Forza Motorsport 7: The Demo

Robert Robinson

As Oct. 3 rapidly approaches, the demo for Turn10’s seventh installment of their hit console sim-racer franchise was released on the Microsoft Store yesterday and I toyed around on the XBOX One version last night before hitting the sack for some initial impressions. While the demo is not without it’s flaws (like long loading times and dropped frames in the menus, which isn’t entirely uncommon for demos to be fair) there’s a lot to be inferred about the new game’s features, graphics and most importantly, physics.

When you first load into the demo, you’re greeted by a familiar vehicle ForzaVista-style camera look around of the Porsche gracing the game’s cover art, that was first revealed at the Forza presentation during Microsoft’s keynote presentation at E3. The menu cycles through a few cars, inside and out, including Ken Block’s Focus RS RX which is a bit of a tease considering you’ll not be able to drive it in the demo. (You’ll just have to continue enjoying it in FH3 until the 3rd rolls around.) During these menus you can tell the hardware is being pretty heavily taxed as frames drop while the camera moves in and out of the highly detailed cars, and I’m interested to see if this carries over to the full release.

Once you dive deeper into the race menu, framerates are improved as the scenery of the featured tracks have given way to what appears to be a hangar housing three drivers accompanied by their corresponding vehicles to be used in three individual challenges. An ETRC styled race at Mugello, The Motul GTR at Nürburgring, and the Porsche 911 GT2 RS in Dubai just as Drew had a chance to show us from the E3 show floor. as you select your challenge you are also given the opportunity to choose your driver’s appearance, featuring both male & female forms in a number of different driving suits, ranging from leather cap festooned vintage race suits to modern hans device equipped lemans inspired suits. While the ability to change your drivatar’s appearance is a fun addition, I’m still unsure if there’s any actual benefit to be gained from the different suits as they are all grouped by their status of common, rare, legendary and the like.

Now onto the real meat and potatoes; once you’ve selected your challenge, your driver’s appearance and adjusted your in-game assists, you get to do some more waiting until you’re finally loaded into the race screen. The events are all being launched from a rolling start, and while this has been used by Forza in the past, my complaint stays the same, I simply wish I had an option to take control over my vehicle before the lights go green. Being dropped into the action as the race starts is a bit jarring, but once you get going the physics have definitely improved from the last iteration. It’s pretty standard fare from there on out… pretty cars, great sounds, solid physics, realistic environments… all the benchmarks the Forza series has excelled at in the past just keep getting better.

One thing that stood out to me in particular was that the AI seems far more advanced. While racing up the mountain in Dubai, I slowed to allow the traffic behind me to overtake so I could enjoy a bit of rear engine drifting up the mountain unencumbered, when I noticed the traffic slowing, almost to a stop behind me as there was not enough space to pass cleanly going through the turns. Then later, when I took to the truck race and was muscling my way through the pack, the AI was all too quick to return the favor, no longer being fearful of contact, but instead pushing the lightweight rear end of my rig around. This sort of dynamic AI reaction to your driving style was something we’d been hearing about since FM4 but this was the first time I truly noticed it in effect while playing, and it was very impressive.

All said, the demo does little to whet our appetites, but should do a great deal in moving addl. units as Forza Motorsport 7 is released on Oct. 3. Give it a shot and let us know your impressions, and check back as we get behind the wheel of the real thing. We’ll be back to playing with our readers and the like once the game gets it’s release and we can’t wait to get back to banging doors soon.

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Forza Motorsport 7: The Demo