It’s been almost 6 years since the Xbox 360 came out. Why is that so important? It’s because Forza Motorsport 4 is undoubtedly the best looking game on the console. Optimizing codes for the hardware is a first-party studio’s job, but here, Turn 10 has displayed some incredible creativity and technical wizardry when developing the game. Running at a smooth 60 FPS and sporting an amazing new lighting system, it’s certain that Turn 10 nailed the core gameplay and look right. Yes, Forza 4 is visually superior to its predecessor, but does it raise the bar and push the envelope?
Forza has always been the underdog when compared to the much established Gran Turismo franchise. Turn 10 has tried to claw an identity for Forza with each game released, and critically, the success is undeniable. There is polish, and high production values oozing out of its pores. It will titillate your senses with the exhilarating music before you even begin racing. There are a lot of new things added to the game compared to its predecessor, but mostly, we see a complete refinement in the formula. The game has a closer association with Top Gear this time, and features a comprehensive mode called Autovista, where you can intimately know your cars.
The career mode has been overhauled and consists of 9 seasons. You still get a choice of three events per race, and the rest can be found in the events list. As you level up, you get to choose between a few free cars. The car roster is pretty impressive and consists of a lot of supercars and the ones that you usually dreamt about when you were a kid. ‘Where dreams are driven’ couldn’t be a more appropriate tag for this game. There are 500 cars in the game, including 50 new ones, which is slightly disappointing considering that this is a totally a new game. But when you start driving, you begin to notice the changes Turn 10 has done in this game. The lighting looks spectacular; the cockpit view is sublime; the tracks are detailed and well modeled after their real world counterparts and the most impressive part of the game is the sound. All these components of the game come together to increase your driving experience like none other.
The physics engine has been overhauled a bit, and there is a remarkable improvement in the handling compared to Forza 3. When you take that BMW M5 in the new fantasy track called, Bernese Alps, and sense the speed as you zoom between the wide roads, with the beautiful snowy mountain backdrops, is when you start to appreciate the beauty of this game. It has a soul infused with passion. The game has been made primarily with the racing wheel in mind, so if you’re using a controller for a game like this, I wouldn’t recommend it. Get a racing wheel! It’s still a little disappointing that the Logitech wheels aren’t supported, but there are a plethora of new racing wheels at your disposal built specially for the game. There is a night and day difference between the controller and the wheel. And let’s just say, if you’re using a wheel, you’ll end up a little richer after each race.
The cars look great with an obvious increase in polygons and they look even better in the Autovista mode. Jeremy Clarkson’s narration is pretty amazing here, as he elaborates on the different car models. There are a total of 25 cars available in the Autovista mode, which is a lot less compared to the overall car count in the game. Clarkson also lends his voice in the career mode, which to be honest, the impact is a bit muted. Forza 4’s career is the same long grind as the game before it, so Forza veterans know what to do here. It’s a little underwhelming, but considering the fact that no racing game has had a good career mode before, it’s a little tolerable.
The tracks look accurate and the attention to detail is commendable, but I can’t get over the fact that there are 5 new tracks in the game. It’s incredibly disappointing because the tracks are the lifeblood of any racing game. However, there are plenty of old tracks here, which should be really familiar to people who are invested in the franchise. There is a good mixture of real world to fantasy tracks, although, a generous amount of fantasy tracks would have really elevated the game. Night racing and weather conditions aren’t included in the game, which is again, is a little disappointing, as it would have brought dynamism to the driving. But the one thing that really elevates the in-game experience is the sound. In Forza, you can expect it to be as much realistic as their real world counterparts. It’s the one thing that Turn 10 does well, and it’s no different here.
Everything from the new turbos, BOV’s, exhaust, and the superchargers give off a distinct sound that is simply music to the ears if you’re a car aficionado. There is an exhaustive amount of tuning options available in the game, and the car customization which includes the Livery Editor is just as good as it was in Forza 3. You can change the car weight, and other body parts; add some aero parts to improve the looks and speed, and a lot of other options can be found here. If you love to tinker with your car, this game will provide you with the means to do so. Forza 3 wasn’t a slouch in this department either. The game, to me, feels like an incremental upgrade over Forza 3, rather than something providing you with a lot of varied content. Make no mistake about it, the game is a complete value for money, and you could play this for months, but you could do the same in Forza 3.
The online component is where Turn 10 has a massive advantage over its competitors. The netcode has been improved a lot, so there is no more teleporting or pesky lag that you used to encounter in the previous Forza games. Again, the core component is the same as Forza 3 but with added car clubs and a tweaked storefront. The matchmaking is very fast this time around and you can find games really easily. If you manage to find a car club with active members, then the game will be a wonderful experience online, especially with the Rivals mode. You can set lap times for others to beat and vice versa, it’s one of the most addictive part of the game. There are also a lot of modes like free play and a specially created mode where you can use Kinect to drive the car. Everything is a lot more polished here.
Forza Motorsport 4 is an incredible game, and one of the best racing sims ever created. There isn’t a lot of new content compared to Forza 3, but everything is just better here. Turn 10 could have added a lot more tracks and cars but still, whatever content available is enormous and will keep you occupied for a while.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Terrific Replayability. Digital Car Porn. Stable online with a good netcode. Fantastic OST and in-game sounds.
Less variety. Lack of night racing and weather. Sterile career mode.
Forza Motorsport 4 is a gift to all the people who love cars. The replayability here is great and it improves over its predecessor in every way. If you're looking for a racing game to waste your time during the holidays, look no further.