The community has not been happy with this game so far. Complaints regarding the poor value VIP pass, second-rate multiplayer options and supposed new implementation of microtransactions have led to a heavy backlash. Turn 10's latest title in their extremely popular Forza series has gotten a mixed response with some of the criticism being justified, others being outright unfair. I'm going to be tackling some topics here that some people might not like but I'm of the opinion that not everything is as black and white as many may think.
Forza Motorsport 7 is available now on the Windows/Xbox Store for $59.99.
Discussing the single player of racing games can be a weird one. You usually rather have an extremely cringe worthy story with awful voice acting or a generic line up of 5000 races to complete. Forza has always leaned toward the latter and this year isn't all that different. There's six major cups all of which have around 14 or so championships within them. Interestingly enough, this is the first Forza Motorsport game to officially feature showcase events from the Horizon series although they're a little less spectacular here. For example, one is an endurance race in a Corvette which may very well have just been a regular race in previous titles.
If there is one major change it would be the introduction of the homologation system now in place. Rather than it simply being class limits or even complete freedom of car selection, you are now limited based on the car's category assignation. Within these homologations you are capped on what cars are eligible, PI limits, BHP and tyre width. The idea behind all this is to add challenge to single player as you can no longer just custom tune a car that's several seconds faster than all the A.I. This system works pretty well on single player regardless of the problems caused elsewhere. More on that later though.
Car Collection and Crates
With Gran Turismo Sport officially ditching the series' famous car collection focused experience entirely, It's a pleasant sight to see Forza go in the opposite direction. This year's game is more collection focused than ever before with there being over 700 cars to round up with several methods. You can buy them with credits, win them from championships, purchase via the specialty dealer, complete showcase events or open crates. Yes, crates.You know crates. Those little evil things that drive all microtransactions and murder most gameplay experiences the moment they are introduced. God forbid they enter my precious Forza series. Microsoft how dare you. This is sacrilegious. Except it's not. Not at all.
The way most are reacting isn't all that dissimilar to my deliberate overreaction then. Let's address why this uproar is ridiculous. One, Forza 7 is still as easy as ever. Getting credits and cars is actually too easy in my opinion with me having over 100 whilst only buying like 10 at the most. The primary issue with micro transactions is that they have a habit of making a game's grind longer but that just isn't the case here. Forza Motorsport 7 is a very easy game to progress on. Two, it's nothing new. Yeah, yeah. They look llike crates now but guess what? Wheelspins from previous titles were exactly the same. Arguably, you get more now since rather than just one reward you can also get mod cards on top of a car which give significant credit bonuses. Also, literally no cars are locked behind crates exclusively. You can still get them, for cheaper, from level up rewards with relative ease over time. I do appreciate that paid crates are coming later on but if the economy stays how it is now then they are going to be valueless. There's no reason to buy crates now because getting the cars normally isn't hard.
Now here is something that was very much a justified complaint. On release Forza fans were effectively lied to when promised double credit rewards with the VIP pass just like other titles. How so? They only got this bonus for 25 races and then it would be gone forever. This was not explained in the store and many people, including myself, brought it expecting the same service as ever. Clearly that's wrong. What's not wrong however is that Turn 10 have listened to feedback and completely fixed this issue within days of it being found. They've given VIP users more reward cars to give you extra car collection points, an instant 1,000,000 credits and a permanent double credits bonus as promised. It's all good slamming a company when they do wrong but can we at least remember to praise them when they do right. This is an example of an excellent, pro-consumer response quickly after complaints were made.
Up until now I've taken a fairly defensive stance to the game as I don't like seeing unjustified criticism handed out for the sake of it. This is different though. Forza 7's multiplayer, as it stands at least, is poor at best. Gone are the interesting hoppers including competitive racing and fun casual modes like tag and in are a handful of fixed homologation focused modes. As of writing this right now there's an underwhelming six hoppers to play in. The variety is pretty poor within them too. Come on, there's not even a single racing class but rather just varieties of road cars.
It's the same story with Rivals mode too. You used to just pick a class and a track and have a leaderboard for pretty much anything you wanted but now it's so much more limited. There's only five featured events and the track selection within them is far from admirable for me at least. Why limit the mode so much and take away that freedom of choice from your player base? Unfortunately, the answer can be directly linked to the new homologation system.
For some reason beyond me, Turn 10 decided to focus all multiplayer options on homologation classes rather than the previous performance index classes that had become a staple within Forza. Gone are the days when you could enter an S class Mazda 3 against a field of super cars. Instead you are now going to be racing Honda Civics and Ford Fiestas. Yawn. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing bad about having these car category classes in case you do want to race in similar types of vehicles but don't pretend the P.I number doesn't exist anymore. Bring back class focused racing because that's what we want. No one asked for this homologation system and whilst it adds a little value to single player, it absolutely ruins the multiplayer. I can only hope this is sorted out in the near future because as it stands right now there is little to no reason to build fun and wacky cars. Now that's something I never thought I'd have to worry about in a Forza game.
