Yesterday, Turn 10 studios finally released a playable demo for Forza Motorsport 7, available for free on the Xbox One and PC. We got our hands on it for Xbox and logged a couple of hours on the three playable tracks and vehicles to see just how much the game's improved.
The demo gives players an opportunity to drive three different cars around three different racetracks. The first is the Porsche 911 GT2 RS, the game's cover car, available to drive for two laps around a Turn 10-designed Dubai street circuit. The track is new for the Forza Motorsport series, and features a combination of fast sweepers, extremely technical sections, and big elevation changes.
For the first time, Porsche cars are available right from the game's launch, rather than through a later-released DLC package. The new GT2 RS drives exactly like a 911 should, with mountains of grip and a light front end. Even though I was using a controller, everything still felt natural to use, including the paddle shifting buttons, pedals (left and right triggers), and the A-button handbrake.
The only complaint I have with the controls—one that still hasn't been fixed from Forza Motorsport 6—is the steering on handheld controllers. It's done using the left thumbstick, and doesn't always instantly respond to quick back and forth movements. It's almost as if the in-game person driving the car couldn't physically swing the steering wheel left to right fast enough, even though you, the person controlling the wheel, could.
We don't have a steering wheel setup in our office to test out the game's steering for real, but this was a serious problem when trying to control slides in that rear-engined 911—a car famous for requiring liberal use of the steering wheel to keep in check.
Nonetheless, the graphics were wonderfully crisp, with functional gauges in the car, fantastic lighting, and some seriously cool on-track visuals. Details like engine bays and interiors are just as good as ever, and this time around, you can even customize your driver with different outfits.
Conveniently, Turn 10 added another in-car viewing angle for those using physical steering wheels. Instead of including the whole interior in this view, this view cuts out the steering wheel and most of the dash, instead giving a closeup of the gauge cluster to make you feel like you're actually sitting inside the car. A small detail, but pretty clever.
Mugello, a real-life track in Italy, makes a welcome return to the Forza franchise after it went missing in Forza 6. The demo gives you a 1000-horsepower Mercedes Tankpool 24 Racing Truck to drive, which is pretty fun to fling around the wide-open circuit once you get a hang of all that mass. Forget about sustaining a slide, though.
The final demo track and car combo is the most interesting because it presents perhaps Forza's biggest environmental change: variable weather. You're given a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500 car on the Nurburgring GP circuit. Everything starts off dry, but about 30 seconds into the lap, it starts to pour. By the end of lap one, the circuit is soaked, forcing you to change your racing line and compensate for less grip. As you near the end of the race, things start to lighten up again, and the circuit drys out.
Like in Forza 6, the wet track physics are shockingly good and feel seriously like real life. This variable weather just adds another aspect you have to keep in mind, and gets you even deeper into the experience.
Forza has always been about incrementally improving its games year after year, sculpting its already-good product to give gamers the best experience possible. From what we can tell from the demo, Forza 7 is no different, giving new tweaks and little updates everywhere. We can't wait to try the full game.
Forza Motorsport 7 will be available October 7th, 2017 for starting at $59.99.