Forza Motorsport 4 Review

Forza Motorsport 4 (Available only on Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: E
Players: 1-16
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Turn 10
Release Date: October 11, 2011

Xbox Live: Online multiplayer
Kinect Compatible

Parent Talk: Forza Motorsport is a sim racing game featuring no violence or adult subject matter.  Parents can confidently allow their youngest car aficionados to play without fear.

Plays Like: Gran Turismo, previous Forza games, DiRT, etc.

Review Basis: Played tons of events, online multiplayer and tried all the modes available.

Forza 4 is Turn 10’s latest sim racer for the Xbox 360 and anyone who enjoys the genre owes it to themselves to pick this game up ASAP.  I haven’t played a racing game that feels as complete as this.

The Great:

The whole package.  I can’t decide if the improved AI, better car control, more customization options, smoother online experience or incredible Autovista mode impress me more.  Though it’s really everything put together that makes Forza 4 such a wonderful videogame.  It oozes excellence.

The Good:

+ The cars.  They feel more responsive, drive better, the interior views are shockingly detailed and the AI opposition is fiercer.  The whole of the car mechanics haven’t been better.

+ Anyone can play. Like Forza 3 before it, 4 offers a wealth of driving assistants that transform even the most challenging vehicle into a tricycle.  While the hardcore will want to turn off all assists, it’s a wonderful feature that helps newbies ease into the simulator.  The handy Y-button reversal also remains, which is a personal favorite.  Mess up, then press Y to rewind time a few seconds for a second chance.

+ Revamped World Tour.  Players are hand-walked throughout the world as they compete in races, but event types depend on the cars in use. Thus you don’t have to play events over and over using the same lackluster car.  The freedom that World Tour offers is incredible.

+ Thanks for the gift!  Forza 3 awarded a car to players who reached a certain level, but 4 lets you choose between five. Thanks to this system I rarely wanted to buy cars. I could save for the ultra-rare and more expensive ones quicker.

+ Making a car your own.  You can tune your car as much as you can imagine…and then some.  This has been a Forza staple, and only continues to improve. Decal, fine-tine [the engine] to an absurd level…virtually anything you want.

+ Variety is the spice of life.  While most events set you against opponents, others include time trials, obstacle courses and my personal favorite: car bowling.  This greatly reduces repetition, a common problem in sim racing games.

+ Wonderful online experience. The online multiplayer and overall community are fantastic.  Up to 16 players can compete, old modes return as well as a wicked new one called Rivals.  There are leaderboards; players can take pictures of their cars and upload them to…the list goes on.

+ Rewarding fans.  It’s very cool how Forza 4 recognizes your Forza 3 save file and awards a slew of cars and money based on past accomplishments. Giving kudos to your fans is always a good way to start a new game.

+ Autovista is a pleasure of the senses.  I’m not a big racing fan, but man does this mode blow me away.  It features some of the best cars in the world, helping you learn everything you could ever want to know about them, from their wheels to their emblem(s).  You can even pop the hood and check out the engine for yourself.

The So-So:

+/- The new leveling system isn’t connected to the car you’re driving, but instead to the manufacturer. Are you a big Ford fan, how about Toyota?  Whatever the case, just stick with the brand you enjoy most and prepare for a wealth of cars and bonuses.  Problem is that by affinity level four, all parts are 100% off.  That makes upgrading too easy.  It’s a wonderful introduction, but needs tweaking for Forza 5.

+/- Kinect support.  It works, it’s kind of cool, but nothing amazing.  I think once Turn 10 gains more experience with the technology, things will improve. For now, it’s just a little extra something.

The Bad:

– Been there, done that.  With only five new tracks, not much appears different on the surface between Forza 3 and 4. If it wasn’t for all the additional features and improvements, this could have been a deal-breaker.

– Money has no value.  Turn 10 has included support for Microsoft Points. Couple that with the easy affinity system, and the in-game currency is basically useless for those willing to use real-world money to gain an online advantage.

The Ugly:

What’s up with the weather?  Where’s the rain, or better yet, the night?  DiRT and Gran Turismo feature these conditions, why not Forza? For everything the series does right, it feels really dated in this regard.

The Lowdown:

Forza 4 is a sensational racing game that players shouldn’t miss.  It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but proves Turn 10 hasn’t just been sitting around for the past two years.  They’ve taken a wonderful simulation and upped it to the next degree.  Wonderful job Turn 10; simply awesome!

Average Score Scale: 8.5 (+/- 0.5) out of 10

Personal Final Score: 9/10 (Inflated)

Reason for +0.5 Inflation: If you enjoy top-tier racing games, you’ll adore Forza 4.

Reason for -0.5 Deflation: With only a handful of new tracks, some might believe not enough has been added here.