Drivatars Killed my Forza Fun


I’m an arcade racing fan. I love Burnout, certain Need for Speeds, and others. Gran Turismo? Not so much.

Forza always peaked my interest. I know nothing of cars beyond how much they cost for repairs, but I appreciate the feeling of being in that community. Forza Horizon was especially striking to me with its festive, inviting atmosphere.

With Xbox One, Microsoft greeted the console launch with Forza 5. This is an evolution as AI racers have been abandoned. Opponents are pulled from the cloud and branded “Drivatars.” These are advanced versions of the traditional racing ‘ghosts,’ carrying the characteristics of the driver they represent.

What I quickly learned is that most people drive like me. They’re terrible. Cars slam into one another as if Forza offered destruction derby rules. In the mix, two racers typically break from this metallic melee and swing to the front untouched. Catching up isn’t feasible.

I play Forza to gawk. I don’t play for the challenge. I’m stunned at what dedicated developers who love what they do can create. Community measures to expand on those elements are equally striking. With Forza 5, I can’t relax. Instead, I’m crushed. Even with assists turned on difficulty turned down, Forza is too alive. If I wished to play against others, I would select online modes. Instead, even in single player I’m bunched with players of varying skill. Those at the top feel unbalanced. Technically this is impressive, even if it feels like sliders are set to maximum aggression.

Instead of a solo routine, Forza has become a mess of fiercely uncompetitive races where the top tier incorrectly inserted into the race (sans balance) are branded winners. Consideration of multiple experiences has been denied for the sake of technical buzzwords. I choose not to play online simulation racing titles; I’m not blind to my lack of knowledge or skill. Now, as we enter into this generation, the solitary experience is becoming bridged with online.  Having empty fun isn’t allowed anymore.