Another Microsoft foray into PC gaming. Do they really intend to stick to their intentions of giving the PC gamers what they want? It can’t be worse the Quantum break right?
Well, with the release of Forza Motorsport 6 Apex beta things don’t look too bad, but they certainly have a way to go to make PC gamers believe in them. Firstly I had to download the game from the Microsoft store. Which means it defaulted to installing on my SSD. I couldn’t find anyway to force it to download to my games HDD. Alas, at least I could move it after it had installed. This is a major over site on Microsofts part. Most people use SSD’s for windows and essential programs, usually sticking games on a more traditional mechanical drives. SSD’s just having hit that sweet spot for mass storage yet (but its getting there!)
Secondly, when I launch the game I’m thrown straight into a tutorial. I get no time to adjust any of my sound, graphics, or input settings. Forcing me to race the first race with WASD and arrow keys. The keyboard is just not a suitable input for racing games. You need an analog input like provided by a controller. Then to put the icing on the cake I was forced to race with all driving assists turned on. I literally could just hold the accelerate key, the game would turn if I wasn’t and brake if I didn’t. Hold W to win!
Yet, once I got out of the tutorial I managed to delve into the settings. There isn’t a lot! I could choose a variety of graphics settings….. I joke. I could choose a few. From Low to Ultra. These were overall settings, I couldn’t tune my experience. For example I like to turn motion blur off, but to do that I’d have to run the whole game on low. Then the game is limited to 60fps. Urgh, I bought a 144hz monitor because I like my games to be buttery smooth. 60 is generally fine, but PC gamers like options Microsoft!
However, putting that aside. The game does run very very smoothly. I played for around 3 hours on Ultra and I didn’t notice any drop in performance, and the game is pretty good looking for the most part! Its no Project Cars, but its still a good looking game. Here is some gameplay I recorded of me driving around an Ariel Atom at night. Sorry about the compression, I couldn’t do much about it as I was forced to use windows recording tool since Microsoft games don’t work with shadowplay…. sigh.
I love the rain effects in Forza (video below to see it in action) when its bucketing down you really feel the impact on the car. I wish there was a dynamic weather option so I could be racing at night one moment, and then all of a sudden it started raining. It could really mix some races up. If you hit a puddle with the back wheels of your rear wheel drive machine, enjoy fighting to keep that control. You need to adjust your racing lines to compensate for the puddles left from the rain. Its a nice touch.
The sound design is really nice. The rumble of the engine, the way it echos on the environment around you. The way it muffles in the rain. The sound of multiple cars on the start up line revving there engines. The back fire when you shift gear in a P1. Its all satisfying, and makes me miss top gear even more, especially with the addition of the Top Gear test track!
The feel of the game is really nice as well. The cars feel weighted and responsive to control. However its not the type of feel I go for in my racing games, but I still appreciate it. I prefer rally type games where I can really throw the car around.
Microsoft have a decent port started here. Its only in Beta and already performs well. However I really hope they listen to the audience and fix the issues with there distribution platform. They need to remember that the PC isn’t a console. People like options on PC, they like to customise there experience. If we wanted a click and play experience, well we’d play on the Xbox or PS4 instead. I’m okay with buying games from the windows store. I dislike the argument that they should just put it on Steam. Steam is amazing, but competition for it is a good thing. Hopefully they can put it right?