PAX Prime 2013: Forza Motorsport 5 and the Next Generation of Virtual Racing

There always seems to be a significant gap between the importance of the Forza Motorsport franchise to the Xbox platforms and their representation at PAX shows. For some reason, the Forza games are often underrepresented at the show: the 3rd entry had a half dozen playable stations at Prime 2011 at most, I couldn’t find Horizon at all in 2012 and there are 4 stations plus a rig with racing wheel at the 2013 show in Seattle.

The demo for core installment 5 lasts a few minutes, with a quick spin around a classic track that shows many of the legacy gameplay mechanics such as driving lines and rewinding remain the same. It doesn’t show attendees much about the game other than the fact that it exists, adding more stations and extending the length of the demo session as well as the presence of a Turn 10 representative would have added a lot of value for both gamers and the developers from this show.

The game is visually stunning, with a level of finite mechanical detail and animations on the cars that is often breathtaking. Techniques such as carefully drafting and then bypassing an opponent with a guttural engine roar is still immensely satisfying, and is nearly movie quality in its graphical fidelity and polish.

The Forza Motorsport series is consistently impressive in its final version, but it always seems to be unnecessarily difficult to ascertain the in-progress status at their PAX showings. I’m willing to commit to a launch day purchase sight unseen due to Turn 10’s pedigree and historical track record, but hopefully we get a better sense of how the game evolves in the lead up to the Xbox One launch.

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