Forza Motorsport 7 Review — Let’s Burn Rubber

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Over two years ago, Turn 10 Studios released Forza Motorsport 6. Many consider that title to be still the best in the Motorsport series. The latest installment has some big shoes to fill, but I am happy to say that Forza Motorsport 7 does not disappoint its star-studded lineage.

Visually, Forza Motorsport 7 is alluring at 1080p (or 4K if you are well-equipped) and a consistent 60 frames per second. The sim racer offers gorgeous lighting while visuals, both on and off races, look notably better than Forza Motorsport 6 — if only by a thin margin.

Despite not being a dramatic graphical jump from its predecessor per se, Forza Motorsport 7 improves the ambiance and the track atmosphere, enabling greater immersion.

Speaking of fidelity improvements, one issue from the last Forza Motorsport entry was the game’s inconsistent aliasing — noted in DualShockers’ review— which was very noticeable in the external cameras. That problem has been fixed in this version.

That being said, you can tell that Turn 10 Studios did extensive work on polishing every little detail within the game to make Forza Motorsport 7 as photo-realistic as possible. The engine bays (as well as the vehicular interiors) are beautiful, and the talent behind Turn 10 Studios was not wasted there.

Although Forza Motorsport 6 introduced rain and environmental weather to tracks, Forza Motorsport 7 improves it; the controls have been even further tuned to reflect the racing and driving conditions of wet roads. Most racing games — while they do offer rain scenarios in their races — tend to show no variation in terms of how the car will maneuver making the weather irrelevant. Comparatively, whenever the track is wet in Forza Motorsport 7 it feels like you’re driving on a slippery road; this variable weather just adds another aspect you have to keep in mind and immerses you even deeper into the experience.

If the new weather dynamics don’t encourage you to keep playing, then the tracks and customization of your races will. Forza Motorsport 7 offers over 30 different tracks to race on, showcasing beautiful and varied environments to provide backdrops to your gameplay.

Day and night options make a return, allowing you to race in Daytona on a sunny afternoon while gradually transitioning to a pitch black track in the dead of night. I enjoyed Suzuka International Race Course the most; the sundown and vibrant sky distracted me every time. With that said, if you enjoy a certain track but it’s too short for your liking, you have the option to increase the length of the race.

In this year’s iteration of Forza Motorsport, the AI provided a lukewarm challenge — ultimately never feeling insanely difficult. Perhaps it’s because I am fairly practiced at racing games, but I never had an issue bringing the opponents to task. However, when playing local multiplayer with a less-practiced friend to test out their skills versus the AI, they never once complained about the difficulty.

Forza Motorsport 7 Review -- Let's Burn Rubber

Although the Motorsport series is more of a challenge than the Horizon series, no race ever felt unfair; if I ended up below the top five, it was because of my own poor choices. The AI always did their best to make sure that I would not try to pass them, but once I got a few inches ahead of them I was able to blaze through the rest of the race and finish in 1st place.

While I always recommend the Forza Motorsport series to those who are comfortable with the racing genre, if you are a newcomer to the series you will be happy to learn the rewind feature makes an appearance in Forza Motorsport 7. For those new the series, “rewind” lets you reel back your in-race gameplay by several seconds to correct your overly-close turns or occasional mis-drift.

While a few seconds doesn’t sound like a whole lot, it becomes nearly impossible for those leaning on the feature to lose a race. The optional feature is a great way to temper your skills into the fine-racing product needed when you test your skills in online multiplayer.

Forza Motorsport 7 Review -- Let's Burn Rubber

Speaking of customization, remember the body kits from Forza Horizon 3? Well, they have (finally) been added in Motorsport. In addition to a roster with over 700+ available cars at launch (including Fast and Furious-themed cars) the body kits will allow you to explore your creative side, especially for all you car enthusiasts out there. Aside from some new original packages, Turn 10 also borrowed several body kit assets that were included in Horizon 3 — most notably, the Nissan S14 and the 240SX.

Forza Motorsport 7 offers what feels like a limitless amount of customization options, including the ability to change the appearance of your driver as well as an array of tuning options — some of which include changing the aerodynamic nature of your car and more. While this feature will be valued more by veterans who know their style and preferences, this does not alienate the newcomers because Turn 10 made sure that each tuning option gives you a detailed description of what to expect before making the change.

If you’re looking to change the color of your vehicle the paint shop is also available to help contribute to making your car stand out from the rest. Meanwhile, if you lack a creative side, you can download other people’s creations (or upload your own). The level of customization is endless, so if you decide to put in the effort to make your car truly your own you will not be disappointed.

