Racing games are a genre that often needs to build on the foundations of their predecessor and often reinvent the wheel (no pun intended) to innovate. With Forza Motorsport (and its sister franchise, Horizon), Microsoft has had one of the most iconic racing franchises within its first-party offerings over the past few years. With the seventh installment in this monster of a franchise, has Turn 10 managed to keep the fire alive?
Starting up it’s already very apparent how different the game is in comparison to the sixth installment. Featuring a newer and sleekly redesigned main menu, the devs took us through a small walkthrough of the new systems and events that compose the career mode. Featuring an all-new career mode based on motorsports, Forza Motorsport 7’s campaign structure is a lot more refined, featuring tons of different events that aren’t just diverse, but also customisable in length. Players will be able to extend their races to their liking, gaining extra rewards as an effect. The game takes a bit of inspiration from Horizon 3 in this regard, in which the game creates a great mix of variety and freedom, giving players a career mode that should last even the most experienced players quite a while. Players will gain points based on their positions during each race, with all of the points of each race adding up to the player’s total in the championship, mirroring the point-system of actual motorsports, with the use of mods (or lack thereof) influencing the amount of credits and XP that the player receives for each individual race. On top of this, traditional multiplayer events and Leagues obviously make their return to the mix as well, promising a large amount of content, only strengthened by the massive selection of cars and tracks.
Before the race started, a large new feature that will probably not be noticed by many, which is the integration of the pre-race menu into the actual loading screen, pretty much creating an instant transition to the event itself as we were done setting all our preferences for the upcoming race, after which, Autovista made a surprise appearance as the studio moves the feature into the forefront of actual events, giving players the opportunity to check out their ride beforehand without having to go to the main menu at all.
Car ownership has also been given a bit of an overhaul. Aside from a much easier-to-navigate user interface, cars are also unlocked in a new tier system, in which cars you own, the more XP you get to level up to the next tier of cars, which will allow you to buy better and more badass cars. Career races are obviously balanced to make sure all cars are equal, but in multiplayer in such, all is fair as players are allowed to choose any car they desire, including the delightful set of Porches included in the game.
It didn’t take long to see to what extent the game has improved when it comes to the visuals. Presented on a 4K/HDR screen in native 4K at 60 frames per second, the enhanced visuals blew our expectations out of the water. Running on the Xbox One X, the native presentation (which will be downsampled on lower resolution screens) showed how impressive the work of Turn 10 is showcasing here really is. Rainfall, developing puddles and amazing sky (also thanks to the developments by Playground Games) give a much more realistic look to the game, including even the more dynamic movements of the cockpits in the game, which have been redone to more accurately portray their real life counterparts in movement.
Even sound has received a bit of an overhaul. Sitting in the hangar of the main menu, we heard the sounds of some familiar rock tunes as the dev notes that his OneDrive music was streaming live into the game, similar to the system in Horizon 3. The tones blasted through the hangar speakers, making the custom playlist sounding at home within the confinements of the game world, which was a very nice detail carried over from Playground’s title last year. However, this can also extend to the tracks in the game, in which the streamed music will play throughout the speakers placed around the tracks.A lot of these enhancements were made possible due to the PC development of the game, which inherently changed a lot of the technical aspects of the game, including lowering system requirements, smoothing out performance and overhauling a lot parts of the Forza engine, building upon the PC framework that Forza 6: Apex and Forza Horizon 3 provided. This all translates to a game that not only provides great performance on high-end machines but on lower and mid-range devices as well. Even peripheral compatibility was mentioned for PC, which the dev followed up upon by mentioning he had played it with a Guitar Hero peripheral (to quote: “I looked awesome doing it”.)
After our stellar experience with Forza Motorsport 6, we had high hopes for the next chapter in Turn 10’s track record and it seems that Forza Motorsport 7 might just be one of the strongest racing experiences of the year! With stellar visuals, a redone career mode, multiplayer, over 700 cars and more, Forza is without a doubt the killer app for Xbox this fall!
Whilst we’re still figuring out how to play a racing game with a guitar peripheral), Forza Motorsport 7 comes out on Xbox One and PC October 3rd, followed by an Xbox One X update in November at launch.
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