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02 Feb, 2005

Forza Motorsport Preview

Xbox Preview | PALGN goes hands on with Forza Motorsport and delivers a brutally honest verdict. GT Killer or GT Killed?
The Gran Turismo series is one of the most important driving series’ of our time. Many challengers have tried to better Gran Turismo but have, ultimately failed. In fact, Gran Turismo is a system seller, for years Gran Turismo has gone unchallenged, until now. Enter Microsoft and Forza Motorsport. PALGN recently had a very exclusive play of the game and we came away with very mixed impressions.

It is important to note that the version of the game we played still has over four months of development time in it. Our impressions are nowhere near representative of the final quality of the game.

Upon booting up Forza Motorsport PALGN was treated to three options, Start, Quit and Credits. Naturally, we chose start and from there we were launched into a car selection screen.

Some of the cars we were able to choose from included the Nissan 350Z, 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi, Ferari 360 Modena F1 and the Porsche 911 GT3. In total, we were able to choose between twelve cars. We actually settled on the 2001 Audie #1 Infineon R8, which looked like it would fly around the track.



In the full version of Forza Motorsport you can fully customise your car to make it more rare and valuable, the demo version did not allow us to do this, but in the full version, gamers will be able to choose from buying everything from real-world body kits to aftermarket turbo kits.

After choosing our car we were able to choose to turn on some driving assists. This included stability management, traction control and anti-lock braking. We also chose between manual and automatic transmission.

After this we were launched straight into the race at Laguna Seca, which ironically enough also features in Gran Turismo. We were placed on the track with three other cars and were ready to try out the most important aspect of Forza, the racing.

A quick camera pan of our car happened during the countdown and then the game began. Our first disappointment of the game was how bland the track looked, some of the screenshots released to this date, look absolutely amazing, yet in-game we were less than impressed by the visuals, it is not over-exaggerating to say Gran Turismo 3 looks better.

We finished the race in 2nd position and that spelled the end of our play test. This felt very much like an arcade portion of the game, but we could not tell as we didn't navigate many menus at all.



One of the most hyped up features about Forza is the fact that it features real damage, whereas Gran Turismo does not, so how is the damage model? We would liken it more to Project Gotham rather than V8 Supercar 2. We were a little disappointed as we expect our car parts to be a bit more damaged by the end of the race.

So, after our play test of Forza we left a little disappointed but still optimistic. It is very clear that this game definitely needs a bit more work put into it, and the graphics, really do need a bit more improvement, but Gran Turismo 4 is definitely going to be facing its biggest challenger yet.
Overall:
Forza has potential, but at the moment it is still a little off from being a memorable challenger to the almighty Gran Turismo series.

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16 Comments
9 years ago
First and foremost, because I'm a car freak I have to bring up to spelling errors made in that article. You spelt Ferrari wrong for one, and for two you spelt Audi wrong as well. (you added an e on the end)

Mistakes happen, but I thought I'd bring them to your attention for future reference, or something.

As for the screenshots being beautiful? Do you really think so? To be honest, I don't think Forza looks good (graphically) at all. Screenshots have failed to impress me and the videos of the game in motion look rather pathetic. Maybe I am being too harsh due to being a Gran Turismo freak but seriously, it hasn't impressed me yet.
What the game features though does sound rather good and I'm liking the sound of the 'Drivatar'.

Hopefully this game is still a decent racing simulator and I definitely plan on buying it. However I honestly don't think it should be compared with GT4 anymore, as it looks like it will fail against the legendary product that Polyphony have on their hands.
9 years ago
NismoR34 wrote
First and foremost, because I'm a car freak I have to bring up to spelling errors made in that article. You spelt Ferrari wrong for one, and for two you spelt Audi wrong as well. (you added an e on the end)
Car Freak? More like a spelling freak icon_razz.gif

Ive been anticipating this game for a while now, because the closest I got to GT while I had no PS2 was Sega GT and I got quite bored of it quickly.

And is this why theres no Ferraris in Gran Turismo? or is there another reason?
9 years ago
Eve6 wrote
And is this why theres no Ferraris in Gran Turismo? or is there another reason?
I've no idea. Ferraris are in Forza and PGR2, so it can't be the old 'we don't want our cars damaged in your game' excuse as both games have damage while GT4 doesn't. Porsches aren't in GT4 either, but are again in Forza and PGr2. Maybe Microsoft has some kind of license deal with them?
9 years ago
Microsoft have a license deal, that is correct socko.
9 years ago
Electronic Arts originally held the licences for both Ferrari and Porsche but I believe that expired recently. Microsoft did a deal with EA to utilise both manufacturers in Project Gotham Racing 2 and they could have done the same deal again regarding their inclusion in Forza. That depends on whether EA re-newed the two licences or not.

Like yourselves, I am confused at the lack of the two manufacturers in Gran Turismo 4 though. If Microsoft could have struck a deal with EA then surely Polyphony could have done the same thing? I mean come on, the demo disc included with Gran Turismo 4: Prologue even had footage of various Polyphony programmers driving both Ferrari's and Porsche's.

