FORZA MO­TOR­SPORT 7

De­vel­oper Turn 10 Stu­dios Pub­lisher Mi­crosoft Stu­dios For­mat Xbox One Re­lease Oc­to­ber 3

EDGE - - MICROSOFT@E3 -

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

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