A storm of beauty.
Say what you want about Microsoft’s first party lineup. The company certainly has a void in a lot of genres for its Xbox brand. However, they have managed to orchestrate a stellar 1-2 punch when it comes to racing games. The Forza series is on a two-year cycle between Horizon and Motorsport. Two developers trading years and trade secrets has done wonders for the franchise. This year’s Motorsport once again delivers on the pedigree of the franchise, while also being the poster child for ushering in the next generation of visuals.
I am not going to go deep into car mechanics and customization. I am far from a gear head when it comes to racing games. As far as racing sims go, I have never been huge into the genre. Horizon is more my cup of tea. However, the Forza series continues to impress me. I loved the first three Gran Turismo games. Mastering the tracks and trying out new cars always excited me. Forza feels like it has taken that torch and mastered it.
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PC
Price I’d Pay: $59.99
Forza Motorsport 7 brings a lot of new features to the table. Some of them stick, while others fall flat.
Let’s start with what works. The dynamic weather returns and it is amazing. I have always been a sucker for weather in racing games. The way it changes the race is exciting. Forza 7 improves upon what its predecessors did by creating a more realistic system. 3D puddles return and are still one of the dumbest bullet points that change the game entirely. The progression of rain is also improved. It starts as a small drizzle and can turn into a downpour. I love it.
The new career mode features a series of races, all of which focus on one type of car or race. I loved how I didn’t have to complete them all before moving on. I could cherry-pick the races that interested me. So if I wanted to test out a supercar, or run a rally race, the choice was mine.
The leveling system returns and is split into driver level and collector level. Adding new cars increases the latter, while rare cars add more points. It is a fun system complete with trading card-style checklists to keep track. Also, there are over 700 cars in the game, so I guess, gotta catch them all, eh?
Finally let’s talk about the visual fidelity. The Forza series has always been a juggernaut when it comes to graphics. This year’s iteration is no exception. The game once again goes for uncompromised 60fps game play, and nails it. There is never a drop. The game also looks absolutely stunning at 1080p and 4K (currently only on PC, but coming to the new Xbox One X.) The new dust and fog effects combined with the dynamic weather create one of the most beautiful games ever crafted. I cannot wait to play this game on my new X console.
Now let’s talk about what doesn’t work – loot boxes. Everyone has heard about them, I am tired of hearing about them, but Forza 7 just doesn’t hit the mark here. Some games do it well, just look at Overwatch, while others do it poorly; I’m looking at you, Gears of War 4. Forza 7 falls somewhere in the middle. For starters they are super expensive. In-game credits are easy to come by, but these boxes cost an absorbent amount of them. Currently there are no microtransactions to buy boxes with real money, but I assume that is coming in a future update.
It is also worth mentioning that the items inside are not that appealing. Driver suits are neat, but players only see them in a menu before the race. Mod cards are use-based and not that exciting. Cars are great, but I can purchase most of what I want for a fraction of the price of a loot box. It all feels unbalanced and not that exciting. Heck, even the opening animation leaves something to be desired. This system needs an overhaul.
Loot boxes feel like a small blemish on an otherwise outstanding game. Forza continues to deliver year-in and year-out. This outing will also be a showcase for Microsoft’s upcoming 4K console. Turn 10 continues to deliver, and if nothing else Microsoft has this genre on lockdown for the time being. Glad to see the team not get complacent. Forza Motorsport 7 is yet another must-own for racing game fans.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.