Forza Motorsport 7 Speeds Past the Competition
While patiently waiting for the hours to tick by as Forza 7 downloads I'm staring at the title screen and suddenly it dawns on me... is the Xbox One getting old? Wasn't Forza Motorsport 5 a launch title nearly four years ago?
We've come quite a way from those launch doldrums, with new iterations of Xbox classics like Gears Of War and even the new Shadow Of War nearly here. Among those new entries in hallowed series, Forza 7 sits triumphantly as the cream of the crop in the new AAA racing entries.
Now, you might have noticed I said "hours" of waiting for the download to finish. Make sure to clear some space out on your hard drive, and set aside a block of time, because the Xbox One version is an unbelievable 96 gigs! Luckily, though, there's a whole lot of both style and substance to be found in this hard drive-devouring game.
Life In The Fast Lane
Obviously the cutscenes look better than the campaign gameplay, but there's a phenomenal level of graphical polish to the actual races that makes the transition between the two nearly seamless.
It's not just the vehicles that look amazing (although they do) -- it's things like the dynamic weather effects and a load of small intricacies that really please on the eye candy front, from rattling car parts to drifting sand in Dubai.
Honestly, it all makes me wish I had pre-ordered an Xbox One X so I could see this thing in its full graphical glory next month. But alas, I'm just a poor game reviewer.
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the game beyond the visuals, its worth mentioning that I was playing with a standard Xbox One controller, not a racing wheel -- so you might want to take that into account if you are a wheel-only sort of racer.
On a controller, Forza 7 handles incredibly smoothly, with each car feeling different, and there's room for beginners or returning vets alike by changing up the Assists and Drivatar difficulty systems.
So. Many. Options.
Once you get past the shiny new coat of paint, what you have here is essentially Forza 6, just with more options.. and I mean a LOT more options.
From racing semi trucks with drivers who aren't afraid to nudge you off the road to tense, high speed tracks slicked over with rain, every map has something completely different to offer.
It's not a car free-for-all right off the bat either, and there's a satisfying sense of progression here that offers a reason to keep playing. The Car Collection system controls what you can get next, so you have to unlock new tiers of vehicles by buying or winning a set number of other cars first.
Along the way of building up your roster of vehicles, duking it out in multiplayer, or playing one-off challenges, you aren't ever really going to run out of things to do.
Adding an extra layer of progression are the endless stream of randomized loot crates to pick up with in-game currency. You might get some minor change to a component on a vehicle, or you might get a big bonus to your next racing win, giving you enough credits to buy that next car.
This prize draw system might be a pro or a con depending on how you feel about randomized loot crates as a reward scheme.
If you like the thrill of picking up a series of totally unknown cards -- which could have an awesome new jumpsuit or a needed money Mod but is likely to have nothing of particular interest -- then this is a fun addition.
Personally, I went with the ugly-as-sin lime green jump suit at the beginning to motivate myself to earn more prize crates as fast as possible....
The Bottom Line
Graphically, I'm not sure there's a better racing experience for console at the moment -- and if you dropped the cash on a new 1080 graphics card for your PC, you'll be sitting pretty as well.
While the visuals have reached an impressive level, the options are off the charts, and there are some tweaks to how things work here and there, overall we're sort of in a Far Cry scenario where there's not a ton of difference between the various Forza iterations.
If you loved the previous couple of games, it's a good bet you'll like this one. If you wanted something radically different, well, it's probably time to try out a different franchise instead.
For those ready to jump into the latest Motorsport and dominate on the race track, be sure to check out our Forza 7 beginner's driving tips here.
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