Forza Motorsport 7 Review
With a pedigree spanning just shy of 12 years, Turn 10 Studios has a considerable amount of experience behind the wheel of the Forza franchise; and although it’s not entirely without fault, Forza Motorsport 7 is undoubtedly the best entry in the series and certainly rivals the best offerings of the genre.
First, let’s talk about the good. Any conversation surrounding Forza 7 which fails to address the game’s absolutely stunning visuals is misprioritized; as this is, by far, the most beautiful racing title that I’ve ever experienced. Both the tracks and the seemingly living environments beyond the tracks are nothing short of breathtaking. There were numerous times within my play-through that I nearly plowed into the track’s walls because I found my eyes affixed to the skies and painterly landscapes.
Forza Motorsport 7 possesses an evolving ambience, one wherein drivers begin their race under the deep purples and oranges of a sunset, only to find that several laps later, the tarmac is shrouded in darkness with visibility barely reaching further than the edge of the vehicle’s headlights. In another scenario, racers begin their circuit under brooding cloud cover and, before they’ve completed their final lap, the heavens have opened to torrential downpours. Forza 7 isn’t the pioneer of such experiences, however, it is the first racing game that I’ve played with such convincing depth and variety.
On the subject of variety, Forza 7 sports a hefty list of over 700 unlockable vehicles. This impressive collection ranges from the recently revealed 2018 Porsche 911 GT 2RS to a Polaris RZR XP 1000 all-terrain vehicle, and even includes Mercedes-Benz racing trucks. There’s no shortage of track options either. While Forza Motorsport 7 comes packed with 32 amazingly detailed real-life race locations, the aforementioned evolving ambience coupled with multiple layouts for each track equate to countless unique driving experiences.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Forza 7’s sound design. I didn’t personally play Forza 6 but Turn 10 has been vocal about the fact that every aspect of the sound was overhauled. Initially, you’ll notice that every unique car has an audible signature. From the guttural groan of American muscle to the higher-pitched snicker of a Japanese turbocharger, players will likely be able to identify their opponents with their eyes closed. To take matters one step further, Forza Motorsport 7 injects auditory ambience as well. Tracks are filled with the cheers of onlookers, the continuous shush of rain-soaked asphalt, or even the sound of gravel reflecting off of the undercarriage. Accurate sound design can push an amazing game over the top, and its effects are no different in Forza 7.
Unfortunately, Turn 10’s new racer isn’t without its faults; but thankfully, I found these faults to be more minor annoyances than showstoppers. First, and probably most annoying, are the Drivatars, which are essentially AI ghost clones pulled from users’ Friend’s List; and they’re the most unpredictable nuisances I’ve ever seen. There’s nothing quite like smoothly heading into a corner turn and then all of a sudden being plowed into a wall by the closest Drivatar. Scenarios like this occur way too often.
My multiplayer races weren’t without their little oddities, either. As someone who depends heavily on the driver line, an in-game tool that displays the best way to navigate, it’s quite disheartening to have the line disappear sporadically while in an online race. Additionally, during more than one multiplayer race, those sound effects that I raved about earlier would completely drop out; and I’d have to race entire circuits without the sound of my own car. While they’re minor bugs, they continually pulled me out of the experience whenever they would occur.
The last issue was actually marketed by Turn 10 Studios as a feature. Forza Motorsport 7 employs a tiered car collector system. While this may sound like an interesting new addition, you may find, as I did, that it can be a bit frustrating once you’re swimming in credits and are unable to purchase your desired car. Instead, the game will force you to buy several vehicles, regardless of how uninterested you are, in order to open up the next tier of vehicles – which hopefully contains the vehicle you actually want. Why force players to buy the 1983 GMC van in order to own the Ford Shelby GT500? For folks like myself that pride themselves in finely-groomed garage of thoroughbred cars, I could’ve done without this new system.
All in all, if this rather short list of grievances is all I have to put up with to enjoy an otherwise stellar racing experience, I’m all in. I’m already well on my way to winning another Forza Cup, and I’m looking forward to slipping into the driver’s seat whenever the chance presents itself. Forza 7 is incredibly accessible for amateur drivers yet also possesses a long list of customization options for seasoned driving sim veterans. Couple all of this with an absolutely amazing presentation and Forza Motorsport 7 is a solid offering to the racing world.
Disclaimer: Microsoft sent OK Beast a copy of their game to be played for this Forza Motorsport 7 review.