I’ll admit, my experience with the “IGN Car Pack” DLC for Forza Motorsport 5 didn’t exactly start off on the right foot. Now I’m not sure if this is just me, but when I download new DLC, I expect to be able to start the game and essentially jump right into whatever content I’ve just bought. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, for reasons unknown to me, it seems like simplicity wasn’t exactly a priority for Turn 10 when they were developing this game.
So last week, when I returned from holidays, I turned on my Xbox One, popped in the disc for Forza Motorsport 5, and downloaded the latest patch to include the new cars from the “IGN Car Pack”. The download finished in a matter of moments, and the game launched; things were looking good. I entered the main menu and then proceeded to set-up a custom match. I decided to use the Circuit De Spa Francorchamps to test the cars this time, with no AI opponents so I could just spend lap after lap seeing what they were capable off. It was looking promising.
The only thing left to do was pick which car I’d be starting off with. The Caterham Superlight R500 seemed like a good choice, so I went to the ‘Rent Car’ section (because it would seem rather ridiculous that you’d be forced to purchase a vehicle using in-game credits if you were only using it for an offline race with no opponents, no?) and proceeded to scroll to Caterham in the list of manufacturers. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t listed. Given this, I decided to see if I could find another car from the new DLC instead – nope. At this point I decided to back out to my career and see if I could buy the cars (thinking that if they weren’t available to rent or buy that maybe the DLC just didn’t install), but low-and-behold, each of the ten new cars were there – all available to be bought for career mode.
Remember what I said about simplicity earlier?
Unlike the “LaFerrari Car Pack” which I reviewed a few months ago, it appears that Turn 10 decided that they wouldn’t make any of the new cars available to be ‘rented’ – so with no real time trial mode for the game (yet another thing missing from Forza Motorsport 5 that I can’t fathom), it seems like the developers are forcing players to use their in-game credits even if they merely want to test drive the cars in the pack. When credits aren’t easy to come by (I ran some calculations, and with the average race taking six minutes to complete and yielding 10,000 credits, it would take 42 hours to earn enough credits to buy all the cars in this DLC), and when there are multiple cars in the pack that cost over 1,000,000 credits each, I was starting to wonder exactly how many cars I’d be able to cover for this review.
Thankfully, I’m pleased to announce that there is a way to (unofficially) force the cars to be available as a rental (check the bottom of the review for how to do this). So without further ado, here’s my review of the “IGN Car Pack”.
For those who read my review of the last DLC for Forza 5, you’ll remember that my impressions were rather less than positive. The cars didn’t go fast, they didn’t drive particularly well, and for the greater part, were rather uninspiring. Fortunately, it seems Turn 10 have turned things around for the ten cars in the latest pack (pun intended, not sorry folks). Not only is there some variety in the vehicles on offer, but for the greater part, each one is surprisingly enjoyable to drive too.
Traditionally when reviewing previous DLC packs, I’ve always decided to use the cars without modifications, but to give some of the lower-tiered vehicles a fighting chance this time around I decided to upgrade those I could afford to at least a B-class. As a result, a lot of the cars on offer show quite a lot of potential, as was particularly the case with 1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432 and the 1997 Ford Escort RS1800, both of which proving to be not just easy to drive, but surprisingly quick too. Of the two though, the Ford definitely stands-out, where everything about it just screams having fun. It’s compact, nimble, and extremely easy to not just drift in corners, but to maintain the slide too. Hell, even the 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 was a joy to rip around the various tracks in the game. Sure, it isn’t the best handling car and it definitely feels like your typical old-school American muscle car, but with a few upgrades it fares far better than I expected it to.
Moving onto the Italian supercars in the pack, both the 2008 Lamborghini Reventon and the 2002 Ferrari 575M Maranello feel planted on the track and go like stink too. Of course, the latter quality has never been an issue for either of the two companies, but Ferrari and stability have never really gone hand-in-hand in past Forza titles. It’s also a nice change to see fast cars included in a car pack that aren’t stupidly difficult to handle (*cough* Hennessey Venom in Forza 4 *cough*).
Of course, the 575M and the Reventon aren’t the only Italian cars in the “IGN Car Pack”, with Turn 10 also including the extremely-rare, super-expensive, and highly-regarded 1957 Ferrari 250 California and the 1960 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage. Both cars, despite being C-class vehicles, have decent speed and handling, but the Maserati is undoubtedly the crazier of the two. Muscling the Birdcage around Spa wasn’t done without some effort, with it sending its rear out at any chance it got, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t fun. All this said though, both of these vehicles highlight a serious problem with DLC and pricing in this game. Both the 250 California and the Tipo 61 Birdcage fetch over 1,000,000 credits in the game to own, and that’s not an easy sum of money to come by. While I’ve typically not liked the idea of paying for DLC and then being given the cars for free in the game (it loses the idea of ‘earning’ them), I can’t exactly see the logic in paying $10 for ten cars, but then realising that I won’t be able to drive/upgrade three of them (that’s 33% of the cars) because they’re just too expensive and that much money is hard to come by). Yes, both cars are great and fun to drive, but realistically, I’m expecting most gamers who purchase this DLC won’t ever drive them, which does seem like a waste of money.
