Forza Motorsport 7 Review

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Posted October 6, 2017 by Sean Capri in Video Games

Developer: Turn 10 Studios

Publisher:  Microsoft Studios

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), PC (Play Anywhere)

 

She Needs Premium, Dude!

Perhaps its because nobody knows how to pronounce it. Or perhaps there are too many syllables in Forza Motorsport 7 but this series seems to present itself with an intimidating, unapproachable demeanor. And it’s too bad, really because the seventh entry in the series is the most accessible in the franchise. Even if it comes with the baggage of one of modern gaming’s most detracting features: randomized loot boxes. Still, Forza Motorsport 7’s DNA is made up of love strands for cars and the thrill of pushing them to the limit.

Authenticity with a Pinch of Unforced Error

You may have already scrolled to the bottom to see this is actually a positive review. That’s good. But we need to get the crippling issue out of the way. It’s baffling, really. Mods and Randomly Generated Prize or Loot Boxes have been pushed to the forefront of Forza and in Motorsport 7, this severely impacts the gameplay loop veterans of the series have come to expect and love. By far, the most compelling and unique feature of previous Motorsport games was the intertwined link between Driver Assists and Credit and XP bonuses. Players dipping their toes in the Racing Sim genre could turn on every conceivable Driver Assist (racing line, assisted steering, unlimited rewind, etc.) and still achieve 100% of the earned CR or XP. There was no penalty for asking for a little help. Players could graduate in their skills, turn the Driver Assists off one-by-one, and reap the benefits of increased CR and other rewards. It was genius. Nearly perfect, if such a concept exists. Yet, in Forza Motorsport 7, this best-in-class gameplay feature is tossed aside so now Consumable Mods, while featured in Motorsport 6, are now the only way to multiply payouts. Play at Night, No Racing Line, No Steering Assist and other race-changing modifications can be applied before each race begins for a multiplier effect on CR and XP. There’s no way around it. It’s not great. At first, I thought perhaps this would mix things up a little. Instead, it takes away the completely tailored experience I loved so much in Forza Motorsport 6.

It’s not just the brilliant marriage between Driver Assists and reward bonuses that’s effected by the Mods. Players have to choose between purchasing and collecting cars – the one thing this game is meant to celebrate – and RNG Prize Boxes. Now, I should specify at press time, these Prize Boxes can only be purchased using in-game currency. This is not a pay-to-progress situation, at least for now. Clearly, that would make things much worse but the situation remains, players must choose between saving up for a dream car or a blind pack of race mods, cars, superficial gear, and other digital stuff. This is a huge, unforced error for the series.

Deeply Enjoyable Racing

At it’s core, underneath the nastiness that is Loot Boxes and Consumable Modifiers, Forza Motorsport 7 is excellent. Drivatars are back. This is a commonly over-looked but undeniably engrossing cloud-based feature that populates your offline races with driving avatars, representative of how your Xbox Live friends drive in Forza, rather than nameless AI vehicles. Challenging tracks are made even more interesting with the most realistic and dynamic weather effects in the genre. Hydroplaning across a newly-formed puddle quickly instills such an authentic sense of panic, I shudder just thinking about it. Cars feel like they have weight and heft but don’t trudge through corners. There’s some wiggle room in case you don’t hit the brakes precisely when you need to or accelerate out of that hairpin turn with Formula 1-timing. You might not win with turns like that but the race will continue and Forza does a lovely job coaching players along with nodes like “Good” or “Perfect Turn” or “Perfect Drafting.”

So far, no surprises. Forza Motorsport 7 features stellar racing. The notable strength is how this game masters all forms of racing. Semi-trucks, rally cars, hatchbacks, Supercars. Every style of racing is more fun than the last and chasing after the Forza Driver’s Cup is made incredibly rewarding thanks to it’s player’s-choice style of progression. This is a much more contained and digestible collection of awesome racing series that are typically sprawled across a user-unfriendly menu system. Finish first to achieve the most points and accelerate through five stages before reaching the finals. Even if topping the podium isn’t in your wheelhouse, there are ways to progress which, in turn, advance your skill level. This isn’t like plodding through the Mushroom Cup to get to Flower Cup. Instead, pick and choose various Series or jump in to the exciting Showcase Events to narrowly avoid trading paint with 1970 Beatles or smash a Cadillac Limousine into man-sized bowling pins.

Tuning is surprisingly hidden, further adding to the notion that this is the most accessible Motorsport in the series. Hardcore sim fans will find what their looking for under the hood of the friendly UI while newcomers may not even find it. Still, the removal of Affinity Levels kept me from doting on any particular make or model. The variety within the Forza Driver’s Cup is a double-edged sword because I was constantly jumping from one car to the next, never truly feeling the urge to install a Turbo on my Honda Civic. There’s also the nagging thought of “maybe I should be saving for that Legendary Prize Box, instead.” That’s not exactly an enjoyment-enhancing trade-off.

Final Verdict

Forza Motorsport 7, the way it drives, the way it looks, the way it feels, the way it’s built – is excellent. When I’m racing, thanks to the insanely realistic visuals and blistering sense of speed, I feel tense – like the tires are beneath my couch. This is a stunning video game to show off your television’s (and your Xbox’s) capabilities. A speedy 1080p/60fps on my Xbox One S and soon-to-be Enhanced by Xbox One X, this is a technical masterpiece. Returning every day to reap the benefits of your Drivatars efforts while you’re away is a very real hook that kept me coming back over the past week. Sadly, it all feels like driving with a push-pin stuck in the tires thanks to a completely overextended use of RNG Prize Boxes and superficial focus on the driver as opposed to the cars.


About the Author

Sean Capri

I am a beady-eyed Canadian. I play video games and feed/walk my three dogs.