I remember when a company named Turn 10 named a new racing simulation franchised called Forza Motorsport. Trying to capture racing enthusiasts and gamers from the Playstation exclusive racer Gran Turismo it would be impossible to see how the future would play out. Six years later they have perfectly crafted a racing sim like none other out there. Containing everything that fans of racing games, car fanatics and gamers could want it’s hard to see what Forza 4 doesn’t have.
The first thing I want to mention about this game is that it is not a huge departure of Forza 3, they simply took a game that was great and made it better in many ways. It’s easier to get into, easier to navigate and easier to get your adrenaline pumping from the sheer speed of 150mph+ down a track. The game boasts 80+ manufacturers with more then 500 cars and has something here for everyone to enjoy.
The presentation welcomes fans and new comers with open arms making the menu’s simple to get where your going. This is helped in part of the primary pilot in the game, british version of Top Gear which provides commentary for tutorials, World Tour mode and the all new Auto Vista. This addition provides knowledge and understanding to not only the fasted or well sought after cars but how to harness the horsepower within them. Auto Vista takes knowing a car one step further by letting you get behind the wheel like if you were seeing it at a real showroom. Only some cars are available for this but it is like being there with the car and learning how it all comes together.
For single player play World Tour and Event racing is where most of your credits will be rewarded. Most of the racing has been left open by only a set number of qualifications needed to enter. This means more races with cars you’ve spent time with and love then having to collect cars just for simple races.
While Forza 3 looked great, Forza 4 looks even better. With new dynamic track lighting it gives cars the perfect balance of what they should look like on a real course. Car visuals have also been given an upgrade. Don’t know how many times I’ve looked at some of the cars on the track, showroom or environments and said they can pass as real photographs. Turn 10 has really done some fine craftsmanship with getting almost every detail onto the cars.
Unlike other games the sound here is one of the most important aspects then almost anything else. The music can be soothing or mildly entertaining at most but speed has more of a voice here and it’s one of the greatest ever. Hearing the engine roar of a Corvette Stingray, a V8 Shelby GT500 engine or the turbos of a Skyline GTR-R35 never sounded better then here. The car sounds are also treated with great track noise as well. Skidding tires, breaking wind from speed and collision feel authentic.
One of the best features in the game is of course the online for so many reasons it’s going to be hard to get it all in. First, players for online racing have been upped from 8 to 16. You can create a car club with friends where you can race together, meet up or even share a garage. Aside online racing which can be hosted by players with a mix of different options, the most notable has to be Rivals. This lets you compete for times on different tracks against friends, club members and xbox live players. There are different categories of racing and you will be able to race a players ghost for a better time then them.
There are customizations for any car across the board. Tuning a vehicles performance and appearance give most of the same options from Forza 3. You can also purchase everything from vinyls, car tuning options and car designs. Lets not forget the auction house makes its return. One of the changes I noticed options that are designed seemed to be locked at all times. Meaning you can’t change some ones tuned settings, put one design on another car or advance on a vinyl that was created.
Vehicle AI has also been improved. Depending on the settings, slower cars or cars made to be easy play like novice drivers which can make mistakes or misjudge breaking like they actually would. While harder or faster vehicles become aggressive, have better handling of the track and are not afraid to show you your in their way.
Not everything in the world of Forza 4 is perfect. We were a bit disappointed that night racing or weather was absent from the game. Some of this are in games dating back 10+ years ago. A better personalization to the club garage could have bought that player experience as you would have seen in PGR4 or Test Drive Unlimited 2.
I want to not forget that the game also features Kinect functionality. Most of it works really well. Navigating the Auto Vista mode feels natural, gesturing your hands and body to move along side the to see everything. It also has head tracking with Kinect which will allow you to turn your head left or right to see an upcoming turn or get a visual on an opponent. One thing we didn’t play much is the actual racing with Kinect which you have to pull both your hands in front like your holding a steering wheel and simply turn when a corner is coming up. Auto assist steering and breaking is turned on so no much can be done beyond turning your hands left and right.
Forza 4 is the best racing sim out there and has features that no other racing game period has. Most of the is an improvement from the last and only adds hours. Anyone that is a fan of racing games or cars can easily relate to the content and options that Turn 10 has provided here. The game has so much going on that it can sometimes be difficult on what to focus on which is the best part since you don’t have to focus on one thing. While not perfect it makes us wishful for future iterations although we know it’s going to be hard to top this one in the years to come.