‘Forza Motorsport 5’ thinks beyond shiny cars

A scene from 'Forza Motorsport 5.'

The sportscars are still sleek and shiny. But it’s what is under the hood that might be most important.

Forza Motorsport 5, the latest installment in Microsoft’s stellar racing series, will still feature gorgeous vehicles from the McLaren to the Lamborghini. With its arrival on the Xbox One, it’s about how those cars will handle that makes the difference.

The biggest addition to Forza is the Drivatar, a profile created based on how the player drives. It will monitor every tendency behind the wheel, from how you handle turns to how you brake. It’s then created and sent to the cloud, where that Drivatar will appear in friends’ games.

Conceivably, the player can become the computer-controlled opponents in other friends’ races, right down to their car model and paint job. It’s not clear whether Drivatars will only appear in friends’ games or scattered throughout.

Another key feature is the inclusion of Smart Match, which will carefully match players in online races based on their skill sets. As designers at Turn 10 Studios explain, this will help prevent players from entering races that are too easy or difficult.

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Cars still look amazing in Forza 5. They will go through standard wear-and-tear during races, whether it’s mud splattered on the bumper or other blemishes.

The game will feature countless races and hundreds of superpowered vehicles, just like previous installments. Driving feels as realistic as any other Forza title, and the Xbox One controller’s new rumble technology felt more directly in the left and right triggers makes races feel more authentic.

If the Drivatar works as seamlessly and effective as Turn 10 claims, Forza Motorsport 5 could serve as an interesting Xbox One title when it debuts alongside the console in November.

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @bam923.