The fact that these two manufacturers aren't included in the most well-known simulator racing game is still bloody disappointing, and an answer as to why they aren't included would be nice. Shame then that Polyphony will probably never answer it...

Eve6, if it involves something I'm passionate about (IE: cars), then of course I'll become a spelling nazi. icon_razz.gif
9 years ago
Staff should feel pleased they have people who care enough about their articles to try to fix the spelling icon_lol.gif

*back to trying to figure out nonsensical assembly-code error messages*

EDIT:
*looks at 3 below posts, all by different people*
Your efforts were in vain Nismo. icon_lol.gif
9 years ago
NismoR34 wrote
Electronic Arts originally held the licences for both Ferrari and Porsche but I believe that expired recently. Microsoft did a deal with EA to utilise both manufacturers in Project Gotham Racing 2 and they could have done the same deal again regarding their inclusion in Forza. That depends on whether EA re-newed the two licences or not.
Man thats really cheap.
Ferrari and Porshe are like two of the biggest car companies. I really hope GT5 has them in it, because without them it seems a little further away from the ultimate driving game.

Oh and question for you Nismo, do you know in GT3-Whats up with the 'RUFs'? They are Porshes arent they - But whats up with the name?
9 years ago
RUF's kinda are and kinda aren't Porches...

RUF is a company that tunes and re-designs cars that once Porches... though i think now they are built from scratch rather than starting life as a Porche, although they do rebuild Porches as RUFs too...

similar to what HSV or FPV do with Holdens and Fords over here...

as for being in Gran Turismo, it was a clever way of defeating the licence issue...
9 years ago
ObsoletE wrote
RUF's kinda are and kinda aren't Porches...

RUF is a company that tunes and re-designs cars that once Porches... though i think now they are built from scratch rather than starting life as a Porche, although they do rebuild Porches as RUFs too...

similar to what HSV or FPV do with Holdens and Fords over here...

as for being in Gran Turismo, it was a clever way of defeating the licence issue...
I was looking at the RUF cars in GT4 the other day and I thought they looked a hell of alot like Porches, that explains it icon_biggrin.gif
9 years ago
Where have you kids been. Everyone knows about RUF's. icon_razz.gif

Back on-topic - Forza looks OK at best and won't even come close to the experience of GT4. The physics in the game still don't look natural like in GT4. Cars seem to brake on a dime and get "stuck" when doing so which looks wrong.
On the other hand it's customistation options and great online support are something GT4 doesn't have.
9 years ago
ObsoletE wrote
similar to what HSV or FPV do with Holdens and Fords over here...

as for being in Gran Turismo, it was a clever way of defeating the licence issue...
Oh! Fair enough, that is a pretty smart way of getting around it.

So I spose they did something similar to get the rights to the Holdens and Fords in GT4? Like they had trickford in GT3.

Why cant they do anything like this to get to Ferrari? are they to much of a whole company or something?
9 years ago
Eve6 wrote
ObsoletE wrote
similar to what HSV or FPV do with Holdens and Fords over here...

as for being in Gran Turismo, it was a clever way of defeating the licence issue...
Oh! Fair enough, that is a pretty smart way of getting around it.

So I spose they did something similar to get the rights to the Holdens and Fords in GT4? Like they had trickford in GT3.

Why cant they do anything like this to get to Ferrari? are they to much of a whole company or something?
from what i understand, Sega hold the Ferrari licence, and PD aren't willing to pay the fee, though MS are... ditto for Porche and EA Games... i don't know who holds the Lamborghini licence, though the Japanese GT3 tried to get around it but including a JTC Diablo under a different name (i forget it atm, but i'm sure if you google "GT3 +Japan +Lamborghini" you'll find it, but someone somewhere decided this wasn't sporting so they removed it from the carlists of the western release (though the car files are apparently still on the disc, so i guess you could hack it and open it somehow...)

i don't think using Tickford as the Falcon manufacturer was a licence dodge, after all, Ford are a licenced manufacturer in the game, rather Tickford are another HSV, FPV-like tuning shop, so from that POV, it should be badged as a Tickford... after all it is what the T stands for in the FTR team-name... (though the F could pose a problem with regard to this postulate...)

as for using manufacturer-specific tuners as licence dodges... i don't know an equivalent company for Ferrari and Lamborghini, so thats probably why... (thats not to say they don't exist, just that i personally, am not aware of any...)
9 years ago
Eve6 wrote
NismoR34 wrote
Electronic Arts originally held the licences for both Ferrari and Porsche but I believe that expired recently. Microsoft did a deal with EA to utilise both manufacturers in Project Gotham Racing 2 and they could have done the same deal again regarding their inclusion in Forza. That depends on whether EA re-newed the two licences or not.
Man thats really cheap.
Ferrari and Porshe are like two of the biggest car companies. I really hope GT5 has them in it, because without them it seems a little further away from the ultimate driving game.

