Forza Motorsport will redefine visuals for another generation as it opens itself up to more players than ever

While Xbox Game Studios still have many exciting titles in their portfolio, good old faithful Forza is still racing onto Game Pass this year.

In 2023, it’s the turn of Motorsport, the first of its name on the Xbox Series consoles. And while Horizon is more my cup of tea, I always look at the Motorsport games as the trendsetters.

These games set the tone visually, mechanically, and atmospherically. And this one, in particular, will be the most important, likely laying the groundwork for the rest of the generation. In conjunction, it feels like Turn 10 are going for something of a reboot for the series, now scrapping the number entirely and going back to basics.

The result is a game that attempts to appeal to the core racer the Forza Motorsport series has always been aimed at, but also the Horizon players, like me, who appreciate the variety and more drop-in and out gameplay.

For the most part, it succeeds in that mission. You can whizz around tracks with reckless abandon in the same arcade’y like way you’re used to in Horizon. Your car levels up by overtaking others, sticking to your lane and performing good sections. And there’s a car to suit all moods, set against a dynamic weather system that really adds to the aesthetic, bringing a more dynamic nature to the game.

But this is also still Motorsport, getting you to perform lap after lap on the same circuits, offering practice runs so you can best your times, giving you pitstops, and allowing you to finetune and soup up your car as you see fit.

If you’re sick of racers offering boosts to give you an extra edge as if they’ve been watching a bit too much Fast and Furious? That’s all gone. It’s just straight racing, head to head. Best car wins.

The barrier for entry is lower than ever, which makes this a more universally appealing product. Anyone who has touched a racer in the last few years will feel safe and comfortable diving in here. Even when it comes to upgrading your car – because if that’s not your bag, you can get the game to auto-upgrade and be done with it.

Undoubtedly, that’s Forza Motorsport’s greatest strength as Gran Turismo 7 can take a little while to get to grips with. You can be up, racing and staying competitive in Forza within minutes. That doesn’t mean it’s overly simplified, though, as there’s over 800 possible upgrades between brakes, exhaust and tires.

As you level up your car from using between one race to the next, you can tune it up more and more, meaning its feel can change dramatically over the course of an event if you use the same vehicle throughout. One race, you can take a corner neatly and tightly, the next, if raining and the ground is slick, you can really skid and slide all over the place.

The important thing to note is when you upgrade your car you do feel and see the difference, which makes the customisation possibilities here almost endless. It just guarantees an overall individual experience with over 800 different parts, the way they respond on each car and the balancing and adjustments you can make can massively alter your riding potential.

This is where fans of the franchise will feel most at home, tinkering in the garages, trying to find the best possible adjustments and take them to the practice tracks to really best their time. It’s a proper throwback to older Forza titles and will be a very welcome addition for many mainstays.

There’s an ever-connected nature to Motorsport as well, with your details live and public, immediately putting you head to head with friends and others from around the world. In career, you’ll measure up against their ghosts, and regularly get prompts to show you how you stack up against other drivers, awarding points based on that particular performance. This element will probably feel more like home to Horizon players, but it shows how Turn 10 have tried to gel these experiences to find a common ground.

Likewise, the huge roster of cars won’t feel too overwhelming to players who’ve come from elsewhere. In fact, they may just relish the thought of getting stuck in on various world-renowned brands, pitting them against just about anything and everyone out there.

And let’s just come right at it – Forza Motorsport is probably one if – if not, the – best looking game on Xbox Series X right now. It’s a big upgrade from Forza Horizon 5 which was simply beautiful and it’s all thanks to the level of shine, reflection, gleam and use of effects. Raindrops patter and roll down your TV screen, the way the night gradually creeps across the sky affects shadows and dimly lit areas while you try to navigate.

The shape, detail and feel of every car is just mindblowing, but equally the speed and performance with not a single frame drop whether you’re sharing the screen with a dozen other vehicles or panning the camera around to every angle when at top speed.

And then there’s the damage detail, with scrapes, grazes, slashes and bumps really adding characterising wear and tear to each car at the end of every race. Basically, if you want to use a game as an example for your glorious 4K TV and see its true potential, you can’t look much further than Forza Motorsport.

But the sound is also such a satisfying part of the experience, with cars producing beautifully honed purs and whirs at a level of detail and authenticity that just blows the mind. You feel so much closely connected, getting the adrenaline boost needed by just listening, focusing, absorbing and getting immersed.

Despite the dynamic weather and the hefty roster, there is some repetition in the game’s 20 tracks that start to grate after a little while. My other main criticism is that the whole game just feels very safe. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking here and it even feels a bit stripped back compared to other racers, maybe even other games in the series. For people who’ve waited over 6 years for the game, that may be a little disappointing to hear.

But it’s also the game’s simplicity that helps make it feel complete, healthy and well-rounded. Everything Turn 10 have done and introduced into the game has been refined to the highest of standards, rather than adding modes, features and additions that are half-hearted or poorly executed.

Turn 10 are already planning a huge amount of multiplayer gaming post launch which is where the game will sustain itself for months and years to come, and there’s already more cars planned and probably other events.

With it being 6 years since the last Motorsport, with it being a tentpole franchise for Xbox and the game being featured so prominently on GamePass as one of its key sellers, you know this game has legs. It’s not going anywhere and it will continue to grow, evolve, aspiring to be the best racer out there.

It has a few teething issues for now. The main one for me was a series of hard crashes that kept sending me to the dash, randomly in-between races, and I found I got the best out of the game when I played in short blasts rather than long hauls. In contrast, I spent hours on Forza Horizon 5.

Overall, though, Forza Motorsport is a stunning spectacle that aims to set the benchmark for all core racers that follow. And from what I’ve seen and played, on that note, it greatly succeeds.


Forza Motorsport is a brilliant reinvention for the franchise that will appeal to core drivers and Horizon fans in equal measure. With a more approachable barrier for entry, but plenty of substance with endless customisation possibilities, tweaks and fine-tuning, there’s something for everyone. Minor technical issues and environmental repetition aside, you can add in a visual style that will set the benchmark for the generation, and a long tail that will ensure the game stays healthy for months, even years to come. Forza Motorsport is a must play, no matter what skill level you’re at. 


+ One of the best looking games on Xbox Series X in 4K
+ A barrier for entry that enables anyone to pick up and play
+ Endless customisation potential
+ Everything here is polished to near perfection


– Some minor technical hitches, including one that kept kicking me to the dash
– Environmental repetition

Forza Motorsport is out in Early Access from October 5th on Xbox Game Pass and PC.

Code Kindly Provided by Xbox for review purposes

Tested on Xbox Series X

About the author

Jay Jones

Jay is a massive football fan - Manchester Utd in case you were wondering - and lover of gaming. He'll play just about anything, but his vice is definitely Ultimate Team.
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