Forza Motorsport 7 Review -- Let's Burn Rubber

When doing a total count of cars available at launch across the board for the Motorsport series, this installment offers way too many vehicles (and I mean that in a good way). Newcomers to the car scene may get lost among the options, but those interested in automobiles will have a terrific time sorting and comparing cars across generations.

Forza Motorsport 7‘s cars are divided into five different tiers: common, uncommon, rare, super rare, and legendary. By completing races (in either single or multiplayer) as well as opening up prize crates, your tier score will level up. Think of it as a RPG-like feature.

And while I never had an issue obtaining new cars, I feel that the menu itself to select and sort them is too clunky for my personal liking. It took me way too long to  navigate through the cars I owned when trying to find them. Maybe instead of having one page with all the tiers and having to scroll side-by-by through each tier page, the game would have benefited by having one page dedicated to entire tiers — kind of like a book.

If there is a specific car you are interested in driving, but you are hesitant to purchase it (or you are low on funds) nothing is completely inaccessible in Forza Motorsport 7. What makes Forza Motorsport a better racing game than its competitors is that nothing is ever completely out of your grips. If you want to race a specific car in Free Mode to do a test drive, the game will not stop you from doing so; this offers a lot of freedom and allows players to demo a specific car before they decide on whether or not they want to acquire it.

Forza Motorsport 7 Review -- Let's Burn Rubber

The game introduces you to the high volume of cars in an interesting way. During the single-player campaign you start off as one of three notable racers and you reenact some key races during their career. It does not matter the outcome as you will not be required (oddly) to reach 1st place or even in the top five to win the cars.

Once you get through the initial tutorial phase, the single-player mode does not hesitate to show you what it has to offer. This year, the campaign mode offers six unique categories that unlock as you progress through the story.

Each category offers a wide variety of races so no two are ever the same; for instance, one moment you are strolling across a multitude of tracks that offer up challenges such as standard circuits, the next you are taking up a challenge to see which model is the best. I really enjoyed racing a tractor trailer in a three lap race — it was a complete 180 degree move when I first started but it was both really enjoyable and a funny change in pace.

If you get tired of playing the single-player campaign, Forza Motorsport 7 offers a split-screen local co-op, a unique rivals system, upcoming leagues, and Forza TV — the latter (according to Turn 10) will help kickstart the series as it transitions into the the eSports scene, as well as offer an effective streaming tool.

Forza Motorsport 7 Review -- Let's Burn Rubber

And though I am mostly smiles about this game, one thing that really rubs me the wrong way though was the debut of a loot box system. More AAA titles are joining the bandwagon of adding loot boxes to acquire cosmetic items, which is just simply not appealing to me. If there is a specific cosmetic item I want, I should be allowed to purchase it instead of having to play a game of chance and hope I get what I specifically wanted.

Thankfully, Turn 10 Studios does not solely require actual money to purchase additional loot boxes (let’s hope they keep it that way) — the only time you actually purchase new loot boxes if by using any in-game currency you accumulate.

Regardless, this new feature is pointless — I am not sure if this was a way to try and keep the replay value of trying to keep playing to get the stuff you want, but to me it feels like a cheap add-on. I don’t see how it really adds to the game, aside from the fact you’re receiving new items such as a new driving uniform, which again is not all that great considering you rarely see it in-game. I found myself using my in-game currency to purchase cars rather than playing a game of chance.

Forza Motorsport 7 Review -- Let's Burn Rubber

Another complaint I had was the game’s limited soundtrack; I felt it was poorly implemented into the game and, more often than not, I found myself putting the game on mute and placing earbuds to listen to my own music. While the actual vehicles and sound effects are beyond top-notch, the actual OST was not doing the game any justice. I was hoping for some pumping up music to get me from playing, but that certainly was not the case here.

Like any sim racer, you are going to have a much more realistic and immersive experience playing on a wheel, like a Thrustmaster. If you are playing with a steering wheel, you will be happy to know that a new in-car camera angle was made specifically for steering wheels. This new angle allows you to see the entire interior; it will get you feeling like you’re a NASCAR drive kind of wish that this was available for a handheld controller. It’s still a nice feature, and I am hoping that a future patch will make this angle available for those who do not like using a real steering wheel.

Forza Motorsport 7 is a fantastic game — as a whole, the series has managed to tweak a near-perfect racing series to provide the best sim racing experience year after year. If you are a die-hard Forza Motorsport fan, I can assure you this game is worth its purchase price. For all you novice sim racing fans or casual gamers out there who are looking to get into the Forza series, this title is one that you should definitely start out with. Or, if you are looking to invest in one of the best looking games you can play on the upcoming Xbox One X, Forza Motorsport 7 is a must-have.

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