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Forza 4: Racing vs, Driving

By Stuart Andrews

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Forza Motorsport 4

Summary

Our Score:

9

If Forza 4 lacks anything, anywhere, it’s in the racing rather than the driving. On the one hand, the restructured World Tour career mode gives you plenty of choice. While you’re shuttled from track to track in one set order, at least you can choose what kind of event you want to compete in, so you’ll never find yourself forced to race mid-range hatchbacks if you’d rather race vintage sports models or high-performance monsters.

The structure also means the game is always moving. While there are multi-stage events scattered through each tier, you never find yourself stuck doing the same races in the same class of cars over and over again. If you want to buy cars and upgrade them manually you can do, but Forza never forces you to do so. The game doles out a choice of new prize cars for every driving level you gain, and slick auto-upgrade options ensure that you’re never without a car that can handle the next race, providing you have a little cash to do it up with.

All this is great, but while Forza 4 certainly delivers more exciting racing than the rather pedestrian Gran Turismo 5, the competition still lacks a little bite. Your CPU-controlled opponents are smart enough to block your overtaking moves (and occasionally dumb enough to spin off the track on corners), but once you get in front they really struggle to catch up with you unless you a) get too timid on the corners or b) are driving something relatively underpowered.

You see, while playing Forza 4 we kept on thinking back to this year’s Shift 2: Unleashed. While EA's game didn’t handle as well as Forza 4, Shift 2 made us work much, much harder for every podium position, which encouraged you to take more risks and race in a gutsier, more aggressive style. Forza 4, by contrast, puts the emphasis on technical skill and precision. While later races in faster vehicles make you feel like you’re pushing the envelope, it just doesn’t match Shift 2 for four-wheeled thrills.

Luckily, this doesn’t prove to be as much of a handicap as you might think. For one thing, Forza 4 is still so much fun to drive that you never feel bored with it, with the constant stream of new cars and new track variations ensuring that there’s always a new experience to be had. New Top Gear branded challenges also help, even if their semi-comic tone can feel out of keeping with Forza 4’s more serious bent.

For another, there’s all the competition you could ask for in the game’s revamped online modes. The star here is Rivals mode, where you can race either Xbox Live friends or random strangers in special challenge events using ghost cars, so that it doesn’t really matter whether you’re playing online at the same time or not. Your rivals are notified when you beat them, and you in turn are notified when someone beats you, and there’s nothing more guaranteed to get you back on the track than the news that your hot lap has just been obliterated by a friend. In a nice touch, Top Gear’s Star in a Reasonably Priced Car is one of the challenges; it’s just a shame it hasn’t been integrated with the show’s real-life leader board.

Some of Forza 4’s long-term success depends on how well Turn 10 supports Rivals mode with new monthly challenges, but it’s certainly a great new way to play the game, particularly if you don’t like the pressure of the traditional online mode. This remains as smooth and playable as it was in Forza 3.

Sometimes Forza 4 can feel too generous, as if the constant feed of level-ups and prize cars is a bribe to keep you playing. Yet if it is, it’s hard to complain. While GT5 still wins on the number of cars available, Forza 4 seems to have a more satisfying collection, with fewer variations and a fascinating selection of special editions and vintage models. It’s as rich and deep a driving game as Gran Turismo, but also more fun to actually play. If Forza 4 could inject a little of Shift 2’s attitude - though perhaps without the irritating X-Games nonsense - then its position as the top serious racer would be assured. As it is, it’s still the reigning champ, and comfortably one of the best driving games ever made.

Verdict

Like Gran Turismo 5, Forza 4 works better as a driving game for car nuts than a straight racer, but whatever minor shortcomings it has on the track are more than made up for by the generosity of the package. It looks beautiful, drives brilliantly and has so much going on – both online and offline – that you’ll be glued to the wheel for months.

Overall Score

9

stranded

October 13, 2011, 6:54 am

"tyre data from Pirelli", "GT5's famously realistic handling" ... Battlefield 3 great simulator ... most advanced video game in this category ... blah blah blah ...
With great laughs (and anger) i watch console game company men trying to fool more people to buy their games, saying all incredible and ridiculous things they can imagine. They always try to hide how much obsolete and lagging console games gameplay is.
Forza, like GT5 and all other console racing games, is arcade. Graphics are good, but it doesn't look like real racing. They are always shiny and try to impress the 8 years old gaming kid, which is always the main target group of such games.
If console developers could stop saying senseless things and admit they offer some "fun" arcade games, would be nice. Consoles will never be realistic, they weren't made for this. They are toys and will be like this forever.

Keithe6e

October 13, 2011, 3:48 pm

>> They always try to hide how much obsolete and lagging console games gameplay is.

Compared to what?

>> Consoles will never be realistic, they weren't made for this.

What is?

stranded

October 13, 2011, 4:31 pm

@Keithe6e
Compared to PC games, isn't it obvious?
Reality is realistic, isn't it obvious? No game is 100% realistic (and will never be) but PC games are much more closer to this than consoles.
No matter what is realistic or not, why console developers lately try very hard to convince customers that their games are simulators? Why do they say their games are something that they are not? Why is it so important?
I have played a very large number of racing games of all categories and i know the answer to the question, but i will never tell you.

Keithe6e

October 13, 2011, 5:01 pm

I'm a PC gamer too, I like my CS outings.

PC's were not designed for simulations any more so than a console, so stop fooling yourself. Crikey, I even remember the days of CGA gaming.

