Review: Forza Motorsport 7 – The Racing King Returns to Compete

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Pros:
+By far one of the best looking games available to date
+Offers one of the most realistic racing experiences available
+Graphic quality and overall performance is astonishing regardless of platform
+Loot boxes are done right and do not prevent a players overall enjoyment of the title

Cons:
-Career mode does feel a bit off-center, forcing players to save credits to purchase cars, and locking their progression behind such tedious manners


When I first started Forza Motorsport 7, I’d expected something I’ve been familiar with in many ways. First, I was expecting moderately amplified graphics, utilizing the power of the Xbox One or my Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU. Second, I was expecting a moderate collection of cars that would help bring my experience to the forefront and push my immersion to all new levels. Third, I was expecting Forza Motorsport 7 to be slightly problematic with the implementation of loot boxes.


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But what made my time with this game for review a bit more interesting is a bit more enjoyable and unhampered by the addition of such a feature. Since Microsoft had sent our copy a few weeks post-launch and has even given us a few weeks to do our review on both Xbox One and Windows 10. Since the Xbox One X has since released, I felt a bit of a cringe the moment Turn 10’s recent game began to boot up, and the little kid in me begin to inch forward in his recliner.

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But why was this little kid in me so excited? We’d just experienced Project Cars 2 from Slightly Mad Studio. We’d just experienced the Gran Turismo Sport Beta and even had crossed our fingers that EA would send a copy of Need for Speed: Payback our way. After all, this year has been a strong year for racing games, and it seems that racing games remain of large interest by video gamers.

Hardware Used
Motherboard: MSI Z270 Gaming M7
Video Card: MSI Nividia GeForce GTX 1060 6GB Game Ready Plus
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB RAM
CPU: I7-7700K 3.6GHz| OCed to 4.2GHz
Cooling Unit: Thermal Take V8 GTS Radiator

With the Xbox One X being touted as one of the strongest consoles ever built, we could only wonder what it would be like to experience the game on both PC and Xbox One. Fortunately for us, this game is one that proves a simple statement: No matter where you play it – it is absolutely freaking gorgeous. I’ve even since had a chance to experience the game on the Xbox One X and I can admit, Microsoft has done racing right, Turn 10 has done racing right, and this game is a testament to what racing simulators should be.

Within the opening minutes, I was quickly whisked into the role of some of the best of the best across multiple disciplines of racing. Even as the introduction got underway, I was quick to take note of the new moody skies that illuminated a helmeted racers visor, the shining asphalt reflecting light off it as rain fell, and the way dynamic lighting brought each of the cars to life. I was even introduced to a variety of settings ranging from the deserts of Dubai, the streets of Prague, the winding curves of Germany’s most infamous track Nurburgring.

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But lets be clear. I’ve been out of the loop when it comes to the Forza Motorsport brand of games. I’ve managed to wander off briefly since Forza Motorsport, and found my way towards Forza Horizon 3 shortly after purchasing my Xbox One. The experience was different than I had recalled since the days of Forza Motorsport 3. New to me came features such as dynamic weather, night racing, and dangerous courses that would threaten my placement if I made one wrong move.

But what I had to appreciate most wasn’t just the ‘newly’ implemented weather system, but the fact that puddles indeed collected on the tracks I was speeding through at 120mph. Let alone did I find myself concerned about these puddles, I even found myself a bit taken back as a dust storm would kick up, causing sand drifts to move across my driving line, impeding my ability to drive properly.

Let alone was I taken back by this, I could feel it in some odd manner. My car would slide a bit more than I was used to, even stick its rear end out if I wasn’t able to counter steer my loss of control, or even tune my car properly for the race ahead. Unlike Turn 10’s spin-off series Forza HorizonMotorsport 7 didn’t hold back by any means. Instead it comes back, tossing the arcade style approach to the side before standing tall, and showing just why this series is the King of Racing Sims.

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To get me started, Forza Motorsport 7 warmly welcomed me, introducing me to a series of levels called “Championships”. Each of these featured a total of four races to complete using specified types of cars. During each of my championships, if i won one, I would be approached with a larger prize them previously expected, but my ultimate goal would only come closer over time. My eye would be set upon the games ultimate prize: The Forza Driver’s Cup Challenge.

