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Forza Motorsport review – revved up
10:01 am | October 4, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Gaming | Tags: , | Comments: Off
Review info

Platform reviewed: Xbox Series X
Available on: Xbox Series X|S, PC
Release date: October 10, 2023

Forza Motorsport provides a refreshing change of pace compared to the racing game landscape of the last couple of years. While it’s a sim racer at heart, it’s much lighter on realistic simulation than Gran Turismo 7, while offering a tighter, more intimate racing experience than the open-world shenanigans of The Crew Motorfest.

To sum it up in a word, Forza Motorsport is welcoming. There are swathes of accessibility options to accommodate players of all skill levels and levels of familiarity with racing games, and the handling model is generous compared to the pinpoint precision demanded by other sim racers. Throw in a wide range of difficulty options, over 500 cars, and multiple racing modes, and the latest Forza feels content-rich at launch. For the most part.

The truth is that you’ll get the most out of Forza Motorsport if you race online with other players. That’s because the Builder’s Cup career mode becomes quite repetitive early on. And that’s exacerbated by the limited number of circuits available to race on at launch, meaning you’ll be visiting the same tracks frequently. What’s here right now, though, is an exhilarating racing experience that rounds out a strong year for Xbox console exclusives. 

Built to last

Forza Motorsport

(Image credit: Microsoft)

After a couple of introductory races in the game’s flagship cars - the No. 01 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R and Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray - Forza Motorsport will put you straight into the Builder’s Cup, the career mode. There are several individual cups, each featuring a specific car theme across five or six races. Each series of races will have you buy a new car that’s eligible for the category, and you’ll upgrade it as you progress.

What’s especially cool is upgrading goes hand in hand with how well you drive. As you race, you’ll earn Car EXP from overtaking, racing cleanly (i.e. staying on track and not shunting your competitors), and driving sections and corners quickly and efficiently. These are particularly important, as you’ll be graded on a scale of one to ten; an excellent way of incentivizing you to learn each track and the best racing lines through them.

Leveling up your car gradually unlocks new parts for upgrades, and accrues CP (car points) for you to spend on them. It’s crucial, then, that you race as cleanly as possible, as this’ll mean you can afford more upgrades to remain competitive with your rivals, who’ll also be upgrading their cars as each series progresses.

Best bit

Forza Motorsport

(Image credit: Microsoft)

I’m a huge fan of Forza Motorsport’s Car EXP system. I felt like I was constantly being rewarded for learning tracks and improving my overall driving skill. This in turn helped me perform better while racing online. 

It sounds like a pretty satisfying loop on paper, but unfortunately, it creates a feeling of monotony throughout the Builder’s Cup mode. Each round features a practice session of two or three laps and a time to beat to get you familiar with the track and your car’s handling. The problem here is that I quickly felt the desire to just skip this and head straight to the race. And that’s not ideal at higher difficulties as practice also rewards valuable Car EXP and credits to buy new vehicles down the line, so they’re practically a necessity.

Instead, it would’ve been preferable to have a qualifying session that rewards you based on your lap times compared to other racers. Forza Motorsport sidesteps this with a risk vs. reward system that offers higher payouts based on where you choose to start on the grid. I’m not a fan of this; not just because it’s unrealistic, but also because the payouts are relatively tiny no matter where you elect to start.

Ultimately the Builder’s Cup is fun for shorter sessions, and it’s going to be regularly updated with new series post-launch. If you take it at a relaxed pace you’ll find there’s plenty of content and cars to enjoy here over a longer period of time.

Top gear

Forza Motorsport

(Image credit: Microsoft)

One of the best things about Forza Motorsport is its excellent vehicle handling. While not as strict or sim-heavy as Gran Turismo 7, the game provides a responsive and robust model with clear differences from car to car. That’s especially apparent when jumping from a front-wheel drive’s high speed to a rear-wheel’s more effective grip and handling.

