Forza Motorsport Hakone Gtr
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Forza Motorsport review – High-speed excellence

Pedal to the metal.

Forza Motorsport is a series that I grew up with and was a pretty big staple of my childhood, and I always preferred it to its other contemporaries. The hours I have spent upgrading cars and racing around tracks trying to one-up my opponents and absolutely not abiding by the racing line to any degree over the years are innumerable, with Forza being where I spent most of that time. This is all to say that the newest iteration of Forza Motorsport is more of that same fantastic driving simulator that I grew up with, but with a higher fidelity that looks gorgeous and with cars that feel better than ever before.

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Gotta Go Fast

Cars are one thing about Forza Motorsport that is obviously a key area of focus for the game. That might sound a bit basic, but I feel like Forza Motorsport’s focus on how you improve your times and the cars themselves is probably the most interesting part about this game and is a big reason why I have been having so much fun with it.

Forza Motorsport Hakone Featured

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Forza Motorsport introduces a few new systems to the mix in the newest entry, but easily my favorite of the bunch is Car Leveling. As a gamer whose favorite genre is RPGs, and more specifically JRPGs, leveling characters is my bread and butter. Bringing that into a racing simulator is honestly genius, with the car essentially being your only party member as you drive through each chapter of the story: the Series.

Now that analogy might be a bit dumb, but it genuinely holds weight; each Series in Forza Motorsport is like its own little mini-arc that you have to go through as a driver, and hopefully, you come out on the other side victorious. Your car is no small part of that journey, with you needing to have the fastest car to compete with the best of the best in Forza Motorsport. The Car Leveling system is how you do that, and it’s pretty simple. You start at level 1, and as you play the game with that particular car, you level it up, unlocking different ways of upgrading it as you go.

Taking it to the next level

Car upgrading used to simply be something you would do with the money you have and at any point — now, you’re given a currency to use on the upgrades and they’re locked off to you until you reach a certain level. Leveling your car feels rewarding, and makes you feel fantastic when you get a 10 on any segment of a track. The XP you get for doing well on track genuinely makes you feel like the best driver in the world for pushing your car, and abilities as a driver, to the limit.

Forza Motorsport Corvette

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Now while I think the way you level up and the idea is honestly rather incredible, I would personally prefer it if you still had to use your credits to upgrade your car. I feel the way the game works with Credits — which is essentially now only a currency used to buy cars — makes them feel a little redundant, and I always had enough Credits for anything I wanted to buy for a new Series.

I prefer to be looking at cars and saying, “Right, time to work towards getting myself that car,” but thanks to how you’re not really spending Credits in the game outside of buying cars, I never really have to work to get a car. Which on one hand is fantastic, but on the other, it does mean I’m not really getting attached to the idea of getting any one car as I can just buy what I want, whenever I want.

Take the wheel

When it comes to actually driving your car in Forza Motorsport, it’s never been better. The actual driving of the game is immaculate, and I have no complaints and only glowing things to say about it. The amount of times where I was taking a corner a little too fast and the car clinging to the track felt as if it was happening in real life is innumerable, and that feeling of going fast is one of the best I’ve ever felt in a video game. It’s one of those feelings where every time I would take a corner while I was in the zone of playing and trying to better my times to overtake cars, I would end up leaning in the direction of the corner in real life, which is always a good sign for a game involving cars.

Forza Motorsport Turn

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The differences between each car are felt, too. I tackled the first Series in a Ford Mustang, which was one of the cars I got to pick at the start of the game and one of my favorite cars in real life, and the difference between that and, say, a BMW M3 going round corners is incredibly different, and even between races as you upgrade your car, you can feel your upgrades taking effect.

Those upgrades being felt is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted, either, as when I say you can feel the upgrades being applied to your car, it isn’t a small change. I would sometimes have to take the first lap of a race/practice to just get to grips with the car itself again. That really makes it feel like everything you do to your car is beneficial and changes the game even in small ways.

One Track Mind

When it comes to Forza Motorsport’s visuals, I only have one thing to say: It’s absolutely gorgeous. Racing games are usually incredible to look at, and Forza Motorsport is no different in that department. I played the game in Performance RT mode, and it was a smooth and beautiful experience for me, even if I did have some visual artifacting happening on different tracks which went away with the next race, and a couple crashes between races. But nothing that hampered my experience or lost me any amount of time I put into the game.

