Forza Motorsport 4

So Christmas came a little early for me this year. I love Forza, it’s one of the racing games which will continually draw me back for a ‘quick game’ and I was SO looking forward to ‘4’ that when Dan chucked a review copy at me I actually started drooling. I couldn’t wait to get home, hook up the wheel and slam in the discs; yep, discS plural, not a typo… here we go!

Forza 4 comes with a Content Installation disc which you have the option to install on your Xbox’s hard drive to speed up the loading of those delicious images of fast cars and undulating racetracks. It didn’t take long and was well worth doing. After the additional content was installed, Forza 4 asked me if I wanted to look for saved games; I said “Well of course!” and then more special things happened: I got a whole bunch of cars across all of the classes for free, including one of the ‘Unicorn’ cars in the game. Nice!

I could now go on to tell you that the menu system is smooth and slick, easy to navigate and pretty intuitive. I could tell you that the Auto Vista is simply a beautiful way to ‘walk around’ and explore some of the most stunning cars on (and off!) the planet. I could tell you that, as a result of installing the content, scanning through the car lists either in your garage or in the shop is a great experience with very fast load times for the cars themselves. I could go through all of those things in great and fanatical detail, but I’m won’t. You’ll probably already have seen them, or read about them. The important thing about a driving game is the driving, and this is where Forza Motorsport 4 truly shines.

I do want to take a quick diversion though, if I may. Kinect. I bought a Kinect (albeit a “preowned” one) specifically for Forza and for Mass Effect 3. I don’t have the space in my office to actually jump around and use my body as the controller, as extolled by the good folks at Microsoft, but I did want to try two things in Forza 4: head tracking and speech control.

Head tracking allows you to look left and right simply by moving your head slightly left and right and this works pretty well, as long as you have the setup for your hardware right. I don’t. My Kinect is looking at me from a little too low down and I’m partially obscured by my steering wheel so the results were a little jumpy and inconsistent. If I use the standard controller they’re much better, but then I crash lots! The voice control, however, works perfectly. “Xbox” I say, “Upgrade car” and there I am, in the car upgrade screen ready to add mucho bhp to my ride of choice! Then off to the races.

Forza was always a good game to race in, the series progression made sense and there was a good set of parameters to work with to tweak difficulty. Forza 4 is no exception. The choice of events as you tour around the world is predicated by your currently selected vehicle and you can change those choices simply by selecting a car from a different class. There are standard races, mixed class races, head to head races, lots of races! Lots of variation and interesting behaviors from the AI competitors too.

Some of your on-screen rivals are courteous and professional, put a good pass on them and they’ll give ground tucking in behind you to try and return the favour next time around. But there are also the ‘aggressive’ drivers who will not think twice about slamming into you simply because you had the audacity to be on the bit of tarmac they wanted! Having this differential in the opponents adds much more depth to each race as you get to know them and their individual foibles.

On track, the cars are fantastically put together and the controls are direct and responsive. I’m using an original Microsoft Force Feedback wheel which has been kicked around under my desk and dragged out to play almost every racing game I own over the years… fair to say it’s had a bit of stick! The feedback I got through the wheel was superb. If I pushed the front end a little, the wheel softened and the ‘feel’ of the road was lost. If I clipped a curb, even ever so slightly, a little ‘tick’ was felt and I knew I’d aced the line. Exquisite!

But there’s more off the track too. If you’re an online racing fan, the lobbies now support 16 players per race, up from eight in the last version. The community section of the game has been extended and now includes the ability to create a Club within which members can share cars, tuning, decals, etc. through a common garage. In fact there’s so much focus on the community side of things that you’re encouraged to join in through a daily credit bonus gifted to you for simply entering the Community section of the game. By the way, you will earn LOTS of credits in ‘4’ if you work out the Affinity system!

Also part of the community feel is the ability to personalise your in-game profile through the application of a Title and Badge. These are earned as you progress through the game through good driving, progression and consistency. Or you can simply choose your favourite manufacturer and display their colours with pride.