Moving on though, of the remain cars, we have both the 1984 Peugeot 205 T16 and the 2013 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG. Due to its price (130,000 credits) I was unable to purchase and upgrade the Peugeot, but while it sticks to the road and handles well, it unfortunately does come off feeling a little slow. This said however, none of that compares to the sheer atrocity that is the Mercedes-Benz A45. In Turn 10’s description of the car they write, “it becomes a profound track performer” and “the A45 AMG will not disappoint”, but quite frankly, Turn10 couldn’t have written greater rubbish. Even with the upgrades I applied to make the car competitive for B-class, it drives, handles, and runs as easily the worst car in the pack. The Mercedes-Benz A-class has always stricken me as odd, seeming like the red-headed step-child of the company, as far as I’m concerned, the A-class is only there for pretentious families who want a glorified Opel Astra, and this therefore confuses me as to why anyone at Turn10 wasted their time to include this car into the game. It understeers horribly and it’s about as fast as a shopping trolley… so I guess the line “take it to the grocery store” on the Forza website is pretty apt. Hey, I guess in a pack of 10, one filler isn’t too bad!
As we near the close of this review, I have a slight confession to make. Ever since I reviewed the Top Gear Car Pack DLC for Forza Motorsport 4, I’ve always tried to embrace my inner-Clarkson and think of unique ways to describe the way a car performs when I’m testing them for a review. So far I’ve covered nine of the ten vehicles in the latest pack, and I’ve saved the best for last – that is, the 2013 Caterham Superlight R500. Now I can describe this car by saying it’s incredibly nimble, absolutely loves to slide it’s rear out on corners, or that it’s super fun to drive, but that’s a little boring. No, after spending some time with this car, I really think the only suitable way to describe the R500 is by referring to it as the stereotypical “Overly Attached Girlfriend”, and for good reason too. Now everyone knows that one person who’s partner always seemed a little too extreme, a little too difficult to handle, but for some reason, they keep together. You see, the Caterham is just like that partner. Yes, you’ll end up spinning out every once in a while because you decided to use a little too much power going into, then out, of that corner. Yes, you’ll probably then do a few donuts as you scramble to get back on track and then move in the right direction and yes, you’ll most likely lose control whenever you accidentally lose concentration, but there’s one reason why you’ll keep on coming back – because once you’ve done arguing and you get down to the action, oh boy it’s fun – real fun.
I remember when The Stig drove a Caterham in Top Gear UK a few years ago, and since then I always dreamt of being able to drive one myself. While I still might not physically have driven one, I’m getting as close as I can with Forza Motorsport 5, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had a massive grin as I was doing so. The Caterham is quick, mental, and oh so enjoyable. The “IGN Car Pack” certainly has a few decent cars this time around, but the Caterham R500, 10/10 would ban … erm, would drive again!
While the latest DLC proves the stupidity of Forza Motorsport 5 not having a time trial mode, and while the ridiculous price of some of the cars means you might never actually drive most of the cars in your career, there’s no denying that the “IGN Car Pack” is a step in the right direction as far as vehicles are concerned. That said though, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that we’d much rather see new tracks than cars right now for this game. Furthermore, and this is a big one, the IGN Car Pack also plays the same dirty trick as the last DLC for this game, where eight of the ten cars (that’s right, 80%) were included in Forza Motorsport 4. Call me dramatic, but it seems a little criminal that Turn 10 are taking away cars that were in the last game (irrespective of whether they were included via DLC or not) only to charge their fans money to gain access to them again. So where does that leave us? Yes, the “IGN Car Pack” is good, the cars on offer are fun and I’d definitely drive all of them again in career mode, but there’s just something that rubs me the wrong way about the fact that a) they were in the last game but we’re being charged to access them again in Forza 5 and b) that you’ll probably not afford some of them to actually use them in your career anyway. In a nutshell, the IGN Car Pack is good, but it’s still not great, and still leaves a lot to be desired.
In keeping with tradition, below is a list of the lap times using each of the ten cars on the Top Gear track. Any cars with a ‘*’ were upgraded to B-class.
2013 Caterham Superlight R500 – 1:22:431
2008 Lamborghini Reventon – 1:23:534
1977 Ford Escort RS1800 – 1:23:697*
1964 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 – 1:23:779*
2013 Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG – 1:23:961*
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432– 1:24:748*
2002 Ferrari 575M Maranello – 1:26:701
1960 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage – 1:27:219
1984 Peugeot 205 T16 – 1:31:686
1957 Ferrari 250 California – 1:35:175
(As mentioned earlier in the review, there is a way to unofficially set any car as a rental, even if it doesn’t appear on the list. To do this, in Free Mode, go to the ‘Rent Car’ section and select any car. Then return to the ‘Select a Car’ section again, but this time go to ‘Buy Car’. Select the car you’d like to rent, and go through selecting a livery/paint job up until the point you actually need to buy the car. At this stage, cancel back until you return to the race set-up screen. The car you just selected to ‘buy’ will now be set as a rental. Thanks to Andrew Harrison for the tip!)
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