Forza Motorsports is without a doubt one of Microsoft’s flagship titles on the Xbox console.
It’s spawned several games, plus the spin-off Horizons series, so it’s a nice money earner for the company with a devout following. After playing Forza 7, though, I just wonder whether some of the new changes may turn some of those devout fans off.
From the outset, it seems there’s little difference between Forza 6 and Forza 7. It looks fantastic, but then developer Turn 10 Studios has always produced stunning visuals: The extensive car list features gorgeous models and there’s a dynamic weather cycle, although not a dynamic day night cycle, and with previous Forza games, you reach the heights of greatness by working your way through race cups and series to eventually the Forza Motorsports Cup. It can turn into a bit of a grind as you go lap after lap after lap in search of glory.
Now, I’m not a diehard Forza fan so I can’t go into things with minute detail but new to Forza 7 are mods, single-use cards that can be activated/selected and offer rewards/credit for achieving certain things such as good cornering, coming in third place in a race or using only the cockpit view. Also new to Forza 7 are something that I consider a blight on AAA games these days: The loot box. Called prize crates here, they cost anything between 20,000 and 300,000 currency and when unlocked may contain cars, outfits for your avatar, and mods.
You can earn more credits by turning off driving assists – something you used to be able to do manually – but now can only do by applying mods, which you can only get by buying crates. Frankly, I don’t like these crates – and they’re not cheap, especially those that likely contain the best rewards. The prize crates just feel out-of-place in a game where players should be focusing on the racing itself rather than having to purchase crates and hope they get mods that will earn them more credits to buy more cars.
Forza 7 is a lot of fun, looks stunning (I can only imagine how good it would look in 4K) and it’s got a lot going for it but it’s disappointing that Turn 10 (actually, I suspect it was Microsoft that wanted the prize crates) went the way of the loot box in this game. It seems to be the way of the AAA game at the moment: Loot boxes must be part of the equation – and it’s a trend that I don’t like.
Part of me wonders just how much including loot boxes in Forza 7 – and in AAA games in general – is going to impact on fans of the series?