Ordinarily, at this point of the year we would be waiting with bated breath for the arrival of a new Forza Motorsport title. Since the introduction of the Forza Motorsport series in 2005, we’ve come to expect a new iteration every two years, with the spin-off Forza Horizon games appearing in the year in-between.
But we won’t get Forza Motorsport 8 this year, as expected. Turn 10 Studios, who create the Forza Motorsport series, are instead focused on expanding the current Forza Motorsport 7 (FM7) game that’s been around since late 2017, still providing updates almost two years later. It’s also expected that the next Forza Motorsport instalment was delayed to become a launch game for the next generation Xbox console which is due to debut in late 2020.
So seeing as we’re still some time away from the next one, and the fact that periodic updates have seen the game evolve since its launch, how does Forza Motorsport 7 stack up two years after its release date?
What do you need for Forza Motorsport 7?
All Forza games are Microsoft exclusives and as such, are only available one the Xbox One or Windows 10 (PCs are now supported).
How much does Forza Motorsport 7 cost?
The standard game now costs $49.95 after being out for some time. It's sold from the Microsoft store and is available for download, but you can also get a good deal on used copies in stores like JB Hi-Fi and EB Games.
What's it like to play Forza Motorsport 7?
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Well if one thing still amazes, the phenomenal imagery from the game still impresses to this day. Graphics were thoroughly overhauled for the game, and whether you’re playing on Xbox One or Windows 10, the game looks stunning on-screen. Additionally, Microsoft says playing on the more powerful Xbox One X steps up the quality too, adding ultra-high definition graphics and 60 frames per second goodness.
Some of the detail isn’t quite up to the same standard as other, newer racing games, but for a two year old game it still punches above its weight.
One area that’s seen a definite improvement is the quality of sound modelling. It all feels very lifelike, and the game developers have done their best to recreate the various sounds involved in motorsport. The whooshing of turbos is now more pronounced, the snap of a straight-cut gear swap is well-represented and the sound signature of each car is invariably unique.
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The breadth of variety on offer expands on previous titles too, with an overhauled campaign mode that takes pride of place, but additionally there are a number of spin-off events that you can participate in too. The campaign itself is fairly regimented compared to previous titles, with players forced to compete in successive championships before you progress to the next one.
It’s a theme that continues into content side of things too, as with Forza Motorsport 7 you now must unlock a lot more content like cars and races rather than going gangbusters from the get-go.
Speaking of the cars, FM7 features more cars than any previous title and almost double that of Forza Motorsport 6, its predecessor. Keen Forza diehards will notice the cover car of the game, the Porsche GT2 RS, signifies that the German manufacturer’s cars are now available as standard, rather than only available via expansion packs as previously.
Conversely, the series has also said goodbye to Toyota for the time being – we hope to see it back in Forza Motorsport 8, however.
Despite there being more than 700 cars on offer, a lot of content is recycled from previous games like the fact that there’s the same Nissan GT-R Black edition from 2013 that’s been in the past five games, rather than an all-new model from the game launch year.
There’s more than 30 tracks on offer too, which is good to see. A few new racetracks (whether real or fictional) make their debut, while old favourites return as well.
One of the most visually pleasing new features of FM7 is the advent of dynamic weather. While previous games did feature different weather types, in FM7 the weather can change in-game, on the fly. It’s quite cool as not only does it look amazing having thunderous weather roll in, it also creates a strategic challenge for players to deal with by forcing them to change their driving style to suit the incoming wet weather.
It’s a fairly easy game to get involved in, with varying levels of player capability catered for well. Whether you’re a newbie to the franchise or a veteran, you start with off slow and can make the game more difficult depending on your preference. FM7 introduces a number of new driving aids like friction assist which ensures a car’s behaviour stays the same over varying surfaces, but that and other driving aids can be turned off once you get settled.
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While it mightn’t be quite as hardcore as something like iRacing or as user-friendly as the Need for Speed series, Forza Motorsport still strikes its own accord by offering ease of access to newbies, while simultaneously supplying some proper sim-like effects that can really teach you how a car behaves.
It’s a great place to learn the cause and effect of applying too much power coming around a corner, or to learn your stopping distances or similar. Each input directly translates into a commensurate reaction from the car, and when you get something right, it feels like a genuine pleasure.
Similarly, changes you make to your car – whether they be performance or tuning related – have real consequences when you get back out on track and you do notice a difference.
You start the campaign by hearing about what it takes to be a motorsport success, and learn about having to make your way up through the ranks of various series before being handed the reins for a demonstration.
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From there, the progression through the storyline is fairly structured with your ‘drivatar’ having to complete certain championships successively. Luckily there’s a wide amount of variety within these championships, but nonetheless you can’t ‘choose your own adventure’ like you could before.
This can sometimes cause you to lose interest in progressing, as you have to spend time and in-game credits competing in classes that you don’t like – which can in turn cause you to turn off.
The driving itself is fairly on par with what we’ve come to expect from the series, but thankfully, at least from our perspective, it’s easier to pull yourself out of oversteer without immediately snapping back the other way and spinning out.
The player is also treated to an extra dose of detail and realism, with cars now vibrating and shaking more when going at speed. Monster down Conrod straight of Mount Panorama at 300km/h in a GT3 car and you’ll notice the subtle flexing of carbon fibre wings and even things like windscreen wipers jostling up and down. Cool, albeit minute details like this show the immense attention to detail Turn 10 has impressed upon the game.
Are there any downsides to Forza Motorsport 7?
What isn’t so cool is the fact that you now have to level up your collector status in order to be eligible to purchase a number of cars. It means you have to be invested enough and skilled enough to progress before you can enjoy the freedom to spend your in-game credits the way you want.
Additionally, qualifying for races is now more involved, with the introduction of ‘homologation’ which means you have to tune your car a certain way in order to be able to compete in a number of events. One the one hand, this is a good thing because it ensures a level playing field, but then again you have to spend extra time and money prepping your car for a race you mightn’t care about.
We also mourn the loss of ‘prize spins’ which gift you free stuff at the end of every level. In their place are ‘loot boxes’ which you can spend your in-game credits on and try for something more expensive than what you bought the loot box for. But, most of the time you end up spending a few hundred thousand credits and get something useless like a modified Subaru BRZ or similar.
The artificially intelligent competitors you race against are fairly dumb at the start of the race, with a lot more jostling for position and trading paint than before, but they settle after a few corners and are intelligent enough to leave racing room. AI difficulty levels can be varied as well as their aggressiveness.
Navigating the menu systems will come as a change to Forza regulars, with the process not as fluid as it could be and they present a bit convoluted which, in addition to long load times, can drain some of the excitement before you get going.
To their credit, Turn 10 has created an enduring game that still holds oodles of content to work through and there’s still a huge amount of players racing online so you won’t be on your own.
But for the most part, if you’re an Xbox gamer (or even on PC) and you still haven’t picked up this title in the two years since it’s launched, it’s still worth a buy – especially at a discounted rate if you can find it.
Click on the photo at the top of the story to flick through an entire gallery of stunning Forza Motorsport 7 images.