Turn 10 adds more than just a few new cars to Forza Motorsport 6 with its NASCAR Expansion.
The NASCAR Expansion pack is the second such piece of DLC for Microsoft's premiere racer on the Xbox One. Following on from the previous Porsche pack, we now have a bundle of new content focused on America's favorite motorsport.
The big question: is it worth your time? Particularly for anyone not familiar with NASCAR?
The short answer is yes. Here's why.
Turn to the left. Sometimes.
NASCAR is famous for its high speed oval racing, taking to the banks of circuits like Daytona at 200+ mph in some of the closest racing you'll see anywhere. This expansion for Forza 6 does have some of that, but not a lot. That might put some purists off, but what Turn 10 did was fit NASCAR into the game it already did so well with.
The additional new career mode is projected at around 10 hours play time, which isn't bad. It's split up into nine series of five races and sees you drive any of 24 new NASCAR racers in a series of challenges around the world.
Some will take place on ovals, like the new Miami Homestead circuit, others will take you to the likes of Spa-Franchorchamps and Brands Hatch. And you won't be limited to just NASCAR only races, either.
It's all part of the NASCAR World Tour, taking in the best circuits and race series in the world.
There are 24 officially licensed NASCAR vehicles to choose from and new mods to go along with each of them. All cars are unlocked immediately, but you unlock the mods as you progress, so you'll find yourself taking a more linear path to what you drive in order to get the most from the car.
There's also a new circuit, the Miami Homestead location with both an oval and a more traditional circuit layout to race. You're introduced to this right at the beginning of your NASCAR journey.
We also get some new game mechanics introduced for the first time. NASCAR is big on drafting and close quarters action, so Turn 10 has introduced a new drafting feature to help you keep a better eye on the cars around you. You'll now see arrows appear behind the car showing you where a car is and how close it is to you. As it hits gold it's safe to assume they're getting a pretty big tow and getting ready to go past. Rolling starts are also introduced for the first time.
You also have pit stops for the first time in Forza 6. The new Quick Stop races force you to take a pre-designated number of trips down pit road which adds a little extra spice to the action. While you're making your stop you get this neat graphic that pops up to show you what's happening with the cars around you in the race.
Better still, these new game features are then unlocked to other, non-NASCAR modes, too.
There's also a bunch of new Showcase events to take on, as well as new NASCAR specific multiplayer and League modes to play.
Shake 'n Bake
The previous Porsche Expansion also added a decent length new career mode, but it felt like more of the same but with different cars. The NASCAR Expansion spices things up much more than that and comes out super enjoyable to play.
It adds a new challenge to an already established game, too. NASCARs don't race like other cars in the game. They're incredibly powerful but also incredibly heavy and they only have four gears. It's a level playing field when you're in NASCAR-only races, but in mixed fields you have to carefully consider your approach.
An example: Racing European GT3 cars you find that they're a lot more capable through the corners. Conversely, when it gets to a straight line the power of the NASCAR shines through. So you enter into a game of cat and mouse. This in particular I found a lot of fun because it brought a new challenge to the table. Often when you're racing in Forza 6 the cars are fairly evenly matched all round.
There is a little bit of a learning curve, though. On ovals you have to be incredibly smooth as you scream around the banking with even the slightest movement potentially spearing you off into the wall or whoever is around you. Drafting is also a key tactic to master on these circuits, as once everyone's up to speed hitting the front is a little trickier.
Cornering is also different to some of the European race cars in the game. The NASCAR is a big, heavy beast, and changing direction through tight sections requires a fair amount of effort. Tracks like the Circuit of the Americas and the second half of Yas Marina are a real challenge. But that's the best part of this expansion. It genuinely adds a new challenge and a sense of tactics with the pit stops to the existing game.
Multiplayer and Leagues are both present in the NASCAR Expansion and both take on the same form as they do in other portions of Forza 6. With the new content comes new online races in both formats. But there's still an issue with actually getting into a race.
I might be unlucky, but the waiting times for a regular multiplayer race are too long. Every time I try I spend what seems like forever waiting for the lobby to load to be told that I have to wait for the current race to finish first. I'm not sure what the problem or solution actually is, but there we are.
Leagues are quicker to get into the action, but I found myself in a lengthy race with just one other person at one point. If there aren't enough players to make up the numbers, fair enough. But it's a bit of a let down either way.
There are a number of new achievements added to the overall count with the NASCAR expansion worth a total of 210 gamerscore. None are particularly tough to get and for most just playing through the expansion pack in its entirety will take care of all of them.
The addition of these new achievements takes the overall Forza 6 count up to 1500. You can find a full run down of the NASCAR achievements at the link below.
The bottom line
- NASCAR on Xbox One at long last
- Lengthy new career mode
- Pit stops add a new dimension to race tactics
- New game mechanics open to other, non-NASCAR modes
- Multiplayer slow to find races
- Leagues can be woefully short on opponents
If you were only ever going to buy one DLC pack for Forza Motorsport 6 then make it this one. It adds enough to the game overall to be more than worth the $20 outlay, especially if you've been craving a NASCAR game on the Xbox One. That will come later this year from a different developer, but in the mean time, give this a shout.
The addition of pit stop races and the drafting indicators adds a little extra spice to your races and screaming around the Daytona Tri-Oval at 200mph is a pure digital thrill. The addition of NASCAR has given Forza 6 some added personality, a wild ride next to the more precise, sterile even Porsche Expansion. Buy it and love it.