What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the game may be too complex for younger players. It also has a thick materialistic atmosphere: Not only are players inundated with car-related advertising, but they are encouraged to shop for upgrades.Also, one introductory video briefly features a scantily clad woman suggestively caressing a car.
What's it about?
FORZA MOTORSPORT, a racing simulator from Microsoft, has the requisite single-event, multiplayer, time-trial, and practice modes, but the meat is in the career mode with its wealth of cars and upgrades, and scores of races across the globe. Racers can take advantage of abundant Xbox Live features: Players can race against seven cars online and buy and sell customized vehicles with other Forza fanatics.
Reckless driving will certainly result in crashes (although never so violent as to flip the car). One spin-out can move you from first to last, and damage can affect handling for the rest of the race. Fortunately the game provides helpful options, the most innovative being a suggested line on the track that shows cornering routes and changes colors to guide braking and acceleration. Advancing through race modes unlocks cars, and cash awards can be used to purchase a range of upgrades from the critical (better engines) to the frivolous (rims and tinted windows).
Is it any good?
In terms of presentation, Forza is good but somewhat below the Xbox's capabilities. Cars sound impressive but look plain, and some lighting effects are choppy. The environments and backgrounds likewise get the job done, though they do present a ton of racing-related (Toyo tires, Bosch spark plugs) and some non-racing-related (Levi's, Toys R Us) advertising in the form of billboards and stores. The game music is generic rock; although it is passable, players may want to use the Xbox's ability to rip CDs to compile their own speedster soundtracks.
Overall, any racing fan or gamer curious about racing will probably find themselves sucked into Forza Motorsport's nearly bottomless racing depths. Combined with spot-on but sometimes unforgiving physics, these depths will reward patient and committed racers, but may leave younger players or arcade fans frustrated.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about materialism. Why do some people spend so much energy and money on cars? Parents may also wish to point out the ads in the game. Ask your kids: Do you notice ads in games more or less than commercials on TV? Why would a company decide to advertise in a video game instead?