Review – Forza Motorsport 7
Since Forza Motorsport launched in 2005, it’s been locked in a race for supremacy with Sony’s Gran Turismo series – a race it’s been on the losing end of for most of the competition, lacking the variety of cars and tracks to keep up with Polyphony’s sim racer.
In the seventh outing for the series, however, Forza Motorsport finally has numbers on its side. Over 700 cars, four times that of Gran Turismo Sport’s sub-170 car garage. Over 30 tracks, compared to the competition’s 17. Over 200 ribbons to race on, versus 40.
But numbers aren’t the only things Forza brings to the table, with a revamped lighting system brought in from Forza Horizon 3 that allows for in-race day-to-night transitions and improves the already excellent visuals. Gamers with an interest in photography will be delighted to find this also means better lighting for the photo mode, especially when you also factor in the new dynamic weather system. Rain storms, available on 12 of the game’s 32 tracks, dramatically change the way vehicles handle. Puddles and slippery track sections form and change during the race, making hydroplaning a real danger.
Forza’s campaign mode sees many upgrades, with six championships to go through to win the Forza Driver’s Cup. Each cup championship offers a variety of races from standard ‘finish X number of laps’ fare to more esoteric events like car bowling and ‘pass X opponents’ challenges. The most welcome update is the ability to tinker with race length, allowing for longer events with more driving strategy.
Forza remains the king of customization, with the ability to completely customize your vehicle from top to bottom. Tuning up a 150-horsepower front-wheel drive car into a 900+ horsepower all-wheel drive monster capable of taking down a Ferrari in the quarter mile is a blast. The only downside for tuners this year is that the game forces every vehicle to fit specific criteria for championship races, which means you can’t just drive one vehicle the entire game.
Player progression via driver level makes a return, with gamers able to choose one of three rewards each time they level up, but this time out gamers will also need to keep their car collection rarity in mind. Buying and earning new cars bumps up your collection rarity, with more valuable cars providing a bigger boost. Rank up your collection and you’ll have access to more races and vehicles, a carrot and stick approach that helps keep gamers heading back to the track.
Players looking for some challenge can use mods, picked up from loot crates purchased with in-game credits, to modify the race parameters with stipulations like ‘must stay on track’ or ‘in-car camera only’ to earn more credits per race. Early concerns over progression being limited by loot crates seem overblown, with no shortage of credits to buy cars even without the use of credit-boosting mods.