Forza Motorsport has been synonymous with Xbox for twelve years. The original Xbox launched in Australia in 2002 with unique racing game Project Gotham Racing. Little did we know the team at Turn 10 were busy working on the masterpiece that would become Forza Motorsport in 2005, quickly knocking the newly released Project Gotham Racing 2 off its pedestal as best racer on the console. I reviewed these games way back when, awarding Forza Motorsport a perfect score of 100% stating it’s the best racing experience of its time, and nine games later the core mechanics are unchanged.
Forza Motorsport 7 is perhaps the most advanced racing game ever made, and that’s saying something considering there’s now plenty more competition on the market than there was in 2005. The recently released cross-console Project Cars 2 is an absolutely massive game which Rocket Chainsaw gave 4 stars, and the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport launching in less than two weeks will surely keep PlayStation 4 fans busy, but for now let’s get into the nitty gritty of Turn 10’s latest racing game.
The menu in Forza Motorsport 7 has received a total makeover, and now appears as a sort of quasi-Microsoft-Room-Windows-10 overlay in your garage. The whole menu system is simplified to get you to where you want to go, with a Home page showing your key gameplay selections such as the Forza Driver’s Cup (we’ll get in to that shortly), Multiplayer, Prize Crates, Driver Gear, Forzathon and Marketplace. Scrolling across from the Home menu, you can access all the Singleplayer modes in its own separate screen, then Multiplayer has its own section, followed by Cars where you can spend hours upon hours customising the hundreds of cars in the game, and lastly Progress, a detailed statistical view of your time spent in Forza Motorsport 7.
Your Drivatar comes with you throughout the various modes in Forza Motorsport 7 and this time around he (or she) is completely customisable. Progress in the Forza Driver’s Cup, Prize Crates, and other methods allow you to gain a variety of different costumes to put on your Drivatar – some more creepy than others. Playing previous Forza games grants you with a variety of preloaded Drivatars to choose from, and you’ll also find different nationalities as well as a clown costume.
The Forza Driver’s Cup is where the primary action takes place for Forza Motorsport 7’s singleplayer. Split amongst 6 different cups, drivers must progress through a variety of events to claim the Forza Driver’s Cup. This iteration’s focus on Showcase events seems to be fairly prominent, as Turn 10 has finally made them interesting. There are three Showcases in each Driver’s Cup, and not only are most of them short and sweet (except for that pesky 1 hour endurance race), they also reward you with the car that you use in the showcase. They become a great way to add to your car collection, which becomes important if you’re wanting to unlock some of the more rare and expensive cars in the game and progress to the end of the Cup.
Events throughout the Cup vary across all of the different types of vehicles in the game, and will present you with both challenges and joyful moments. Each cup fortunately has an Open event where you can pick whichever car you want, and it will align other cars of the same class for you to race against. The Cup is as difficult as you make it, with sliders available in basically every category of racing. Fortunately these days the game prompts you to increase the Drivatar difficulty if you continue to win every race, however it is often more challenging and rewarding to turn off some of the assists instead. All up, the Cup can be beaten in around 10-15 hours if you progress directly for it, however 100% completion will take many, many more hours.
Forza Motorsport 7 introduces the Dubai track, accommodating over 30 other locations. There are over 200 configurations of these tracks, and it’s unlikely you’ll see all of them as you progress through the Forza Driver’s Cup or play online. One particular track which has returned in all its glory in this iteration is Maple Valley. The beautifully windy track is amazingly fun, and definitely a welcome return to the Forza Motorsport games. The only thing that would make you not want to race on it is if it was slippery.
Slippery, you say? Do you mean Forza Motorsport 7 has different weather conditions? Okay, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’re probably aware that Turn 10 has introduced dynamic weather, and we are really excited by it. At the start of a race it may be sunny with a few clouds, but as the race progresses a lightning storm brews and by the end of it you’re slipping and sliding through puddles and streams across the race track. In the Dubai track you need to take sand into account as it sweeps across the track and varies from lap to lap. In Prague the snow often slows you down to a grind as you navigate its sharp corners before screaming over the beautiful bridges. The dynamic weather in Forza Motorsport 7 adds a new element to racing that we haven’t seen in track racing before, and if you come face to face with a storm then you may as well forget about your lap times and the leaderboards and start focusing on survival.
On a more fun note, mods are back in Forza Motorsport 7 and the big change here is that there are no longer any permanent ones. All mods, including the VIP 100% credit increase mods eventually expire. This has caused a bit of controversy with the VIP package, and Turn 10 has changed the description to say “5-use mods” instead of just “mods” to help the community understand the changes. For those unfamiliar with mods, you can equip three in most races and they award you with bonus credits or XP if you complete the mod requirements. Requirements are fairly basic and include things like getting two good turns or finishing 25 meters ahead of 2nd place. The higher the reward for the mod, the more challenging the requirement becomes.
