Recently I received a mysterious invite from Microsoft to meet them at a non-descript building in Venice, Calif., and I was not to tell anyone where it was, when I was going, or why I was there. In my brain, red flags should have been waving like crazy, but I've found as I age that my self-preservation instinct has grown dull.
Luckily, it turned out that Microsoft wasn't trying to steal my kidney and sell it on the dark web; they merely wanted me to try out the latest build of Forza Motorsport 7 before it releases in October. I was relieved, though I must admit I wouldn't be against the kidney-selling thing as long as they cut me in on it. Anyway...
The last time I went hands-on with Forza Motorsport 7, it was at the E3 Expo last June. While the E3 demo was a vertical slice of the game, the build I played essentially had the beginnings of Forza Motorsport 7's career mode.
Now known as the "Forza Driver's Cup," this career element takes players through several championships and each championship has various series within them. I was only given access to the very first series in the "Seeker's Cup," which is the first championship.
The first series was only four short races but each race gave a good cross section of the types of environments one could expect when playing through their career. I drove during the day, dawn, night, dry, and rain. Experiencing all of that allowed me to get a great feel for any tweaks or changes to the driving physics versus the E3 build I played a few months ago. I can say that if anything, physics felt slightly better than they did in the previous build. Fortunately (or unfortunately) since Forza's physics engine has been top of the line for a while, it is hard to detect any changes more significant than a nuance. For those who like Forza's physics, this is great news. For those who don't, then this is likely disappointing.
Visually, this game looks just as great as it ever has. Anyone that currently owns a 4K HDR TV and has an Xbox One X console on pre-order is in for a visual treat when they play Forza Motorsport 7. There is much more visual detail present than I originally noticed in my last playthrough. Something that stood out to me during session was that while in cockpit view I could make out faint signs of water residue and dust on the windshield that caught and actually reflected the ambient light!
I was also allowed play around in the menus and scroll through the entire launch car list. Before you ask, yes, Porsche will be in the game at launch!
As great as it was to discover Porsche in the launch car roster, there were things in the menu that I found more interesting. It appears that Forza is taking a page out of popular shooter games by allowing players to customize their avatars with a wide variety of what is referred to as "driver gear." Driver gear essentially breaks down to your avatar's Nomex racing suit, gloves, and helmet. Pouring through the driver gear menu revealed tons of interesting and funny themed getups. There is everything from snow camo driving gear to ninja themed driving gear, biker gang themed driving gear, even suit of armor themed driving gear! I can see the driver gear becoming a fast favorite among players.
That about wraps up my experience with Forza Motorsport 7 so far. Hopefully, I'll get the chance to review the full game to let you all know if Turn 10 Studios manages to truly deliver on all the hype and promise they've presented thus far. Currently, things are looking pretty good!
If you want to give Forza Motorsport 7 a try for yourself, by the time you read this a free demo should be available for download on Xbox Live. Try it out and let me know what you think about it by sounding off in the comments below.