Forza Motorsport 4 Review

Forza Motorsport 4 Review

Racing rivalry

Forza Motorsport was the plucky young upstart to Gran Turismo when it first raced onto the scene in 2005, but now in its fourth iteration, it has arguably established itself as the leading racing simulation on the market. Over the course of the last seven years, Forza has grown to match its great rival's vast and impressive car collection over 500 are featured in the latest game, although licensing squabbles prevented Porsches from making the final cut as well as its roster of painstakingly recreated racing courses.

There's not a big distance between the two franchises, and ultimately it boils down to a matter of taste, but the younger series' unmatched level of accessibility and its comprehensive online features might just give it the edge approaching the chequered flag.

World Tour

Forza 4's single player World Tour career option bounces you around the globe to compete in races over the course of ten seasons. Rather than dictating which events you participate in, the game picks the location and lets you choose any event of your choice that has a race located at the track in question.

On top of the standard lap-based races, there are a range of event types. These include King of the Mountain, which sees you race a single opponent down a mountain road while cutting through much slower traffic, wacky Top Gear branded ones such as car bowling, which sees you belting it around the Top Gear test track trying to smash into as many pins as possible, and multi-class events, which place wildly different cars on the same track.

Take the race online

Multiplayer is where you can be most expressive, tweaking every last parameter of events, cars and control options if you please, with support for up to 16-player races. Or you can jump straight into a basic online contest and the game will automatically pit you against a rival of similar ability.

Whether you win or lose, completing races and challenges will earn you lashings of experience points that go towards your next driver level and new cars, as well as 'affinity' to a particular car manufacturer, giving you discounts on parts. Every single time you play the game, in any mode, you get the rewarding sense that you're progressing, earning and achieving.

A racer for everyone

Perhaps Forza 4's biggest selling point is the level of accessibility it offers, with varied control and race options making it perfectly suited to newcomers and veterans alike. Whether using a regular Xbox 360 controller or a force feedback steering wheel, the handling is fantastic. The behaviour of the cars is second to none, incorporating tyre/track interaction, suspension performance, and body roll momentum. With all the driving aids disabled, experienced players will lap up the challenges involved in mastering their chosen vehicles.

For novice players, Forza 4 features both steering and braking assists that will help you get around the track. Those who feel overwhelmed by too many options can also use Kinect motion controls exclusively, which simplifies the gameplay to steering a car using an invisible wheel, with acceleration and deceleration handled automatically. It might not be a genuine option for achieving record lap times, but it opens the game up to a much broader audience. Kinect can also be used for head tracking purposes, enabling you to look towards the apex of a turn as you drive through it and shifting the camera in the direction you're facing.

Premium driving experience

From its simple to navigate and slickly presented menus to its authentically recreated cars and tracks, almost everything in Forza 4 looks absolutely stunning. The lighting is particularly impressive and it's one of the first driving games we've played where as much attention to detail has been given to the background scenery as it has to the inside of your cock pit and your more direct surroundings.

Forza 4's pitch perfect driving experience, gorgeous graphics, varied online gameplay modes, and it's ability to satisfy both racing nuts and more casual driving fans combine to deliver the biggest and best racing game on Xbox 360 yet.

GAME's verdict

+ Suited to veterans and novices.
+ Packed with content and online features.
+ Stunning visuals.

- Single player mode not as feature rich as online.
- Single player mode not as feature rich as online.
- No Porsches.

Review by: Tom 'Speed Freak' Ivan
Version Tested: X360
Review Published: 14.10.11

Published: 14/10/2011

SKU: Reviews-154347
Release Date: 13/10/2011