Whilst Playstation 4 owners eagerly await Gran Turismo 7 or a new Motorstorm, they got Drive Club as a substitute. I took a look at Drive Club and yes it looked very sweet, and played very smoothly. Then I saw (and reviewed) the Demo of Forza 6 and that impressed me. Would/could the full game meet or exceed expectations? The answer is hell yes.
Honestly I could end the review right here by saying don't just sit there and take my word for it, buy it but that would be slacking. And I know that some cynics out there are just going to say it's like the previous 5, each one slightly better than the last with perhaps some decent cosmetic tweaks. It may look that way at first glance but trust me it isn't. This game took what was achieved with the first 5 and said "You know what, we can do better than that". And they did, in spades.
So let's look under the bonnet shall we? (or hood for our American friends)
First thing you will notice is that a) the Drivatars are back and b) there are a lot more cars on the grid than there were before. The field of 16 has jumped to 24. Yes 24, and depending on the skill level chosen, they will be as aggressive as they can be, even on the easiest modes with all assistance switched on. It will not be a walk in the park, you will have to work hard, you will have to race for every position and then hold onto it. But wait, will you notice all that at first or will you be totally mesmerised by the graphics? They are fantastic, the screen shots in this review do NOT do the game justice. You just have to see it for yourself. They have even rendered shadows on the roadside and reflections of head lights in the tarmac when it's wet... did I say wet? Yes. We now have different weather conditons for racing, and even night time racing.
And yes aquaplaning can and will happen if you hit a large enough body of water, so the physics are indeed well and truly overhauled to the Nth degree. Now you can get to experience what it feels like to be a pebble skimmed across a lake, not fun at over 60kmh with a race wall looming...
Then we have the game modes themselves. The standard career mode is nicely sectioned into 'chapters'. Think of it as creating a journal of your racing career as you progress. In these chapters you will get the new Formula E racing, endurance races, and even relive the glory days of Formula 1. (Yes I know that's been done in the official F1 franchise, but I can forgive them for duplicating it here), Indy Car and the chance to relive classic racing in cars like the Ford Capri that was my dream car as a lad in the 1980's (blame the Professionals for that)
As you race you will earn perks via a race spin, a random prize ranging from cash, tokens or a new car. This is the same as the prize spin on Forza Horizons 2, so now you feel that there is a link to the two games and to link it even more there is a Fast and Furious Motors pack to download as well. Mod packs are rather like buying boosters for your favourite collectable card game. Mods range from common to ultra rare and have either temporary effects or in some cases permanent enhancements to your game unless you decide to select another and perhaps sell the ones you are no longer using. The Mod Packs have 3 slots and as said have different effects, one will give you a one time boost to your start position on the grid, another may give you a bonus to braking on a certain circuit. Feel free to experiment to your hearts content. As far as I can tell the only thing you cannot do is trade them between the members of your drivers club.
Ok so NOT that fast but sheesh it's one hell of a frame rate you get here. You can really see it to full effect from in cockpit whilst behind the wheel of an indy car for example, as you hurtle around an Oval track at God knows what speed, mere inches away from a concrete wall! And even in a normal hatch back, you get a true feeling of speed as you floor that accelerator and prepare for the next tight bend.
There are new tracks on offer but not that many and that perhaps, is the only downside. It would have been nice to see more original circuits on here and the rumoured track creator feature sadly did not appear (I heard the whispers, I do not know how many of you out there did too). But you want customisation? Heck the paint shop, body work and everything else in between, encourages you to be creative whilst getting every last ounce of power and performance you can out of your favourite machines. Get fed up of a car? Then sell it on an online auction. The world is your oyster....
I could fill pages and pages with this review, but I think I have said enough... wait... online play is perhaps the best it's ever been for this series. It as smooth as silk, with an online frame rate that truly impresses. Jump in to a ranked match and prepare to fight for every inch of the track and even casual gamers out there can take things pretty darned seriously. Oh and be warned, damage is FULLY simulated, it's possible to wreck your car totally in both online and offline play.
So whilst we wait for the Playstation guys to roll out GT 7 or Motorstorm, I feel we may have a while to wait yet. Chances are they have seen this beast in all it's glory and said 'Whoa! We'd better make sure we have something very special indeed before we release it!'
Fans will love this, and new comers will want to see what everyone else is oohing and ahhing over. This is ace, no really it is. Nevermind your Assassin's Creeds etc, etc, for me, this is one of my personal fave picks for the title Game of the Year.