A Note on Drag Racing in Forza

January 13, 2010


When I reviewed Forza 3, I noted how I successfully avoided drag racing at that point. Well, I got around to trying a drag event today. This is not going to change the score I gave Forza; the mere fact that they are requiring me to drag race to get the last achievement I want is enough to warrant the dock I gave it. I never really elaborated on why I hate video game drag racing and how Forza handles it. Consider this a supplement.

My first couple of experiences with it was in the Need for Speed series, which might have colored the activity in a negative fashion. My problem with drag racing is threefold:

  • They force you into a manual transmission set-up. I typically stay in automatic unless the game bribes me with a manual transmission achievement; then I’ll try it in a race I know I will win and then switch back. It is jarring to have the back and forth.
  • They remove your ability to steer effectively and stick obstacles (cars, barrels, et cetera) in your way. So a drag race typically turns into a 30 minute crash-fest until I learn the pattern well enough to get the win.
  • The payoff is typically not worth the time (as determined by in-game currency per hour) one has to put into the system. So every time I finish a drag I think that I could have made 3-4 times the money if I played a different event.

Well, Forza addressed some of my issues in a positive way. You can keep your automatic transmission if you like, which is nice. Granted, you probably won’t win against real players that way, but you can certainly plow though the drag events without too much hassle. As a sim, Forza does not have the obstacles that EA thought would add spice to the race type.

The payoff is still atrocious. The high-end drag events (which appear to be 3 3-heat races) pay 2,700 credits before any bonus money or difficulty adjustments are added to the mix. That is equivalent to 1 low level race. The load times alone (12 load screens for drag vs. 1 load screen for a single race) make it impossible for drag to pay the same amount per hour than the cheesy first-tier races that you spend maybe half of Year 1 on. I understand why they did that (to keep people from spamming a drag race as a gold farming activity), but making the payoff so low makes the event a drag. At least the other point-to-point races pay an equivalent amount of money by the time you complete the event.

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