Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Forza Motorsport 4 for Xbox 360

Forza Motorsport Game play

Circuit-based racing games are ultimately repetitive by nature, but the familiarity you experience when playing Forza 4 especially if you were familiar with Forza 3, you will notice most of the cars and tracks are the same. Visually they are now better, which is no easy feat in itself but early on in the game veterans may stop and think why this new title isn't called Forza 3.5. I am glad to announce with new features and improvements revealing themselves there's no doubt Turn 10 have created a worthy sequel in the Forza franchise.

Interiors are extremely detailed

If you are one of the people who put hours of effort into Forza 3 don't despair you are rewarded once you start up Forza 4. You wont be able to keep your mass collection of cars or multi millionaire status but may be surprised by what is added to your garage from the beginning of the game, these are calculated from previous driver level, VIP status and whether you owned any "unicorn cars". If you are a new member of the Forza franchise you will need to put up with the starter cars which are no specialty but be a returning member of Forza 3 and you will be graced with cars such as Lamborghini gallardo, Ferrari 430, Audi R8 and a Bugatti Veyron to start your career, and to name a few.

A big improvement between the predecessor is the freedom to drive what you want when you want. In Forza 3 you were challenged to complete numerous themed series which could see you driving the same cars for hours. In Forza 4 you may not choose where you race in the world tour but in each location you can choose from 3 events which will have their own car requirements allowing you greater choice.

Saving up credits for new cars was crucial in Forza 3 but is now no longer necessary, as your driver level increases you earn free car rewards. This happens every level with car quality increasing with level, thinking of saving up 9 million credits for the Ferrari '67 330 P4 or would you rather just rank you driver level to 30? The choice is yours. Every level you get to choose a car from3 or 5 cars for your garage.

Another difference is that cars no longer level up as your drive them, whereas the manufacturer of that car gains an affinity bonus when that type of car is driven. With these levels you gain perks and at the level of just 4 you gain 100% discount on all manufacturer parts for that type of car. This allows you to upgrade a stock E class car into an S class car for 0 credits. This makes it easier for you to make your favorite cars competitive along with easier credit collection, but in turn devalues in game currency.

Lighting brings tracks alive

Acquiring new cars is a pleasure and they are all a new experience to drive. The cars bring a new breed of responsiveness no matter which camera view you use the car goes exactly where you want it to go. The rumble effects from the controller setup and steering heel setups add to the experience. The AI of opponents has been turned up to a more aggressive driving style keeping up the fight even when your are side by side.

Of course catering to drivers of every skill level is a must in racing games and Forza meets this superbly. Options allowing the player to tweak everything from transmission, ABS and traction control to the rewind feature for mistakes. Of course the more you turn off the higher the overall multiplier when you finish a race giving you more of a step forward after every race. Whether you have these options active or deactivated Forza gives a small graphic on all passes, corners and drafts which show when you are earning extra driver bonuses and are a great indication on how you are racing helping you tweak different sections of races.

Of course Forzas action racing gameplay is best enjoyed online with up to 15 players racing at one time. A robust lobby system makes it easy to find and get into sessions that include straightforward races, drift and drag events, and games of tag and the team-based cat and mouse. There's also an all-new option to participate in multi-class races that see two, three, or even four different races take place on a track at the same time. These events invariably pose an interesting challenge, because at the same time you're competing with cars in your own class, you need to steer clear of drivers from other classes whose cars are significantly faster or slower than yours. The potential for drama on the track increases in these situations, and while it's rarely much fun getting forced off the road, the silver lining is that collisions often make for great photos and replays, which can be shared via both your in-game storefront and quickly and easily.

Another great new way to enjoy multiplayer competition is the new Rivals mode. Here, you pit your skills against other players' ghost car replays in events that include hot laps, track day overtaking challenges, drift contests, and slalom-style autocross events. Beat a rival's score, and if they're a friend or a member of your car club , they receive a message letting them know that you beat them. If you don't have any friends or fellow club members to compete against, you have an opportunity to compete against the replays of randomly selected players.

Going for the strike

You also have the option to revisit events from your world tour and to take part in events that you passed on at any time. There's little reason to rerun races that you've already won, but some of the new, score-based event types are definitely fun to play more than once. Track day challenges require you to overtake as many slow cars as possible while driving a fast one, for example, while one-vs.-one challenges are head-to-head races in which you much chase and overtake an opponent on a course filled with slow-moving traffic. These event types feel very different from regular races because with so many cars in front of you and around you, you rarely have an opportunity to stick with the racing line that you're normally trying hard not to stray too far from. Top Gear events are similar in that regard, but rather than challenging you to avoid other drivers, they involve knocking over bowling pins as you race around the popular BBC show's test track.

New features and improvements are relatively thin on the ground for tuners and painters, but for those of you who simply love cars, Forza 4 has a treat for you in its new Autovista mode. Here, using the optional Kinect support to mimic the act of walking around a car and interacting with it if you choose, you get to explore some of the game's most desirable automobiles in stunning detail. You can open doors, trunks, and hoods; you can get into the driver and passenger seats; and you can even inspect wheels and engines. Interact with the right part of your chosen car, and you get an amusing overview of it voiced by Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson; interact with other areas of the car, and you get much drier but informative descriptions of various components. Only four cars are available at the outset, but you can unlock another 20 or so (including the Halo series' Warthog, which can't be driven) by completing specific race challenges.

In Conclusion

Forza Motorsport 4 is a delight on and off the track, visually but also most importantly user friendly. Accommodating for every player from beginner to the most veteran player there is something for everyone. With hundreds of different cars from dozens of manufacturers you will never get bored and that's just single player. Throw yourself into the online world and you will have a game to last you a few years without boredom.

Graphics             : 8.5
Sound                  : 8.5
Game play           : 9
Lasting Appeal   : 9.5

Final Verdict      : 9

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