Forza 7 a new gold standard for racing simulators
Just over a decade ago, it would have been hard to fathom that the dominance of Gran Turismo in the racing simulation genre would ever be usurped by another series, and surely not by an Xbox-exclusive title. But its claim to superiority has been displaced by Project Cars 2, Assetto Corsa and now Forza Motorsport 7.
Of course, the fundamental concept of the Forza series doesn't deviate too far from the time-honoured racing simulator blueprint layed out by the very first Gran Turismo in 1997, but the extent to which Turn 10 have taken this formula and developed it to such an acute degree of precision and detail is staggering. The vast, almost obsessive collection of cars on offer, the breakneck driving experience and the jaw dropping graphics all combine to deliver one of those games that makes you feel you are living in the future you dreamed about as a child. You may have enjoyed your umpteenth lap of Laguna Seca in Gran Turismo 1, but there was always the implicit belief that someday it would be almost as if you could reach through the screen and immerse yourself in the action. Now you can, but it was Forza Motorsport 7 that has delivered on the expectations that the Gran Turismo series created.
Forza has long since fostered an experience just shy of simulation with its games and Forza Motorsport 7 is no different. While the controls have certainly been tweaked to convey a greater sense of weight in the cars, the slightly arcade-y and extremely entertaining feel certainly still remains. The progression system with respect to unlocking cars may come as a slightly nasty surprise to Forza veterans. Cars are now arranged in tiers and the more of them you have the more of these tiers you can gain access to. For those who have always curated and obsessed over personal garages, this change may be a little unwelcome, but I find it a positive change in that it forces me to drive cars I might not have considered in the past.
The career and online modes remain largely undisturbed, although they have been somewhat streamlined. One notable addition is the Forza Driver's Cup, with a grand prize ending that has me experiencing ruthless but joyful perseverance in a racing sim for the first time since the endurance racing in the early Gran Turismo titles. I can't say I am happy about the addition of loot boxes in the online modes, but I can say that it certainly does not take away from the absolute masterpiece that is Forza 7.
It is undeniable that Turn 10's latest effort is a new gold standard for racing simulators.
Forza Motorsport 7
Xbox One / PC