There’s high attention to detail across all aspects of simulation. Tyre wear is a huge factor, with softs allowing for quicker lap times than mediums and hards at the cost of reduced durability. Tracks can also be rubbered in over time as tires wear down, increasing surface grip, or reducing it in wetter race conditions.

With that in mind, the best races are the ones that bring the game’s dynamic weather system into play. A wet track, for example, will dry over time once the rain has let up. And on longer races, you’ll need to effectively plan a pit strategy to make sure you’re not caught out on a suboptimal set of tires When the weather and track inevitably change.

Further exemplifying Forza Motorsport’s fantastic handling model is the wide range of assists and difficulty options presented. Just starting out? You’ll be able to make use of visual racing lines, traction control, brake assists, transmission type, rewinds, and more lenient penalties for shunting and track-cutting. You can toggle these off at any time to suit your comfort level, allowing you to tailor the game’s challenge to your preference.

There’s no limit to assists when racing online, either, which is fantastic for players who prefer racing against other players. While I had no issues with connection quality during testing, I did find the Featured Multiplayer (the game’s ranked mode) to be fairly limiting, as you’ll need to queue for races at specific times, with preset tracks, eligible cars, and conditions. Thankfully, private multiplayer lobbies with support for custom rule sets are also available if you just want to muck about with friends.

A feast for the eyes

Forza Motorsport

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Forza Motorsport is a visually beautiful game, which is highlighted superbly by the game’s revamped lighting system. The addition of volumetric lighting means that light accurately permeates through objects like trees, fences, and bounces off your vehicle. And if you’ve got ray tracing enabled, you’ll be able to see detailed reflections in vehicles and puddles of water. Rain-soaked races are especially lovely here, though the on-screen rain effect is a little overkill and quite distracting due to a frankly comical smattering of droplets smearing your vision.

Track detail is similarly impressive, with a high number of objects, animated 3D crowds, and high-resolution textures providing near-photorealistic results. If you’ve got an HDR-capable 4K TV, the results are especially breathtaking. And if you don’t mind the cut to 30fps, the Quality graphics setting is an absolute treat.

A big trade-off for all this extra detail, though, is that Forza Motorsport only features 20 circuits to race on, far fewer than GT7 at launch, and there are some baffling omissions. You won’t be racing on iconic tracks like Monza, Mount Panorama, or Brands Hatch - at least not at launch. More tracks will be coming in the future, but for now, you’ll find yourself racing the same tracks pretty frequently.

Despite its shortcomings and relatively slim track list, Forza Motorsport is a competent return to form for the sim racing series. It’s accessible to players of varying needs and skill levels, has enough content to last dedicated players months, and looks utterly gorgeous to boot. It’s not a game to miss if you’ve been craving an in-depth racing experience on Xbox.


(Image credit: Microsoft)

Forza Motorsport’s accessibility suite is simply brilliant, accommodating players of all kinds. Subtitle and screen narrator options are plentiful, as are global colorblind settings for both the game and its UI elements. Most impressive, though, is the extremely robust blind driving assists, which enable audible cues for braking, cornering, overtakes, off-track indicators, wrong-way indicators, and pit lane response.

How we reviewed Forza Motorsport

I played Forza Motorsport on Xbox Series X over the course of a week, getting stuck into the main Builder’s Cup mode and ensuring I tried out a wide range of forward, rear, and all-wheel drive vehicles across all of the game’s tracks. I tested some online sessions too, with developers from Turn 10 Studios. 

Forza Motorsport will be available day one on Xbox Game Pass. For more top racing titles, consider browsing our best racing games list, many of which work brilliantly with the best racing wheels you can buy in 2023.

Exoprimal review – an exhilarating dino slayer we can’t quite recommend
1:39 pm | July 19, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off
Review information

Platform reviewed: PS5
Available on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, PC
Release date: July 14, 2023

If you wanted to give someone the elevator pitch for Exoprimal, then you’d better be at the Burj Khalifa. At its core, it’s a 5v5 online multiplayer game with PvE and PvP phases, in which your team of specialist mech suits races through a map to eliminate portal-spawned dinosaurs in the hopes of reaching the final objective with a significant head start. But it goes further even than that ridiculous premise.