However, that’s not where I chose to start my series of races. Instead, I decided to snag my first level of races, which set me in the role of using racing trucks, muscle cars, and super cars. My first car of choice would be a 1993 McLaren F1. During the Super Car series, I would take quick notice to the fact the other drivers were a mile ahead. Over time I was able to upgrade my car, tweaking its appearance, tuning its drive train, timing, and even the pressure in my tires.

After a handful of races, perfecting my style with the McLaren F1 I quickly found first place easy to obtain. Soon I would move on, using my in-game money, experience, and expanded collection to take newly purchased cars into races based upon the classes they were meant for. As usual with a Forza Motorsport title, the games prize system, income, and earnings isn’t easy to maintain. With newly unlocked cars, comes newly unlocked challenges ahead, but also comes the expense of unlocking new upgrades.

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However, now things are a bit more complicated. Players now have to manage their earnings on loot boxes as well, loot boxes that can feature mods, cars, or even outfits for their racer to wear. But this didn’t scurry me away from enjoying the game. I was able to unlock cars, which allowed me to expand my collection to somewhere near 30-40 cars out of the games roughly 700 car collection, which doesn’t seem to show any signs of getting smaller.

At first, I will admit, my choices felt limited. I could only play the cars that were presented to me within the first few levels. I was stuck with cars that felt like they were gimped, unprepared, and weak. Over time I found my car library to grow, the VIP vehicles I was able to obtain a league a head of the rest, and more powerful than I was prepared for in any form. This is something I wasn’t quite used to in many ways.

As stated, I have been gone for a minute, so it was like grabbing a bicycle, learning how to ride again, and getting back on track. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that these ‘mods’ did come as a form of assistance for me as I worked my way throuh the games campaign. After all, I was growing comfortable with the world around me, I had grown used to the fact that none of my mods were quite as I expected.

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Sure, some of them assisted me with breaking while on the drive line, others granted me a locked point of view such as hood, dash, or driver. Others would benefit me more by doubling up my rewards and allowing me to progress faster through the game, but they didn’t seem to truly alter the game as much as I had expected, or even as much as they had been rumored to do. Now that I’ve completed five out of six of the games championships, the game has finally felt as if it has begun to open itself up, allowing me to truly press down on the gas and see just what the game has to offer.

After all, I wasn’t quite ready for the experience that had been waiting for me. I’d started out with all assists turned on. Before long, I found myself disabling my steering assistance. After a few more races, I found myself turning off ABS (automatic braking system), and even switching over to standard from automatic shifting. Once I’d adjusted to these new play styles, I found my car becoming faster, more reliable, an even leaving some of my computer opponents being left in the dust.

After a few more races I was comfortable enough to disable the driving line and quickly found myself adjusting to the most realistic experience I’d ever had. Within a few more races, damage was turned on, meaning my car could break, overheat, and require more pit stops than I’d ever taken before. This would be my end-game goal and quickly became it once I’d learned proper racing etiquette. Sure I began to lose, but it didn’t take away from this games arcade-like experience gone serious racing simulation.

That’s why we play Forza Motorsport to begin with, right? I found myself, at times, struggling with cornering, burning out, and utilizing the rewind option. Long gone have my days of barging through cars like a wrecking ball. Now, doing so is devastating to my car, and could quite easily cripple it if I decided to continue down that path.

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Just like previous titles, Forza Motorsport 7 keeps its level of detail and polish where we expect it. The game is as realistic as they come, we know this, but how does the game perform? Is it gorgeous? Does dynamic day systems and weather actually affect the game and how does it perform on both PC and Xbox One?

When it comes to racing games, performance is key, and that remains true to games that see enhanced lighting, resolution scaling, graphical capabilities, and ultimately features such as motion blur. What’s impressive here is quite a bit of all of this really. Forza Motorsport 7 doesn’t hold back by any means necessary. On Xbox One, it does seem that the game is locked down at a solid 1080p, but seemed to draw itself back a bit from its PC counterpart.

