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Forza 7 Review

This is the first time that I feel disappointed by Turn 10 Studios. Forza 7 is solid, but could've been so much more!

October 10, 2017

/ by Tin Salamunic

Reviewed on: Xbox One | Developer: Turn 10 Studios | Publisher: Microsoft | Retail Price: $59.99 | Final Score: 7.5

Review Note: Forza 7 was reviewed using a retail XBOX ONE code provided by Microsoft, and it was played on the original Xbox One console. We will update the review with a secondary score once we analyze the Xbox One X version. 

The Forza franchise holds a special place in my heart. Since the original Forza Motorsport launch in 2005, Turn 10 Studios’ incredible commitment to their fan base and the sport of racing has been one of my primary reasons for purchasing a Microsoft console each generation. The perfect blend of arcade and simulation gameplay became a new benchmark for the racing genre, and I think everyone can agree that the developer’s meticulous craftsmanship played a huge role in the series’ success.

When Forza 7 was first announced, I drooled over every trailer and news coverage that surfaced across the web. Microsoft's games lineup has been abysmal this year, and Forza 7 seemed like it could turn things around for the struggling platform. However, now that I’ve spent several dozen hours with the final retail code, I’m starting to worry that one of my favorite franchises is beginning to fade into the shadow of its own success.


"However, now that I’ve spent several dozen hours with the final retail code, I’m starting to worry that one of my favorite franchises is beginning to fade into the shadow of its own success."

One of the first things that took me off-guard were the graphics. I played Forza 7 on the original Xbox One, and while I completely understand that the Xbox One X version will deliver increased details, lighting and textures, the base version is notably rougher looking than Forza 6. One of the main reasons for this is the new shift to a more dynamic weather system. Forza 7 can look absolutely mind-boggling when all effects are in full force, and when the sun is perfectly situated to paint the scenery with breathtaking, warm tones.

But in many other situations, there’s a visible lack of environmental details whenever you slow down enough to pay attention to the surroundings. Please understand that I’m not calling Forza ugly by any means. This is a gorgeous game that remains one of the best-looking racers on the market. However, original Xbox One owners should be aware that all marketing materials for this game have been shown using Xbox One X footage. It’s really important to keep your expectations in check, because this is one of those cases where base hardware owners are getting a rather downgraded version.

The problems don't’ stop there. I’ve experienced abysmal FPS drops when using the cockpit view on certain tracks. The FPS would drop to single digits ONLY when driving with the first person view. This is unheard of for Forza, and this issue has plagued my entire playthrough. The drops are intermittent, and while they don’t occur every single race, it does happen at least 2-3 times each session, which I find absolutely unacceptable for this type of game.


"I’ve experienced abysmal FPS drops when using the cockpit view on certain tracks. The FPS would drop to single digits ONLY when driving with the first person view. This is unheard of for Forza, and this issue has plagued my entire playthrough."

Technical disappointments aside, Forza 7 is nearly identical to its predecessor save for the new weather system. Having Forza 7 and Forza 6 running side by side exposes painful similarities between the titles, and the fact that most tracks are repeats from previous games makes this situation even more difficult to analyze. Gameplay remains unchanged, which can be viewed as a good or bad thing. I’ve always enjoyed Forza’s precise controls, and I continue to enjoy the smooth racing in Forza 7. I guess I expected more refined tweaks to the car's’ weight as some of them still feel like they’ve been pumped with helium. Nevertheless, Forza 7 continues to handle like a dream even if you’re getting the exact same driving experience as before.

The career mode has been streamlined for greater user experience. Navigating the menus feels a little easier thanks to a smarter layout, and there are fewer steps between the main menu and the race lineup. Races have also been categorized into a more visually pleasing event hub that provides a clearer progression overview.


"Forza 7 is a solid racer, and for those new to the franchise, it may very well be one of the greatest racers of all time. But for long time Forza fans like myself, the series has officially lost its spark."

Mods are back, only this time they’ve been interwoven with a loot box system that makes Forza 7 feel more like a casino than a premium game. The whole gambling approach has leaked into all aspects of Forza 7, from the way cars and credits are awarded to the way you’re encouraged to spend real-world money for in-game credits. This whole process has become so unnecessarily convoluted, and it adds absolutely no benefit to the player.

Adding insult to injury, Forza 7’s audio is shockingly disappointing. Gone are the professional announcers and voice actors that brief gamers on the car specs in Forzavista. When visiting Forzavista now, there are no voice overs, no car specs, no nothing. And remember how Forza used to have some of the best menu music in a racing game? Not anymore. The music in Forza 7 makes it seem like the developers ran out of time and purchased a bunch of soundtracks from a stock website. At least the cars deliver a more authentic punch.

Conclusion: This is the first time that I feel disappointed by Turn 10 Studios. While the upcoming Xbox One X may deliver a more technically polished version than what I had to deal with on base hardware, the lack of any real improvements or changes makes Forza 7 feel more like a expansion pack than a proper sequel. This is especially true when you compare the monumental improvements in Forza Horizon 3 over its predecessor. Forza 7 is a solid racer, and for those new to the franchise, it may very well be one of the greatest racers of all time. But for long time Forza fans like myself, the series has officially lost its spark.

Final Score: 7.5

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