You will also find that a lot of code is shared between console & PC, IOW: The mathematics in say BF3 will be transferred to the console, and unless your a complete moron you will understand that's the part responsible for the simulation.

Now PC's, do have one advantage as long as your prepared to pay £1000's every year, Hardware, eg. GPU/CPU's have moved along from when the PS3 & XBOX360 were first made. So, for example, BF3 on a top end PC is going to look way better.

>> but i will never tell you.

That's a relief.

Guest

October 14, 2011, 3:47 am

You do realise that Battlefield 3 is also a PC game. Anyway, I really don't understand what point you are trying to make. How is claiming something is a simulation any more ridiculous on a Console vs a PC?? Eh, they are just different hardware. Who are they fooling? People buy them because they like the games. You think 8 year olds is the target market for Forza and GT5. Sorry you are just trolling for the sake of it.

stranded

October 14, 2011, 11:06 am

@Keithe6e
Ok, you like to play the fool, but i don't intend to.
Consoles and PCs are both computers with same basic components, but consoles have many limitations and (usually) worse hardware, while PCs are limitless and you are free to do whatever you like. There is also a huge difference in games philosophy, console developers will never create simulations and strategy games, they only need dumb people to consume their fodder. They like the ultra easy way, life is shining for them.
BF3 is exactly the same crap in PC and consoles, i never said the opposite. When you play BF3 on a top end PC, you will look exactly the same, like standing in front (behind?) of a console. Graphics don't mean a thing.
My comments issue was the false advertising console companies do, nobody said anything about this.
I think there is not much to argue with a Counter Strike (yikes!!, puke, etc.) player who considers himself a PC gamer.

Keithe6e

October 14, 2011, 1:49 pm

>> Ok, you like to play the fool, but i don't intend to.

Whatever you say!! I better not argue with you eh, your so technically minded your not able to use TR's reply function instead of adding yet another brand new comment.

>> BF3 is exactly the same crap in PC and consoles

So what was the advantage of a PC again?

>> who considers himself a PC gamer.

Oops my mistake, CS must have been a ZX Spectrum game, I'll just check, nope it was a PC game, so I'm a little confused now, your saying your not a PC gamer even if you play PC games. Crikey!!, you learn something every day.

Well I'll leave you to pay £1000's so you can keep your serious PC rig for playing serious PC simulations, you PC gamer you.

stranded

October 14, 2011, 6:59 pm

@Keithe6e
Sorry, but no reply button is visible for me for comments that replied to me, only for original comments. I don't know why ...
I don't like a world where all people like and do the same things and play the same games. I like people with different taste. I love alternative options. If all gamers play BF3 and Counter Strike, something is very wrong. I hate a single way of living.
Are you a lawyer? Only these talk like that ... aah ... and console gamers too, you finally found the golden game egg to worship and enjoy.

Keithe6e

October 15, 2011, 3:29 pm

>> only for original comments.

Correct that's what you use, don't start a whole new comment, just append to the original. Amazing how such simple tasks confuses these so called hard core PC gamers. You've now started 4 whole new comments, and this could have all been done with 1 with reply's.

>> Are you a lawyer?

Nope!!, your just odd, so I've no idea what you do.

>> I like people with different taste

Interesting, I like using PC,Consoles & even phones for gaming, but yet you seem to imply I'm the one with a restrictive mindset. Please re-read your own comments, they seem to go a little like "PC's are GOD, consoles are just Toys. blah blah blah.". Me on the other hand, understand the Pro's & Con's of all systems, so I'd say none are a winner.

stranded

October 15, 2011, 7:05 pm

@Keithe6e
Ha ha, reply to myself? ha ha ... i am not the strange one ...
Mate, all of your time you play the one and only, same boring console type of games with PC, consoles and phones, you don't understand any pros and cons of any system. Call Of Duty and Angry Birds is the whole world for you. You are definitely a lawyer or an 8 years old minded.
This is boring mate. I won't say R.I.P. this time, no, i will try hard not to say it, i didn't, i made it.

Keithe6e

October 16, 2011, 1:09 pm

>> an 8 years old minded.

Yes, that's correct. I'm an 8 year old who knows how to use the reply function, and doesn't get confused the with concept of the word reply, how bad does that make you look?. Your a PC user, I bet you was one of those people who got confused with the "To shut down windows click start". Anyway, I'm not here to teach you about computers, you stick to playing your "Hard core PC games".

>> This is boring mate.

Please don't go, were having so much fun. You just need to learn to use the reply function without getting confused, and were sorted.

stranded

October 16, 2011, 3:57 pm

@Keithe6e
You said from the start that PC is useless for gaming. You remember the old graphics days, then you must be about 40 years old but you still live in your school days.
I am not a hardcore PC gamer, i am a normal gamer that plays many gaming categories. You are a hardcore, completely blindfolded console player who made PC the living hell it is today. I pay for your sins.
Consoles gave me only pain. This is my last Forza comment, it's a bad comedy.

Keithe6e

October 17, 2011, 2:06 pm

I never said PC's were useless for gaming at all, please read comments properly. I said PC's were not designed for simulations, in the same way a console is not. I even pointed out one of the advantages of a PC is that your can throw Hardware at it, and in fact a PC is better than a console if your willing to pay £1000's a year.

>> This is my last Forza comment

That's probably a good thing, as your still not using the comments section properly. This is now the 6th comment header started by you, in fact every comment header has been started by you, Well done.

Matthew Bunton

September 2, 2013, 7:51 pm

The best driving simulator for me. Great screenshot on image no.3.

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