There are a lot of racing games on their way, perhaps too many for those of us planning to splash out on a next-gen console soon. So which of them are shaping up to be worthy of your attention? I endured the queues and hardware crashes of the Eurogamer Expo to tear around various racetracks to bring you my impressions of five of the most anticipated racers of the future on both existing and next generation platforms.
Forza Motorsport 5 (Xbox One)
After passing the real-life McLaren P1 –Forza 5’s flagship car- numerous times over the course of the Eurogamer Expo, I eventually gave in an joined the queue to see how it handled in the game, as chance are I wasn’t getting my hands on the real thing anytime soon.
It was worth the wait. As a late convert to the Forza series after Forza 4 ended up beating Gran Turismo 5 to the checkered flag by a few cars’ lengths, I was always keen to see what lied ahead.
This was a nervous anticipation though. You see, I have no plans of picking up an Xbox One around launch; I’ve already made up my mind that PS4 is going to be my first console of next gen. Forza 5has ensured I’ll be keeping a close watch though. It’s easily the best racer of the show.
Waiting for the race to load, I was shown just how good-looking the game is with lots of loving sweeping shots and close ups of the McLaren, pushing the detail far beyond the last game. It would seem Turn 10 have hit the ground running on the next-gen consoles without an awkward transition as we’ve seen in the past with much-loved series like Pro Evo Soccer and of course,Gran Turismo.
Once the race was underway, the enjoyment was instant. Forza once again effortlessly nails that middle ground for handling between arcade and simulation. There are of course settings to lean more towards simulation should you fancy a sterner challenge.
The in-car views are exceptionally detailed and when combined with the optional on-track racing line you really feel immersed into the action. I opt for a distant camera in most racers, but Forzamakes me feel right at home inside the car.
This was also the first time I got my hands on the new Xbone pad, which felt comfortable if not spectacular. It’s hard to make a judgement with less than five minutes with it to be honest. But I did get to experience the new motorised triggers.
These unique vibrations were most notable when I went over the rumble strips at the side of the track, as that side of the pad would send intense, rapid vibrations through the trigger. The further over you get, the more intensely they’ll buzz. This is especially useful for the in-car view where you can’t see your contact points on the road.
I’ll be looking for some options to dial down the vibrations though. It’s a little uncomfortable and could cause pins and needles over an extended session. I like the idea though and can see potential in the controller’s leading new feature. I’m a little jealous the PS4 pad doesn’t have it too. Oh, well, it’s got a trackpad…