Forza Motorsport 5 arrives at launch with the Xbox One, and having spent quite a bit of time with the game (you can read my review here and feature here) I am definitely a fan. Forza is definitely a challenging racer, so for anyone looking to pick it up along with their new console, here are a few beginner’s tips to get you started.
Look for the dark line
If you’re driving without the racing line on full, or only have it on during corners, you need to know where the best place is to be on the track. Thankfully, the majority of circuits, especially those that are specially designed for racing, have clear markings of where the fastest part of the track is. If you look closely, one half of the road is darker than the other, meaning it has been driven on more, so you can assume that’s the racing line. Stick to this as much as possible, as it’ll help you when approaching corners to carry the most speed for as long as possible.
If you are on a street circuit and it is more difficult to see which part of the track is the racing line, look at where the AI drives. Drive a quick race on a troublesome track with the AI difficulty set high, where you know they race to a near-perfect level. Learn the way the game is supposed to be driven and you’ll be fine.
Brake then turn
Forza is more forgiving of you braking while turning when ABS is turned on, but it can still be a problem. Turning while your tyres are trying to stop moving isn’t a good thing.
Try and get your car as straight as possible before approaching a turn, hit the brakes hard so you get into the correct gear and speed before the corner, then turn in.
If you fined yourself going around turns with your car sideways frequently, you’re going too fast. Tap the brakes in an attempt to correct the error. Equally, if you have gone in too slow, gently feather the throttle to try and carry you through.
Don’t accelerate until the exit
Just as important as braking before a turn, you shouldn’t go full on the accelerator until you have left a corner. Accelerating too soon will cause you to spin out and lose control of the car, even with assists on. As with braking, you want your car to be as straight as possible before fully accelerating. Gently tapping the throttle so that you maintain your speed is fine, so long as you weren’t too fast when you entered.
When trailing, brake earlier
You’ll hit the rear end of a driver just ahead of you if you don’t brake earlier than usual when heading into a corner. Sometimes you’ll see a driver tap his brakes a moment before slamming them on. This is a warning to you to slow down and not hit them. This “check braking” is a heads-up to keep you aware and make sure you know to anticipate the corner ahead, even if your vision is obscured by your opponent.
When you are surrounded by other cars, you’ll get hit from behind without any warning from time to time, and this will most definitely frustrate you. If you feel this starts to happen too often, try taking a different approach to a turn and starting from a different angle. Yes it may affect how you turn, but it will keep you on the road.
I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but in certain situations, it is more beneficial to concede position to an opponent than try and force your way ahead, especially if you have simulation damage. If you opt for in-car or bonnet camera angles, it can be difficult to have a context of cars around you, so when approaching tight corners, use the right stick to have a quick look to the left and right to see if your approach will be impeded by nearby cars, and always be mindful of the mini-map.
You aren’t going to memorise these tracks without driving around each of them a time or two. Try turning the driving line off or at least to only the braking zones, as when you have it always on, you aren’t learning the track but simply locking your eyes to the blue line and not really paying attention to what’s around you. Learning the track involves looking out for markers on the road to know when to brake, when to accelerate and when to turn. Once you get a feel for each track, and how they behave when in the different classes of cars, you’ll soon be climbing up the fastest lap leaderboards and your Drivatar will be a real handful.
If you’d like to know more about Forza 5′s Drivatar technology, I wrote a little feature about it over at VideoGamer.