One exclusive we can seem to rely on for Xbox One is the Forza series, now swapping each year with a different iteration from the track based to the Horizon open world game. As I have stated previously I do enjoy racing games a lot, they are a go-between for me when I want to get away from other games and play something different and have a race around tracks, or in Horizon’s case the world it’s set in.
This year we were brought the track based Forza 7, which if I am honest, I do prefer the track based style, rather than the open world. Take nothing from the Horizon series, they add some depth and bring something different to the table, it’s just the ruggedness of the tracks suits me better.
Now, where to start with Forza 7? I’m playing this on my Xbox One S with 4K upscaling and I can’t fault how it looks. The lighting that has been used on the tracks with the sunlight poking through the clouds and the sunbeams hitting the tarmac is amazing. I’m actually flabbergasted how I managed to drive and pay attention to the world, but there is something about it that will draw your eye line away from driving, you just can’t help it. The tracks have been superbly done and look amazing.
Add into the above the dynamic weather feature that is present in the game and again, the experience goes to a whole new level. Racing on Brands Hatch on a cloudy day and then 2 laps into a 5 lap race it suddenly starts to pour down, the wipers are going mental to keep the windscreen clear,
puddles are now appearing on the floor and this can cause aquaplaning which will cause the grip on the car to sometimes go when flying along at high speeds and cause the car to spin out, which can as you can imagine, ruin your race.
This is one reason why I love the Forza franchise, the detail that goes into the game is done with a fine tooth comb, right down to the little details of the puddles and the effects that they have on the races. The addition of the dynamic weather is fantastic and it is one thing that I wished GT Sport on PS4 had shipped with.
How does the game play? Very well, I love how smooth it plays, which I have to admit is a set thing with Forza games, I have never had an issue with any Forza game in terms of how it has played. Which to me again shows how well polished the game can be. As we see with patches, there are
tweaks that need to be done with certain aspects such as Drivatars, but overall, the build and release quality is spot on.
Speaking of Drivatars, I love the system and what it does for the game, and I can’t really have any gripe over them in terms of how they drive as this is based on how people drive in their own game, so that is down to them. But I have noticed a lot of time when people have been included in my races, that it’s people who haven’t played the game. Not sure if this was just me or others, but I found at times that people who had been included in races and not played the game, or had one race on their friends copy to try the game are a quite erratic in terms of driving, which can be a bit
offputting, especially when I’m in the middle of the pack and I’m wanting to try and push my way forward, I just never know how they are going to react, as one false move and I could be off the track or spinning out, and there is nothing worse when going past someone and they just follow along the line, clip your back end and you’re gone, out of the race. Frustrating.
There is plenty to do within the game as well, you have your normal free play mode, where you can set up a race to your own needs, the tracks, weather, laps, and type of cars to be driven etc. There is a Forza cup mode, which is basically playing through different cups. You earn points with each race you play and once you have enough points you can move to the next cup. Each cup brings with it new challenges and trying out new cars.
There is a multiplayer element to the game where you can race against others and put your skills to the test. There is also an auction house where you can sell and buy your cars, which is really easy to set up and go through. I do have one quite big gripe with the game and that is the loading times when loading a track, and the way the menus work with it. The loading times for me are terrible, absolutely terrible and it takes far too long to go between races. Once the track is loaded it then shows a preview screen of the track but then takes you back to the menu you were on to click ‘Start race’. Why isn’t that start race button on the track preview screen instead of taking you back? This part we’re only talking a
couple of seconds, but that makes a lot of difference to the overall experience.
Overall, my experience with Forza 7 has been very good, and I look forward to putting a lot more hours into the game. The game is well polished and plays brilliantly, the only downside really for me is the loading screens take far too long to load the next track.