Forza Motorsport races back onto the scene
Last year Microsoft Studios gave us another Forza Horizon entry, so as expected 2017 marks the return of Forza Motorsport. That means we’re heading back to the racetracks for some more high-speed competitive racing. Given how well-received the last game was, it’s probably no surprise to hear that Forza Motorsport 7 is absolutely incredible.
Racing fans have it good on Xbox One: Forza 7 is the console’s third iteration following the 2013/2015 Motorsport releases. Each entry has raised the bar to the point where Forza is now, arguably, the industry’s leading racing simulation experience. The big pushes for this year’s edition are pristine 4K resolution and immersive 60fps racing on Xbox One X. It is, without a doubt, the stand out video game for Microsoft’s ultra-powerful new gaming console.
With that in mind, it’s time to get behind the wheel and take Forza Motorsport 7 for a test drive. Here’s look at what Microsoft’s latest racing game has to offer.
Platform(s): Xbox One
Biggest Forza Motorsport yet
Given Forza Motorsport‘s biennial release schedule we pretty much expect each version to be bigger and better than the last. Turn 10 Studios again doesn’t disappoint with this year’s edition containing 700 cars and 32 racing circuits with multiple layouts. For reference, the previous game had 450 vehicles and 27 tracks. From a pure content perspective, it’s clear to see Forza Motorsport 7 is a significant jump up from its predecessor.
Getting a little granular though, you will find a lot of familiar environments from past Forza Motorsports games. These include iconic real-world locations like Florida’s Daytona International Speedway and France’s Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe. Fictional tracks like the Bernese Alps and Rio de Janeiro also make their return, and have never looked better. The one new track included in Forza 7 is Dubai, which takes you on a picturesque and twisty mountain stretch. Returning from the Xbox 360 era are Maple Valley Raceway and Mugello, two fan-favourites given the full 4K treatment.
Breathtaking dynamic weather
While we’ve seen most of the environments before, they possess a new level of immersion with Forza 7‘s dynamic weather. Now during races the weather can change from clear, sunny skies to light drizzle, and then later heavy downpours. All this happens in real-time and the weather can alternate between sun/rain several times in one race. It’s not exactly the most realistic weather patterns but who cares? It sure looks amazing, and it makes races way more exciting.
Speaking of dynamic changes, Forza 7 also features a day/night cycle that plays out as you race. Environments can begin midday, turn to dusk and night time, then finish up with the bright lights of dawn. Again, it strays far from real-life time progression but this is a video game meant to entertain. The dynamic time cycle produces some absolutely gorgeous lighting effects, and nighttime racing adds extra challenge too.
Enhanced for Xbox One X
Once again, this year’s edition is powered by the the impressive ForzaTech engine. Used in both the Horizon and Motorsport games, ForzaTech is capable of producing some truly stunning car models and environments. On Xbox One you’ll get crisp 1080p resolution and steady 60fps gameplay. From my testing there were no noticeable frame drops, tearing, or stuttering when played on Xbox One. ForzaTech is certainly one of Microsoft’s crowning achievements during this generation of consoles.
When Forza 7 is played on an Xbox One X console, expect to get some pretty significant improvements. The extra power is used to bump the game’s resolution to 4K and produces better visual effects as well. Plus, you get HDR support (same goes for Xbox One S) that widens the colour palette for cars and environments. The end result is an exquisite visual treat that rivals the best I’ve ever on home consoles.
Not only is Forza 7 gorgeous to look at, it has rock-solid gameplay as well. Controlling your car just feels right, and thanks to numerous driving assists virtually anyone can play. You can turns on assists like having a suggested racing line, ABS braking, auto gear-shifting, and traction/stability control.
Perhaps the most useful assist—and technically the biggest cheating mechanism—is the rewind feature. This lets you rewind your race by five second intervals to avoid nasty collisions or redo turns. Normally one bad mistake can cost you a race, but this helpful feature gives you a second chance. And for those wanting an authentic racing experience without the temptation to rewind, it can be turned off.
Single-player and Multiplayer modes
As far as game modes go, Forza 7 is jam-packed with options. The single-player mode is called the Forza Drivers Cup and consists of six individual championship series. Each series further contains a combination of races and special showcase events where you compete to gain points. Races are limited to specific car classes, such as sports cars, hot hatches, off-road buggies, or the all-new racing trucks. Showcase events are where Forza 7 really gets creative as they present you with challenges like hitting bowling pins as you race.
Turning towards the multiplayer offering, Forza 7 gives you nearly twenty different hoppers to choose from. Hoppers restrict the car class you can use, such as exotic, historic road racers, indycars, and more. Every hopper holds up to 24 players, all competing in the same race in real-time. For such a large player base I was impressed to see no lag or stuttering whatsoever during my play time.
With more than 700 cars and 32 circuits to compete in, Forza Motorsport 7 is indeed the biggest entry yet. It offers deep customization and challenges for veteran racers, while also being accessible to beginners with numerous driver assists. All considered, Forza remains the flagship racing series on Xbox One, and is quite possibly the best of its genre. If you’re a racing fan, Forza Motorsport 7 is a must.
+ Beautiful 4K graphics on Xbox One X
+ Buttery smooth 60fps gameplay
+ Massive roster of 700 cars
+ Tight, responsive gameplay
+ Numerous driver assists
+ Excellent balance of single-player and multiplayer content
– Only one new racing track
– Racing mods locked behind loot crates
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5