Game Review: Forza Motorsport 7 on Xbox One X

Forza Motorsport 7 Xbox One X Cover Shot for Review

Forza is a staple Microsoft franchise that’s been around since 2005. The newest iteration of the racing video game typically serves as a tech demo when Microsoft shows off new hardware. Forza Motorsport 7 is no exception.

With the launch of the Xbox One X, Forza has been used widely in marketing to show off the graphics capabilities of the new Xbox One X. In fact, when you launch the game, the first thing you see is an “Enhanced for Xbox One X” logo. Let’s see how this latest iteration of Forza holds up on the Xbox One X (provided by Microsoft) and the Samsung Q9F QLED TV (provided by Samsung).

Platforms: Xbox One X, Xbox One S, Xbox One, PC

Developers: Turn 10 Studios

Publisher: Microsoft

Genre: Racing Simulator

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Resolution: 4k UHD with HDR

Audio Format: Dolby Digital 7.1

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Synopsis (Taken from Microsoft’s Website)

“Experience the thrill of motorsport at the limit with the most comprehensive, beautiful and authentic racing game ever made. Enjoy gorgeous graphics at 60fps and native 4K resolution in HDR. Collect and race more than 700 cars, including the largest collection of Ferraris, Porsches, and Lamborghinis ever. Challenge yourself across 30 famous destinations and 200 ribbons, where race conditions change every time you return to the track.”


REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

Audio: 85

Dynamics: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: N/A

Positional/Environmental Cues: 85

Detail/Realism: 85

Dialogue/Mix Quality: 85

The audio mix in Forza Motorsport 7 was “nice” but certainly nothing to write home about. First of all, I was somewhat shocked at the lack of dynamics and the absence of deep bass in the mix. I suppose the upshot is you don’t need a home theater-worthy surround-sound system to get the most out of the game’s audio, but these elements were notably absent. I also experienced occasional, inexplicable sudden changes in the overall volume level.

Since Forza is as much racing sim as it is a video game, it’s nice that the game designers added all the different engine sounds for the individual cars, and the nuances  of those effects are very well done. The sound of hitting other cars, or the rail, were realistic effects (albeit without the physicality of deep bass).

One effect I really appreciate was rain. The sound of the rain hitting the car and asphalt had different, realistic characteristics. I also liked that going over puddles resulted in subtle sound effects that match the action.

However, when I was listening for audio cues that offer a hint of where other cars were,  at times it was not easy to tell the location based on the cues. For example, cars that were far behind seemed much closer based on audio alone, something Datsm pointed out to me (I don’t pay as much attention to that sort of thing as he does).

I rated Dynamics and LFE as N/A because it would be unfair to penalize the game with low rankings. Those elements are simply not factors here. I do wish Forza Motorsport 7 had better overall sound quality, but at the end of the day it’s about simulated racing, and the effects it does offer get the job done as far as putting you in the driver’s seat. It’s just that it could be so much more immersive if the audio matched the visuals.

Video: 97


Black Levels:98

Color Reproduction:98


“This game is car porn” said my friend Datsm, who contributed to this review. And he’s right. Not only are the exteriors of the cars exquisite, but the cab looks great. If you use the first-person viewpoint, on a big 4K HDR TV screen like the 65″ Samsung Q9Fs we’re using for these reviews, it does appear (and at times feel) like you are sitting in the racecar.

The tracks and scenery in Forza Motorsport 7 are beautiful. When looking at the asphalt, I couldn’t help but notice how realistic it looks. “The asphalt looks great” noted Datsm. Indeed, each venue possessed detail that lent a visual realism to the proceedings which I have not experienced before in other racing sims. In particular, whether it’s sunny or raining, weather effects looked fantastic.

Clouds, which came in every shape and size and with realistic shading, were a nice detail. And the sun… the glorious sun. Sunset at various points looking stunning, like you should stop the car and take a picture. The different reds, oranges, and yellows all popped with HDR and benefitted from the Q9F QLEDs wide color gamut.

The reflections of the light on the shiny cars was bright, with specular highlights glinting realistically, without being overwhelming. Wherever there was grass or mud or sand, everything that was kicked up by the wheels made visual sense based on where the car was.

I did see the seams of the game in some of the more complex visual environments. When paying close attention, I could see textures being rendered on the fly as I got closer to objects like hills and buildings. And at times, a few things I spotted in the distance were easily describable as “low res.” But balancing that out were many other details, like helicopters and airplanes and the spectators, that possessed so much detail that in HDR Forza Motorsport 7 managed to achieve photo-realism at times, with only some faint flickering from aliasing giving away the fact it’s actually a video game.

Final Thoughts

Forza is a fantastic, reference level demo for 4K and HDR. A visual feast, as they say. But, when it comes to audio, it’s just “fine” not great. Regardless, visually this is a definitive, reference-quality game on the Xbox One X, perfect to show off any 4k HDR display. And if you enjoy racing, you’ll get many hours of satisfaction taking in the scenery at 200 virtual miles per hour.

Reference Review Systems*

65″ Samsung Q9F QLED 4K UHD TV (provided by Samsung)
Xbox One X 4K HDR (provided by Microsoft)
KEF R500, R100, R50 speakers
JL Audio F112 V2 subwoofers
Denon AVR-X4300H AVR
miniDSP DDRC-88A Dirac Live processor
Crestron ProAmp 7×250 amplifier

65″ Samsung Q9F QLED 4K UHD TV (provided by Samsung)
Xbox One X 4K HDR (provided by Microsoft)
KEF R700, R600, R800ds, R50, R400b speakers/subs
Marantz 7704 11.2-channel pre/pro
Emotiva XPA 5 and XPA 2 amplifiers

* This review includes observations from “Datsm” who is a gamer and AV expert who wishes to remain anonymous. The two review systems are nearly identical.

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