Forza Motorsport 4 Review

Forza 4

While Gran Turismo was on hiatus for five years, Microsoft’s Forza Motorsport cemented itself as the premiere racing franchise in gaming. Fans will likely look back on Forza Motorsport 3 as the pinnacle, but this year’s entry is a more than worthy addition to the series. The changes made here don’t reinvent the wheel and the lack of new content is a bit disappointing. Nevertheless, the level of polish and care put into this title shows that developer Turn 10 Studios knows how to make an incredible racing game.

The bulk of Forza Motorsport 4‘s single player content comes from the World Tour mode, which has players traveling the globe as they participate in various events with a whole slew of different cars. Fans who put some time in with Forza Motorsport 3 will be able to import their profiles and receive complimentary vehicles and credits. However, newcomers won’t have too much trouble filling their garages as the game rewards players with new vehicles after each level. In addition to the core driver level the game also tracks manufacturer affinity. So more time spent with a particular BMW results in larger discounts on parts and upgrades for all BMWs.

These systems were already introduced in the previous entry, but Forza Motorsport 4 does place a stronger emphasis on choice in the main career mode. Although players can’t dictate where the World Tour mode takes them, they are allowed to choose from a few different races with each new event. This also applies to level up rewards where a selection of two or three vehicles is presented. These are the kinds of small touches that go a long way toward preventing staleness as the season goes on and the races pile up.

Also helping matters is the introduction of a few new race types. The most noteworthy of these events is the Top Gear challenge, which features the test track from the popular BBC series. The goal is to knock over as many bowling pins as possible to reach a set score. If it sounds silly that’s because it is. But despite feeling out of place, it provides a refreshing change of pace amidst all of the regular races.

Speaking of those races, they are still a whole lot of fun to take part in thanks to Forza Motorsport 4‘s fluid controls and the abundance of driver assists. The sense of speed feels great in faster cars, braking is responsive, and drifting is fairly easy to pull off. And those aforementioned assists make their return yet again, providing a level of accessibility unparalleled by all racing games. Disabling most of them results in more credits and experience with each race, so the learning curve is steady and players will likely feel motivated to improve. It also helps that Forza Motorsport 4 features a new system that rates each turn and drift attempt the player makes. It’s not a huge feature, but it does help with that desire to improve.

The core gameplay and level of competition gets even better with Forza Motorsport 4‘s online multiplayer, where gamers can race with up to 15 other people. All the standard modes are featured including drift events and a friendly game of tag. A couple of new additions to the multiplayer are multi-class races and the Rivals mode. Multi-class races are chaotic because multiple races take place on the same track. It requires an extra level of concentration and maneuverability since players will often find themselves crowded by other vehicles. The Rivals mode isn’t as much of an adrenaline rushl it lets players compete against the ghosts of others. Once a person’s specific time has been beaten, they will receive a message. It ends up feeling very similar to Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit‘s Autolog feature, which can only be a good thing.

And, of course, I can’t talk about a Forza Motorsport game without mentioning the fantastic community features. Players can share their creations with each other online, whether it be a finely tuned vehicle or a cool looking graphic design. Actually making something worthwhile will take some time but the simple tools are there. Those who would like to just enjoy others’ work will find that sorting through the wide array of the content is a breeze. Keeping all that in mind, it seems like Forza Motorsport 4‘s online community will be active for a very long time.

From a visual standpoint Forza Motorsport 4 has definitely made some improvements. The cars look sharper, the race tracks feature better lighting effects, and the menus look particularly sleek. Best of all is the Autovista mode which lets players explore a handful of cars close up. The attention to detail and level of realism is uncanny, practically blurring the line between virtual and real life vehicles. The audio is top notch as well, from the roar of the engine to the screeching of tires. Also noteworthy is that Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson is featured throughout the game, which should delight fans of the TV show.

It’s clear that Forza Motorsport 4 is another amazing entry in a franchise that has already impressed both critics and racing fans. Turn 10 Studios definitely made an effort to improve upon the previous entry even though the changes ultimately feel incremental. Still, trying to find any glaring issues with Forza Motorsport 4 leaves one empty-handed. The result is a game that should please racing enthusiasts and casual fans alike


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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