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One response to “Forza Motorsport 4”

  1. Arlete avatar
    Arlete

    -Note: I will add a LOT more to this review the more I play it. Stay tuned.-First tngihs first here’s what you get when you get Forza 4 at or soon after launch date:The limited quantity Ship Bonus car pack available for fans who order Forza 4 early: 1965 Ford Mustang GT Coupe 2011 Koenigsegg Agera 1997 Lexus SC300 2011 RUF RGT-8 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport It’s finally here! After what seemed like decades, Forza Motorsport 4 is now available, much to the delight of video game and car enthusiasts everywhere. Given how great Forza 3 was, could Forza 4 be even better?The answer is, well yes.Forza 4 is everything the third was, and more. More cars, more manufacturers, more racers online (16-players!), and, although not TOO many more, more tracks. I could make this review be 5,000 words long, but rather than do that, I’ll try to make it relatively short. This game’s incredible. I already said that, didn’t I? Aw but seriously. The World Tour mode is absolutely brilliant, and makes the single-player more fun to play, whereas in Forza 3 at least in my opinion the game was much better online. The only real downfall in World Tour is that, although the A.I. is SUPPOSED to get better or worse depending on your playing abilities, it doesn’t work all that well, and you’ll breeze through half the career or so with no trouble at all if you’re a somewhat competant driver. The best thing about the World Tour, is that you unlock cars each time you level up. And now you’re likely saying, Hey. Idiot. We could do that in Forza 3. But this time? You get a selection of normally between 2 and 5 cars to pick, and let me tell you, a lot of the time you are going to rip your hair out trying to decide which car you want. Lamborghini, Ferrari, or McLaren. Hm Also in the single-player is the all-new Autovista mode, which allows you to take a look at a handful of the game’s hottest cars, inside and out. Not only do you get some random British guy giving you information, you also get a bit of commentary from Top Gear’s own Jeremy Clarkson, and lucky for us, Turn 10 didn’t give him a script to read he’s as Jeremy-ish as ever. I should also let you know that to get the cars available in Autovista, you have to complete single-player tasks, so you can’t turn your 360 on, go to Autovista, and check out Halo’s Warthog right out of the gate. As a matter of fact, it’ll take you quite a long while before being able to check that thing out. Autovista isn’t going to be for everyone I for one find it pretty cool, but I wouldn’t check out a car more than once, but there are some people that will spend quite a bit of time drooling in it, and then another group of people that will find it completely and utterly boring.That sums up the single-player in a nutshell, really. Given that the game hasn’t been released at the time of this review, I’m unable to review the multiplayer effectively, so I’ll add that in at a later date. How’s the game look? How does it sound? Let me just say that this is the best looking game I’ve ever seen on a video game console it’s CAR PORN at its finest, and the sound only enhances it. While Forza Motorsport 3 had some cars that sounded sort of meh, Forza 4 is just insane that’s really the only way I can think to describe it. The tire squeeling, the engines reving, the gears shifting, all of it is pretty much unbelievable. The one downfall is the soundtrack, which I believe would be more at home in an arcade racer, not a simulation game like Forza.I’ve already said it probably half a dozen times, but Forza Motorsport 4 is THE GAME for fans of cars. With so many cars and more to come in the way of downloadable content over the months, there is something for anybody with a pulse. This review was quite brief, as I didn’t want to explain every single little thing in the game, but I think I got the point across I have a gut feeling this game will be my Game of the Year, and I’ve yet to play Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, or anything like that yet. Yeah. It’s that good. Pros: Several hundred cars with plenty of more coming in the months following release. Improved everything, as you’d expect car physics are more realistic than ever. 16-player online racing.Cons: Only five new tracks, and developer Turn 10 isn’t guaranteeing there will be more in the future as DLC. No Porsche due to licensing issues, although a few RUFs are available. (It’s rumored that Porsche may be downloadable content after EA’s exclusitivity rights expire in December.) No weather effects or night racing.5/5

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