In the world of racing games, the progression system is a key component that keeps players engaged. They provide a sense of achievement and reward, encouraging players to continue playing.
However, in the new Forza Motorsport, the progression system seems to be at odds with the structure of the singleplayer career mode.
The Progression System
The progression system in Forza Motorsport is based on performance upgrades that are unlocked as the car levels up. This is achieved by earning XP through driving maneuvers such as cornering and overtaking race opponents. A few upgrades are available at Car Level 1, while others remain locked until you reach a higher level. The levels required to unlock upgrades are the same for all cars, with Drivetrain Swap being the final unlock at Car Level 50.
Interestingly, these unlocks are only available to the specific car you are driving when it gets unlocked. If you have another car – including a duplicate of the same car – it will need to be levelled up separately.
Car Points, earned through in-game progression, are used to install upgrades. You can uninstall a previously installed part to regain Car Points for something else. Tuning options, which allow you to adjust granular details of your car’s performance, are unlocked based on the parts you have installed.
The Singleplayer Career Mode
The singleplayer career mode consists of various tours that consist of relatively short championships. Each championship has certain requirements for what car you can use (like a hatchback, sedan, classic etc.), so you usually have to switch to another car for each of these championships.
This is where the issue arises. The progression system seems to be designed to make you want to stick with one car for a while, levelling it up, unlocking parts, installing these parts, unlock tuning options, and then tune the car to your liking. However, the career mode forces you to switch cars so often that you barely get to unlock higher level upgrade parts before you have to move on to another car and start from scratch.
Driving a car with the upgrades you want, tuned to your liking and driving style, makes the game very enjoyable. Driving stock street cars before you unlock any upgrades is less enjoyable.
The problem with this system is that the career mode is at odds with the car progressions system, forcing you to switch to a new stock street car when your current car is finally upgraded and tuned. This creates a paradox where the very system designed to enhance player engagement ends up detracting from the overall gaming experience.
So, while progression systems add depth and engagement to racing games like Forza Motorsport, it’s crucial that they align well with other aspects of gameplay. Game developers need to ensure that their progression systems enhance rather than hinder the overall gaming experience.