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Forza Motorsport 6: Apex makes its PC debut

Gaming: Flagship Xbox racing series lands on computers, is very pretty

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Microsoft’s big budget racing series, Forza Motorsport, is available for the first time on PCs today as part of a free to download ‘open beta’ on the Windows Store. And yes, you’ll be able to pound the hallowed asphalt of the Top Gear test track in pursuit of his Royal Stigness.

It’s not quite the full-fat Forza Motorsport package, that’s reserved for paying Xbox One customers for the moment, but Forza Motorsport 6: Apex is a sort of greatest hits compilation. There are 63 cars, 20 circuit configurations across six locations and a 12 event ‘showcase tour’ featuring wet weather and night racing.

That means if you want to frighten yourself wrestling a GT3 car around a totally saturated Spa Francorchamps or fling yourself into the inky blackness of Sebring’s back section at night, you can do it without having to pay a penny, let alone the apocalyptic repair bill you’d likely be facing if you tried it in reality.

Available exclusively to people who have clicked that naggy little pop up offering a free upgrade to Windows 10, Forza Apex’s beta status means it will be getting upgrades and bug fixes throughout the summer. Top of the list of priorities is apparently adding support for racing wheel controllers, which isn’t there on launch.

You will, however, need a suitably hefty PC to run the thing at all. Prepare for the tedious technical bit: Forza Motorsport 6: Apex requires at least a 3.6Ghz processor, 8GB of RAM and a graphics card from no earlier than around 2014, so don’t expect to be firing it up on your company’s wheezing beige dust trap for lunchtime hot-lapping.

The flip side is, if you do have a machine capable of serious number crunching, you can crank the game up to retina-massaging 4K resolution for for the highest fidelity Forza experience yet. You’ll spend your first five minutes with a new car just gawping at tiny imperfections in the paintwork. You know videogame graphics have gotten good when developers are making things look bad on purpose.

Missing from Forza Apex are multiplayer racing and the livery editor – it is free after all – but the good news is that, from now on, all major Forza series releases will be available to desk-bound Windows 10 users as well as the Xbox One crowd. That’ll be whatever the follow up to Forza Horizon 2 is this year and, presumably, Forza Motorsport 7 in 2017.

Certainly beats spreadsheets and online banking…

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