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  • Forza Motorsport 7 (XOne)

    October 10th, 2017GamespotUncategorized

    Just like clockwork, another Forza game arrives on Xbox consoles and PCs the world over. And yet Microsoft’s decision to split Forza into a yearly franchise hasn't been as cynical as might have been expected, with the original Forza Motorsport series continuing to target racing simulation aficionados while the Horizon spin-off series, which has actually begun to eclipse the original in many ways, appeals to those who prefer more arcadey flair to their racers. With the Motorsport half now on its 7th iteration, though, has enough been brought to the table with this entry to keep the franchise relevant, or is it starting to stagnate?

    Graphically, no, Forza Motorsport 7 is just as stunning as ever. It always stuns me how much detail Turn 10 is able to pull out of the various Xbox consoles despite working on a strict two year timetable. Every car model looks next to life-like and the weather effects are stunning, especially when you’re driving in the middle of a storm and get to see the physically rendered puddles on the tracks start to take form as you make your way around the track. The HDR (should you have a HDR capable TV) also helps to bring the skies to life, with gleaming sun rays brightening up the screen. Regardless of what I have to say about the rest of the game, Forza 7 really is a fantastic sight to behold. 

    Unfortunately, the soundtrack that accompanies this graphical showcase, and what should in theory compliment it, is staggeringly terrible. I suppose there’s a reason the music is at 50% volume when you start up the game, and for what it’s worth, maybe you should keep it that way and listen to your own songs or just the sound effects instead. 

    The main career mode (Forza Driver’s cup) is split up into various different cups, with each one requiring a certain amount of points before you’re able to claim the trophy and proceed to the next cup. To gain these points, you can either take part in tournaments designed around specific vehicle classes, or take part in Forza Showcases, smaller races or challenges that have you doing new and oftentimes random things with different cars. These actually became one of my favourite parts of the main career mode; from limo bowling, to passing challenges, they added a bit of flair and excitement that provided a welcome distraction from the more standard races. 

    One aspect of Forza 7 that will please car fanatics is the variety of cars. Apart from the weird absence of Toyota, the more than 700 vehicles that are available to purchase and race in should be more than sufficient for anyone. The new inclusion trucks is also welcome; trying to force their massive frames around smaller tracks poses a novel challenge. 

    In this entry Turn 10 motivates players to collect as many of these vehicles as possible thanks to the inclusion of a new car collection mechanic. Alongside your player level there's also a car collection level, which is directly linked to the amount of cars you actively own. Based on your car collection level, your standard level rewards will increase in value, ensuring you better rewards the more you race. 

    There is one drawback to Forza 7’s insistence on you owning cars though - the game's freeplay mode. You see, to actually play with a car you like in freeplay, you have to buy it first, meaning some of the most sought after cars in the game (the Bugatti Veyron, Enzo Ferrari, and so on), are only available once you've earned millions of credits. That's great for those who want an enormous long-term career challenge, less so for those who just want to enter a quick race with the car of their dreams.

    The new tracks are pretty nifty, and take advantage of the visual prowess and increased visual fidelity. Dubai, my new favourite track, is an unusual combination of barren desert sections interspersed with gorgeous white buildings and underground tunnels. Older tracks also make a return, and although they've been upgraded with the new graphical palette and therefore look great, those who've been playing the series for years may be disappointed by the fact that there aren't more original courses.

    Forza 7 plays almost exactly the same as its predecessors. You can customise as much of the experience as you want, from allowing the car to basically drive itself, to ramping up the difficulty by removing any and all forms of assistance. One of the key changes in this entry is that the new physically rendered puddle system has a strong influence on vehicle handling and this means the tracks dynamically change during wet races.

    Loot boxes, which have provoked increasing amounts of controversy in recent months in other games, raise their ugly head here too and are not a welcome addition. In Forza 7 they're called Prize Crates. On the one hand, the cards you gain from them can come with some fun benefits throughout races, and you're able to purchase them with the credits you earn in-game, not just real money. For example, the 'mods' that require you to perform X amount of good turns, or good passes, really push you to perform well in order to nab extra credits with which to buy more vehicles or Prize Crates. Unfortunately these mods and cards are expendable, meaning you won’t get any extra ones unless you buy more Prize Crates - and even then, you’re not guaranteed to get the cards you want. This element of random luck, on top of the fact that cards expire, doesn’t feel like it has a valid place in the game, but rather was cynically introduced in order to secure an additional source of revenue. 

    Forza Motorsport 7 is a great addition to the Forza line-up, but while it does a lot right it's also gone into neutral or even reverse in a few instances. I couldn’t help but get the niggling feeling that I'd seen most of what it had to offer in previous entries, and the more welcome additions don't quite add enough to overcome this feeling. If you’re a car aficionado, you’ll definitely enjoy Forza 7, but you may also tire of it more quickly than any other entry in the franchise, and that's a worrying trend that I hope Turn 10 is able to come back from. 

    A graduate in Computing, Dan is a games developer and writer. His first game, Twixel, was released for iOS, Android, PC and Mac in 2015, with it being released on Steam November 2016. A lover of all things games, Dan has been writing for for over 2 years, attending conferences and interviewing developers to get the best content for VGChartz readers. His favourite games include Asura's Wrath, S.T.A.L.K.E.R and the Halo Series.

    Dan can be followed on Twitter at: @Caesoose

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