In what seems to be a growing trend, a lot of games are being released and then subsequently patched later to provide additional content. Sometimes this is just in the form of additional content, while other times it is a case of not having turned on the feature at launch.
This is the case for both flagship racing titles, Microsoft (Forza Motorsport 7) and Sony (Gran Turismo Sport). Because these titles now seem to be well on the way to gaming maturity I thought it a good time to write an update on both.
Forza Motorsport 7
With Forza Motorsport 7 (FM7), we finally have all the features working that weren’t turned on at launch. These include the Auction House, Forzathon and Multiplayer Leagues.
The Auction House is very well designed and improves even on what Forza Horizon 3 (FH3) offered. You can now see easily if you own the car already, so this gets rid of the need to jump out of the auction house before you can click and buy with in game money the best deal.
Forzathon has also been upgraded. Forzathons are challenges set up to win you special cars and other prizes and area only available for a short time. In FH3 you would have 3 or 4 challenges a week. With FM7 you have multiple stage challenges now that run for a fortnight on average. The rewards in FM7 tend to be decent cars or driver suits, and this is enough for me to keep doing them.
Finally, the latest feature to be turned on is the League system in FM7. This is definitely improved on the standard multiplayer lobbies, and there are some good prizes to win for participating. I still find though that there doesn’t seem to be much happening to discourage players from intentionally griefing and slamming you off the track.
Being a league setup does minimise this a fair bit compared to the normal hoppers, but I think a rating system to determine who wants to play “Destruction Derby” vs “Who wants to Race” is definitely required. That could mean then that gamers who want to effectively have a much more casual race could play together, and those who are more serious about racing in FM7 (I fit in this bracket) can race competitively without getting slammed out of a race.
Apart from what I’ve just mentioned on the League front, my main gripe with FM7 is still the lacking of qualifying. I would love to see this patched if possible for single player. I know it is not likely to happen, but I can still dream.
Gran Turismo Sport
Wow is all I can say when a game gets patched based on player feedback. I am happy to report that Gran Turismo Sport (GTS) is actually much better with the latest patch. Now there is a proper career mode in single player.
While the single player career player doesn’t break new ground, it at least gives you something more to do once you’ve done the other parts of the campaign.
I wrote up on the timed demo here. As you probably could tell, I wasn’t overly impressed back then. Over the holidays GTS went on sale for about 24 hours, and I relented and bought it digitally. I’m really glad I did because GTS has done something great in a track based racing game: incorporate an excellent multiplayer model.
The Sport mode of the title is fantastic and you have a racing rank, as well as a “Sportsmanship Rating”. The second rating is a great addition and it means you’ll be matched up with other like minded racers, who want to race fair as you do. The system works very well and the ratings are A to E. With sportsmanship E means you have little regard for other racers and just want to run everyone off the road. On the opposite end A means you are a professional racer and want to be courteous with other drivers on the track.
Another nice touch is that you have to watch two videos on good sportsmanship before you are even allowed to access the Sport mode. The nightly races, of which are part of a series, allows you also to have a proper qualifying session with other drivers. Even the shorter racers allow qualifying (on your own) leading up to the race.
I haven’t enjoyed playing with randoms in a racing game in a long time, but here GTS excels. I actually want to play multiplayer because I have a B rating in Sportsmanship (working on getting to A) and I am getting matched up with similar racers. Too many negative counts of sportsmanship in a race and you’ll drop a level.
The Scapes part of GTS is also excellent. This allows you to pick a background and then add one or more cars before taking a truly breathtaking photo. It is for this reason I wish there were a few more cars in the GTS roster. More cars have been released (10 or so) since the original launch but that still puts it at around 200. The cars are fun to drive though, and the professional variants are a good challenge as well.
I’m actually enjoying both games as they have different strengths. FM7 has more cars on the track (24), native 4k 60fps, a great single player career mode, 700+ cars and a huge variety of tracks. The League system shows promise but needs a bit more work. Still can’t get over how jaw dropping the game is on the Xbox One X.
GTS has an excellent multiplayer system in Sport mode, some amazing HDR effects (particularly at night), Scapes and all 200 cars fully modelled (front and rear from within cockpit view). GTS also has excellent pit and flag animations for when accidents occur, and these are great touches.
My advice – if you like racing and have both consoles, get both. They will satisfy most track based itches.
Forza Motorsport 7 played on the Xbox One X. Gran Turismo Sport, the Playstation 4 Pro.