The Controls Feel So Wheel
When it comes to Forza, I also know that there is a pretty significant difference in how the game plays depending on if you are playing on a controller with assisted smoothed movements or rather anything like a racing or MS wireless speed wheel setup that allows for 1-to-1 steering movement. The demo I played used the standard controller and while the awesome new trigger feedback was really something to behold, the input from the thumbsticks still felt like it could use a little more fine tuning. It was especially frustrating when I threw the Ferrari into a corner to attempt a fun drift, only to find the in-game driver taking too long to correct the the car even though I was jamming the stick in the opposite direction and ending up in the gravel once again.
In all seriousness though, I really do have to take a moment to praise the incredible new feedback system that Microsoft has integrated into the new controller’s triggers. Rumble feedback has been available for a long time now, and is a great way to convey a message to your hands and brain that you are bashing into the car in front of you, running over a rough surface or running wide over a red and white curb. Now if rumble was the deep base that plays out in a song, then the triggers are the treble, the detail. By using these smaller motors and linking them directly to the triggers, the game is able to fully convey information relating to the sudden jerk of your wheels locking up, the slipping out of your tires as you lose traction and all the smaller details that happen in-between.
Once you have tried Forza with the new triggers, you will feel like there is no going back. These triggers are to controls what surround sound was to stereo, or HD was to SD. Suddenly there is clarity and an additional amount of information at your disposal and the kind that you could live without… but you really wouldn’t want to.
Old vs. New
As I mentioned before, once back at my own setup I was able to run both the Focus and the Mercedes around Laguna Seca in Forza 4 but for the Ferrari I substituted it out for something similar, in this case a Ferrari 599 GTO. This brings me back to my earlier statement that the previous Forza games felt just a little too grippy for their own good. When testing the cars out in Forza 4 it was now very apparent that I was able to carry way more speed into the corners without much fuss whereas in Forza 5 I had to watch my balance and approach speeds a lot more. Push too hard into a corner in Forza 5 and you find your car losing bits of grip on different tires, fading off past your line and dumping you in the dirt whereas Forza 4 will be a little happier to catch your car for you and let you get on your way.
I didn’t have time to drive any of the cars with and without assists, only without so just take that into account after finishing this article. With ABS and stability management on, the cars are sure to behave a lot more like you would hope they would if your real butt was on the line and more casual drivers are sure to be able to find a great balance between fun and challenge.
Too Long, Didn’t Race
To conclude my brief but interesting experience with Forza Motorsport 5, I can say that the visuals are clean and the cars are drop dead gorgeous, but lying in wait underneath is a new physics system that is sure to get the hard-core fans really excited and hopefully make the assisted driving even more fun and authentic for the casuals. The biggest changes I felt really came down to the new feeling of a more realistic traction/physics/suspension system that really made the car feel like it was moving around under load and under breaking. Of course my experience was brief and far from a really in-depth look at everything the game and its new features have to offer. Also keep in mind that this was also a demo, and things may still change… but for the most part the game incredibly solid and close to completion.
At the end of the day I was very happy with what Forza Motorsport 5 had shown me. The more authentic the experience is, the more we get to live out our digital fantasies of taming some of the most desirable vehicles that the world has to offer… and that looks to be exactly what Forza Motorsport 5 is going to be providing at launch.
Also, did I mention those new Xbox One feedback triggers? Oh man… those triggers.
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Last Updated: October 10, 2013