Forza Motorsport 5 has received mixed reviews since its launch alongside the Xbox One, but has finally been patched up and now offers an experience that feels far more definitive than it did prior to the patch. The initial version felt a bit like Project Gotham Racing 3 did on the 360’s launch – a half-baked affair that wasn’t bad, but it simply didn’t feel complete. It also used a business model that wasn’t very fair to players. Instead of gaining a new vehicle for each level gained with XP, you gained a paltry amount of XP that required a far greater investment of time to get a car – and gifted cars were a thing of the past. Instead, you were strongly encouraged to purchase vehicles using real money, which seems a bit nutty for a full $60 product.
A patch didn’t quite fix the problem, but does now give you at least twice the XP as you would have gotten before and greatly reduces the cost of cars with in-game currency. You can still buy cars with real-life money, but the revamped approach allows you to feel more reliant on in-game money and less likely to grab the credit card to snag a top-tier vehicle. It allows races to seem more significant and less like a grind, which encourages you to play more as payouts increase with each level gained. Races are more fun to play than before, and when combined with the revamped graphics, make Forza 5 a must-play for anyone who enjoyed past entries in the franchise.
With all that out of the way, let’s go into just how well Forza 5 works out for those with disabilities. First, we’ll cover how well the game works for those with vision issues. Like all other entries, the color-coded racing lines that you can place on the track to aid you in your progress may cause a problem for the color-blind since there’s no option for a text warning when you’re in a BRAKE NOW red zone. A simple “slow down” or “stop” blended into the line would probably suffice – or failing that, just start the different colored zones off with what they mean. Icons for the upgrade shop have been made much larger – which makes that job easier, and is something you’ll be doing a lot of since this is a simulation game. If you encounter some issues with the upgrade menus, you can still upgrade your vehicles – it will just take more money to have the game suggest changes for everything than just doing it yourself part-by-part. Text size varies quite a bit, with major heading text being fairly large and in all caps, but the actual messages themselves use a very small type face.
If you have issues with distance vision, this means you won’t be able to read the text unless you’re very close to the screen. The issue isn’t quite as bad as say, the original Dead Rising‘s text on standard-definition TVs in 2005, but is certainly noteworthy. If you have a bifocal lens, you may want to use the lower portion of it to read the menu text – some menu layouts almost perfectly match up with bifocal lines as well. Fortunately, if you have just minor vision issues, this game is quite playable and gorgeous to look at– although the small text may pose a problem for anyone who plays it.
Players with fine motor problems may have issues with the use of the hard-to-press bumpers for menu tab navigation. Despite the d-pad being used for some menus, in order to switch tabs, you are forced to use the bumpers and they can be difficult to use if you’re unable to move your fingers into a certain position. The game’s simulation-centric nature may cause problems because it requires precision in order to progress. Thanks to the very user-friendly difficulty settings, this issue can be remedied. Pretty much any difficulty can be chosen and you can choose to have steering and braking assists on if your reaction time isn’t the fasted. As long as you’re able to easily use the triggers and the left thumb stick during gameplay, you’ll be just fine in Forza 5. For all of the game’s initial faults, Turn 10 has always been good about making their games as accessible to as many people as possible.
Players with hearing problems may not be able to hear the music depending on the degree of hearing loss – which is a shame if you’re into really epic music. Realistically though, the soundtrack doesn’t fit the game at all, and just comes off as epic for the sake of epic and seems a bit pretentious as a result. not be able to listen to the rumble of the engines, but thanks to the rumble motors in the triggers, you can feel the action and get a far more tactile experience as a result. As someone with hearing that is just fine, I prefer to play without the sound and just led the rumble motors tell the story of the race – you know it’s been a hectic one when you can feel the rumble from beginning to end, and that makes for a more rewarding experience. Menu-wise, those with hearing issues won’t be able to hear the narration from the Top Gear hosts, but that gets old very quickly and you’re honestly not missing much without that experience – although the car-exploring Auto Vista mode is largely audio-based, it also isn’t an essential part of the racing experience. The lack of subtitles is notable since it seems like every game regardless of its genre includes them now, so perhaps they’re something Turn 10 can patch in down the line.
Overall, Forza 5 is a top-shelf racing game that is reasonably-accomidating for those with disabilities. Fine motor skill problems can be aided by changing the difficulty and adjusting assists, and those with hearing problems aren’t missing out on much here due to an ill-fitting soundtrack and narration that adds very little – but should at least be subtitled to help players understand what’s being said. Players with visual problems will want to try out past entries, or better yet, a free demo on an Xbox 360 incarnation, to see if the colors used for the suggested racing line cause problems.
Overall Rating: Thoroughly Accessible
Visual Rating: Partially Accessible
Fine-Motor Rating: Partially Accessible
Auditory Rating: Partially Accessible
Released For: Xbox One
ESRB Rating: E
Game Informer Rating: 8.75
– Cars and environments are detailed and easy to see
-Most menu text and icons are large
– Suggested racing lines can cause problems for the colorblind
-Some menu text is quite small
– Very few buttons are needed to play
-Adjustable difficulty makes racing easier
-Menu navigation doesn’t always use d-pad, and instead relies on awkward-to-press bumpers for navigation
– Rumble motors in the triggers help get across the racing action in leiu of sound effects
– The lack of subtitles for the Auto Vista
mode makes it useless for the