Friday, 14 October 2011

Forza Motorsport 4; Early Impressions

Forza Motorsport 4 is not a racing simulator.  Forza Motorsport 4 is a car lover's simulator.  It takes everything we petrolheads love about cars, and crams it into one, complete package.

True, the game is not actually massively different from Forza 3, arguably the game that took the mantle of 'racing sim to beat' from Gran Turismo, a title which Forza 4 defends and further entrenches itself.  However, it's in the details where Forza 4 really falls into its predecessor's slipstream and fires itself ahead.  Great additions like Autovista, a mode that is devoted entirely to exploring the details of 25 wonderfully unique cars complete with commentary from Jeremy Clarkson, that really make the difference.  Somehow, everything about the game looks, sounds and feels different.  If smellivision was a real thing, no doubt the burnt tire smell would be all the more real in Forza 4 as well.  I've played a lot of games, and precious few of them do as good a job of suspending your disbelief as Forza 4.  You will really believe you're sitting in the cockpit of that McLaren F1; you'll really believe you just tore up 11 other, more well-equipped racers in your Citroen DS3; you'll really believe you're competing against The Stig's time on a genuine recreation of Top Gear's famous test track.

The Top Gear collaboration:  yes, it's as awesome as you think.
Indeed, the Top Gear collaboration with Forza is something worth mentioning.  As a massive fan of the BBC automotive series, I have to say that this partnership is nothing short of amazing.  Combining the greatest racing simulation with the greatest automotive entertainment program in the world results in something incredible.  Having access to their iconic track in Dunsfold is nothing short of fist-pumping awesomeness.  Hearing Jezza's take on the likes of the Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari 458, and even the M12 FAV Warthog from Halo, ranges from incredibly cool to utterly hilarious.  Forza 4 knows what car enthusiasts love, and they tap into it.

Not just in the Top Gear association, but in the graphical and sound department as well.  Never before has a racing simulation game been this lifelike, this believable.  I can't speak for GT5, but my god is Forza 4 convincing.  True, the Xbox 360 is beginning to show its age, but the people at Turn 10 have really worked their magic with the car models here.  Some of them look...pristine.  At certain angles, in certain lighting, I'd challenge anyone to point out the pixelated car from the real deal.  And the sound...good lord.  You can't truly appreciate the savage roar of a V8 or the relentless scream of burning slicks until you've played this game.

Do you want to drive this incredible car in Forza 4?  Well,
if you were a sucker like me and bought the regular edition,
you're S.O.L.  Unless of course they release it as DLC.
That said, it's not perfect.  Not far off, actually, but I do have a few complaints.  First is the lack of weather conditions.  You can pick sunny or overcast...what?  No night options?  No rain, snow or ice?  PGR4 had this, and that game is several years old, and was never even entirely devoted to simulation at that.  Second is the whole preorder/collector's edition bonus car ordeal.  Good lord, cut this crap out developers.  I get it; you want preorders, and you want people buying your overpriced collector's editions.  Stop giving tangible benefits for either.  The collector's edition comes with an exclusive key for, wait for it, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport.  Are you kidding me?  The fastest production road car in the world is excluded for suckers who only paid the 'meager' entry fee of 60 bucks?  Go to hell.  The rest of the preorder/CE crap is mostly generic, though keep in mind that the 'first wave' of Forza 4 copies will get access to 5 unique cars, including the rather insane (if not so insane as the Veyron SS) Koenigsegg Agera (not the Agera R, sadly).  Fairly irritating, but I suppose this is the world we live in.

Aside from those relatively minor points...what else is there to say?  Forza 4 is the definitive racing, car-loving, virtual experience of our time.  If you like racing, get it.  If you like cars, get it.  If you like both...why are you debating this?

1 comment:

  1. Force 4 is perfect, but are relatively small in the grand scheme of things. The most recent series subscription does everything correctly, that was before them, but it brings some new things that are surprisingly well done.
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