It has been two years since we have last had a Forza title, and the sixth iteration was truly a standout when it came to racing games in 2015. What we saw from Forza Motorsport 6 was a refined system of driving realism balanced with a relaxed approach to gaming, but with Forza Motorsport 7, what more could it possibly add?
Forza Motorsport 7 is the latest offering to the franchise from Turn 10 Studios and Microsoft Studios, and is playable on Xbox One and Windows 10. The game features over 700 cars to choose from and over 30 different racing environments, making it highly customisable when configuring a race. Forza Motorsport 7 is also the first title in the franchise to support 4K resolution with the Xbox One X.
The game starts off with a narrative about three racing car drivers, each from a different car class. This initial segment of the game acts as the tutorial, and is an excellent method of teaching someone new to racing games as you get to race three different cars that each have their own handling properties. I also love how the cover car is the first car you get to play in previous Forza titles, and this is no different with Forza Motorsport 7 with the Porsche 911 GT2 RS being the first car in the tutorial to play.
Once the tutorial segment is finished, you are then presented the main menu which is prominently divided into Career Mode or Multiplayer. I find with most racing games that career mode is advocated more over multiplayer, but with Forza Motorsport 7, the game’s narration keeps it equal by telling you that you can either start your career or go racing online straight away. You are not forced in any way to choose one over the other and it is another way that the game continues the relaxed approach found within the Forza franchise.
In Career Mode, you are a racer competing in The Forza Drivers Cup, which is divided into six championship levels. Each championship level contains around 10 races to complete, in which you then unlock the next championship level. I find this layout is much easier to follow compared to previous Forza titles as it gives you a better visual understanding of how much of the Driver’s Cup you have completed, compared to how far you have to go until you reach the final championship.
A new feature in Forza Motorsport 7 is dynamic weather environment, where the weather conditions change over the time of the race and the affects towards the handling are immediately noticed. This not only adds an extra level of driving realism to the game but also an added layer of difficulty, making for one impressive challenge on the track. Little details such as puddles and surfaces of water on the track caused by rain can adversely alter the handling of your car, just like in a real-life situation.
Forza Motorsport 7 also has a couple more firsts, Windows 10 and 4K support. It is the first Forza Motorsport title to come under Xbox Play Anywhere, meaning that a digital copy of the game can be played on either Xbox One or Windows 10, with your save data syncing across the two platforms. This feature is certainly convenient; however, it is not a massive game-changer. It comes down to personal preference, and for me, I much preferred to play Forza Motorsport 7 on a large TV than on a computer monitor.
Forza Motorsport 7 is also one of the first Xbox titles to natively support 4K for the Xbox One X. Although this review was conducted using an Xbox One and a review code, I got the opportunity to try the game out on an Xbox One X at the EB Expo and it is significantly sharper, which adds to the overall immersion and realism. I was also further impressed that there was no drop in frame rate and that the game held 60 frames per second without any issue. At the time of writing this review, the Xbox One X is yet to be released to the general public. Progress Bar are set to be receiving an Xbox One X review unit from Xbox so this is a feature I hope to evaluate more of soon.
One noticeable difference in Forza Motorsport 7 compared to previous titles is that not all of the 700+ cars are immediately available to purchase in career mode. Cars are categorised into Collection Tiers depending on its class and performance, and are locked if you have not accrued enough XP points to unlock that tier. Although you won’t be buying a fully fledged hypercar for a hatchback race, it does feel restrictive that the game limits you to only what tier you have unlocked at that time.
Like its predecessor, Forza Motorsport 7 continues the mantra of a refined system of driving realism balanced with a relaxed approach to gaming, but is it worth buying? If the game only offered this alone I would say no, but with its vast collection of cars, impeccably detailed tracks and addition of dynamic weather, Forza Motorsport 7 is a title that has taken its place at the peak of racing car titles to choose from today.
Forza Motorsport 7 was reviewed on Xbox One using a review code provided by the publisher.