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Common Sense Media
Aside from a huge number of cars you can climb into -- including the challenge of tackling open-wheel vehicles that feel very different -- Forza Motorsport 5 takes advantage of Xbox One's power to provide stunning graphics and smooth animation. The career mode is deep and fulfilling -- with artificial intelligence-controlled vehicles tough to race against -- whereas online play tests your skills against other human racers in cyberspace. There isn't much to complain about with this next-generation racing simulation other than fewer tracks than Forza Motorsport 4, and it's perhaps a little on the difficult side, but overall this is a fine racer for the Xbox One.
Forza Motorsport 5 could easily be the best launch title for the Xbox One console if the economic structure of the game were changed to make it easier for gamers to get access to all the cars included by the title. The graphics are beautiful, the sound design impresses at every point and Turn 10 has created a game that can feel very arcade or like a full-fledged simulation based on the choices that the player makes regarding assists and Drivatar. Car lovers will find plenty to enjoy in Forza Motorsport 5 as long as they have the time and energy to learn its concepts, master the cars and unlock all the content it has to offer.
Bearing the weight of Xbox One's launch day racing hopes entirely on its own, Forza Motorsport 5 is a more than worthy addition to the storied racing franchise's history, and a strong first crack at next-gen. However, it's a game that's so in love with its own style that it forgot to bring the substance. Drivatar is a brilliant innovation, but where's the weather, night racing and improved damage model? Turn 10 has a lot of room to improve with the next Forza Motorsport game. For now, Forza Motorsport 5 will do.
Is that enough? For some, sure – I've talked to several people who have never played a Forza game before and are having a blast with the new one. But given the high standards that Turn 10 has set for itself, I can't help feeling that this latest entry is merely a sampler. A week or two ago, Forza 4 was the best racing sim I'd ever played, and now... it still is. The series is mechanically perfect, and it's undeniably getting prettier and prettier. But the flagship title for a very expensive piece of hardware really shouldn't be thinner rehash of an experience that's already been available for years, should it?