A few days ago, Turn 10 Studios made waves by not only announcing Forza Motorsport 7 but also revealing the Porsche 911 GT2 RS to the world at a video game event—a first for any automotive OEM. More importantly, Forza 7 looked great and nearly everything I expected was confirmed: 4K resolution at 60fps, Porsche as the new cover car due to their new agreement, dynamic weather effects, and more.
It looked great and sounded great, but how did it play? Fortunately, I was invited to a more intimate showcase event to go hands on with the game running on a special developer version of the new Xbox One X.
The Forza Motorsport 7 demo build at the event allowed players to choose from three different experiences: driving the Porsche 911 GT2 RS on a wind-swept pass in Dubai; driving the Motul Nissan GT-R GT500 Car in a storm; and finally for some European flavor, a racing truck experience.
I decided to go for the GT-R experience first since a wet track would give me the best feel for how the physics have changed. The developers claimed while not completely overhauling it, they've made significant iterations to their patented physics system. But how significant is it in practice?
Turns out that there is a demonstrable difference in handling characteristics. It seems to mostly come from feeling the road surface materials much more than in Forza 6. Also, this time around water puddles will grow in size as rain continues. This made finding grip more difficult, but it wasn't obnoxious. I should also note that the sense of speed doesn't seem to have been dulled at all, which can happen with racing simulators sometimes.
Next up, I gave the new Porsche 911 GT2 RS a try. I have to say, I was pretty astonished at the level of detail that was on display in this experience. Dust looks realistic as it wafts by and collects on the road surface, the windshield wipers vibrated in the wind, and the mechanical and engine noises sounded much more realistic. Switching to cockpit view was a feast for the eyes, and the Porsche's handling seemed to fit what a 640HP turbocharged, rear-engined supercar may feel like.
Finally, the European racing truck experience was the most unorthodox but easily the most fun part of the entire demo. I'm personally not very familiar with these types of racing trucks but I was always curious. Driving one in-game was just as fun as it looks. Also, like the Porsche, the sights and sounds felt very true to life. The telltale diesel whistle as the engine built RPMs and the blow-off valve sounds just added that much more reality to the wacky experience of racing a big-ass truck on a FIA-level race track.
After the experience was over I left feeling pretty impressed, though it was just a slice of what the team at Turn 10 Studios is planning to bring to players once the game launches on October 3rd, 2017. Can they deliver on all their promises? It remains to be seen, but I'd say so far, so good.