With all that out the way I can finally get back to what matters most. How does this game drive? Simply put, better than any Forza game to date. A lot of people won't agree with me on this but as someone who grew up on Gran Turismo and then transitioned to Forza, I love how simcades feel. They might not quite give that element of difficulty that true simulations do like Project CARS or iRacing but I think they often feel smoother and better put together. Also, this game was designed to work on a pad first and foremost which gives it a much larger mainstream appeal than most of its competitors.
I see a lot of reviews complimenting the realism of this game but frankly speaking it's just not realistic. It's not meant to be. Forza offers an accessible and satisfying experience in which almost anyone can get around a track and enjoy themselves thanks to the huge variety of assist options. There's a real skill gap still present though. Forza has always been designed to be quicker for those who know their car, know the track and can drive with fewer assists (especially the usage of manual and no ABS). Rewarding the user for challenging them self but also being accessible to many casual players is something not many track racers achieve at all. Realistic? No. Fun? Hell yes.
Right now there's exactly 723 cars although that include both VIP and the first DLC cars. I think when they are taken out you're looking at around the 700 mark. That's a lot of cars and only really falls short of the likes of Gran Turismo 4 in terms of pure numbers. The difference though is that GT4 features about 45 Nissans GTs whilst Forza 7 has considerably less repeated or cosmetic swap cars. They're still there with the worst example being the eight Formula-E cars in which five are literally the same car performance wise but this is an exception, not the rule.
As for tracks we're looking at a equally impressive set to choose from. 32 locations are in game with most of them having several varieties of said location to race on. Grand Prix circuits, oval racing, drag strips and even smaller cup tracks. I could nitpick and say 'x track' or 'y location' wasn't present but all in all it's a really solid track list. Special shout out to the return of both Mugello and Maple Valley, two of my favourite tracks that have been absent for a while now.
I've heard mixed reports regarding PC performance but I personally have had next to no problems. The one issue I have noticed which the recent patch has not helped is that certain menus don't flow well at all. Specifically the garage screen which seems to jump around and freeze up for no real reason. I did also find that the Dubai track tanked my PC when the game came out but going back to it post-patch suggests this is no longer an issue.
Loading times can be a little tedious but honestly this is mostly down to your build. I know the Xbox One version suffers more from this but regarding the PC port I haven't been overly bothered by this. Perhaps if you only do short races it might become more notable but I rarely do runs that last less than 10 minutes so I spend the majority of my time on the track like it should be. I've mostly just left my settings on dynamic where the game auto switches your settings on the go to balance performance and visual fidelity. Once again, this has worked completely fine for me but others have reported issues so be aware that builds that borderline Forza 7's spec requirements may struggle here.
Graphics and Audio
This is a beautiful game with the majority of vehicles and environments looking nothing short of state of the art. Fully rendered cockpits for all cars has been a feature of Forza for several years now but I still feel it deserves a mention. To have over 700 cars and for all of them to have fully modeled and have detailed interiors and exteriors is incredible work on Turn 10's behalf. I can't confirm if they are all 100% accurate but, at the very least, I know from all the real life cars I've been in that those ones are perfectly replicated in game.
There are a few visual bugs with certain cars suffering from lighting issues or the hilarious giant rear wing issues with certain Ferraris but generally speaking you couldn't ask for much more visually. The Ferrari thing is actually great though. Just look below. It's a magnificent sight, mistake or not.
I'm not enough of a car junkie to detail how every car sounds and if its accurate or not but what I can tell you is there's little more thrilling then hearing the whine of a Mazda 787B whizzing around Le Mans. There's a beautiful contrast between the grunt of the Mercedes Racing Trucks to the deep roars of the classic muscle cars. Perhaps within their classes, cars can sound overly similar however between the classes they all possess unique audio sets. Audio quality is particularly notable with the more significant cars such as the title cover Porsche 911 GT2 RS.
I do miss the old soundtracks that Forza once had including a personal favourite in Prodigy's Spitfire on Forza 2. I hadn't expected them to reintroduce a licenced OST to this game but it would have been a nice touch. Menu music is pretty generic instead and far from inspiring or catchy. When you consider that the Horizon games have this I don't really understand why the Motorsport games don't. More of a personal complaint than a huge problem though.
Don't listen to everyone telling you this is just a micro transaction graveyard and that crates are needed to make progress, it's nonsense. Forza 7's economy is just fine with casual and core players alike easily being able to get practically any car they want. The multiplayer does need some serious work though and if this isn't corrected then you may very well have grounds for skipping this.
To put this in frank terms though, Forza Motorsport 7 is the best addition to the franchise since the brilliant Forza 4. The car variety is better than ever, the track selection is very nice and the gameplay feels phenomenal on a pad. Wheel users may be better off looking elsewhere though. Not everyone will appreciate the collection focused single player but you can still go out, buy a car, upgrade it and use it all you want. The core Forza experience is still there and, with a few tweaks, Forza 7 could easily be the best game in the franchise yet. It's not quite there yet but it's oh so close.
|+ Cars feel great to drive, extremely satisfying.||– Multiplayer is lacking heavily right now.|
|+ Excellent variety of cars and tracks to choose from.||– Homologation system is hit and miss, more miss though.|
|+ New single player format is fun and encourages diverse garage usage.||– Too limited in places. Give us choice to enjoy the game how we want.|