Forza Motorsport 7
The Forza franchise is the king of racing games. No one else really comes close. Especially since splitting from being purely a circuit racing sim to the inclusion of fun open world racing with the Horizon series. Going from the extreme fun focused world of Forza Horizon 3 to the more managed racing of Forza 7 was always going to be a challenge. But ever since Forza 7 was officially announced – c’mon, we all knew it was coming, the only question was when – I’ve been excited. Forza, as I said at the start of this paragraph, is King. But the reason that it stays on top, is how good it is, and how good it looks.
Forza 7 kicks off with a mandatory three race intro. The first puts you behind the new Porsche 911 GT2 RS, which was an obvious choice seeing that it’s the cover car and the flagship of the new partnership with Porsche and Microsoft. That you get to race on the new Dubai street circuit is also no surprise, it’s possibly the ideal environment to showcase the 4k capabilities of the upcoming XBox One X, withthe massive visas and the swirling mists of blowing desert sand. It also hearkens the fact that yes, there are many new circuits this time.
The other two mandatory races show off the new truck racing, another nice addition, and the new changing weather effects, which again no doubt will look even more spectacular in 4K.
It’s a solid idea for an intro to the game, especially for people who’ve never played Forza before, but most serious racers will want to jump straight into the game and might see a mandatory three race entry fee a kind of virtual speeding ticket, something that just sloes them form getting to what they really want.
Of course it seems that fans have had plenty to gripe about this time round, first VIP membership no longer gives you unlimited 2x event rewards, rather it gives you five multiple use Mod cards. But it seems like Turn Ten have listened are are working on fixing this for us. The other major gripe seems to be in the progression system. Some players it seems like to think that the old if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is a good approach for game development. If that were the case we’d still be playing the original Forza.
Yes the progression system is different, and I guess complicated for some, but it’s pretty simple when you break it down. You have driver XP, Series Points (SP), and Car Tier points. Driver XP works as before, giving you a choice of reward every time you level up; Series Points work towards unlocking the next tier of the career mode; and Car Tier points unlock better rewards when you level up.
That’s it in a nutshell. If you’re not into the career, then you never need to worry about SP. Simple.
But hold on, don’t forget that Turn Ten are forcing you to use your in game currency – not actual money – to buy loot crates and you never have enough money left to buy actual cars. NO THEY ARE NOT. I have not purchased a single crate, and I have yet to come even close to running out of money to buy cars.
And of course there was that whole thing where the game crashed and no one could play it for a couple of hours. Like that’s never happened to a game before.
Ok, lets talk about the actual game play shall we?
Well to cut to the chase, Turn Ten don’t disappoint with Forza 7, it’s an improvement on Forza 6, just as we were expecting. Graphically it looks amazing, sure some of the tracks look a little unimpressive – almost as if they were ported right over from Forza 6 – on their own. But once you add in the dynamic lighting and weather effects you know where the money was spent. If you race in the middle of the day you’ll get sunlight, but if you are racing at dusk, you’ll notice the track getting darker. It’s spooky and a little off putting the first time you race at dusk, things start to get a little harder to see. But it’s also a thing of beauty. So is the rain.
Rain might not be new to Forza, but the way Forza 7 uses rain is. In Forza 6 it was either pouring down with rain or it wasn’t. In Forza 7 you might start a race in overcast conditions, have a storm blown through with driving rain and a wet, puddle filled track and finish the race with the rain gone but the track still treacherous. It’s almost as if Turn Ten realised that the real world is always changing, and why not bring that to the world of Forza. Dynamic weather and lighting are the cherry on the cake of Forza 7’s visual presentation.
Car handling is the cherry on top of the gameplay.
It was hard coming from playing a shit load of Forza Horizon 3 and being dropped into Forza 7. Everything is different. The cars handle different. This is a sim racer. Forza’s handling model has evolved over time into one of the best out there, and Forza 7 seems to take it to the nirvana of that evolution. Take a small hatch for a spin around Silverstone and you’ll possibly never have to use the rewind feature, because it’s a small agile car. Take one of the new trucks out for a spin and you’ll suddenly understand what a turning circle is.
Take a faster GT car out and speed will make the corners feel totally different until you master breaking. Every car handles differently on every track, and in different conditions.
Of course handling is also affected by what assists you have on. I turned off both stability and traction control so I could have a bit of fun in a Maserati, but then forgot to turn them back on before moving on to an Indy Car race. Trying to accelerate out of even the slightest of corners without traction and stability control in an Indy car gave new meaning to the saying; living on the edge. That was a race where I had to learn the art of subtle pressure on the accelerator trigger. I think that race may have even given me a few more grey hairs.
The AI drivers are of course as good as ever, with Turn Ten’s drivatar system giving Forza racing a deeper authentic feel as your competitors are by no means perfect, but rather deliver memorable moments like the time I was chasing first place, but just couldn’t match the driving of the drivatar in first place. Until we came to the penultimate corner of the race and the drivatar made a mistake, didn’t break enough and went wide into the sand. I raced past him as he was coming back onto the track, took a cautious approach to the last corner and took the win.
Online play of course is a whole different kettle of fish. The game still plays awesome, absolutely no issues with Forza 7. But once you put real people in a race together, nine times out of ten the first corner is going to be carnage. Seasoned drivers will pray that they start at the back of the grid so that they can avoid the pile up and race past to the front of the pack. But we all know that from any online racing game. Some people just don’t bother learning how to race, and some just don’t care. But once you get into a lobby with a group of serious players, the game turns into an adrenaline laced battle for supremacy.
All in all I can’t find any real faults with Forza 7, it’s simply the best serious Forza game to date, and the addition of new tracks is just the icing on the cake. My only gripe is that I can’t afford to spurge out on an XBox One X later in the year, so I’ll never get to see just how visually spectacular Forza 7 was designed to be.
Forza is still king. Long live the king.
Rating: G Suitable for general audiences.