The two Forza franchises have become Microsoft’s go to Fall exclusives ever since the release of Forza Motorsport 5 alongside the launch of the Xbox One, with Forza Motorsport and Forza Horizon alternating back and forth. Following up on Playground Games’ stellar Forza Horizon 3 from last year, Turn 10 Studios is returning to the track again with Forza Motorsport 7.
The Forza series has become one of the kings of the racing game genre for a number of reasons, and one of the biggest is the wide range of vehicle options available in the game and Forza Motorsport 7 continues that trend with more than 700 vehicles available already at launch. This is a massive increase on the nearly 450 that Forza Motorsport 6 had, even with the loss of Toyota in the game. Making up for that though is the return of Porsche at release, which has more options available than in any previous game appearance prior.
The way your cars are collected is done differently in Forza Motorsport 7 as well, as there are now collection tiers that you can unlock the more you play the game. As you unlock new tiers, you can then purchase better and better cars in the game, so it incentivizes you to keep playing while also providing a nice hub for your car collection as well.
On top of the large assortment of vehicles to choose from, there are over 200 variations of the vehicles that you can choose from, giving you even more to explore in this vehicle filled game. Customization has always been a major part of Forza and this is as present here as ever before. It would have been nice to have a little more control over the events and such like we saw in Forza Horizon 3, but they do provide plenty for you to customize with the vehicles themselves to make up for it.
Forza Motorsport 7 introduces a brand new single player career-like mode that is known as the Forza Driver’s Cup, which is split into six different total cups for you to choose from that span the very impressive 32 tracks available in the game. At the start you are limited to only one, but you can unlock the others as you move forward by earning SP though completing the various events within each one. These events are made up of at least one race for you to participate in, some offering multiple and some offering simply one with a very specific task for you to complete. The option to pick the events you want to partipate in here was a nice design decision by the development team, rather than forcing you to take the same route every time. The only issue is that while the game has the largest selection of vehicles in the series to date at launch, the events seem much more limited in what vehicles you can actually use for them.
Most of these events have you trying to finish in the top three or so of a race or group of races, but there are also other win conditions occasionally as well. Some include a bowling scenario where you have to knock over as many pins as you can across a decent sized race track, while another has you trying to pass as many opponents as you can during a race, with your score outcome depending on how many you manage to pass. These do a good job at breaking up what could start to feel a bit monotonous if there was absolutely nothing but the regular races.
Racing games have introduced varying weather conditions and Forza Motorsport 7 still manages to take it a step further. While the weather effects looked great in Forza Motorsport 6, the weather conditions stayed consistent throughout an entire race. In this game however, the weather effects are truly dynamic, with them changing throughout the race, with you able to choose how you want them set if you so choose, though there are some limitations here when it comes to certain tracks and settings.
You may not have any rain to start a race, but then it will start to pick up later on the in the race, affecting how you must handle turns and such. One of the absolute coolest experiences was starting a race where it was raining a bit, and then it just started pouring during a later lap. Not only are the weather effects impressive in how they transition, but they look phenomenal in action. From the rain drops on the windshield to the puddling on the track, no one has ever done it better than in this game.
The rain effects also help to showcase just how downright beautiful Forza Motorsport 7 is throughout. This is also the case in other races, but these exemplify it in particular. Playing on the Xbox One, the vehicles and environments consistently look gorgeous as you race through the varying track settings, with the lightning being top notch. Turn 10 Studios has even upped the level of detail inside of the car for those that prefer that angle, showing their true dedication to making the game the best looking game in the racing genre to date. The game already looks stunning on the regular Xbox One, so we can’t even imagine how it will look on the Xbox One X when it releases next month.
Visuals are always important in racing games, but the game physics and performance are even more vital. Thankfully, Forza Motorsport 7 lives up to the long standing legacy of the series with superb controls and true to life handling. While you can have brake assists and such to make the races easier for you, taking the training wheels off is the true way to play and experience the game. Figuring out just how to make your way around corners safely is where all the fun is, and you have your trust Rewind feature as always to save you if you mess up as well.
Forza Motorsport 7 also returns the popular Drivatar feature that creates AI based off of your friends’ racing tendencies to spice things up. However, there really didn’t seem to be any revolutionary changes when it comes to them this time around. Upping the difficulty on them can help you to earn more money quicker and give you a better challenge, but how different they really are from any other AI racers is up for debate.
Outside of the Forza Driver’s Cup, the game does feel a bit minimalistic in its game options. There is online play that in implemented very well, with very easy to navigate menus for matchmaking. On the downside, other game modes like Forzathon are currently not available yet. The game definitely has plenty for you to do within it’s single player mode and online, not to mention the car collecting, but we do wish that Forzathon had been available right away to help add a little variety of the experience right out the gate. The promise for more to come has us really excited though.
Similar to many other modern games, Forza Motorsport 7 is saddled with microtransactions in the form of loot boxes that you can purchase in the game. These crates provide you with different items like cars, though most important are the mods that can help you earn more credits in races. While the loot boxes in no way hinder the progress of the game in anyway like in the recently released NBA 2K18, it is very frustrating to see Turn 10 move to this model here, as it almost makes the game feel like it has instituted a form of pay to win with credits and XP.
Forza Motorsport 7 could have easily just played it safe based off of its history, but Turn 10 Studios decided to shift the series into high gear with over 700 vehicles to choose from and the new single play Forza Driver’s Cup. Even with the appearance of microtransactions and only a few game modes available at release, Forza Motorsport 7 is one of the best looking and handling racing games that we have ever seen and that makes it one very much worth checking out.
If you’re looking for the open world experience that Playground Games’ Forza Horizon series brings to the table, Forza Motorsport 7 may not be for you. But if you’re looking for a more racing focused experience that boasts an insane number of vehicle options and the best visuals in the genre, you will not want to skip Forza Motorsport 7, especially if you’re going to be getting an Xbox One X.
9.0 Rewinds Out Of 10.
Release Date: October 3rd, 2017 (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox One (Reviewed), PC
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Disclosure: Forza Motorsport 7 Was Provided By The Publisher For Coverage Purposes