King's Forza Motorsport 4 Review

It is the last bastion of automotive lust…
-Jeremy Clarkson

Forza 4 does what it was made to do almost flawlessly. After picking up a copy and being amazed at the graphics and physics some people will feel just how damn good of a job Turn 10 Studios did with the newest Forza Motorsport game. “But, oh wise reviewer,” you may ask, “only some people? Not everyone?” The answer is yes. Forza 4 is not for everyone. If lap after lap of precise driving sounds like too much for your patience to handle than stick to Call of Duty.
No, you won’t be able to hold down the throttle and slam other people out of your way as you laugh maniacally. No, you won’t have a red shell to throw at your buddy who is, let’s face it, better than you. Without patience your days as a ninja in training will be numbered and, more importantly, so will your ability to enjoy Forza.
But more about that later, lets talk about how much more beautiful this game is than anything else you own. Seriously, it’s amazing. You’ll see your shiny new Aston Martin One-77 and realize you may actually be turned on by it. The cars are stunning, best shown in the Autovista mode, which allows the player to explore the car, inside and out (although on the track the cars look just as fantastic). No tiny detail on any car gets forgotten, everything is there. Light hits the cars in an incredibly realistic way, just adding to the experience. The game ends up looking a good step above the already beautiful Forza 3 and visually it will not disappoint.
The sounds in the game are also truly fantastic. As you try new cars you’ll begin to notice that every engine has its own unique sound, a feature that really adds so much to the game’s realism. When, after months and months, you get to the point when you can shift solely based off of the sound of the engine you’ll look back and appreciate how fantastic the sound really is. It truly is surprising that the little man living in every Xbox can put up pictures and sounds that make the game feel so exciting. “But almighty reviewer” you say, “I honestly don’t care at all about the graphics or the sound.” Well it’s Mr. Reviewer to you, don’t be rude. And if you don’t think you’ll care at all about the incredible sound and visuals it doesn’t mean you won’t love the racing (although you may not appreciate the game as much).
The racing. Don’t go into this game thinking it’ll be like the old Need for Speed games or Mario Kart. This is a simulation game; Forza is wearing the big-boy pants and for some people this just doesn’t float your boat. As they say, if you can’t handle the heat get out of the kitchen... with the heat being long repetitive laps in this case. Some people will truly love the absolute thrill of hitting a perfect turn, while other people won’t be able to handle the idea of braking at every corner. But if you know you love simulation games you’ll love Forza 4 even more.
The gameplay and physics are fantastic. Forza has outdone itself, everything seems to have been improved and polished so that the game can capture the feeling of racing. To someone who loves the franchise, the racing will be even more exhilarating than Forza 3, to someone new to the series it will be very exciting to feel the speed as you get behind the wheel for the first time. Once again the little details are fantastic; I found things like the sun’s glare and the shake of the car at high speeds to be done in a way that truly feels like real life; tons of little things have made the game much more realistic and therefore more immersive.
16 driver races (the max was 8 in Forza 3) are a huge improvement and one of the best new features (although starts can get a little chaotic online and turn one of a 16 player race will occasionally cause you to throw your controller at the TV in rage). Rivals mode offers a fantastic setup to challenge your inferior friends and mock them for a slow time in a reasonably priced car. The gameplay overall: don’t expect them to have reinvented Forza 3, it does feel very similar, but everything from the steering to the cockpit view have been improved at least slightly and it does feel like a more exhilarating game because of it.
Outside of the racing there are several other great features. The amazing customization and paining of cars is back and once again you’ll see people making almost photo-realistic designs using only the in game system. 99% people won’t have anything close to photo realistic drawings, but making your car personalized is still addictive fun (or you can be immature and draw naked people on your hood, but that’s your call). There are photo and video modes that allow you to capture your greatest moments.
Tuning is back and it allows you to make incredibly precise, realistic adjustments to your car. Changing something like tire pressure by one PSI can make a huge difference on how your car drives. If you can tune well you’ll have a massive advantage online, if not you can do what humans have been doing for centuries, buy someone else’s setup on your car. This can be done through the storefront, where players can make some good in-game cash money by selling designs and tuning setups.
One new addition are car clubs, a way for you to share cars with friends which you can then all race online. This really is great, everyone gets a chance to try a new car out and share the cars they are most proud of.
One of the reasons I personally love Forza is that it really helped spark my interest in cars. I got Forza 2 for free, and other than being a small Top Gear fan I really didn’t know much about cars. Forza and watching Top Gear began to go hand in hand for me after a while and it really made me learn quite a lot about cars and racing. I don’t expect that Forza will do that for everyone, or even most people, but some people may try it and have the same experience.
Forza does a fantastic job of being playable for almost any audience (except old people, they’re hopeless with technology). You can turn on many settings that help you play without taking any fun from the game. As you get better it’s exciting to take off assists, such as tractions control, and see yourself learn to handle it yourself. Intense racing fans will find the game just as challenging as beginners because of this fantastic system (assuming you’re not lame and you actually make it harder as you get better).
A partnership with Top Gear does really seal the deal for fans of the show, and trying to master the hammerhead or speeding through the follow through with your foot down will just make you love the game even more. Overall you must remember that this game is not for everyone; if simulation racing games and lap after lap on one track are boring for you then every race will be a chore. This game requires patience (a lot of patience) and precision. If you love racing games and are already drooling over the hundreds of beautiful cars in the game then this is currently the best game out there for you. Go make the Stig proud.

Because this game does everything it tries to do, I say it gets a 19/20. That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will like it, but if you are looking for a simulation racing game this is by far the best one out there.

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