Forza Motorsport 4 Review
A great racing simulation.
As someone who isn’t a huge racing simulation fan, Forza Motorsport 4 blew me away. It’s a spectacular achievement for Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios, from the insanely detailed and gorgeous cars, to the sheer amount of content. Forza 4 will suck you in, and won’t spit you back out for a few months, easily.
Forza 4 has an enormous amount of content. There’s the career mode which includes races that span the globe, from amateur to professional circuits. Here you unlock new cars as you win events and earn Credits (CR) to help upgrade and buy new cars. You’ll start off by picking your first car, and the selection is pretty weak, but as you start to win and unlock better cars you’ll start to really get into it. There is somewhere around 200 events to compete in during the career, and it will seem like it’s endless as you are always unlocking new cars and then racing to earn more credits to upgrade your new car. It could have easily had the career mode as the only mode in the game and it would have still been a massive game.
During your career, you will also be rewarded Experience and Affinity points. Experience points unlock new driver levels which earn you free cars to pick from, and Affinity points are specific to the manufacturer, so the more you use a certain manufacturer the more bonuses you will receive for them. The bonuses include extra credits and you’ll earn discounts on their parts as you level up your Affinity. It makes it easy to switch between cars and still be working towards the same level.
Rivals is where I spent most of my time, and earned the most CR as well. Rivals is made up of challenge specific playlists to compete in. There are monthly community challenges, challenges setup by the guys from the smash hit BBC show TopGear, Spec Hot Laps which are fastest lap times in different cars, Open time Attack are class specific challenges, Track days which challenges you to post the fastest time while avoiding slower traffic on the track, Autocross which are special courses set up with gates you must pass through, and finally Drift challenges. They are a great way to mix things up between the classic career mode races.
Then there is Autovista which lets you explore specialty cars and complete in challenges to unlock them. In the showroom you can pan around the car, and zoom in on specific pieces to learn more about it. This is a car enthusiasts dream showroom. This is also Kinect supported so you can pan around controller free. These are the cars you want with the Ford GT, Lexus LF-A, Aston Martin One-77, Mclaren F1 and many more. These are some of the sickest cars in the game and you need to beat the challenge to unlock them. They even tossed in Doc Browns DeLorean and Halo’s Warthog (not driveable though)for fun. I was pretty angry when I couldn’t drive the Warthog but it was still a cool easter egg.
Forza 4 not only supports older racing wheels and the new wireless wheel from MS, it also supports racing with Kinect. We had heard about the Kinect support prior to playing it, but to actually get to use it was a whole different story. When you first load up Forza 4 it asks you to wave for Kinect or press A to use the controller. Once you wave, you are controller free from there on out. Whether it’s playing career mode, or racing online, it’s all using Kinect, and it works great. Something to note when using Kinect is that you don’t actually control the gas or brakes. It will automatically drive and brake accordingly as you race. If you crash or get turned around, it will automatically reset your car and continue to race. It’s a nice start, but ideally it would be nice to have full control over the car. Hopefully we’ll see this in Forza 5.
At this point you probably just want to know how the game actually handles while playing with Kinect, and you won’t be disappointed. Driving in Forza 4 is a dream. The cars feel great, without any jerky turns and no lag in the response time. You can really feel the power as you accelerate and also the finesse as you weave around other cars. The response time with Kinect is spot on and I had no issues. I wasn’t able to test with any racing wheels but I’ve heard from a few people it works great. Whether you use the controller, a racing wheel or Kinect, you are sure to have one of the smoothest rides on a console.
You can upgrade all of the cars in Forza 4 at the shop, with options to upgrade standard parts like brakes, tires, and transmission to more detailed items like anti-roll bars, weight reduction, air filters and pistons. If you are a car fanatic you will really appreciate all the parts you can upgrade here, which allows everyone to have their car, their way. It’s the most detailed car shop I’ve ever used. You can also tune you car from the tires, gearing, alignment, braking to the roll bars and springs.
With somewhere around 500 cars (I can’t even keep track anymore), easily 300 events to compete in, you are going to be playing a lot of Forza 4, and you haven’t even hit the multiplayer yet!
You won’t have any trouble finding something to like when you take Forza 4 online. The multiplayer offers more modes than you will know what to do with. There are Circuits, Time Attacks, Drag races, Drift events, unique monthly events and more. During each event you can earn CR that carries over to the single player and vice versa. You can create or join clubs where you can compare each others stats, share custom cars, work together to work your way up the club leaderboards.
Everything you do online still earns you CR, EXP and Affinity points, so whether you are online of offline you are constantly working towards the same goal, which is great. Combining the progress between single player and multiplayer is underrated and I always love when games do this. It blurs the line of where single player ends and multiplayer begins and almost makes it irrelevant.
Forza offers a wide range of achievements for reaching milestone driver ranks, completing years in world tour, playing rivals events, and more. The driver level is capped at 150 we are told but even the highest achievement to reach level 50 is going to take some time and dedication. You are going to be playing a lot of Forza 4 online and offline and it rewards you the entire way.
I tried really hard to find something wrong with Forza 4, but I just couldn’t. Everyone from car enthusiasts to the casual racing fan will love this game. It looks amazing, has the smoothest ride in town and offers you enough content to stay behind the wheel for a really long time. The limited Kinect controls may be the only thing I wasn’t really happy about, but the fact that it even includes Kinect support on top of everything else is quite impressive, along with everything else in the game. If you love the Forza series or just racing simulations in general then this is a must have. If you aren’t fan of racing simulations, I think Forza Motorsport 4 is the game that will change your mind.