That’s because Exoprimal tries to add some value by including a cutscene-rich story. The convoluted events gradually unlock as you play more matches, regardless of whether you win or lose. It’s genuinely well-written with plenty of cute character moments, even if it takes itself a bit too seriously given the premise we’re dealing with.

About said matches, the core loop of Exoprimal is surprisingly fun. It’s an incredibly polished title; each of the ten Exosuits available at launch all have a unique feel, sound design and playstyle. The game absolutely shines in its player versus environment (or PvE) scenarios, as combating the wide range of dinosaurs and their variants feels fantastic in a coordinated team.

It’s a shame, then, that it starts to fall apart in the Player vs Player combat. Fighting other players in Exoprimal simply isn’t satisfying, with a significant lack of impact and feedback that’s very much present in the PvE segments. It lends the game a feeling that it isn’t really sure what it wants to be. That also extends to its outlandish full price tag, with Capcom charging $59.99 / £49.99 for the base game, despite its striking resemblance to a free-to-play model. 

Dino May Cry


(Image credit: Capcom)

Let’s start with what Exoprimal gets oh-so right; its PvE aspect, which is what’ll take up the majority of your playtime. Each match of Dino Survival, Exoprimal’s core game mode, presents two opposing teams of five with a series of challenges in the run-up to the final round.

These challenges can be as basic as killing a certain number of dinosaurs, or capturing a point on the map, to tougher objectives like defending a carrier jet for a certain amount of time. Your goal here isn’t just to complete the objective, but to do so in as quick a time as possible. Between phases, you’ll be updated on your progress in relation to the opposing team, with rogue AI antagonist and announcer Leviathan letting you know how speedy you are in comparison like a pit crew announcing split times to a race driver.

These initial phases of dino-scrapping are where Exoprimal excels

This race to the final round is Exoprimal at its best, mainly because fighting hordes of dinosaurs is wonderful fun. It’s not just a handful of prehistoric beasties, either. More often than not, you’ll be faced with Earth Defense Force-sized waves of creatures of varying types. More impressive still is that Exoprimal is able to maintain a solid 60fps performance throughout with only occasional minor frame drops to speak of. This helps the game feel fluid even when the action heats up, with velociraptors spewing out of portals.

These initial phases of dino-scrapping are where Exoprimal excels. Unfortunately, things start to fall apart after this. Dino Survival, currently the sole mode of the game, will have its final round be either PvE or PvP. The former is pretty much a repeat of those opening phases; complete three objectives before your opponents. It feels more than a little tacked on, whereas a straight race to the finish from the beginning would’ve kept matches brief and well-paced.

The PvP round types are certainly more creative. One has both teams transporting a data cube through the map, meeting at a central spot for a final confrontation. Another has players charging up a hammer by killing dinosaurs with it in order to destroy a series of nodes. 

What all modes have in common, though, is ‘finish this objective before the other team does.’ In that sense, despite the phase variety, matches in Exoprimal start to grow repetitive after a short amount of time, with the game largely being carried by just how good blasting away at wave after wave of prehistoric beasties feels. 

Fits like a glove


(Image credit: Capcom)

Exoprimal, at launch, features ten unique Exosuits for players to jump into, divided across three distinct roles: Assault, Tank and Support. What I really like about these suits, design-wise, is their very distinctive silhouettes. And because each plays so differently, it’s easy to see who others in the match are controlling, and adjust your own strategy accordingly.

The game does a fine job of encouraging players to try out multiple suits, and you’ll likely settle on at least one favorite in each role. That’s something you’ll want to do, too, as team composition is of vital importance in Exoprimal. Thankfully, you’re able to switch to a different Exosuit at any time during a match. One too many Assault suits on your team? Just a couple button presses can have you hopping into a Tank or Support in no time.

