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Forza Motorsport 4 Review

Game Rant’s William Case reviews Forza 4

There are a plethora of racing titles out there. Players can fight for the lead with tortoise shells, drift past their opponents in style, and strive to be the best in collection of make and model. Regardless of how a person decides to climb in behind the wheel, it’s guaranteed that what they all cherish is the thrill of the race itself. With Forza Motorsport 4, Turn 10 returns to the racing genre aiming not only to fulfill that thrill, but to build on what was already the pinnacle of racing simulation.

Forza Motorsport 4 isn’t solely about the race; it’s about the minute tweaks that a player makes to a 1971 Plymouth Cude 426 to better match what a 2012 BMW C5 can do, and the literal feel as the car pulls away at the starting line. Hearing the voice of Top Gear’s world renown Jeremy Clarkson (fresh from the “Endangered Species” trailer) explain the joys of adrenaline and excitement over economy puts everything in perspective: Forza Motorsport 4 is all about the thrill and celebration of everything 4-wheeled.

Expanding on that celebratory mentality, the whole career system has been revamped to allow players the chance to drive the cars they want to drive. So if American Muscle is really your thing, simply change up the track listing, confirm the change and off you go. This way, players can build a car from the ground up while still unlocking other models and manufacturers. As an added upgrade, when players level up they are able to decide on bonuses such as Driver XP or Manufacturer Affinity XP (which helps greatly in getting new cars or parts).

Even if a player is picky about which style of car they prefer, the career path will still send them all over the world — Singapore, Italy, Sonoma, Tokyo and more — while changing up the track locations each time. This makes each race a breath of fresh air while players try to collect the new assortment of badges and titles that have now been incorporated into Forza 4’s online and offline gameplay.

Forza Motorsport 4 Review Races
Of course, the real joy in Forza 4 comes from racing. Each of its 500 distinct cars looks strikingly beautiful and unique, right down to their brake pads. Turning has been enhanced and breaking has been given a heavier feel, making cornering for some of the bulkier American cars more manageable. Simulation Steering has also been added, meaning that twitching the controller in the wrong direction will send the car careening into the closest wall.

Brakes have definitely received some tweaking for Forza 4. ABS allows players a little more reaction time, and when switched off the “sweet spot” for turns suddenly becomes a glorious opportunity. In fact, with the new changes players will have to pay attention to things like tires and suspension variants to find that perfect match, instead of simply going for the most expensive part.

That level of attention should come in handy when it comes time to race against the upgraded AI, who are less likely to ride the tailpipe and more likely to go side-by-side. They aren’t as aggressive per say, yet they won’t exactly leave you in a six second straightaway. Players will notice that on the easier settings the AI opponents will balk at sharp turns and under steer occasionally, but that’s all for the greater good.

Forza Motorsport 4 Review Multiplayer

Though it’s been briefly touched upon, multiplayer enhances the driving experience all the more. While a player can spend some time running with their virtual crew, the profit is really found in the new Rivals mode. Be it online or offline, a player can challenge their adversary by putting up a time on a track, and then giving them a ghost car to race beside. If the race is won, credits and experience are earned (and if the race is won against someone with a prolific rank, it’s a heavy payout). Plus, with seven different Rival modes, there is honestly no need to ever play a single Career event. Rounding out the online experience, an ambitious amount of DLC is planned for the game, and a Season Pass will be available.

Forza 4 stutters when Kinect is involved. In Autovista mode Kinect has its merits, allowing the player to look around at all the detail inside each individual car with just the turn of the head. Kinect’s driving abilities, however, are painfully lacking. The Kinect-only tracks are placed in their own category, and driving control is only partially handled by the user while the Xbox 360 does the rest. The important pieces — breaking and acceleration — are all up to the computer, leaving steering and the simple act of looking around to the user. At times, looking around seems almost forced, while keeping your arms at the required “10-and-2” position makes for an endurance battle.

There are other annoyances. For starters, it can be difficult to compare the specific stats of individual cars pre-race. Also, Forza 4’s in-race music, though easily  turned down, does little to enhance the experience. Fortunately, none of those issues take away from the overall performance of the game.

Thanks to Forza 4’s frankly unmatched graphics (check them out in the E3 trailer) and outstanding positional audio, every track looks and sounds alive. Thanks to its responsive control, the simple act of driving stays just that: simple. The bottom line is, whether you’re in it for the thrill, the chase, or for the fun, Forza Motorsport 4 is one of the best racing games to come out thus far.

Forza Motorsport 4 is available now, exclusively for the Xbox 360