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Forza Motorsport 4 Review

publisher: Microsoft
developer: Turn 10 Studios
genre: Racing

ESRB rating: E

release date: Oct 11, 11
» All About Forza Motorsport 4 on ActionTrip

Racing games never get dull for some reason. We still feel the need for speed from time to time. That irresistible urge to get behind the virtual wheels and burn some rubber. It therefore comes as no surprise that publishers like Sony, EA and Microsoft continue to pump up their racing franchises - i.e. Gran Turismo, Need for Speed and, of course, Forza Motorsport. Meanwhile, Codemasters does a great job of keeping its DiRT rally game afloat in the competitive ocean of racers. When word of Forza Motorsport 4 first emerged, we knew that it had to contain something to separate itself from the crowd.

Turn 10, the studio behind Forza 4, wasn't reluctant to include a truly amazing variety of vehicles this time around, coupled with all sorts of cool features to keep you hungry for more and more race time. You start the single-player portion of the game, with zero experience and in-game credits. The player is able to earn both after completing a series of events and challenges on numerous tracks throughout the world (some real-life, others designed by the folks at Turn 10). Altogether, there are over 500 cars from 80 separate manufacturers, which is an impressive amount. As before, you'll need to think carefully about which one you choose for racing, because each car has different specifications and overall performance and not all of them are going to suit your particular racing style.

Still, the diversity of vehicles isn't the main attraction in Forza 4. Players will be reeled in by the game's slick design right off the bat. There's also the possibility of checking out all sorts of flashy cars (well 25, to be exact) by entering the game's 'Autovista' feature. This, of course, is one of the main innovations since the last game and it's closely related to the inclusion of Kinect support. Using Kinect, players can explore the vehicle of their choice more thoroughly. The developers spiced up this segment of the game by adding the voice of world renowned TV figure, Jeremy Clarkson (host of the popular car show, Top Gear). Just so you know, you don't have to own a Kinect package in order to access this particular feature. While we're on the subject, Turn 10 also incorporated other awesome Kinect-related features such as head tracking. Yeah, that means you can switch to the cockpit view and gaze through the car windows just by moving your head left and right. Now, while from some angles this seems like a truly amazing feature, it doesn't mean shite for those gamers without a bloody Kinect device in their homes. So, bugger that! Who needs it anyway. Those are just gimmicks at this point anyhow. This game has so much more to offer.

For some reason, once you're done with two or three racing events, you can be pretty damn certain that you're going to want to race some more. Whether it's the skillfully designed tracks or the beautifully modeled cars that are unlocked as you progress, this game feels just as rewarding as its predecessor (more so, in fact). The gameplay involves gathering experience and improving your affinity as a driver of a particular car brand, as well as your driving skills in general. It's a good way of motivating gamers to deliver the maximum performance during a single race. So, how do you prove yourself during a race? Simple. The game keeps track of how well you go through turns and the length and effectiveness of your drifts (which take some practice to pull off properly). It also rates how well you've made each overtake during a race. These are all rated on scaled of 1 to 4. The final statistics of a race will determine if you've gathered enough experience points to level up. You'll receive credits and race tokens as well, both of which can be used to purchase more powerful vehicles later on the game.

In order to properly enjoy this one, that is to say, if you're really out for a challenging racing game, it's best to increase the difficulty somewhat. 'Normal' difficulty is okay I guess, but it gets a bit easier than you'd expect. Perhaps a bit too easy. We partially blame the game's AI, which has a tendency to make some really stupid mistakes on the track. Clearly, these AI routines were incorporated to occur sporadically, presumably to show that all drivers are prone errors. However, when you see this happening in one race more than once, it just looks too obvious and dim-witted most of the time. Although this really wasn't much of an issue, it did look rather lame when it happened.

Another key ingredient is keeping things as realistic as possible, so you might want to consider switching off traction control, ABS, steering assist, etc. This means that the ride will be tough, but you'll get a better feel of the car as well as the track. The moment you switch all these features off, that's the moment when Forza becomes a proper racer. Of course, if you prefer to cruise through each event with ease, then by all means leave them on. It's your choice.

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9.1   Excellent

Terrific driving game, balanced perfectly between hardcore and arcade-style racing, the choice of cars is brilliant, delightful visuals and generally more than enough content for hours of racing fun;

AI makes things a bit easy at times in single-player, lack of night races and weather effects, oh and no Porsches... damn you EA!


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