Oh and question for you Nismo, do you know in GT3-Whats up with the 'RUFs'? They are Porshes arent they - But whats up with the name?
Well this is going to take a while...
You're right Eve6, without the two manufacturers the Gran Turismo franchise does feel lacking, and rightly so too. Imagine taking these cars around Gran Turismo's many tracks, how awesome would that be?

The easiest way to describe what a RUF is, is to say that the company takes a Porsche model, adds their own features or improves on something that Porsche has already created, and then release it to the public re-badged as a RUF. RUF as a company didn't always re-badge Porsches though. Infact the company's creator wasn't even behind the idea of changing the features of a Porsche model - it was his son who did it and he was recognised for it. It all went from there.

Oh and it's Porsches. icon_razz.gif


ObsoletE wrote
similar to what HSV or FPV do with Holdens and Fords over here...

as for being in Gran Turismo, it was a clever way of defeating the licence issue...
The difference with that comparison though is that RUF is a completely different manufacturer to Porsche. All they do is change enough features and re-tune a few parts (for better or for worse) of a Porsche model and then label it as their own car. Holden Special Vehicles and Ford Performance Vehicles aren't seperate manufacturers, merely just a different division of their respective companies. Porsche and RUF are good friends apparently, so that's why Porsche continually allow RUF to do what they do. Infact I believe some of RUF's designs have made Porsche 're-try' with some of their models.

It was a clever way of defeating the licence issue in Gran Turismo, but even if Polyphony managed to obtain the Porsche licence, RUF's would still have been included in the game. Oh and again, it's Porsches. icon_razz.gif


Eve6 wrote
So I spose they did something similar to get the rights to the Holdens and Fords in GT4? Like they had trickford in GT3.

Why cant they do anything like this to get to Ferrari? are they to much of a whole company or something?
Tickford! Not trickford. icon_razz.gif
The Tickford vehicle included in our version of Gran Turismo 3 was only included because Polyphony needed something to replace that Lamborghini the they included in the Japanese version.
The Holden and Fords that are going to be included in Gran Turismo 4 are there because Polyphony finally recognised the importance of the Australian division of these two manufacturers. (remember, Holden are apart of the General Motors company) I'm quite sure that the release of the Pontiac GTO over in America was a little bit of a contributing factor, as that is the Holden Monaro...
Plus, have you noticed that the Tickford V8 Supercar is still in the game and none of the new V8 Supercars are? This is because Codemasters hold the licence for pretty much all of the V8 Supercar racing teams and again, there's that licensing issue. I guess Polyphony really hate paying other developers for licences huh?

As for Ferrari, well again - Sega hold the licence. I guess Sega's offering price was just too high for Polyphony to consider.


ObsoletE wrote
i don't know who holds the Lamborghini licence
Acclaim held the Lamborghini licence for a long time but now that they are gone, I guess it can be anyone's licence. Unless another developer (THQ perhaps?) has since bought the licence? icon_confused.gif

Oh and again, Porsches. icon_razz.gif


Yep, that took a while.
9 years ago
NismoR34 wrote
Oh and it's Porsches. icon_razz.gif [/color]
lol, i knew it looked wrong... and so obvious when i see it... icon_doh.gif

as for HSV, the ownership by Holden has only been recent, it was a quasi-independant tuner prior to 2002... before then it was a partnership between Tom Walkinshaw Racing (TWR) and Holden, with TWR holding majority assets... a bit like Ford and Tickford i guess...

but yeah, still less independant than RUF is... incidentally, is it actually RUF, or just Ruf? given it's the dude's name, not initials... I've always written RUF, but just wondered suddenly... (EDIT: nevermind, it's Ruf...)
9 years ago
Your evil Nismo, but thanks icon_razz.gif ('trickford' was a typo, the other wasnt)

Just before I came online I was playing the Forza Motorsport demo and I must say its not to bad.
The course in the demo is in Gran Turismo 3 also so it was good for me to make a comparison.

Basically the actual game is pretty standard but the environment graphics are really nice, along with the car models.
The customation of the cars is really awesome cause you can also tune the look, but the amount of cars really seems to be lacking.

Overall I think SegaGT 2002 was better, all this hype about it being the GT for Xbox is only half true. By the way what ever happened to Sega Gt Online, is it out??
9 years ago
i played the Forza demo at Harvey Norman today... i didn't really like it...

it might've been the screen, it was a projector onto a wall cell, but i just really dislike the XBox control pads... i guess they are already the size of a steering wheel so no extra peripherals are required...

i think it might have been a different demo though, as the course i drove was not from GT3... or maybe there are more than 1 course and i didn't try the other...
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    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  Out Now
European Release Date:
  Out Now
Publisher:
  Microsoft Game Studios
Developer:
  Microsoft Game Studios
Players:
  1-8

Extra:
Xbox Live compatible

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