Reviews// Forza Motorsport 4

Posted 6 Oct 2011 10:33 by
I've come at video games from a primarily PlayStation perspective. I'm not a PS3 fanboy or an Xbox hater (though I do have as few qualms about Microsoft's business practises). I own all three home consoles - and will probably get OnLive soon. It's just that PlayStation arrived first.

When it comes to arcade/sim racing games, I've put in a LOT of hours into Gran Turismo. The first game in that series was a vastly important game for home consoles, and the second and third games did not mess with a winning formula.

Trial Separation
So, by the time the first Forza came out, I was not really all that impressed. It erred too much to the sim side of the road for my liking. And while it looked very pretty, it wasn't really any more impressive than GT2 or 3. Forza 2 didn't change my mind any. It was another good game, but offered nothing to make me stop loving GT.

By then we'd all seen the GT4 pre-release screenshots, and it looked gob-smacking. It looked like real life. We all started to get truly excited at the prospect. But the release, when it finally came, was disappointing. Like a husband whose wife had put on a few pounds and stopped being quite so kinky, I started to notice other games.

Fresh faced, short skirted
Around the same time, Forza 3 appeared. Fresh faced and short skirted, giving an occasional glimpse of a gamine glute, this floozy proved to be a real hoot.

While I enjoyed Forza 3 greatly, it merely tempted me to play away a few times. It could not dislodge fond memories of hazy, lazy days spent arm in arm with Gran Turismo. Then came Gran Turismo 5? what should have been the greatest driving game ever released, with more cars, more tracks than anyone had ever even talked about thinking about attempting to include before.

But the end result was frankly... crap. It was only OK looking, it was dull as ditchwater to play. I felt cheated on. Betrayed. Defiled. I was ready for a trial separation.

Fun Fun Fun
Now comes Forza Motorsport 4, and everything is right with the world again. It's almost as if they took GT5?s failings as a benchmark for what NOT to do. And the result is glorious, beautiful and, most important of all, loads of fun to be around.

Fabulously, Forza 4 includes the car I drive in real life: the Renault Megane RS250. I had previously purchased two cars on the strength of Gran Turismo, this time round I will be buying the game on the strength of the car.

Nerd Core
Forza 4 hides its (bitter for some) nerdy core beneath the most candy-coated exterior one can imagine. Unlike GT5's impenetrable and illogical menu system, Forza 4's user interface seems almost telepathic; anticipating at each turn what you are most likely to need to do next.
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