I'm probably explaining it the wrong way. I find simulation less floaty (technical term)...I found it too difficult to be precise in where the car was going rather than too precise in my joystick movements.
Finally downloaded the demo. I find the GT2 RS quite unruly to drive, but then I had all assists off except ABS. Quite fun sliding it around Dubai, though. Graphics look absolutely amazing on Ultra, rain weather looks much better than the Forza 6 Demo back then. The sounds of the GT2 and the Mercedes truck are amazing, except the Nismo which to me sounds a bit reserved.
I am gonna hold off on buying the full-fat version, unlike with FH3. I still haven't finished the Hot Wheels expansion, and I'm the kind of guy who feels guilty playing a newer game when its predecessor hasn't been fully played yet.
Initially I found the Porsche quite a handful as well. The FFB on my wheel was far to strong by default. I had no clue what to expect from the track as I had never saw it before and the car was going faster than it seemed.
After turning down the FFB a bit and paying more attention to my speed and the track I found it was not nearly as bad as I first thought. A few more laps and it seemed like it would be fun to drive on a track I was actually familiar with. One of the keys to that car is to be careful with the throttle input, it has a good bit of lift off oversteer in the corners so you need to maintain some throttle input while turning if you do not want the rear to kick out. With a little practice you can control it quite well.
May not be able to get the game right away, but at least I was able to get the download for the Creators update working and had a chance to try the demo on my PC. Glad to see the game runs great on my rig on Ultra settings at 4K.
Thanks to Forza coming to PC, I finally had a proper go at playing Forza and testing out the physics with a wheel. I've been playing FM6 Apex over the past month (almost got all platinum medals save for 3 events), and just recently I downloaded the FM7 demo.
To me, the menu presentation is the biggest draw of Forza. Everything feels slick and professional. You can tell the team has big budgets behind this. I love the menu music and pre-race intros in Apex, but not so much in FM7 (seems like they're trying too hard down the Monster Energy Codies route there). Regardless, everything oozes style and passion for all things motorsport. If you weren't into cars before this, you will. It strikes a nice medium between GT's laid back elegant presentation and NFS' in your face and adrenaline fueled presentation. The races all have consistent themes and you're racing against cars of similar class, unlike GT's smorgasbord of mismatched cars.
The graphics are great. Lighting is not as natural as GT, but weather effects especially rain is amazing. Even though I have all graphics on Low, it's still more than adequate. My biggest problem though is the game tends to crash during rain races. I had to roll back my graphics driver to last year's version to stop this happening regularly, and even then after 3-4 rain races it will still crash (just not as frequent).
The car selection is great, no complaints whatsoever there. The sounds are also pretty good, though race cars don't sound as savage as they do in hardcore sims like Automobilista or RRRE. Track selection is hard to judge with only a few tracks to play with, but the real world tracks all seem pretty accurate. The fictional tracks are interesting. You can tell they have a Forza feel to them (just like GT fictional tracks have a distinct GT feel). Lots of elevation change, track width changes constantly and there are always a couple of awkward corners to trip you up after easy stretches. Also tunnels, T10 really loves dark tunnels it seems (Rio and Dubai both has one). Unfortunately driving the faster cars on these street circuits always ends up in demo derby, but in slow-medium cars they are pretty fun.
Now to the main issue: physics and FFB. Honestly, I think FM have a reasonably good physics crunching numbers under the hood. The tyre and suspension model certainly seems sophisticated enough looking at the in-game telemetry and tuning screens (it's impressive to see the specs immediately calculated after you change a setting). But running on the track it's all pretty disappointing. I'm quite surprised because playing with a pad the cars feel rather weighty and solid. But with a wheel (Logitech G25) it's a disaster. FFB is numb and lacking detail. You have sense of grip that doesn't vary until you hit a "cliff" then you lose all force (especially during understeer). Oversteer is even worse because you rely on the wheel's self centering force, which isn't present and as a result slides are impossible to catch. I have tinkered with the FFB settings in-game and from the profiler (ended up with 140% force in profiler and 100% in game, also turned off all canned effects for most "pure" FFB) and it's still doesn't feel natural at all. FM7 seems to have taken a little step backwards even.
It's not all doom and gloom though. I like that torque steer is prominent and you can have lift off oversteer even with FFs (GT feels sterile by comparison). Also each car feels distinctly different. The muscle cars feel wallowy, and race cars feel tight, unlike GT where everything feels same-ish. Light cars feel terrible to drive though (the Atom in Apex is a nightmare) - conversely heavy cars like the Merc Truck feels excellent and almost sim-quality. Also FF and 4WD are better than RWD because of the whole oversteer FFB issue. The BTCC Civic in Apex is a highlight for me - it's the closest thing to Assetto from a console game, and that is VERY high praise. Driving in the rain is rather scary but feels better than GT too (you can actually feel grip rather than just slipping on a slippery surface). But I'm not sold on the puddles. They are a nice effect but no way a road race will continue with that kind of standing water (especially the one at bottom of Eau Rouge). AI is fast and offers a nice challenge, especially on higher difficulties. They are still too suicidal though, even with Drivatar aggressiveness turned down.
In summary, I think Forza is a genuinely good racing game. But it still needs a LOT of work on physics/FFB side, especially with wheels. As it stands it's closer to the Codemaster's Grid simcade side than to the Gran Turismo sim-but-dumbed-down spectrum on my list. Having said that, there are a few things the physics does that are better than GT's (torque steer, lift off oversteer, rain). Basically the overall feel of driving is better in GT, but the little details are better in FM. Personally between GT/FM I'd go with GT at this point, but if T10 can sort their stuff together, they would have a winner. (AC is still miles ahead though)
Am I going to buy FM7? Not quite at this point. Between the poor rain performance on my machine and the not-quite-right FFB, I think I'm happy to give FM a pass this time round. You bet I'm definitely keeping a close eye on the series from now on though.