|Developer(s)||Turn 10 Studios|
|Publisher(s)||Microsoft Game Studios|
Forza Motorsport is a racing video game developed by Turn 10 Studios and published by Microsoft for the Xbox gaming system. The word Forza is Italian for force. The game is the first installment in the Forza series, a series that has continued on Microsoft's subsequent consoles, the Xbox 360 and the Xbox One.
There are 231 cars in Forza Motorsport ranging from a Honda Civic to supercars such as the Enzo Ferrari and Le Mans race prototypes such as the Audi R8. There are nine classes of cars, spanning standard production vehicles to sports and high performance cars to purpose-built race cars. Each car can be upgraded and tuned with a large number of extras and parts. Upgrades are separated into three categories: engine/power, appearance/aerodynamics and chassis/drivetrain. There is a wide range of tuning available including tire pressure (which changes during races due to temperature), downforce, gear ratios and limited slip differential.
Forza Motorsport is able to realistically model damage to cars, from both a cosmetic and a performance standpoint. This changes the way the game is played, as collisions with barriers and other cars will alter the car's handling, top speed and acceleration. More noticeably, spoilers can be knocked off cars, paint can be scraped off and windows can be smashed completely (the front window however can only be shattered). Bumpers can't be knocked off.
The game contains a mix of licensed, street, point to point and original circuits. Real world tracks Road Atlanta, Silverstone, Laguna Seca, Tsukuba, Road America, and Nürburgring Nordschleife were licensed and included. Furthermore, the game's Blue Mountains Raceway circuit is heavily comparable in track layout, characteristics and backgrounds with the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst. In addition to these, Forza Motorsport also contains a wide variety of autocross, oval, and dragstrip courses.
Like the majority of major racing simulators, Forza Motorsport is designed to calculate a car's performance in real time using physical data (for example, the weight of a car's engine, its drag coefficient, etc.), consequently causing the cars to mimic the handling characteristics of their real-life counterparts. In 2005, Popular Science magazine tested this effect by inviting professional race car driver Gunnar Jeannette and a car enthusiast without major professional motorsports experience to drive identical cars on an identical track in both Forza Motorsport and the real world. Aside from several cars which were either in challenging physical condition or lacking identical setups, Jeannette's track times matched closely from his performance on the real track and in virtual reality. The amateur's real world times in all of the cars were roughly identical despite a 16-second spread between fastest and slowest in Forza, which he attributed to his fear of the consequences of driving too hard causing him to drive more slowly in the faster cars.
Forza Motorsport received a "Gold" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 200,000 copies in the United Kingdom.
Forza Motorsport received "universal acclaim" according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. The game was also featured in the June 2004 issue of Popular Science. Reviewers praised the game's advantages over Gran Turismo 4. Che Chou of 1UP.com commented that Forza was the "most realistic console racer ever made". GameSpot's Brian Ekberg noted how well the game balanced accessibility and pleasing genre fans. Kristan Reed of Eurogamer liked the game's online integration. In Japan, Famitsu gave it a score of one eight, two sevens, and one nine for a total of 31 out of 40.
Maxim gave the game all five stars, saying, "Microsoft Game Studios' answer to Sony's automotive masterpiece is simple–add online play and program cars that take realistic damage." The Times also gave it all five stars, saying that "the really ingenious element is the Drivatar AI, in which the computer learns your driving technique." The Sydney Morning Herald gave it four-and-a-half stars out of five, saying, "Car handling is demanding, but beginners can instantly have fun, thanks to helpful driving assists and generous early prizes." However, Jim Schaefer of Detroit Free Press gave it three stars out of four, saying, "man, is this game difficult, even on the easy setting. I prefer games with unreal speed, power boosts and shortcuts. I just couldn't seem to get a grip on Forza until I played around with different cars, perusing the six classes, from standard production cars like your basic Honda Civic to race cars like the Audi R8."
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