The launch (and early access) of Forza Motorsport 7 has been mired in controversy for the past few days. Long time Forza veterans such as myself were in for a big shock when we found out that many unreported aspects of FM7 were going to have huge effects on the way we normally play the game.
I am, of course, talking about the VIP debacle. In past Forza games, becoming a VIP member (which costs extra money) netted you double the credits earned after each race in addition to a number of VIP exclusives (cars, badges, etc). Throughout the marketing for FM7, there was no mention that any of this was about to change, so of course why would we assume that being a VIP member would be any different from before?
To make a long story short, VIP had changed completely with virtually no documentation on Turn 10's part. Double credits were now gone; you only had a limited number of times you could use double credits before they went away forever. Fans were obviously upset at the deception, but Turn 10 has made things right.
In a post on their blog, Turn 10 has announced that VIP will be returning to what is once was, double credits and all and in addition, anyone who purchased VIP will be gifted a bunch of credits and cars. Awesome.
Now that I got that out of the way, how's the game? In short, it's both fantastic and somewhat distasteful at the same time. The game looks incredible even on an original Xbox One (it looks even better on a Xbox One X with 4K HDR and 60 FPS). Closer inspection reveals that various aspects of tracks (like trees) have gone down in quality, but most likely that's due to the inclusion of dynamic time of day and weather.
Yes, FM7 now has dynamic time of day and weather, but it's not REALLY dynamic. These features are still only available on certain tracks, and they are by no means random like the term "dynamic" would suggest. They are still very much timed to length of the race and will only "kick in" after a certain point. Yes that's nitpicking, but somewhat of a letdown.
Perhaps the one aspect of FM7 that I dislike the most is the new loot crate/mods system. Mods are limited use benefits that you can apply to each race, and loot crates net you these mods and cars, outfits, etc. This is mobile gaming microtranscactions invading a AAA full priced game release. Luckily, none of these loot crates are necessary to win, but the game progresses much more slowly and differently than before.
FM7 may have the most cars in any Forza game ever, but the bulk of all the cars are locked behind a tier system. Basically you start with your cheap Tier 1 cars, which you must buy enough of to unlock the better Tier 2 cars, and so on and so forth. The thinking behind this is to force players to experience the widest range of cars possible, but it kind of sucks to have 1,000,000 credits and not be able to buy a Ferrari 488 right off the bat. But if you buy loot crates, you might get more cars to raise your tier level. You see where this is headed?
It may seem like all I have to talk about are the negatives, but putting all that aside, FM7 is a gorgeous game with a ton of cars and tracks. Sure you may not be able to get to all the cars right off the bat, but they're still there. Handling is still the same as before with a physics system that incredibly accessible for a controller (much to the chagrin of sim purists), and the sound is, as usual, top notch.
With Turn 10 changing up their VIP system to something more familiar, the game is once again resembling its old self again, and even with all the changes to the tier system and loot crates, it is still a blast to play. If stuff like mods and loot crates don't bother you, then FM7 is still king of the racers on the Xbox One.
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