I’m personally a huge fan of Barrage, whose grenade launcher and explosive mines can immolate dinos for damage-over-time. When I need to switch, I’ll either opt for Murasame (a sword-wielding Tank with a powerful counter) or Witchdoctor (the game’s pure area-of-effect healer). And because each Exosuit is relatively easy to get to grips with, switching is never a pain, nor does it leave me at a disadvantage outside of the built-in time it takes to actively change suits. If you handle this between rounds, though, you’ll have just enough time.

Best bit


(Image credit: Capcom)

The Exosuits really are the stars of the show. Each feel entirely unique, and the experimentation phase of finding your favorites is some of the most fun we had during our playtime with Exoprimal.

What’s particularly brilliant about the Exosuits is just how satisfying each is to play. Every suit has at least one ability that you’ll look forward to coming off of cooldown. For example, Roadblock’s stance visibly shifts as he attempts to hold off the hordes with his shield. Then, swatting them into the distance with a shield bash never ever gets old. Similarly, seeing Deadeye’s grenades blast dinos into every possible direction always manages to put a smirk across my face.

Supports aren’t left out of this feeling, either. Skywave’s ability to hover high in the air, dropping both heals and damaging abilities from above, lends a strong feeling of control over the battlefield. Nimbus’s warp skill can also heal the immediate area you teleport to, which is a tricky skill to master, but one that feels especially rewarding as a result.

Exosuits can be further customized with Modules and cosmetics, but these feel largely uninspiring. Modules provide minor stat boosts and a handful are unique to each suit. These unique modules are especially worth slotting into your suits, as they can significantly impact how they play. A favorite of mine is a Barrage module that instantly reloads his weapon when performing a dodge. Another, for Zephyr, shortens his cooldowns when his combo ender is executed with a timed button press. These are the kinds of modules I’d love to see more of in future updates, as there’s real potential for player expression and customizable playstyles here. 

Cut 'em off at the Pass


(Image credit: Capcom)

I have to talk about Exoprimal’s monetization now, because for all the good Capcom has achieved here in how the game plays, it’s almost all entirely undone by its business model. Exoprimal is a full-priced game with a single multiplayer mode. More content is coming throughout this year and next, but at launch, I hope you really like Dino Survival because that’s all you’re getting right now.

If you want more content (read: cosmetics) then you might want to pony up for the Premium Survival Pass for an extra $9.99 / £7.99. That’s more expensive than Fortnite’s Battle Pass, and feels far less rewarding in comparison. I’m not a fan of this type of progression in general, but it’s even worse when the pass has one linear track.

It’s for these reasons that I cannot recommend you buy Exoprimal at launch, unless you’re playing at no extra cost via Xbox Game Pass. As fun as the game is, playing solo with other random players quickly becomes a tedious endeavor, especially as Dino Survival’s drip feed of new phase types and dino variants is on the slow side. Yes, Exoprimal is more fun with friends. But what isn’t? 


There’s not much in the way of accessibility in Exoprimal at launch. But what is there is certainly welcome. Players are able to reduce or disable the camera shake feature, as well as increase the size of UI elements and subtitles. Lastly, Exoprimal features protanope and deuteranope colorblind settings for those who need them. 

How we reviewed Exoprimal

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete our review of Exoprimal in time for launch. This is because servers for the game didn’t go live until release day. Since then, we endeavored to play as much of the main content as possible both solo and in a team with other members of the TRG squad. 

In our time with Exoprimal, we got to grips with all the game’s various systems, played with all Exosuits, rigs and modules, as well as analyze the business model to decide whether the game is worth your time and money. 

If you're looking for some multiplayer titles we actually can recommend, take a look at our best free to play Steam games guide for your next online fix. Alternatively, Exoprimal is available on Xbox Game Pass, joining many of the best Xbox Game Pass games that can be played at the cost of one monthly sub.

