Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Forza Motorsports has been THE approachable racing simulator for over a decade now and Forza Motorsports 7 continues that trend. With an obscene number of cars (over 700!), Forza Motorsports 7 is not only the most advanced and graphically impressive, but also the largest and most varied. The downside to the massive scale is that there are a number of things that just do not make sense, which is unfortunate because Forza Motorsports 7 could be the best of the franchise, but a few puzzling decisions by Turn10 take it down a peg from “near perfect” to “good, but not the best…”
To throw it out there right up front, Forza Motorsports 7 is gorgeous and as an overall package, is amongst the best looking in the franchise. Strangely though, the car modes, which look great, do not look quite as nice as those found in Forza Motorsports 5 (which I personally think is the best in the franchise). Where the models do not look as nice as previous iterations, the technical aspects like the mirror shake that happens at high speeds, and the weather effects in Forza 7 are mindbogglingly nice. At times it is VERY easy to trick your eyes into thinking you are looking out a window… then another car will appear on screen and the effect is lessened. Still gorgeous though!
Tracks, in true Turn10 fashion, are meticulously recreated, gorgeously rendered and when those tracks are covered with sand or water, behave in a wildly different fashion than when they are dry. The attention to technical detail like that is utterly incredible and if the trade-off was only in that the models do not look as good, I would be all for it. However that does not seem to be the case. While focusing so closely on the little details is nice, I ran into some glaring oddities that I just could not get beyond.
One of the bigger things I could not get away from was that all front wheel drive cars feel the same (meaning the Mazdaspeed 3 and the Honda Civic drove and reacted the same), all rear wheel drive cars feel the same (good ol’ Mustang feels a lot like that trust Camaro…), and all of the all-wheel drive vehicles felt the same (oddly enough, the Audi RS5 feels near identical to the Nissan GT-R). It makes almost as much sense as all the off-road and rally vehicles that you will be able to drive … but will not be able to drive on anything but road track. Where is the fun in trying to get a funny truck or rallycross ride sideways where they can shine when all you have to cruise on is pavement? It really throws one for a loop, especially given the fact that there are entire CIRCUITS dedicated to those style cars.
More so in Forza Motorsports 7 than any other version, brakes are the single most important aspect of the game. Have a fancy level 6 car that’s super gorgeous and awesome but has a 4.3 brake rating? Yeah, you will lose. Badly. I found that if I had a car that lagged in acceleration and top speed but scored really well in braking, I could come in first by more than just a second or two, but closer to twenty and thirty seconds on most tracks. Sarcastic pro tip*; rather than doing guided tuning simply pump up your brakes, deflate the tires that are on the drive train by a few PSI (front tires for FWD, rear for RWD, your choice for AWD) while over-inflating the opposite axle and disable ABS / steering assistance and it can, and often does completely change the way these vehicles drive. (*I am not a pro)
Strange drive-train oddities aside, Forza 7 is an excellent arcade racer or racing simulator; the choice really is yours. The current trend in serious racing titles these days seem to be about how many training wheels you want or don’t want and Turn10 really nails it here. I can tone the game down far enough that my 10 year old non-gaming daughter can get in and play a few races and enjoy herself and I can come in shortly thereafter and remove the training wheels and be quite challenged. Other titles, like Project CARS 2 did not quite find the balance here that Turn10 did so kudos to them. The refocusing from graphical masterpiece to technical masterpiece seems to have let a few things fall between the cracks, like interiors on classic cars or the fact that various drive-trains feel the same, or that there are vehicle classes that have no business being on pavement that race exclusively on … pavement. Regardless though, Forza Motorsports 7 is a near-masterpiece of jalopy goodness.Score: 8.5 / 10
Get out there an hoon!