Forza Motorsport Maple Valley

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There’s no place in Forza Motorsport where the visuals are more beautiful than on the various different tracks the game has to offer. The cars look fantastic, too, but I feel the need to talk about a couple tracks in particular, as they blew me away visually. The first one I want to mention here is Maple Valley, the Forza staple. This track’s trees coming onto the track from the sides, and the bridge in between them, are simply gorgeous. It’s also an incredible track to drive on, and the final few corners of Maple Valley are where I felt the most invested in the race because of how well-designed it is.

Taking in the sights

The other track I really want to talk about is by far my favorite track in the game, and that is Hakone Circuit. A new original track for Forza Motorsport, and easily the most breathtaking of all of them. As I started this track, I was genuinely just impressed at the amount of detail there was put into the off-track areas, with the buildings and graphics at the start line and even the colorful areas just off-track. Then you get to the first corner, which is dotted with cherry blossom trees, and you can see Mount Fuji in the background. I was genuinely in awe.

Forza Motorsport Hakone First Turn

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While I completed my first race here, I paused three separate times to use Photo Mode to try and capture some of my favorite moments. Once again, though, a track is only as good as the actual track you race on, and Hakone Circuit is also up there with Maple Valley as the best track to race on in the game for me.

Challenging yourself

While talking about the actual racing track experience, I also want to mention the fantastic Challenge the Grid system that Forza Motorsport offers. You can decide on your position on the grid, and gain more rewards for finishing on the podium the lower you go down the grid. I always challenge myself and go last, just to see how far I can get up the standings. And while I may not be the best driver in the world, I actually won some of these events while starting in last place, which feels fantastic.

There’s also the other system I want to highlight, which is the dynamic weather system. This system is incredibly cool as tracks can start dry and end soaked in rain, or even start wet but by the final lap, there’s torrential rain to add to that, among other variations. It’s a really fun system that makes races feel unique and dynamic.

The Series finale

I really want to highlight my favorite race that I played in Forza Motorsport, which is the final race of the first tour in Career. This is a one-lap race around Le Mans, and not only is the track itself stellar to race around, but the setup for this race is beautifully executed. The entirety of the first tour makes you use very different cars, and none of them are really incredibly fast. They feel fast, absolutely, but we aren’t actually going 200mph at any point during these races.

Forza Motorsport Ford Gt Le Mans

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This final race is when they give you a Ford GT, and because it’s a Ford GT on Le Mans, you can go incredibly fast and feel a level of speed that you haven’t been able to feel yet. It almost feels like Forza Motorsport saying to you: “Congratulations on passing the tutorial, now how about pushing a car that is going double the speed of your usual?” It actually feels like a section of endgame unlocks for you to try out so you know where the game’s progression leads, and that’s really fun as a player.

That leads me to another final thing about Forza Motorsport that I want to highlight, and that’s that I wish there was more to the single-player experience. All you’re doing a lot of the time in Forza Motorsport is racing, and adding anything between the different Series would be a great addition, and probably make this game into something even greater.


Forza Motorsport is a very good video game and a fantastic entry into the Forza franchise. Its cars feel like a joy to drive, and some of the game’s tracks are up there for my favorite racing tracks in gaming. Small changes to content unlocks and progression, like using Credits instead of a dedicated currency for upgrades, would make this game pretty much flawless. It’s a fantastic game, and is definitely worth your time, if only for how good the tracks look and the fantastic feeling of driving in this game.

Forza Motorsport is available for pre-purchase on Steam, and you can check out our other articles here.

Forza Motorsport
Forza Motorsport is another fantastic entry into the series. Bringing some fantastic tracks, visuals, and elevating the already stellar driving.

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Jack Salter
Jack has been a Contributing Writer for PC Invasion since January 2023. He is an avid enjoyer of the medium of video games, particularly JRPGs and platformers, but mostly anything he thinks looks cool. When he's not talking about Trails, Xenoblade, Pokémon, or Zelda, he enjoys spending his time watching anime that usually involve either mechs, music, or anything with great emotional character writing, like Gundam, Love Live, and Kaguya-sama: Love is War. He also enjoys listening to music of most genres and types, and is always on the search for media that combines his love for music with other mediums and genres, like Symphogear. Jack is also trying (and failing) to finish his ever-growing backlog.