Developed by Turn 10 Studios and published by Microsoft Studios, Forza Motorsport 7 is the best looking racing game ever made for both console and PC thanks to Xbox Play Anywhere. But that may not be enough to keep the crown this time.
Forza Motorsport 7
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Developer: Turn 10 Studios
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Available on: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows (tested)
Price: $59.99 (Standard) $79.99 (Deluxe) $99.99 (Ultimate)
Forza Motorsport 7 is the very first true Forza to be released on both Xbox and PC, where we tested it. The old console king is trying new lands and following the steps of Forza Horizon 3 thanks to the Xbox Play Anywhere feature. It is here to compete with other franchises like the arcade-ish Need for Speed and hardcore simulators like Assetto Corsa, Dirt Rally, rFactor 2 and RaceRoom Experience, offering features other racing games simply can’t, like the huge catalog of vehicles and the almost 5 million monthly active players across the entire franchise that other titles can only dream with.
This new iteration focuses on collecting a whooping sum of over 700 vehicles among other collectibles, like driver gear. Granted, it is pure cosmetic, and it won’t have any impact on the overall gameplay, but it is a fun cosmetic for the Drivatar your friends will see when checking out your profile or playing against them. The core of Forza 7 is contained within the Forza Driver’s Cup, arguably the best version of the franchise’s single-player career mode to date. You will be competing in various events across 6 different leagues earning XP and vehicles to add to your collection. Completing races will earn you points, and you can maximize your rewards by disabling the assists, making it very efficient -and challenging- to experience Forza like a true racing simulator instead of the arcade behavior it offers by default. Fortunately playing the game doesn’t feel like a grind, but sometimes you will be stuck at events with car classes you don’t like. All cars now fall into a specific division such as Exotic GT and Rally Heroes enforcing strict restrictions on what you can and cannot race with.
And becoming a true simulator instead of just another arcade game is something Forza has refined over previous iterations and excels at it. If you’re into driving, disabling the braking and steering assists and opting for manual rather than automatic shifts can be a world of a difference. And there are plenty of options for those who want to go even further, like steering assist, traction control, stability, and ABS among many, many others, though I confess it is too extreme for my tastes. Lucky for me, the true Forza experience comes from the gameplay. Different cars feel different, sound different and perform differently on different tracks. And this is not a minor thing to note, giving the ridiculous number of vehicles at our disposal.
It also helps that Forza 7 is the best-looking game that Turn 10 has ever made. Horizon looked pretty good, but this new iteration is built for the native 4K and extra features that the new Xbox One X and PC can offer, like HDR and photogrammetry. Vehicles and locations are rendered in great detail. Dirt and road debris accumulates on your windscreen and car as races progress. On top of this we have Dynamic weather and day/night cycles which will impact our gameplay with reduced visibility and track adhesion, which is a pleasure on itself, but also a feature that console gamers already had in the previous title.
And then we have a very controversial thing that many fans around the world complained about: the inclusion of loot boxes. I am one of those who don’t believe this loot boxes are the evillest thing to happen to video games, but I also believe you need to go an extra mile to include them in a racing game. It just doesn’t fit that well. In Forza, loot boxes will award you with Driver Gear (racing suits), mod cards and vehicles. And this is where things go wrong… not all vehicles are purchasable. Some of them are exclusive to prize crates, Specialty Dealers, Forzathons and by completing the Championships and Showcases. It is very unfortunate to lock a desired vehicle behind a random chance when opening prize crates. Also, every collectible is color coded, with green for common items, purple for rares and orange for legendaries. All 700 or so vehicles are displayed and divided in five tiers ranging from common to legendary. The rarest the car you get, the more points you earn. This increases your collection score, serving to increase the quality of the milestone rewards you receive when levelling up your driver with XP gained from racing. And this is where RPG and racing starts to blend and those looking for a racing simulator just won’t like it.
Should you play it? Yes. Forza Motorsport 7 is one of the best-looking racing games ever made, and arguably the most complete available for PC. It offers a huge amount of customization that will please racing and sim fans alike, a neatly contained campaign and an endless amount of hours to enjoy.