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Forza Motorsport 7 Still Leads The Racing Game Pack

It’s unfair to look for realism in video games about aliens, monsters, and even Italian plumbers, but when it comes to games about sports that attempt to recreate their real world counterparts as closely as possible, realism is often the greatest concern outside of a kickin’ soundtrack.

Without some sort of mind-melding technology, video games will never be able to truly simulate the experience of being a professional racer, so in the meantime the best we’ll get is games that look real and are insanely fun to play. In its seventh iteration, Forza Motorsport has upgraded its moving parts to become the racing champion of the video game world—and you don’t even need a valid driver’s license to get in on the action.

What you do need is a next generation console, and thankfully my Xbox One did the trick nicely. Despite not being able to experience the game in “true 4K” due to the current unavailability of the upcoming Xbox One X (soon to be remedied when the new console ships November 30; look out for our console coverage in the coming weeks), the game still looks stunning. To add to the visual experience, Forza Motorsport 7 has a vastly improved Dynamic Weather system that can take a race from sunny and dry to wet and challenging in a heartbeat. And rather than being kept in perpetual twilight during night races, the sun does indeed rise, giving way to some amazingly atmospheric eye candy. Add to that a much improved collision system with bumps, dents, and scrapes looking and feeling more realistic and you’ve got a game that truly feels like a step up from the previous version, which isn’t always the case with big sports franchises.

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Playing Forza 6, I would constantly turn on and off the various driver assists post-race in order to find that perfect balance of fun and realism that someone like me who digs cars but isn’t a total freak about them enjoys. Thankfully, Forza 7 gives you the option to adjust your assists during a race just in case you find yourself utterly dominating or losing terribly. It’s a useful feature that lends itself nicely to how you progress in the game, which has been revamped into a points system much like Formula One. In order to progress you don’t necessarily need to place high in every race. Simply collect enough points at the end of one of six championship series and you’re onto the next.

It would be odd if there were less cars in Forza 7 and obviously the gang at Turn 10 isn’t nuts. There are over 700 cars to pretend own and 30 circuits with all sorts of different layouts to drive on. Plus, you can now race TRUCKS! They may not be as “sexy” as a Lambo or Ferrari,  but these brutes are a blast to drive and offer new challenges for those who might tire of the precise, aerodynamic handling of the game’s more prestige vehicles.

I don’t know about you, but when I play any sort of sports game I like to pretend it’s really me in there performing feats of athletic excellence. Forza 7 improves on its career element by giving your virtual racer a real identity who can change clothes. That might sound sarcastic, but being able to customize the virtual me is a nice touch that helps me get slightly more emotionally invested.

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Following in the footsteps of almost every other game released these days, Forza 7 has brought in loot crates to entice racers into spending in-game currency on a dirty old box that may contain mods, cars and gear. It’s not a totally necessary feature but there’s never anything wrong with getting new stuff unless that stuff sucks, which can happen if you get a string of mods, which aren’t nearly as satisfying as a new whip.

I didn’t get a chance to fully test out multiplayer because I got a sweet advance copy, but everything else about this game was everything you’d expect from a fresh Forza title. The load times were touch slow on my OG Xbox One, but considering how good everything looks it’s a small price to pay. This is a perfect game for people who love the genre, whether they know everything about cars or just love the feeling of speeding down a virtual road.

Forza Motorsport 7 is available now exclusively on Xbox One and Microsoft Windows. Check out the Launch Trailer below. Vroom vroom!

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