Forza Motorsport 4 [Review]

  • Platform: Xbox 360
  • Published by: Microsoft
  • Developed by: Turn 10
  • Genre: Racing
  • ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
  • Number of Players: 1-2, online multiplayer 2-16
  • Release Date: United States: October 11th, 2011

When a game starts out with a single lap celebrating speed, you know you’re in for quite a ride. I wanted to test Forza Motorsport 4 inside and out, so I played the game for almost twenty hours straight. I’ve come to a couple of conclusions, the first being that Turn 10 clearly outdid themselves with Forza Motorsport 4, and the series definitely deserves to be called the “Best scoring racing series ever”. it’s not just this generation, but it’s every generation, Forza Motorsport is now the best scored racing series of all time. This goes to show what competition can do for gaming and for almost anything in life. If you’re trying your best to one up someone your going to be on top of your game, Turn 10 is obviously firing on all cylinders.

I was pleasantly surprised with how much Forza 4 improved upon its predecessor, I expected some things to be tweaked but the game plays like a brand new experience and the amount of time and effort put into the little details cannot be understated. Some developers like to take an easy route and not fully render certain cars in an attempt to get quantity over quality, Forza 4 isn’t like that at all however. Turn 10 took their time with every single car, every single track and every little detail. The Devil they say is in the details and turn 10 has definitely used that saying as their mantra.

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Let’s start off by talking graphics, Forza 4 is simply the best looking racing game on the market, everything is beautifully rendered and every detail is accurate as can be, it also features over 1 million polygons per car. The new lighting effects are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a game. Turn 10 actually went to some leading experts in Hollywood and adapted new lighting techniques in Forza 4 and the results are nothing short of spectacular. The way the lights sheen off the cars and how it can drastically change or look different depending on the car or the area of the course that you’re on is simply an amazing feat to behold. The courses themselves are photo realistic and even the crowds are expertly rendered. I wish games like Madden would adopt crowd rendering the way Turn 10 and Forza Motorsport does, it looks very realistic. I also cant forget to mention that Forza Motorsport 4 comes at you at a blistering 60 frames per second, no slow down and no hiccups, the game has a very fast feeling to it in general.

Career mode is back and it’s better than ever, more levels, more cars, more courses and more fun then ever. The influence from the Top Gear crew is definitely for the better. Forza 4 features over 80 Manufacturers including ASKLON from the Halo universe, there are over 500 cars on the launch disc itself, every vehicle has been pre-rendered, so we don’t have any vehicles that look old or last generation, like what we’ve seen in other recent racing games. The controls are as tight as ever, and the level of modifications you can make with career mode are mind boggling to say the least, if your into a more realistic racing simulation, Forza 4 has got you covered. If you’re looking for more of an action/arcade racing game, then simply adjust the game to fit those needs and your ready to go. Forza Motorsport 4 is the first racing game that I’ve come across that caters to everyone, no matter if you’re a hardcore car enthusiast or just a casual fan, the game has something for everyone.

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There are some new things that are well worth mentioning, the new tire dynamics that are so very well done, are thanks to a great partnership with Pirelli. this gives Forza Motorsport 4 a definitive edge over the competition, Forza games have always had superior physics and this just adds on top of that, you’ll notice it right away and again, it’s little details like this that make the game so complete. Rivals mode is a fantastic feature as well, this allows you to compete against friends whether they are online or not, so for example if your friend keeps kicking your butt in the online mode, you can practice against his ghost and learn his tendencies in an effort to finally beat them. It’s sort of like studying opposing teams game film. It’s an excellent feature and one that will come in handy for a player like myself.

The Car Clubs are also something that deserves some attention, these are online enabled and off shared Garages, you can share your own cars with the club and others can paint and tune it for club use. You also have the ability to import profiles and liveries from Forza 3, if you reached level 50 in Forza 3 then you get a nice little achievement in Forza 4. In the Career World Tour mode, you can have races that have 8, 12 or 16 players depending on the setting and track you’re racing, which is quite the improvement from the last game. The damage physics are as solid as ever, you can set the damage off, realistic or just surface damage if you choose, as I said earlier the game is fully customizable and depending on if you want a sim or arcade experience is totally up to you. Speaking of customization, you can paint your cars however you want, adjust the engines, upgrade car parts and even customize instrument displays.

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Now we are going to talk a bit about the Kinect integration. This is the first game since Child Of Eden that features “Better with Kinect” on the box, that is actually true. Fora Motorsport 4 alone is enough to warrant the purchase of Kinect. If you are looking for an amazing, complete racing experience then Kinect can certainly help out with that. Of course Kinect isn’t needed for the game, but it is actually better with the device. If you have a Force Feedback Wheel, then your obviously serious about your racing games. Nothing beats a wheel, big screen HDTV and a Kinect. The head tracking works flawlessly, when you’re in the cockpit and look left or right and the game looks in that direction, it’s a great addition.

Kinect also offers voice recognition and navigation, as well as hand gestured navigation. I know Microsoft likes the whole “You are the controller” slogan and it’s a solid one, in reality though, this is where Kinect shines most. Seeing how well Kinect works with Forza 4 gets me pretty excited about the future of the device, and it gets me pretty pumped for games like Mass Effect 3 and Ghost Recon Future Soldier, which both feature Kinect integration. I cannot forget Autovista mode, which lets you explore each car, pop the hood and even get in and start each car. In Autovista mode every car has a soliloquy by Jeremy Clarkson as well. Last but certainly not least, Forza Motorsport 4 offers full Kinect functionality when it comes to racing, it even features two player split screen Kinect mode, where you can race against friends using Kinect. Think of a realistic version of Joy Ride, but to the next level. Kinect is a huge part of what Forza 4 does and the game is actually better for it.

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The online mode is improved as well, 16 person races are now part of the game. Forza Motorsport 4 manages to keep a steady 60 frames per second during its online modes as well. Online lobbies are once again user hosted, which is something the fans wanted and Turn 10 listened. I’m the type of gamer that liked value, I want a lot of content right out of the box. I also don’t like companies that cut corners, when it comes to racing games you shouldn’t have to settle, and with Forza Motorsport 4 you are getting the top of the line. If there is one complaint about Forza 4 it would be the fact that there are no Porsche’s in the game, which isn’t Turn 10’s fault, it’s actually EA’s fault. They were not liking the fact that Forza sells better and is more critically acclaimed then their own racing series, so they decided to do what they do best and that’s be selfish. There are more than enough cars in the game to satisfy car fans of every level however. Turn 10 has created the best racing simulation on the market today and it deserves all the praise it gets. If you’re a car fan then this is one game you definitely need to add to your collection.

FINAL SCORE: 10/10 

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