Xbox Game Pass review
5:21 pm | January 25, 2023

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Despite Xbox Game Pass launching in 2017, it remains the best app for Microsoft's Xbox Series X/S hardware. Microsoft’s subscription means you may never need to buy a game, especially for the new-gen Series X and Series S consoles. At a reasonable monthly price, players can access to a wealth of third-party games, with Microsoft’s first-party offerings landing on day one more often than not.

If you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, that includes the EA Play games list, too, meaning players can enjoy a wealth of EA's back catalog and grab free 10-hour trials of new releases.

You can also experience cloud streaming directly through your Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S, and even Oculus Quest 2 or Meta Quest Pro in the future.

Xbox Game Pass

What is Xbox Game Pass?

Xbox Game Pass is a service that offers a huge number of Xbox and PC titles for players to download and play on their Xbox console or Windows PC (or stream to their Android phone or tablet) at the cost of a single monthly fee ($9.99 / £7.99 / AU$10.95 on console, or the same on PC).

While the PC subscription cost has essentially doubled since leaving beta, it’s all part of Microsoft’s way of nudging users towards the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, which includes both platforms for $15 / £10.99 / AU$15.95 per month.

If you're hoping to get Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for an even cheaper price, we've got good news. While this is currently being trialled in just the Republic of Ireland and Colombia, Microsoft is looking to launch an Xbox Game Pass family plan, allowing you and four players to jump in for a monthly cost of €21.99 – which comes to around $21.99 / £19.99 / AU$32.99.

Whichever membership you go for, you’re in for a wide array of titles from both first and third-parties from every generation of Xbox hardware. Thanks to backward compatibility, you can jump from the latest releases like DOOM Eternal to classics like Alan Wake and Ninja Gaiden 2, to the likes of Fuzion Frenzy, a game that launched alongside the original Xbox console.

While PC players don’t get quite as many titles, they do get access to a wealth of indie darlings like Katana Zero, AAA-quality games like Gears 5, and everything in between. Playing any of the games on each platform will earn Achievements and Gamerscore as you would usually, and a “Quest” system lets you turn in rewards based on trying new games or completing set tasks.

Xbox Game Pass splash screen with someone holding a controller

Games come and go, but Xbox is forever (Image credit: Shutterstock/Miguel Lagoa)

EA Play offers over 60 EA titles, too, and will be available as a free perk. Usually a $4.99 / £4.99 a month purchase on its own, EA Play is just another string to Game Pass’ bow. It’s a fun way to incentivize breaking out of your gaming comfort zone, and there’s no risk of buyer’s remorse since the games are included with your membership.

Of course, you can opt to purchase games outright. First-party games appear to stay indefinitely, but others don’t – and a 10% discount for those at risk of leaving Game Pass is a good incentive to pick it up for good. You’ll also save on DLC and any add-ons or microtransactions, too.

So that’s console and PC, but what about Cloud Gaming? Well, Microsoft’s game-streaming service doesn’t cost anything extra but is now available in 22 countries. So as long as you have an Android phone running version 6.0 of Google’s OS or later, you’ll be able to stream your favorite titles on the move. iOS support was later added too, so all you’ll need is a strong internet connection.

While Sony had made decent strides in catching up with its PlayStation Now service, that's now been retired. Instead, cloud streaming has been merged into Sony's highest tier of the revamped PlayStation Plus, PS Plus Premium. While that gives you an extra library beyond the monthly PS Plus free games, that still comes in at £13.49 / $17.99 monthly, and Australia isn't supported. 

Xbox Game Pass: design and interface

Gears 5 key art

Gears 5 (2019) (Image credit: Microsoft)

Previously tucked away in a corner of the Xbox Store, Xbox Game Pass can be found almost front and center on the Xbox dashboard. Simply scroll down to find a handful of content blocks with recently added titles, suggestions, or even a kind of “shuffle” feature for when you’re not sure what you’re in the mood for.

