Developer: Turn 10 Studios; Publisher: Microsoft Studios; Price: Free
Reviewed On: Windows 10
Core i5-6500 3.2GHz; 16GB DDR4 RAM; GeForce GTX 1070 8GB
I’m racing a brand new Ford GT down the streets of Rio de Janeiro. The ride is exhilarating, with realistic handling that strives for my attention. The next corner is coming up fast as I move through the competition. Forza 6 Apex demands precision, each corner presenting a chance of losing control. I hit the brakes hard, slowing down just on time to pass into the corner, gaining a small advantage over the rest of the pack. Sometimes, Forza 6 works in the player’s favour, but more often than not aggressive driving results in a disaster. Maybe Forza 6 isn’t for someone like me, but I grew to enjoy it over the time, and while the Windows 10 Apex edition lacks in serious content, its free asking price serves to demonstrate not only the experience of Forza Motorsport 6, but also the technical achievement of its PC Port.
Forza 6 Apex presents familiar menus at launch, with a clean interface that shows just the essentials. As a Universal Windows Platform App, it works well, presenting no frustration and no notable issues. Diving further into the game, lack of features is immediately noticeable. Forza 6 Apex lacks multiplayer of any sort, significantly limiting the experience. For most, Forza 6 Apex will serve as a quick slice of Forza gameplay if they never owned an Xbox, and paves the way for future games in the series on the platform. The social multiplayer elements are present in the form of online leaderboards, which is not something to especially strive towards. Forza 6 Apex in this way demonstrates a curve towards features commonly found in free-to-play racing games. Anyone looking for the split-screen feature to carry over will find themselves disappointed as well, although the option for local multiplayer would have certainly made the game more enjoyable with friends. All things considered, the lack of mentioned features is not surprising given the free edition of the game, which can still be found carrying a ‘Beta” tag on its store page.
What is available then? For a start, the game features a short but sweet single player, with 13 races split across varying disciplines. Each event consists of objectives to complete which grant medals, although once all 3 are earned per event, there is no real reason to go over them again. Which is unfortunate, because half the cars for each event are usually locked behind further progression and the only way to try them out is to go back and repeat over. That isn’t to say that racing itself isn’t fun and for the thrill alone it is worth revisiting past events, and different cars are always nice to try out. On top of the single player sit daily events, which present another opportunity to earn medals, although I was surprised to notice much of the content gated behind DLC. That’s correct, the free ‘Beta’ release of Forza 6 includes an in-game store with additional events and cars available to those who decide to go premium. On top of the free game, the DLC doesn’t seem to be a bad concept, but its offer is hardly worth it. Additional cars and a round of events won’t keep me playing the game to justify it. Without the added DLC, the single player content is fairly limited and presents little reason to keep playing once the events have been completed.
Despite the significant content reduction for the free release, Forza 6 Apex retains the core elements of its full-price Xbox One release. Detailed graphics and realistic handling both find their place into this iteration, providing for a vertical slice of gameplay to mirror the depth of the core game. Forza 6 Apex demands precision, and features one of the most realistic handling models I have seen alongside Project CARS and Assetto Corsa. The insignificant single player elements has had no impact on the overall quality of the release, and Forza 6 Apex holds up to offering a similar quality to Forza Motorsport 6. The cars handle tight in corners, demanding control through every moment. A wheel off track can often lead to devastating results and more often than not a race has to be restarted. To its credit, the game features deep customization of its driving elements, striking all nodes to make the experience as easy as possible or as demanding as one can handle. Multiple driving assists can be enabled or switched off to tailor the experience for any skill level. Forza 6 Apex is quite accessible with full assistance, although still doesn’t quite match the likes of Need for Speed or Forza Horizon in over-the-top driving. On the hardest difficulty, Forza 6 is demanding, but never leads to the point of frustration. Experienced gamers will find a lot of features to like, and customizable assists allows the game to appeal to an even broader audience.
Forza 6 Apex includes a few interesting elements to round off the experience. First of all, I got lost in the robust photo mode that has been included with the release. Forza 6 Apex features a very simplistic photo mode, which yet allows to capture some incredible screenshots. A few simple tweaks allowed me to capture desired moments from multiple angles and the results tended to be quite impressive. I wasn’t a big fan of a lack of a dedicated save folder for those photos and they got easily lost in the process of some software issues.
Forza 6 Apex shines on high-end system, and its an impressive achievement on a technical level. Tested on my system, the game ran with absolutely no issue on the highest settings and a stable 60 fps, and fully takes advantage of DirectX 12 as the series moves towards a multi-platform release. The stability of the game is fairly impressive, considering how multiple full-price Windows Store releases were plagued with technical problems. When its allowed to take advantage of a powerful system, the game looks stunning and demonstrates some impressive lighting and effects. I was especially fond of the weather effects implemented in Forza 6. The rain not only looks impressive, but impacts gameplay in real-time. Water effects are represented with accurate detail to compliment the overall package.
Forza 6 Apex contains no noticeable performance issues as far as I was able to tell. The game includes a FPS counter in its options menu as a handy tool to show how fast the game is running without any external applications. Graphics options allow for limited, but acceptable tweaking to squeeze performance out of lower end systems. Generally, the game handles pretty well, considering it is a tech demo for a game. It did not present me with any problems to take away from the overall experience.
Forza Motorsport 6 Apex is a nice package to demonstrate Forza gameplay on Windows 10 systems. The free ‘beta’ version available to download from the Microsoft Store provides all the essential gameplay experience of Forza Motorsport 6, albeit with greatly reduced single player content. The game offers a worthwhile experience to any gamer in general, but especially those interested in racing games will find a lot of depth to find here. A limited, but sweet amount of cars and tracks make up this game to show a couple of hours of satisfying experience. If backed up by a powerful system, Forza 6 Apex further shines with its quality graphics and incredible level of detail. Customizable experience makes the demo widely appealing to gamers of different skill levels, although it demands some attention. For its free price tag, Forza 6 Apex is a great game for entertainment, and although it lacks in depth and many significant features, the demo contains all the essential components of Forza racing experience. It’s a game worth trying, considering its also completely free.