic like Economy, Hatchback, Roadster, Sedan, etc. Now it is used to restrict each car to a specific event with values like Early Hot Hatch or Modern FWD Hatch. What this means is that to complete career the player needs at least 34 cars, one of each Body Type. This is why using a manufacturer with a wide range is beneficial for affinity.
Another way to make money is off your Drivatar. You get a message every day that says Your Drivatar has appeared in XX race(s) and earned XXXX credits since your last session. This have varied from 2 races for 2800 cr today to 58 races for 10,655 cr on Saturday. It really feels more like the last game’s login bonus that Turn 10 could never keep functional.
I also put up a quick car design that has 7 uses, but that doesn’t meet the minimum threshold to get money for it. Honestly it’s nothing I would have posted in the past, but I’m also not interested in spending days doing a proper paint scheme. I have a message In the last 24 hours, your shared Designs were raced by the community. With higher community usage, your creations can earn you daily credit payouts. I see this as been shorthand for the same old artists are the only ones that are going to make money this way, but Turn 10 will make sure they don’t get too much money. If a user isn’t going to get anything at all why bother sharing shit? There have to be more people making stuff than the handful that used to populate the top of the painting leaderboard.
By the way, why the hell are some cars recommended? You see this pop up looking to buy new cars. Some are labled “recommended” with no explanation anywhere. Was a special promotional consideration paid for by the car manufacturer?
I think Dan Greenawalt said in one of his interviews he wants the player to feel more attached to each of his cars. You are, because you can’t afford to buy very many. I made the mistake of picking the Hyundai Genesis Coupe to start and bought a Veloster since I bought a real Veloster about a month ago. I say I made a mistake because outside of a couple Sport Compact League events and Class based events I can’t use them in the solo career, so maybe 6 out of 42 events. So, I will quickly run out of eligible events to gain affinity for them and will have to choose something else. A better choice would be any maker that covers a wider range of events like Audi, Ford, Nissan or Chevrolet which all cover about 9-10 body types. I’d say Ferrari too, but they are too expensive to buy very many of them.
On a side note I did find geometry errors on the Veloster that were not in FM4, so it does look like at least some cars were remodeled, but are not necessarily better. Q/A has never been a Turn 10 strength. Painting has a glitch where 0,0 is not center of the front bumper and this is common to both games. So they used new geometric models with painting masks ported over from FM4.
To deal with the grind tokens are back in a big way. In FM4 only 3 tokens bought any car in the game at 6 tokens for $5. This time try 10,000 tokens for the most expensive car at a price of around $80 for the tokens. Tokens can be used in place of credits on any purchase in-game. Similar to Forza Horizon’s Popularity Spike you can also spend tokens on a XP accelerator to level up faster. They also straight up lied in the marketing materials about tokens. Straight from the Microsoft store for the limited edition 1,250 car tokens (a $9.99 value) that will allow Limited Edition owners instant access to any car in the game. 1250 is only worth 750,000 cr in-game. So any=750,000 cr. Average car price is 460,000 cr, so you can get an above average car for that $10 in token.
Another gripe with the tokens is that in the past we could always drive any car in Free Play. Not this time, only about 20% of the cars are available in Free Play with the 6 of the 10 most expensive cars unavailable to drive unless you pay or grind. I’m feeling very ripped off buying a game I likely will never be able to fully appreciate without forking over several hundred dollars for tokens.
I’m not impressed with the Achievements this time. I think that I spend an above average amount of time on the Forza games and have only missed 1 achievement across FM2, FM3 and FM4. This time there are too many community based “Popularity” achievements that I don’t think have much to do with how well you actually are at playing the game and everything to do with how well you can play the post whore on the official message boards. That’s too much work for me. These achievements are in what are typically conflicting areas, like earning 1,000, 10,000 & 100,000 cr from both shared paints and tunes. If you don’t paint or tune, good luck with those. Get 50 and 100 photo views, I had maybe 30 in FM4 and no more than 10 for a single photo ever. I actually have more views of theses same photos on flickr than I ever got in-game. These were tied to badges and titles in the last game and that was fine, but it bugs me that there are gamerscore points I’ll probably never see. There are several tied to winning races in pricey cars you cannot rent, so if you’re OCD break out the credit card.
So far I’ve only had the game crash out to the console once while configuring a race in Free Play.
A pet peeve of mine is that the player should have the choice to delete any message just like your email inbox. In the past this applied to anything but message from Turn 10 and new DLC notifications. If they were set to expire on their own after a year if they didn’t time out sooner. Not anymore. I’m not seeing a delete button for anything, so I’m acquiring a daily message about how my Drivatar is doing racing and today I started getting rivals notices about beaten times. Oh, joy. I hated those in Horizon and now I can’t even delete them.
Also affecting my enjoyment of the game is the immaturity of the Xbox One console. No Dolby Digital support directly affects playing Forza. I get very little from surround sound separation in its current form. I use an old Denon receiver to drive a 5.1 speaker set in for my gaming. It only supports Dolby Digital 5.1 over S/PDIF and I’m not replacing it for this game. I use an HDMI switch with an optical out to the receiver. To this I have connected an Xbox 360, PS3 and the Xbone. Only the Xbone doesn’t do DD5.1.
Also support for USB keyboards or even a new model chatpad would be very welcome. I used a chatpad all the time in previous Forzas and I’m hating not having it this time. I was amazed and very pleased when I bought a PS3 last week that during the initial configuration it suggested I plug in a keyboard to make text entry easier.
I’m also one of those affected by the crunchy disc drive problem. I’m waiting for a replacement console, so I’m hesitant to play since I don’t know if my progress will be lost. My replacement console should be here next week. I am leaving for an extended business trip Monday, so the PS3 is going with me for GT6 and the wife will be shipping the Xbone back.