First things first, it has been a very long time since I seriously played a driving sim. When I say very long time, I don’t mean a couple of years ago I really got into Forza Motorsport 6. I mean the last time I played a driving sim to near completion, school kids were singing songs about the ever looming Y2K bug. In 1999 I was playing Gran Turismo 2 on my original Playstation.
Forza Motorsport 7 is in no way Gran Turismo. May be obvious to some, but for those who haven’t really played any racing games in recent years, they have come a long, unique way.
Forza 7 is an amazing visual experience, coupled with reasonably streamlined and intuitive gameplay. Couple this with an engaging campaign mode, a huge array of cars to choose from and customisable drivers and vehicles and you’ve got yourself a game anyone can blow a couple hours on.
The visuals in Forza are something which stuck in the front of my mind playing the game. With dynamic weather and time of day, no two races are the same. Race on a track in the morning and see the sunrise filter through the trees, race on the same track later and it is pouring down with rain. This and the sheer level of detail included in the cars and the tracks often had me noticing new things during each run.
Forza has some gorgeous graphics and will look even better on the Xbox One X, I imagine.
The gameplay was frustrating for me, having never really played a Forza game before. I started off expecting a difficult, but robust control scheme that I would find tough at first, but quickly get the hang of. Instead, I felt terribly babied as the game took over my vehicle on every turn. The assist was too strong and I hadn’t really processed that you could turn it off. My experience with the controls was a hard pull on the right trigger and vaguely veering to my inevitable, but unsatisfying, victory. In saying this, I now understand that you can turn the assist down, if not off, so ultimately not a negative for me, as much as I feel a bit dull for not figuring it out myself.
The campaign is interesting and varied, using different vehicle types, classes and restrictions to keep things fresh as you trawl through race after race. An interesting facet of the race restrictions was the balancing factor. Instead of picking a car in the class and ‘souping’ it up so that your Renault hatchback could smoke a Porsche over 100m, the game forces every car in its class down to a maximum spec. Thus maintaining some semblance of balance, and probably solving some problem I am blissfully unaware of.
For me, the campaign was about collecting the cars, more than 700 of them. Each organised into progressive rarity classes, vehicles are unlocked once you purchase enough in the lower rarities. You race, earn money then buy cars, rinse, repeat.
The customisation options for your driver Forza 7 come in loot crates (it IS the current trend, after all), along with cars and mods. The customisation options are kind of lame, in that you aren’t really changing much but colour. But it is nice to know that I can obsessively match my drivers overalls to the colour scheme of my vehicle. Mods are a cool feature, modifying experience and currency rewards during and after races. Which helps with advancement, but seems a little redundant otherwise.
If you want to be an edgy driver, you can be!
Overall, my impression of Forza Motorsport 7 was good. There were cars, they drove around a track, I was uncomfortably not terrible at the game due to the coddling hand holding of the games assist mechanic. The variety of options for gameplay made things consistently interesting. I think that this title has opened a new door for me, and I will be playing Forza more in the near future.
Forza Motorsport 7 is an Xbox Play Anywhere title, and was reviewed on Xbox One.