The level-up wheel spin is now a thing of the past and has been replaced with your choice of one of three items. Credits, a car and a costume are on offer each time you level up in Forza Motorsport 7 and the higher your car collection level, the better the rewards. The great thing about this new system is you can actually see the rewards before you level up, giving the player something to work towards and get excited about.
Forza Motorsport 7 introduces prize crates which are similar to loot boxes found in other games such as Rocket League or Overwatch. At the moment, prize crates range from 20,000 credits to 300,000 credits with some being limited time purchases while others are staples. The 20,000 and 50,000 credit crates yield you useful mods to apply for certain races to increase your overall winnings. In actual fact, one 20,000 prize crate should give you back around 100,000 credits once you’ve completely used all the mods you acquired. For this reason it’s important in Forza Motorsport 7 to always have mods equipped when possible.
As you build up your funds you may be tempted by some of the more expensive prize crates which guarantee rare and unique items such as cars and costumes. While these crates are essentially a mystery prize, they’re a fun addition to the game if you’ve got some credits to spare. As time goes by, if you’re a fan of loading up the Forza HUB each week then there’s no reason why your credits won’t shoot up, so purchasing the more expensive prize crates should become a very tempting offer. At this stage there is no way to spend real money to acquire credits or prize crates, however Turn 10 has stated that once they feel the game’s economy has balanced, they do want to introduce some form of completely optional microtransactions.
Forza games have always had a large focus on multiplayer. While other games such as first person shooters have ventured away from split-screen, Forza Motorsport 7 almost encourages the mode with its prominent position on the multiplayer menu screen. From rivals mode to Drivatars to proper full races, this game has a variety of ways to interact with other players. The most competitive part of any racing game these days though is the leaderboards, and there’s always fierce competition in Forza games. We were lucky enough to get our review code early enough to be at the top of some fairly empty leaderboards, even throughout the Ultimate Edition period, but now if you’re an average racer then you’ll find yourself thousands of people below the leaders. You can however download ghosts of faster (or slower) racers if you’re looking to improve, yet another way Forza Motorsport 7 gets you playing with others.
We are very excited at Rocket Chainsaw to get our hands on the Xbox One X next month, but in the meantime we have Forza Motorsport 7 to gawk at. This game looks absolutely stunning, and screenshots popping up online are being mistaken for reality. The vehicles and the environments are near photorealistic and the only thing we can see holding the game back visually are the human character models in the crowd. Forza Motorsport 7 actually has less crowds than the previous iterations of the game, probably because the graphics engine power is entirely focused on the 24 vehicles and stunning scenery.
Forza Vista looks fantastic as always, allowing you to rotate around your vehicle and interact with various parts of it – some moveable, some not. Photo mode is equally amazing, where you can pinpoint an exact angle and moment in time to take that gorgeous photo you want to share with your friends. There are some amazing photos popping up online, and with a whole heap more people about to join the 4K gaming world with the Xbox One X, we expect to see many more to come. On a side note, we did experience some framerate issues in one of the early career events, but we ruled it down to a one-off anomoly and your experience should differ.
Forza Motorsport 7 is an unbelievable package. For Turn 10 to produce this game just two years after Forza Motorsport 6 is an amazing achievement, and Rocket Chainsaw is really looking forward to seeing how it plays on the Xbox One X next month. This game has everything you could want in road and track racing, and then some. There’s a little bit of something for everyone, and with the constantly expanding varieties of events and showcases in each iteration, the Forza Motorsport games just keep getting better and better. Forza Motorsport 7 is primed to be one of the best sellers this holiday season, and would be a welcome gift under anyone’s tree.
Edit: At the time of publishing this review, Turn 10 has responded in regards to the VIP membership controversy that some of the community were worried about. Originally the VIP pass entitled you to 100% credit bonus mods that ran out after five races, however Turn 10 has backflipped and are now working on an update to give VIP players 100% bonus credits on all races, and as of today VIP players have been rewarded with three free Forza Edition cars which have their own perks, as well as 1,000,000 Credits. If you were on the fence about buying the Ultimate Edition or the VIP package separately, there’s now no excuse not to!
- Breathtaking graphics
- Refined menu structure and mods system
- Trumps everything about Forza Motorsport 6
- Porsche and Volkswagen are back in the base game.
- Could have used some more new locations
- Slight frame-rate issues that will hopefully be patched out.