Within the Game Pass menu, you can check out games by genre, or look at the full list of included titles to pick your next title. There’s also a “Leaving Soon” section, so you can plan any purchases you may want to make.

As we noted earlier, quests also give players rewards points to turn in, which in turn can be redeemed towards giveaways and gift cards from retailers. Sure, it’ll take you a while to grind for the rewards with more monetary value, but it’s a great way to keep players invested in the service as well as the games within it.

When exploring your “My Games and Apps” page, you’ll also spot which games are part of Game Pass (or EA Play) membership, so you’ll know which service each game comes from.

Forza Horizon 5 a car blasts through a sandy biome

Xbox Game Pass has nearly 200 titles to choose from (Image credit: Microsoft)

From “My Games and Apps”, you can head into your full library and access Game Pass content there. Microsoft really wants to get the service under your nose, and it does so in a tactful way. Each game has a description, trailer and screenshots, making it easy to narrow choices. You can also see the download size, handy if you have a usage cap or simply want to squeeze as much as you can on your hard drive.

While jumping into a PlayStation Plus session without needing to download a game is inevitably quicker than downloading a huge title, the increased stability and reduced input lag make Game Pass feel sturdier. On the PC front, Microsoft has improved the app experience. Refined from the beta period, the Xbox app offers a clean menu that shows off all available games, plus what your friends are playing.

There are some occasional hiccups (phantom notifications seem to be common), but for the most part it’s much better than the prior version. Once you install a game, it’s added to your PC as if it were purchased from the Microsoft Store. So, while you can launch Game Pass games in the Xbox App, it’s not mandatory, and it feels refreshing to not have to deal with a launcher.

Xbox Game Pass: content library


Oh look, indie darlings too! (Image credit: FInji)

It sounds like a cliche, but Xbox Game Pass really does offer something for everyone within its 400-or-so strong lineup.

Between big hits like DOOM Eternal, Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, and many more, there's an impressive first-party showing here. That doesn't even factor in older hits like Forza Horizon 4 or Gears 5. Third-party titles are spread between single and multiplayer games. Players can jump into a few rounds of multiplayer juggernaut Rainbow Six: Siege or numerous indies, too.

Then there are Xbox 360 and original Xbox classics, with Fable, Fallout New Vegas, and Mass Effect at your fingertips. EA Play will only bolster the lineup further, adding recent releases like Need For Speed: Heat and Battlefield V, as well as classics like Dragon Age: Origins and Skate 3. Microsoft's acquisition of Bethesda, too, should mean we get an extensive supply of Fallout and Elder Scrolls games for the service.

While the PC list is a little slimmer, players can enjoy the likes of ARK: Survival Evolved, Crusader Kings III, Forza Motorsport 7, and more.

Xbox Game Pass: what we liked

best crossplay games: Master Chief in armor looking down at a small hologram of Cortana

Halo Infinite (release: 2021) (Image credit: Xbox Game Studios)
  • Having a wealth of gaming content at our fingertips, without worrying about additional purchases, still feels revolutionary.
  • EA Play is a great bonus at no extra cost.
  • The robust library on both platforms is great, and the PC app now feels much more capable.
  • Compatibility with Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox titles.

Xbox Game Pass: what we disliked

  • Larger games will undoubtedly take time to download, so if you want an immediate burst of action, you’ll likely prefer PlayStation Plus.
  • Much cheaper to opt for Game Pass Ultimate if you want to play on both platforms.

Xbox Game Pass: Verdict

Xbox Series X

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Game Pass is what Microsoft is looking to hang its hat on with the next console generation, and it’s easy to see why. Between all of the publisher’s first-party titles landing on the service on day one, to impressive third-party support, and the addition of EA Play, the service feels just as crucial to the platform as an Xbox Gold membership.

Android users can play a huge number of games on the go, too, meaning you may want to dip into the service just to play games on the go. Microsoft is building Game Pass into its base platform and tying all of its hardware and software to it, and that commitment can only be a good thing.