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I was quick to notice several different, but subtle changes from the Windows 10 variant. Reflections are more prominent, giving the level of detail we’re use to go further. Dynamic reflections on my McLaren F1 matched the Xbox One X version quite a bit more and even made the standard Xbox One version seem drawn back a bit in order to keep performance at the forefront.

While framerates seemed consistently smooth on Xbox One, staying at what felt like a solid 60fps at 1080p – if dynamic resolution is turned on, there were moments where it seemed the resolution dipped between 900p and 1080p during some of the games more intense moments – but never once dipped in overall performance.

Much could be said for the games PC counterpart. Frame rates, even on our rig stayed consistent, always hovering just over 144fps, sometimes even bouncing below 120fps if dynamic resolution had been turned off. But never did it truly take away from the experience on the PC version. The game actually shines with its graphics, depth of detail, and realism. But the bigger question at hand: does PC have an advantage in any form during online play?

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In truth, it doesn’t. The lobby system actually works quite well, just as it does in Forza Horizon 3. If you’re like myself, you want to sometimes jump in, zip up your boots, pull down your helmet, and lean back just before the race begins. I never found the lobbies to take long to get into. The downside is, I did take note that the load times on Xbox One were actually a bit longer than on PC, averaging between 15-20 seconds longer on consoles when it came to loading tracks.

Before you know it, however, the beautiful chaos that is online play does ensue. Players are scattering across the track as they collide into one another, recklessly driving about in their unparalleled sense of chaos in a race to the finish line in order to see whom the best of the best is. As noted, this game is entirely about skill. The best drivers are indeed normally the winners, placing them ahead of their less-skilled colleagues, which goes to show that Turn 10 has continued to do something right.

Even with races against SUVs, I still found myself wandering off towards Ford pick-ups, showing my friends whom the best of us is while darting down the track of Nurburgring in Nurburg, Germany. Our best moments weren’t just having fun with these vehicles, but the fact we found ourselves having to carefully tap on our breaks to prevent ourselves from rolling down the track, or even colliding as rain poured from the skies.

Just like any racing simulator, Forza Motorsport 7 is about personal taste. It has a flavor for everyone that decides to jump in. For me, I lean more towards super cars, finding myself excited to take a trip down a track in my 2015 Ultima Evolution Coupe 1020, which would leave many cars of its class behind. Online, I am still struggling, learning, and hoping to come into place as a seasoned racer using the games full-on simulation experience without crashing, rewinding, or struggling as I am now.

Even with its small fine-tuned immersive touches such as sound and animations where players will notice that Forza Motorsport 7 is a masterpiece in both visual fidelity and sound programming. Small touches such as the squeaking of the cars frame, the bouncing of the tires, windshield wipers reacting to your speeds, or even the small hiss of your turbo reacting to your driving, Turn 10 left no details untouched. This is by far one of the most realistic games to date.

Forza Motorsport 7 – Xbox One and Windows 10 (Both Tested)
Developer: Turn 10
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $59.99 or $99.99

Even with loot boxes, progressive unlocks, and a collection larger than my entire house, Forza Motorsport 7 is a game that caters to fans from all preferences, and even offers non-car enthusiasts such as myself, a lot of fun to be had. It’s not shy about this and even will help educate them upon the choices they make in tuning, upgrades, and performance.

If any game has done simulations right, Forza Motorsport 7 is one of those titles, and could easily be trading some heft blows with Project Cars 2 in the near future. Lets just hope both do what they do best and continue offering a racing experience unlike any other. For now, my eyes are set steady upon Forza Motorsport 7 as I’ve felt, even with all my time in it, that I’ve barely scratched the games surface and still have quite a bit left to enjoy.

With that said, my cars running, my helmets getting heavy in my hands, and I have a lead foot that needs a gas pedal to press down upon.


Our review is based upon a retail version that was provided to us by the games publisher.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.


 Final Score: 9 out of 10


About the Writer:

dustin_batgr_prof

Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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3 thoughts on “Review: Forza Motorsport 7 – The Racing King Returns to Compete

  1. Pingback: Gamers, Net Neutrality Could Hit You the Hardest | Blast Away the Game Review

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