By Nicholas Simonovski
When I think about the Xbox One and the next generation of gaming, I think of games being about more than just enhanced graphics. I envision developers re-invigorating and innovating gameplay in ways that completely change how we see games, and where we see what the new hardware and software of our new consoles are truly capable of. Of course, when I talk about the next generation of gaming, I think about more than just the game itself, but everything that supports them too – and part of this involves downloadable content.
Now I was excited when I heard that Turn 10 was going to be releasing twelve DLC packs across twelve months from the launch of Forza Motorsport 5. I looked forward to what new things they’d be introducing. Even the idea of purchasing the "Car Pack license" so I’d be entitled to all future DLC at a discount was enticing to me. However, now that we have the first piece of additional content in the form of the "LaFerrari Car Pack", I’m starting to wonder whether I was being a bit too hopeful.
The last time I reviewed a DLC pack for a Forza Motorsport title was the "May Top Gear Car Pack" for FM4. Much like the "LaFerrari Pack" I’ll be discussing here, it also featured ten additional cars, where one was particularly fast, a few were relatively slower, but still decent, and then the rest, pathetic. Sadly, much like the tuna at Toretto’s café, the DLC for Forza Motorsport was crappy in 2012, and guess what, it hasn’t changed.
The "LaFerrari Car Pack" features what Turn 10 would like to describe as “classic muscle ready to lay down serious rubber, imports begging to be tuned to new heights of performance, and European elegance whose track prowess will surprise you.” Alternatively, I like to describe it as, “old American cars that were popular in the 80s, imports that are neither inspiring nor appealing, and three European cars – one of which is undrivable, another which is neither great nor bad, and the other whose preferred habitat is a shopping centre car park than the Nurburgring.” Unfortunately Microsoft turned down my description for the XBL Marketplace.
The reason I find this pack to be such a let-down is because the cars themselves lack that flare and character I expect to see when spending $10 on DLC. Sure, the 1969 Dodge Charger R/T and 1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 have history and were highly prized cars for their time, and I’m sure there are people who are going to love the 2002 Lotus Esprit V8, 1979 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, and 1987 Pontiac Trans Am GTA, but my reaction when I looked through the car list for this pack was more of “meh” than “wow”.
Having spent time driving them all around the Top Gear track, some of them honestly didn’t drive too badly. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Camaro and Charger handled, the Cosworth was fun and nimble going around the course, and the Lotus Esprit and Pontiac Trans Am weren’t bad either, but none of these cars were fast – they just drove well. The Toyota MR2 and Acura RSX were planted, but there’s really no reason I’d ever have to drive any of them again – both were exceptionally mediocre. The Top Gear boys once mentioned that you’re not a real car enthusiast until you’ve owned an Alfa Romeo, but after driving the Giuletta, I’m not too sure I see why. And as far as the BMW M6 is concerned - it understeers, is horrible at braking, you’ll encounter wheelspin at every corner and never seems to want to drive in a straight line. It is, quietly simply, undrivable.
Now if you wanted to drive just your favourite of the group, say the Charger R/T, you can purchase it separately from the other cars, but here’s the kicker – the only way you’ll be able to get the LaFerrari is to purchase the entire pack, so this isn’t so much $10 for 10 cars, but really $10 for one, and that’s when you need to ask yourself whether the "LeFerarri Pack" is worthwhile. Undoubtedly, the Ferrari is the best car of the lot – it is astonishingly quick, it’ll require a bit more effort to muster it around the track and it’s handling proves for a nice challenge, but is it worth the price of the whole pack just to drive this one car… I’m not too sure. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but I had more fun driving the Ferrari F430 in Forza Motorsport 4 if I’m honest.
Simply put, the "LaFerrari Pack" is a bad way to start twelve months of DLC for Forza Motorsport 5. Sure the cars have been re-created in great detail, sure some of them are OK to drive, but none are really memorable, and while the LaFerrari is nice, it’s not nice enough to warrant the cost of buying the whole pack for it. What’s worse, I question the effort Turn 10 went to for these cars, when I noticed that the shifter didn’t move in the Lotus Esprit as I went through the gears, and my driver’s hands went through the steering wheel in the Acura RSX-R when I was turning. Each car is forgettable, and it seems like a bit of an insult that Turn 10 are providing cars for DLC when they were available in FM4 to begin with. In short, perhaps it’s best you hold onto your $10 and wait for the December pack… or buy Forza Motorsport 4 instead.
In keeping with tradition, I've also recorded my fastest time with each of the cars around the Top Gear track below:
- 2013 Ferrari LaFerrari - 1:12:990
- 2013 BMW M6 Coupe - 1:23:802
- 2002 Lotus Esprit V8 - 1:25:028
- 2011 Alfa Romeo Giulietta - 1:30:488
- 1987 Ford Sierra Cosworth RS500 - 1:31:857
- 1969 Dodge Charger R/T - 1:34:196
- 1987 Pontiac Trans Am GTA - 1:34:960
- 2002 Acura RSX - 1:36135
- 1979 Chevrolet Camaro Z28- 2:37:476
- 1982 Toyota MR2 SC - 1:37:699