Forza Motorsport 7 is here at last. Forza is a series I’ve been playing for years now, Since Forza Motorsport 2 to be more precise. Before Forza I would play the Gran Tourismo series, Toca, Grid as well as others. It’s fair to say that I quite like racing games although in more recent years I’ve tended to stick with just Forza, mainly because it’s been the best racing game to be had with a control pad in my opinion. So what does Forza Motorsport 7 bring to the table? Read on and I’ll give you my thoughts.
Forza Motorsport 7 has perhaps been marketed more heavily than it’s predecessors, mostly because of the focus on the Xbox One X and the role Forza Motorsport 7 will play as a flagship title once the console releases. Microsoft promise to deliver native 4k 60 frames per second but if like me you are playing on a PC able to meet the requirements you are able to see whether Microsoft are likely to deliver on their promise. This isn’t the first Forza title to hit PC so it should come as no real surprise that Microsoft have delivered 4k and 60fps on that platform and there’s no doubt they will deliver on their promise for those looking forward to playing on Xbox One X. Even if you are restricted to 1080p though this is one beautiful looking game.
Microsoft have done an amazing job in Optimising Forza Motorsport 7 on both console and PC. The game runs so smooth on my PC with the settings maxed out and it’s clear this is where Turn 10’s focus has been. The tracks, familiar and new are crisp and detailed and some of the older tracks have received a massive face lift. Rio was one that stood out for me and delivered a wow moment. The PC version is smooth to play and despite a traumatising visit to the Windows store I would say it’s one of the prettiest looking games in my PC library. That Microsoft keep delivering such well optimised games to PC really puts some developers/publishers to shame.
It’s not all good news on the visual side though I’m afraid as there are some things that caught my eye. First off are the trees. Some of them look terrible even when you’re focused on the racing and doing over 100mph, it’s a minor thing but an irritation none the less. On some of the desert tracks you get sand blowing across the road but the sand doesn’t react at all to the passing cars and it just comes off as really fake. I’ve noticed a few of the flag waving spectators glitching out and to be honest it’s pretty hilarious to watch so I hope they don’t fix that. Pit stops are woeful too as your car is tended to by a fleet of invisable workers who dont actually do anything to your car except magic on new tyres and repair damage. So yes whilst Forza Motorsport is stupendously gorgeous it’s annoying to think that little things like this made it into the final code.
Forza Motorsport 7 boasts a massive catalogue of vehicles to take to the track, 700+ vehicles all at your disposal when all is told and more on the way no doubt via DLC. The cars and other vehicles are beautiful to look at and there will be something that appeals to everyone. The issue I have here is that a large portion of them feel totally out of place in Forza Motorsport 7. There’s a vast amount of off-road focused vehicles that frankly just shouldn’t be in the game since there’s no off-road racing. Racing them on the tracks just looks and feels wrong to me. It’s almost like the final number of cars meant more than putting in cars that made sense. I also find myself gravitating towards the same cars I normally go for in each class too which does make me wonder if more could be done to encourage the use of less popular cars.
Forza Motorsport 7 offers players over 30 tracks in multiple configurations although it should be noted that most are familiar tracks ripped out of previous games. Like i said previously the tracks have received a face-lift and it’s great to see Maple Valley and Suzuka return. I’m not a fan of the new Dubai track I must admit. I don’t like the layout and i hate the confetti canons. Please turn 10 just leave that stuff in the Horizon series. It would be nice to have had more new tracks but the tracks that are in the game are beautiful to look at and a heap of fun to race around.
When you start the game up you are treated to not one but 3 demo races to showcase the graphics, new truck racing and the dynamic weather system. If you’ve played the demo it’s a bit annoying you have to sit through this again but it’s a minor gripe in the grand scheme of things. It’s here that you get your first taste of the new dynamic weather system and it must be said the thunder and lightening storms look incredible. The weather can totally change the flow of the race and it’s been implemented very well. my only concern is how fake it feels doing a 3 lap race starting in the pitch black and ending in sunlight, it give that Truman show feel sometimes. The splashes from puddles are laughable too. I’d really have expected better from turn 10. When all is said and done though the longer duration races fit the weather system perfectly and can make for some very interesting races.
Forza Motorsport 7 feels like the Forza games that came before in terms of handling and I really would have liked to see some progression here. It’s not that its terrible but the cars often feel a bit twitchy to me. The biggest issue I have with the actual gameplay is the Drivatar system. It’s truly horrendous. AI will refuse to acknowledge your existence let alone your position on the track this will mean that until you get out in front you will be rammed over and over again. It’s a massive barrier to having a good fun experience, especially with the shorter races. I definitely had hoped to see improvements here but if anything the AI seems worse and dare I say it, a bit easy to beat once you manage to actually get past them.
By far and away my biggest issue with Forza Motorsport 7 is the introduction and implementation of the loot box system and the changes they’ve made to the progression system in order to accommodate that. Forza 6 often felt like credits were thrown at you. Money was no object and cars were yours to buy. Forza Motorsport 7 though feels like a grind. Some cars are locked away so you cant purchase them until you reach a certain Collector score. Credit rewards feel lower than previous games too meaning you will be taking longer to build up funds to add the cars you want to your collection. You can speed up this process by using mods which reward you for completing certain tasks on track or for racing in rain for example but these are consumables that can only be used a limited number of times and rather than offer a challenge or introduce some fun gameplay element they are literally there to temporarily reduce the grind and encourage you to buy a loot box. Things that used to be core features are now locked away in loot crates and you’ll often find yourself weighing up whether to buy a car in the tier you are in or buying a crate and hoping you get something decent. I heard a few people defend the system saying you don’t have to pay any attention to the loot boxes or that they can be entirely ignored but I’m sorry to say that just isn’t the case. Firstly it should be pointed out that at the moment you cant buy these crates with real money but Microsoft and Turn 10 have confirmed they will be adding that feature once the in-game economy has settled down. The loot box system can’t be ignored. It’s waved in your face at every opportunity from the store being highlighted by default when tracks are loading to the obnoxious announcer guy encouraging you to visit the store every so often. Oh and those pre-order/VIP bonuses you are looking for, guess where they are. It’s a terrible system that does not belong in a fully paid for game. the core gameplay mechanics have been fundamentally changed just for loot boxes which means that even if you never go anywhere near the loot boxes then you have still been effected negatively by their presence.
To make matters worse you can now customise your driver in a variety of outfits ranging from shiny VIP race suits to more antique looking attire. To my absolute horror and disgust Forza Motorsport 7 will allow you to dress up your driver as a clown, a diver, a knight and a whole array of other ridiculous outfits that just shouldn’t be in a game.
I want to love this Forza but there’s so much that should have been done which wasn’t and could have been avoided but was aspired for. The new loot box system, the poor taste in outfits, the grindy progression, the dismal AI and lack of real improvement in core mechanics other than resolution and performance leave a sour taste in my mouth. Don’t get me it’s a really good racing game but it’s taken some giant leaps away from the sim side of things and moved more towards the arcade side and that for me is a shame because that’s why Forza horizon exists, so you can fuck about in an off-roader rubbing up your opponents whilst dressed like a clown. Forza Motorsport 7 seems to me at least to be having a bit of an identity crisis.