In this seventh game in the series, the focus has been on polishing and refining everything that worked well in Forza Motorsport 6 and that's why very little new has just been added. One (!) new track (Dubai Highway, there are other new tracks when compared to Forza 6, but we've seen them before in earlier entries in the series), a few new cars (again, compared to Forza 6, which ended up with around 620 cars if you count DLC, there are just over 700 in Forza 7), and a new game mode; that's all we're getting here. Everything is presented differently and the career mode has been given a few structural changes and some new championships. Overall, though, this is the same game as its predecessor, albeit with more polish. Turn 10 has left the wrenches in the toolbox and has instead used some Carnauba Wax to create the most polished product they've ever released.
Sure, dynamic weather has been added. Let's not forget that. Just like in Project CARS 2, the inclusion of pools of water, raindrops, and fog are the main talking points, but as with Slightly Mad Studios' sequel, we have difficulty seeing what's so thrilling about rain drizzle, especially in a game where it all comes down to setting superior lap times. However, for those who love racing in the rain and driving through puddles, the dynamic weather effects work very well. During a race on the Nurburgring it rains and becomes cloudy during the seven minutes that the race lasts and of course this adds some realism, even though the puddles, just like in Project CARS 2, seem to get too big. During one of our initial races in the career mode we took to the track at Silverstone and discovered what looked like small swimming pools, something that never happens in reality. Instead, the race would have been abandoned and restarted after the water had dried up. Of course, it's easy to just deactivate the weather, which we did early on, but the effects are nice and work relatively well, regardless of personal taste and how it affects the racing.
Forza Motorsport 7 is structured just like previous games in the franchise. The main offering is the career mode (Forza Driver's Cup). As an aspiring rookie, you will go from front-wheeled amateur racing to Formula E and GT LeMans racing against the elite. As usual, it's about working through the lower leagues so you can afford bigger and better cars. We all know the setup, we've all experienced it before, and in Forza 7 almost nothing differs regarding the Driver's Cup except some elements regarding its overall presentation.
In a way, it's nice that this hasn't changed. It's reassuring to know what is required of you and knowing what you need to do to win. At the same time, it's quite sad to play the same career for the seventh game, and even though we created our own driver this time, it's nothing new. In fact, it's getting old. As we said way back when we played Forza Motorsport 3, we're looking forward to the day where one of these developers finds a way to innovate in this area. We want something fresh, something new, something that can excite us and drive the genre forward again. Pardon the pun.
As for the multiplayer aspect, the same applies. The main game modes are the same as in previous games, although they are more polished and, in some cases, expanded. Turn 10, during the development of Forza 7, talked a lot about the fact that they have four million active players who regularly compete online in Forza 6, a figure they hope to grow now as the pit section is expanded and offers more of a realistic atmosphere. This part of the game works very well, although it's actually just a cosmetic detail. We can fiddle around while the next race loads and although the focus on our avatar is clearly exaggerated (there are 300 different helmets to choose from), it's a good thing that the developers tried to make the experience more personal.
Building a relationship between man and machine is something that studio head Dan Greenawalt has spoken a lot about since the release of Forza 2, and in the seventh game this is done by asking the player to collect as many cars as is humanly possible. To sell the cars obtained after winning championships, or those you bought and tuned but stopped using, isn't something that Forza 7 encourages. On the contrary, like a kid obsessed with Hot Wheels, you're tasked with building a huuuuge garage of sports cars. Too bad that the range of cars doesn't feel complete at launch, and that the prioritisation seems weird.
We don't really know where to start when it comes to the cars in Forza 7. For starters, we've not found the 700+ cars they talked about in run up to launch. We also haven't found any of our old Forza Motorsport 4 favourites. The Calsonic Nissan GT-R R34 Skyline JPGT stands out to us as the best car ever in this series, and it's missing. We also missed newly released, super-hyped high-performance supercars such as Aston Martin Vulcan, Bugatti Chiron, McLaren 720S, Lamborghini Performante and Mercedes AMG Project One. Instead, we find enough minibuses and three-cylinder minibars (and trucks, and vans) to suffocate an entire legion of zebras. We think it's time Turn 10 looks to Polyphony and follows the example of Yamauchi and his 200-man team in the upcoming Gran Turismo Sport. Remove all these slow, boring family sedans, vans, super old classics, and Forza Horizon cars, and instead put all the focus on real racing machines.