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Dec 30, 2011

Forza Motorsport 4 Review

Lights Off
5 Incredible
Retails for: $59.99
We Recommend: $59.99
  • Developer: Turn 10
  • Publisher: Microsoft Studios
  • Genre: Racing & Flying, Kinect
  • Released: Oct 11, 2011
  • Platform: Xbox 360
  • Reviewed: Xbox 360

Simulation racing games like Forza are few, so for the fans of the genre we are pretty hardcore about what we want.  Fortunately this year with Forza 4, Turn 10 has delivered. Don’t fret though, you don’t have to be part of the hardcore car crowd to enjoy this game either.  Turn 10 has included a wealth of options and controls to let even your father, the man who can’t move both joysticks at the same time, race side by side with you.  The beauty comes in expanding on the features built into Forza 3 that lets newer or less experienced gamers have access to what all the hub bub is about. For those who haven’t played Forza 3, I’m speaking of the difficulty tweaks that make it easier to control your car, almost the point of having the car turn and brake for you. It’s not about an unfair advantage, but more about having a fun time and that is exactly what this game is, fun.

The new World Tour mode replaces the Season Play from Forza 3, and gives you the choice of races this time around.  You select from a set of three races based on the car you’re currently in and from the cars in your garage. This is great because you can progress through the main game without ever having to stop and buy new cars.  Of course, you’ll want to have new cars to play with but if you only want to race around in your Chevrolet Spark, go right ahead and do so. If you do come to a point where your F class Spark isn’t tuned properly, the game will offer to automatically upgrade it for you, obviously for a price but it sure makes the experience swift. This isn’t to say you couldn’t just go and do it yourself and customize the way you want, but for the player who just needs to go and go now, there’s no waiting.

Forza 4 expands the impressive community features with Car clubs and the new Rivals mode.  Rivals mode is just like Autolog from the Need For Speed Series in that it’s a live leader board.  If you break someone’s time on a rivals race, it will send a message to those on the board that their time has been beaten.  It was a great addition to Hot Pursuit and it works here as well. Car customization is back and a great addition in Forza 4 is that any of your saved custom works from Forza 3 can be imported directly into Forza 4.  No need to spend four hours again making fake wood paneling, HOORAY! Now after creating or importing your masterpiece, you’ll want to show it off and that’s where the Car Club comes in. Club leaders can invite members or members can request to join your hot club.  Once in, members can contribute cars to a shared community garage. You can use your Club’s rides in any races you wish so if you don’t have a good A class car because you’re too stubborn to move up from your Spark, borrow your friends A Class Ford Fusion to knock out that race.  Or if your brother really wants to drive that 1978 Mustang Cobra II skin you made for the 1978 King Cobra in his world tour, get him in the club and let him drive to his hearts content.  Other members can’t edit the cars in any way so you don’t have to worry about them screwing something up.

Autovista is something brand new this year and it’s definitely something to take a look at. It’s a showcase mode for a select few cars in the game. You can walk around the car and select key spots to interact with it.  Press the button by the hood and you will open it to see the impressive power plant underneath or maybe press the Top Gear logo and get inside information and personal insight on some of the most exclusive cars on the planet from Top Gear Host Jeremy Clarkson. His sharp edge tone is felt through some of the cars descriptions but gives you a few minutes of entertainment at best.  It looks as if there is a spot for DLC for Autovista so here’s hoping that more pop up in the months to come. Kinect support for Autovista is also added, and is a little awkward at first but after using it, I can tell that I am not the audience to be using that control method.  This feels like it’s for the young ones who want to pretend they are actually looking interacting with the real thing.  My only gripe about Autovista is a small one and that’s they don’t give you free reign to rev the car’s engine when you’re in the driver seat. I want to feel like I have that control and hear those incredible sounds.

The other Kinect controls are kind of just tossed in there with the only decent features being head tracking and voice command.  Tune the head tracking right and you and peer around corners with the slightest head movement and with voice commands you can instantly reach any menu within the game.

After spending over 241 Hours in Forza 3, I can safely say that with my 56 hours in Forza 4, Turn 10 has created an exceptional sequel to an already incredible game.  Race hard my brothers and sisters.

An Xbox 360 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes