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"Forza Motorsport 7" roared onto the Xbox One and Xbox One X with true 4K and HDR capabilities at 60 frames per second, but as the seventh installment in the franchise, does it offer enough innovation for those who have been faithful to the series?
We put the latest automotive opus from Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios through its paces to find out if it's worth your time and money. Keep reading for our hands-on review.
Special thanks to Microsoft for providing us with a copy of "Forza Motorsport 7"!
Forza Motorsport 7 Graphics
Details, details and more details — this was likely the main focus of the team in charge of graphics for "Forza 7," and it definitely pays off. From the way puddles of water reflect light to the tire debris on your front bumper to the wrinkles on your race suit, this is one of the most realistic looking racing games out there.
More than 700 cars were meticulously modeled, and can be inspected in full detail using Forzavista mode. Pop the hood, open the doors, climb into the cabin, or simply walk around the car — Forzavista mode is the ideal showroom experience.
The in-game race tracks also faithfully represent their real-world counterparts, with banners, distance markers, and vegetation all in their correct places. Even the ground itself has character, with scars, tire marks and small undulations.
All of these elements come together seamlessly, delivering an immersive experience that accurately captures the energy of spectating or competing in a real racing event. We often found ourselves shouting at the screen, "Is this real life?!"
If you have an Xbox One X (or gaming PC), you unlock the full potential of the game's graphics engine with native 4K resolution and HDR capabilities at 60 frames per second. Those raindrops on the windshield never looked so real.
Check out these in-game screenshots and judge the visuals for yourself.
Forza Motorsport 7 Gameplay
"Forza 7" really is a racing game for everyone, with a suite of driver assists that make even the most novice racer seem like a world champion. If you want to jump straight into the action, the easiest setting applies the brakes automatically, so all you have to do is keep the throttle pinned and stay between the lines.
Of course, "Forza 7" features a realistic physics engine along with the ability to turn off all assistance for an in-depth simulation experience — an ideal scenario for a steering wheel and pedal setup. True gear heads can also tune and adjust almost every performance aspect in each car, further tailoring vehicles to their preferred driving style.
The biggest improvement, in my opinion, is the tire physics modeling. You're now able to dance longer on the edge of losing control and execute epic drifts thanks to better traction simulation. The feedback from the wheels, translated via rumbles in the controller, allows you to more intelligently prevent or recover from a spin-out on the track.
With all of these available gameplay options, including cosmetic or realistic damage modeling, "Forza 7" stands out from the crowd by letting you play exactly how you want, offering maximum enjoyment for novice and expert alike.
One of the most common challenges with a racing game is finding a reason to come back to it regularly. After all, you're just driving in circles on a closed race track. But "Forza 7" solves this issue with a variety of progression challenges, like unlocking faster cars, collecting cool outfits for your driver, and scoring rare rewards from prize crates.
Just about every action in the game awards experience points that go towards leveling up your driver or your car collection status. The higher your level, the better items you have access to. But those items are not unlocked for free — you still need to purchase cars with in-game credits; and the only way to earn credits is by racing.
Every successfully completed race event pays out credits, but deciding where to spend them is a tougher decision in "Forza 7" with the newly added prize crates. A take on the loot box system popularized by games like "Overwatch," prize crates offer a variety of rewards, including badges, driver gear, cars, mods and more. The more expensive prize crates offer a higher chance of obtaining rare items. Sure, you can use your credits to buy a so-so car, but it's much more exciting to roll the dice on a prize crate that could deliver a truly superior car.
The jury is still out on the prize crate system as a whole, but in the meantime, it's a fun reason to keep coming back to the game, mostly because it's completely optional and doesn't dramatically affect the core gameplay.
The above video is a pretty accurate representation of almost every public multiplayer race — it's a destruction derby until you can make it past the first corner, hopefully unscathed.
It's no fault of "Forza 7," though; every game with a multiplayer aspect suffers the same challenge of matching people of the same skill level together. While there isn't an inherent solution, if you can gather a group of friends and host a private race, the results can be glorious.
Aside from the newbies and unruly racers, the multiplayer mode offers a streamlined experience with very little lag. Load times can feel a bit long as players are populated into the session, but at least you can fiddle around with your car settings and such while you wait. Overall, the experience is highly rewarding, especially when you're battling it out with fellow well-mannered racers.
More Than Just Racing
Just like in previous "Forza" iterations, there's an entire portion of the game that has nothing to do with racing — creating custom car liveries and on-track photography.
Paint & Customize
For those with an artistic eye, "Forza Motorsport 7's" paint shop is extremely robust, and we've seen some amazing designs come from the community.
It's easy to spend hours experimenting with different colors and graphics, whether you want to place a simple racing stripe or create a full-on race car scheme. It's a nice way to enjoy the game's detailed car models while expressing yourself.
When you've finished a design, you can upload it to the "Forza" community for others to download and use in their own game — a cool feature that motivates many to churn out unique liveries in hopes theirs will be voted as the best by the game's fans.
After you've laid down your best lap times, you can go back to watch the race replay and capture your favorite moments in epic fashion with Photo Mode. Or you can pause any single player race and take a photo right then and there!
This free-form playground is one of our favorite features of the game, letting you place the camera almost anywhere on the track to snap the perfect shot. Those who have used a DSLR camera in real life will recognize the same camera settings in Photo Mode, and there are also preset filters to quickly add a pop of personality.
The possibilities are endless with Photo Mode, and we could easily spend hours composing pictures instead of racing.
Should You Buy Forza Motorsport 7?
If you even remotely enjoy the many aspects of automobiles, "Forza 7" is a must-buy. The graphics, gameplay, community interaction, and overall experience are so well done that even casual motorheads can find something to appreciate.
It's a worthwhile purchase at $59.99 for the standard edition because you can easily invest 40 to 60 hours between the campaign, multiplayer, livery editor and photo mode.
When you buy the digital version, it also comes with the ability to play on a PC via Xbox Play Anywhere. (Note: the Xbox One disc version does not come with the ability to play on PC.)
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