With the fourth installment in the Forza franchise from Turn 10 and Microsoft Studios, I can only find myself in awe at the power and functionality of Forza 4. I have played numerous racing games over the years; Wave Race, Spy Hunter, Gran Turismo– to name a few, and nothing touches Forza 4.
Don’t start to think that this game does not have flaws. There are a few on the top of my head that constantly aggravate me into controller spiking fits, but I’ll focus on what they did ‘oh-so-right’ for now. The graphics are mind blowing. If you play on any LCD TV that is 32” or better with a 1080p resolution at a high frame rate, you will swear at times it looks like a picture. Modes like Autovista, where one can inspect and trawl through many different cars such as the Lexus LF-A to the un-lockable 2125 UNSC Halo “Warthog” await your curiosity. Note that the Halo character Cortana replaces the narrative antics of Jeremy Clarkson for describing that vehicle. The physics have improved, and one can even roll a vehicle repeatedly end over end, car parts hurling themselves across the tarmac. With 80 manufacturers and more to come via DLC, there is plenty of replay-ability with this title. One can only notice that the large section of Porsche vehicles is missing… as I dug further into the matter it seems that EA has gobbled up the license for it’s struggling Need for Speed platform. In turn, Turn 10 has done the same with Ferrari, and as a “sticking it to the man” mentality have placed an achievement named “Ferrari Collector” into the game. Do not fret though, the resourceful people of Turn 10 have included for the first time manufacturer ‘RUF,’ a tuner who’s platforms start out as Porsche vehicles. More tracks have been added, namely some big ticket names as Hockenhiem, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway, and many of the Top Gear Tracks.
The online community in F4 has exploded, with the addition of COD style player tags and profile emblems adding a new attitude to the mix. I applaud another change of ridding the game of the online ranking system; in previous installments there was a number that reflected your rank in multiplayer races. Too often people were picky with what/when/who they raced with to keep there precious score high. The ranking system has been changed to more of a COD style leader board. Finally, the addition of Car Clubs (better known as clans) allows one to team up, race, and share vehicles with another. Another game mode that needs some tweaking but fun overall would be Top Gear’s Soccer, where vehicles have to get the ball into the goal. I would highly suggest for Turn 10 to make this game mode have simulation damage, because the game has turned to “pile in and let the Hummer push everyone.”
Onto the part where I eject F4 from my XBOX and call it a night… To start off with, and this has been a large concern of the community, is that there is no selectable range of difficulty in World Tour Mode. As you progress through seasons the AI becomes increasingly difficult, and extremely hostile. About half way through WTM, I had to turn off simulation damage so I could keep competitive, and muscle my way to the front. Many of those who play driving games for the fun of it might be turned off by the competitive nature of the vehicles and the drivers; one, which is named M. Rossi- you will despise. Another flaw I have encountered many times is that if an AI vehicle goes off into the track and into the sand (or aptly named ‘peanut butter’ by myself and others) it does not slam to a halt as your vehicle would, rather they still accelerate and steer as if they were on concrete. One final downfall would be something a close friend has coined “last lap mode.” This is where no matter the lead, speed or flawless lap you have accomplished the AI will gain and pressure you, right on your tail, for the last lap of a race. I can understand that the days of making cars at the top of the performance index and wiping cars away are over, but its getting to the point where seasoned veterans such as as myself skip races to avoid the frustration. The only advice I can give is to get out front early, at least by the fourth turn.
Between the overly perfect AI and the awesome selection of cars, Forza 4 in my opinion is a wonderful title and has a ton to offer, more than I can say in this review. If you do pick this up, make sure you look into the Season Pass, which will buy you all seven car packs coming out, and a few extra vehicles which will only be given to pass owners for around thirty bucks. You will save a lot of money that way and come out with a large amount of amazing vehicles, and a few that your friends might not have. So have fun, collect, and remember to brake!
Final Rating: 9/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Approximate Time to Completion: many, many hours.
Gamer Score Earned: 430/1000
Price Bought at:$60
Current Price: $51.99 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: $51.99 (read: Buy it! Buy it! Buy it!)