There are racing games out there for the Xbox 360 which are just racing games, but you will be in for a shock when jump into the driving seat of Turn 10s latest release Forza 4. You will instantly realize that this game is not just an average racing game but actually your key to open the door of the most intense and interactive motorsport racing you will come across, well for now at least until they create another beast. As Forza 4 is sponsored by Top Gear from the moment you switch the game on you will come across the famous voice from the TV show Jeremy Clarkson. To begin with he will give you a little detail about the performance and beauty that Forza will hold for you. After this you will be sent on an introductory race where this will calibrate your driving standards, you take the controls of a top class Ferrari for a fast and intense race. This indeed is just to prepare you for what is in store for you later in the actual game.
Once you begin you introductory race or should I say calibration race, all your settings will be on easy such as Braking assist, where you will not need to hit your brake pedal as the game itself will do this for you, also give you a racing line to follow. These will appear highlighted in green to accelerate and red which means to slow down; if you want you could play the whole game this way. If this does not appeal to you, you could always whack the settings up to full simulation mode giving you not only a manual gearbox, but also turning off all the breaking and steering assists. The ABS is also switched off and the racing lines no longer become visible. If you do play this way Forza will no doubt have the better of you to begin with, until you have at least mastered all the cars and tracks. If you are well up to date with forza 3 you will straight away notice the similararity as a majority of its cars and tracks are in this title but do appear to have a noticeable amount of better detail to them. After some game play you will throw that thought out of the window as new features and improvements reveal themselves, giving you the ultimate predecessor to forza 3.
For those of you who have played Forza 3 or still do play it, you will be rewarded. You won’t get to keep all your cars but a good majority of them will be transferred to your new account and with the added extra of some cash, this is based on some factors such as your driving level and VIP status. If this is your first Forza title ever owned you will just have to make do with cars given to you, in real life you wouldn’t even take a second look at it if you passed it. But for the players who are ultimate fans of this game your garage may hold some pleasant surprises for you, from your Audi R8, Ferrari or even your trustworthy lambo, all these will be available once you decide to begin the career.
Forza 4 Career mode is laid out differently to the previous series. Most of the single player mode will be spent on a world tour, where as you the racer will take the steering wheel to various venues around the globe. Ranging from England’s famous Top gear test track to as far away as Japan, unlocking cars, driver levels and loyalty as you progress, Forza 4 can be made as easy or as challenging as you want to make it. I suggest to begin with you should start with some of the assists turned on, but once you start to feel that the game is becoming less challenging for you, start to play about with the settings as this in general will earn you more experience and reward you more bonuses. As you crank up the difficulty forza 4 becomes its true self, a real simulation Racer. You will not be disappointed in the career mode as there are plenty of challenges for you to partake in, one mode which I enjoyed was top gear bowling, where you take your car around the track hitting as many pins as possible, and of course you must try to hit a target score. Forza 3 gave you the freedom of driving what you want when you want, Forza 4 does not give you this option, you will have no choice on the matter of where you want to race, but the option of at least two or three different events to choose from as you go through your world tour. These events all depend on the car you are in at the time or on the cars that your garage is holding.
Every time you increase a driver level you will be rewarded with a new car, so you may just wish to leave you billions build up in the bank. Forza 4 will now give you the option of choosing your reward car, while the predecessor never gave you the option you just took what was given to you. Now you get to choose from between two to five options, the higher your level the more challenge of a choice you may be given and you certainly have to sit there and think hard about your choice. As there may be so many cars you may want but only get to pick one (booo hooo). Your cars you race in now gain an affinity level, this will only go up to level four, but each and every time you level increases this will unlock cash bonuses and discount on car upgrades. You can gain up to 100% discount on upgrades giving you the option to upgrade your bog standard car to a something of a killing machine, all for free. Meaning you don’t have to spend a single penny leaving you with all your cash to spend on new cars as and when you want.
You will also notice that each and every car you acquire throughout the game seems to handle and hold the track much better than in the previous version. The in car cameras are more detailed but you will also have the option of selecting other multiple cameras from outside your car. Also your opponents are much more aggressive and they seem to drive as if you are not there so overtaking and avoiding them can be a bit of a challenge at times but at least you will feel that they are putting up a bit of a fight. I found a good way of braking hard into a corner playing this game by using their back end, but if you decide to do this you will tend to lose your current lap time, rendering it useless on the leader board.
There are a good variety of tracks to choose from 26 in total, with a few added new tracks, all the tracks have improved lighting and been given more detail. The shadows, glare from the morning sun or sunset all seem to be improved, as when you race you may just wish to lean out and grab a pair of sunglasses. While you are racing take a look at the view around you some of the details are lovely and could pose to be a great photo opportunity. During some races you will have the opportunity to change to times of the race from afternoon, sunset, or just plain overcast this will enable you to see some of the fine detail been added to Forza 4.
Online Multiplayer is slightly different compared to forza 3, where previously you would only get to race with eight different racers, you will now have to opportunity to race with up to 15 different drivers simultaneously, a straight forward lobby will make it easier for you to connect to basic races or if you prefer to choose drag and drift races to compete in. You will also see a new option appear in the menu allowing you to take part in multi-class races, allowing up to four different races take place on the track all at the same time. This event can pose a bit of a challenge as your race holds the class your driving, the others could be of a higher class, meaning they are much faster than you and will have to somehow keep out of their way, or you can just wind them up and block the leading car overtaking you and allow the others through, this in a way will annoy other racers but can also be found funny. Also another new feature is Rivals mode here you race against other players ghost car replays, events include overtaking challenges, drift races, hot laps and a slalom style race. And of course if you do mange to beat them they will receive a message saying so, and no doubt in return they will compete against you again, and then you will be on the receiving end of the message. In a way it’s similar to the Auto log feature in Need For Speed, and a good reason to compete in a race over and over again.
As with Need for Speed the main reason for Forza 4 is to tune up your car as best you can, you will be able to adjust gear ratios, tire pressure, wheel alignment and even down force. If you are not too familiar with tuning, each one you decide to tune will give you a little detail so do not be afraid of playing about in the tuning mode. If you come up with a tuning method that works well for you could advertise this in your shop front to sell along with any designs you have come up with for your vinyl graphics. You will be able to import your designs from Forza 3, but that will only apply if you are a fan of the game.
The Kinect Sensor can be used in Forza 4 to mimic your actions, you will be able to walk around the car, be able to open the doors, boot or even the hood to inspect your engine bay, get into the driver’s seat take a look around, also another added extra is that you will be able to interact with certain engine parts, and be given a overview of the item from Top Gears Jeremy Clarkson, you will be able to unlock over 20 cars for this, but this is unlocked by completing certain races and challenges. The sensor will mimic the movement of your head; also you will be able to go through the menus by using your voice rather that hand gestures. I wouldn’t advise you to go out and purchase a Kinect for this but just a little gesture of what could be in store for you if you do.
As for the cars Forza 4 holds each and every manufacturer models are in almost life like detail from the bog standard Aygo up to the stunning Ferrari. Turn 10 have taken things to a higher level with Auto vista mode. You will get to view up to 24 most desirable vehicles in microscopic detail and also have Top Gears Jeremy Clarkson giving you his opinion on the car.
Overall the graphics in Forza 4 have been tweaked to a high standard and players will certainly be impressed with the added detail on track and also on the cars, sound tracks are also improved with a trendy techno themed soundtrack throughout the car. If you don’t like Jeremy Clarkson’s voice it will soon disappear and the racing will begin. This is one racing sim well worth getting as you will not be disappointed with the game play, and with the added extras of competing against other drivers over and over again makes this game much more enjoyable to play.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game