FORZA MOTORSPORT 7
Developer Turn 10 Studios Publisher Microsoft Studios Format Xbox One Release October 3
Heat waves ripple over shimmering asphalt, sandy residue coats headlights in splotches, and there’s not a jagged edge in sight, unless you count the harsh angles of sun-bleached cliffs surrounding new track Dubai Autodrome. Turn 10’s car sim spearheads the launch of Xbox One X for a reason. It perfectly showcases the platform’s strengths, with 4K resolution at 60FPS and HDR lighting as rich as the premium you’ll pay to see it.
After Forza Horizon 3’ s off-road escapade last year, the return to fixed circuit racing focuses your senses on the temperament of your vehicle rather than whose garden you’re veering into. Handling’s certainly grippier, given it takes place exclusively on tarmac. But don’t take your eyes off the road. Dynamic weather draws fresh beauty from courses we’ve lapped hundreds of times, such as Mugello, Nürburgring, and so on.
During a circuit race in our Nismo Motul Autech GT-R we watch threatening grey clouds group ominously on the horizon before making their approach. A light trickle peppers our screen like the first drops from a ketchup bottle before quickly settling into the groove of a torrential downpour. 2160p rainfall is a sight to see. The slightly more zoomed-in cockpit view puts us close to droplets so sharply rendered as to resemble thousands of pin pricks, each taking turns to catch the wind and stream up our windshield. It’s – sorry in advance – a new high-water mark for driving games.
These conditions impact your vehicle. Tarmac temperatures affect tyre friction, for example, and realtime puddles swell in showers. As a result, hydroplaning becomes a danger during waterlogged stretches of track. Meanwhile, mirrors and windshield wipers jolt in direct response to dips and divots in terrain, window netting ripples violently as the wind whips through it, and throttled engines are accompanied by the worrying rattles of loose screws (or possibly glovebox Maltesers). Forza 7 moves just as nicely as it looks.
Despite the authenticity, this is far from an inaccessible car sim. There’s real effort to cater for all skill levels in, for instance, a new friction assist that allows you to adjust the speed penalty for hitting sand or gravel, and an open campaign offering six championships to hop between as you get your fill of trophy trucks, pre-war motors, exotic high-enders, American muscle, and NASCAR’s finest. A 700-strong car list dwarfs Forza 6’ s roster.
Realism doesn’t have to be punishing. It can refer to the subtle nicks in your driver’s helmet, the spray from soaked tyres, or the groggy thud of a gearstick. That Forza 7’ s advances are mostly visual in nature means that the Xbox One X’s standard-bearer, like the console itself, is something of a luxury.
The return to fixed circuit racing focuses your senses on the temperament of your vehicle