Reviews// Forza Motorsport 4

Posted 6 Oct 2011 10:33 by
There's added Top Gear of course. There?s even a spoken intro by the Fat Fascist that you can't skip. There are a few rounds of the Top Gear Test Track in which you can play motoring party games. Plus, there is always the opportunity for you to place yourself in the "reasonably Priced" Kia Cee?d, and try to beat Rowan Atkinson's real world time of 1:42.2. It's far, far better than GT5's inclusion of the Top Gear Test Track.

Then there?s Autolog. Sorry, 'Rivals Mode'. This lets you compete with friend, even when they are not around. And Autovista enables you to indulge your motoring fetish by examining, close up, the wonderfully details car models of some of the game's exotica. Sadly the Kia Cee?d is not included in this line up, and neither is my RS250. Again, though, Kinect fans can wave their arms around like imbeciles to open and close the car's doors, bonnet etc.

Get it?
If you don't have Forza 3 - there is absolutely no excuse for not buying Forza 4. MarkSPOnG put it best when, as I unwrapped and placed Forza 4 in the 360, he said "I'm never sure, with games like this, why they have more than one per generation". The answer is clear of course, they get one out early inthe generation to make their mark, and then later, when they really get to grips with wringing every last bit of power from the platform, they knock out others because they know they will be better. Forza 4 is better. It?s better than any other arcade/sim racing game.

However, Forza 4's problem is the same as Gran Turismo's. An arcade/sim has to follow certain rules. Where straight-out arcade titles like Burnout and Need for Speed can add in all sorts of crazy unrealistic crap, GT and Forza can really only add more cars, more polygons, more tracks, better physics. Even then, if the physics are too realistic it can actually spoil a game.

Controlling a car with a joypad (or even the best steering wheel controller money can buy) is nothing like controlling a car with a real steering wheel, pedals and the seat of your pants. The best force feedback in the world does not tell you 1/100th what real car-feel tells you.

So, the physics of arcade/sim racing games do not have to be accurate to real life, they have to be optimised for console racing. And once you've got them as good as Forza 3 has, it's difficult to improve them further. All that said, developer Turn 10 has made improvements in a whole host of areas of the physics model to make cars handle more forgivingly, without taking away their unique characteristics.

Forza 4 is a victim of Forza 3's success. It is better, in almost every way but so incrementally so that it may not convince you to spend 40 unless you are a Forza completist (and there are many) or the kind of Kinect addict who MUST have everything that offers Kinect control.

Conclusion
Forza Motorsport 4 is the best arcade/sim racing game out there. Beautiful, vast and intuitive, and fun to play from the minute you pick up the controller. Its light is only apparently dimmed because it follows such a stellar predecessor, and the rules of the genre don't allow it to stray too far, or be too innovative. But it does enough to convince me, and I am sure it will you too.

SPOnG score: 94%
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