Forza Motorsport 7 Review: Flawless Looks, Grindy Personality

7
  • Windows
  • Xbox One
  • Racing
2017-10-03
Forza Motorsport 7
Rain in Forza Motorsport 7 is prettier than ever. Turn 10

My first takeaway from Forza Motorsport 7? This game is huge. No, not in the sense that there’s a whole open-world to explore (that would be Forza Horizon), but FM7’s size requirement weighs in at 67GB on the standard Xbox One. Lucky gamers that will play the 4K edition on PC are looking at nearly 100GB. But all that data must count for something, right? How has developer Turn 10 pushed the envelope on the latest installment of one of the most popular racing series on the market?

GRAPHICS

Stunning visuals are obviously a strong suit and one of the key motivations to purchase the game. Forza 7 was designed to run native 4K at 60 FPS on PC and Xbox One X, but even on the standard Xbox One, it’s a very pretty game.

However, the technical leaps made in Forza 7 may be too great – the game is so gorgeous, it actually looks slightly artificial at times. Weather plays an enormous role in the game, but rainfall somehow felt too picturesque, somewhat manufactured. In its stubborn pursuit of graphical perfection, the weather effects in Forza Motorsport 7 somehow lacked a rawness and that edgy sense of danger compared to Project Cars 2.

The vehicles look Photoshopped as well. Sun rays reflecting off the paint of my black Acura Integra Type R look airbrushed, as if it received a Concours-level detail before lining up on the grid at Rio de Janeiro. The graphics are admirable, for sure, and really show the capabilities of the Xbox console, but feels just a little vain.

DRIVING EXPERIENCE

More than 700 cars help create a world that celebrates all forms of car culture in Forza Motorsport 7. No doubt, the vast variety of shiny sheet metal also goes a long way to offer a really entertaining range of driving experiences. I can’t think of another game that lets you race a Corvette C7.R at Spa Francochamps and then immediately jump into a Cadillac Limousine for a Top Gear bowling challenges.

Forza Motorsport 7 falls in a sweet spot between a realistic, focused race sim and a fun, casual arcade racer. A plethora of driving assists are turned on by default, which sends a clear message of Forza’s M.O.: it’s not so much a game to encourage players to become better drivers, but to just enjoy driving and have a great time.

But Forza also does a great job encouraging players to explore the game and step out of their comfort zones just a little bit – select mod cards challenge players with traction control or stability control off in exchange for extra CR and XP if players manage to win the race. Less driving assists may also motivate players to experiment with tuning and setup, which otherwise isn’t a necessary aspect to win most races in the game’s campaign.

Forza 7 A.I. once again showcases Turn 10’s Drivatar technology, which is a system that can learn to emulate real driver behavior and the human instinct in racing. It’s a very impressive idea, but I still experience overly aggressive A.I. that cause big wrecks at the first corner and annoying PIT maneuvers at critical corners.

GAMEPLAY

Forza Motorsport 7 offers an immense amount of variety. At the start of the game, you’re thrown into the brand-new Porsche 911 GT2RS in the game’s latest Hafeet Mountain Pass in Dubai, a Mercedes-Benz racing semi truck at Mugello, and finally a Super GT Motul Autech Nissan GT-R GT500 at a very wet Suzuka Circuit. From the very start, players get the feeling they can jump into the driver's seat and drive any car at any part of the world.

However, Forza 7 is a little bit more complicated than that. Vehicles are separated into Tiers ranging from Common, Uncommon, Rare, Super Rare and Legendary. Players must progress in the campaign in order to gain points towards unlocking one tier at a time. Locked vehicles aren’t uncommon among racing games – Gran Turismo 6 required players to complete the Ayrton Senna Tribute to win his legendary F1 car; Need for Speed Underground fans had to beat the bosses to win their pimped out rides. However, it feels unnecessary, and flawed, to divide the roster into five sectors.

Case in point, Forza has decided to put the new Renault R.S.17 Formula 1 car in the Legendary Tier while the truly legendary Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda MP4 is in the Super Rare tier. What’s more, the homologated Subaru Impreza 22b STi street car is placed under Legendary while the ‘Killer B’ era’s ultimate Audi S1 Group B rally car is filed under the mid-range Rare Tier. Is the 22b more desirable than the S1 Quattro? To some, perhaps, but the majority will disagree.

Further frustration comes in the form of loot crates. For impatient players that desire instant gratification, Forza 7 offers an economy system that exchanges “prize crates” for real money. These crates give players credits, in-game cars, as well as additional mod cards for the chance to earn more CR and XP in future races. It’s all very complicated, but in any case, Forza 7 fans that enjoy particular cars in their collections may find the grind to get past the virtual red tape burdensome.

As for the racing, the events set up in the campaign offer a decent range of variety. The team at Turn 10 evenly sprinkled day/night races, weather change, and different race disciplines to keep Forza fresh. In particular, showcase events highlight some of the more special experiences in racing that range from GT class endurance races to fun challenges like the “High-Speed Chase” that require players to drive one fast race car to overtake slower models of the same make that had a substantial head start.

VERDICT

If you’re a fan of Forza 6 and recently purchased an Xbox One X or a 4K-ready PC, Forza Motorsport 7 is a no-brainer. The visual impact is out of this world; everything looks unbelievably gorgeous. Forza 7 also delivers a driving experience tailored to suit novices and experts alike. A sensational amount of cars and awesome locales promise something for everyone as well as a couple surprises along the journey.

However, just as the game offers an exciting playground for the players, it also tantalizes with rigid Tiers that restrict access to many vehicles until players progress through the career mode. It makes the game a little grindy.

In short, Forza Motorsport 7 is a graphically and technically flawless game hampered by questionable choices in gameplay and economy mechanics. Forza Motorsport 7 is officially available on PC, Xbox One and Xbox One X on Tuesday, Oct. 3.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Forza Motorsport 7
7
Flawless Looks, Grindy Personality
Forza Motorsport 7 is a graphically and technically flawless game hampered by questionable choices in gameplay and economy mechanics.
  • Gorgeous graphics
  • Forgiving learning curve
  • Wonderful variety of vehicles to choose from
  • Arbitrary 'Five-Tier' system to unlock vehicles
  • Grindy career mode
  • A.I. still enjoys unnecessary PIT maneuvers
Join the Discussion