Game Review: Forza Motorsport 7: A Joy Ride That Veers Off Track
Developer Turn 10 Studios has been developing the Forza Motorsport series since 2005, and their experience shows with their latest entry. Forza Motorsport 7 is close to simulation for enthusiasts and is arcade enough for new or casual fans. There is a single player career mode and multiplayer with 32 racing locations and over 700 cars to collect.
Forza Motorsport 7 is fun to play. While it doesn’t feel as technical as recently released Project Cars 2, Forza 7 is the right blend of simulation and arcade. You can feel the tires as they grip the road and struggle to keep your car from flying off tight corners. It’s hard to explain what makes driving in Forza 7 such a joy, but the feeling of speed and the way cars handle, though not the most realistic, make it extremely fun. You can turn off driver assists to make it as realistic or difficult as possible, and the fewer assists that are used the larger the rewards. There are also single use mods that are obtainable in loot boxes that increase the challenge, and the potential payout.
The career mode in Forza Motorsport 7 is simple, but engaging. There aren’t crews to manage or other deeper simulations to consider – just racing and car collecting. There are a series of racing cups to work your way through starting at the bottom and culminating at the Forza’s Cup. There is a huge emphasis on car collecting. Collecting cars adds to your collector rating which in turn gives you better rewards, incentivizing it. Collecting cars is fun in itself, with the ability to add custom paint jobs or find and download user made livery. Searching for different designs can feel tedious, but there are already tons of different user made ones available. Cars can be obtained by reaching milestones, bought with currency, or found in loot boxes. Loot boxes can be bought with currency earned while playing the game, and in the future will be able to be purchased for real-world money.
These loot boxes are controversial – their contents are randomized, so it can be seen as a form of gambling, especially with the ability to buy them with real-world money. The loot boxes don’t only contain cosmetic items, but also cars that can increase your milestone rating. This is arguably pay-to-win – use real world money to get ahead in a video game. Such loot boxes have, in the past, been confined to free to play games, but they’re making their way into AAA priced games lately. A full priced game with paid loot boxes is bothersome.
There are 32 locations to race at in Forza Motorsport 7, with 200 different configurations. Popular real-world racing locations appear alongside fictional locations that have made appearances in previous Forza games. The track selection in Forza 7 can feel sparse at times, but each track is full of spectators and dynamic events which make them fun to drive around in. And while there may not be a ton of tracks, there is a good variety amongst them.
Forza Motorsport 7 is an Xbox “Play Anywhere” title, meaning that if you purchase a digital copy on the Windows 10 store or on the Xbox One marketplace you own a copy that can be played on both platforms. Microsoft has been pushing this feature, and it is implemented well with driver progress being seamlessly transferred between them using a Microsoft account. There are a few minor differences between the Xbox One and Windows versions, but the biggest is the lack of split-screen on the Windows version.
Whether on Xbox One or Windows, Forza Motorsport 7 is a pretty game. The dynamic weather effects look great, and the cars all look amazing with the exteriors and interiors crafted with care and attention to detail. Despite its beauty, everything looks artificial, almost as if it was dipped in plastic. The arms of your driver are also anatomically questionable, with weird lumps where the wrists should be. That’s not the only body horror, though, as spectators on the PC version sometimes glitched out and stretched across the track or moved in unnatural ways. After some long play sessions, or using the rewind feature too many times, the entire game would start to glitch out and the track would turn invisible, making the race impossible to finish. This happened during a few long endurance races, making it especially frustrating. I never encountered any such glitches on the Xbox One version –so hopefully the Windows version will be patched.
Forza Motorsport 7 is an extremely fun, solid entry to the longstanding Forza series. There is a joy to driving in Forza 7 that skirts the line between simulation and arcade. Unfortunately, the whole experience is marred by questionable DLC practices, loot boxes, and graphical glitches on the Windows version. Forza Motorsport 7 is available now on Xbox One and Windows 10.