Forza 4 is the latest in the long running Forza Motorsport series brought to us by Microsoft and those clever people at Turn 10 studios. A while back, we got a chance to meet with Dan Greenawalt the creative director from Turn 10 and he was telling us that Forza 4 was all about, “the passion that people have for cars” and how it’s “all about playing the game, the way you want to play”
Now that might sound like well crafted marketing speak but it’s really not. Trying to compare Forza 4 to any other racing title out there would be like trying to compare a fine bourbon with prison hooch, yes they’re both alcohol and both will get you plastered but that’s where the similarity ends. The amount of detail they have managed to pack into Forza 4 is stunning; with everything looking all shiny and new like a sparkling penny. People familiar with the series will see the return of tracks that they know and love but with so much more detail that you can be forgiven for just driving around looking at the scenery. A new and revolutionary lighting system IBL has also been introduced which makes what were already highly rendered and smashing looking cars, pop even more. The AI has also been to the tuning shop and are sporting a more aggressive style of driving.
Other new inclusions in the game included the World Tour mode in the single player, Car Clubs, Auto Vista and Kinect.
World Tour mode sees you taking on some of the world’s best racing tracks in your favourite cars, which leads to a nice little nugget; the affinity levels you build up with manufacturers. After completing a few races you build your affinity level up to one hundred percent which means you can now upgrade the cars parts for free. So if you want to build that S Class 94 Honda Civic Drag Car you have always dreamed about you can!
If you’re a member of a car club or form your own club you can then share out your dream machine for other members to enjoy, and this is the beating heart of the V8 monster that is Forza 4. This is where the four main groups of people who play Forza can live together in peace and harmony, the racers, the tuners, the painters and the photographers. But the club love does not stop there, as a group you can combine your credits to buy some of the most awesome and expensive cars in the game and have them there for everyone to enjoy!
The Auto Vista feature is car pornography and there’s a challenge here completing races in these cars to unlock them all! And just like that little yellow git you GOTTA get ‘em all. This is where the Kinect feature comes in. Fear not though because if you are Kinect-less you can still use the controller to navigate your way around these super cars and learn interesting facts about them, but if you just want a laugh, you can get a brilliant run down on the car from motor mouth Jeremy Clarkson or BBC’s Top Gear.
This however is not the only use for the Kinect in Forza 4, oh no! There is a connect play option which as Dan Greenawalt said is all about “sitting down on the couch with your kids and getting them into cars, or coming back from the pub with your mates and smashing up some cool cars.”
Now this we had a slight problem with as we’re not allowed to have kids here at Reaper Towers (something to do with health and safety!) so we decided to go for the second Kinect option, getting hammered smashing up cool cars! In our case we went for hot laps around the Top Gear test track in the ‘reasonably priced car’ which ended up with one brave tester sitting on the couch after a hot lap calming to be getting “all emotional lads” such is the power of this new feature.
Granted it will not be to everyones liking with the lack of overall control in terms of acceleration, breaking and gear changes, but for what it does it does really well.
The jump between single player and multi-player is seamless and what you find is another game waiting for you featuring play options like: Circuit racing, Timed races, Point to Point, Drag matches, Drifting, Multi Class, Soccer, Tag, Cat and Mouse, Elimination and if that’s not enough there is also a custom option to create your own race and rules.
Another new feature in the online world is the rival’s mode. Rivals mode breathes a whole new life into the game as it’s you against a rival ghost in a number of events such as time attack, drifting and so on. This feature is fantastic and gives you all the benefits of playing online with none of the first corner mayhem.
With so many options to choose from it won’t be hard to find what you want on-line and depending on the rules set in the room simply take one of your bad ass machines out of your garage or your clubs garage and show it off to the world. During your time online you’re still earning credits and building affinity, which is really handy and a nice touch.
Now normally I am super critical of games and look for the tiniest cracks in the armour, but I can honestly say here that there are none here (of the games making anyway). Yes the open rooms tend to attract the ‘What’s a brake?’ brigade but they are everywhere and thankfully there are ways to avoid them by racing either club members or your mates in private races or by ranking up the difficulty for the public room games.
Forza 4 is still at heart a massive petrol head wet dream but has brilliantly managed to bridge the gap that most racing titles fall into of ‘How do we get people who couldn’t give a rats left one about racing to play our game? Simply by giving them other stuff to play with! It sounds simple but not many can pull it off. Forza 4 has. If you don’t know a super charger from a Dyson vacuum but you got painting skills like Leonardo and always wanted to take a brush to a super-car, then Forza 4 has something that will keep you going for years to come.
Simply put Forza 4 is a must have.
Don’t forget to check out Reaper Gaming’s full and access all areas coverage of Forza 4 on the main page! We received a unique opportunity to sit down with Dan Greenawalt for an in-depth interview about Turn 10′s massive title! And rev up those engines for our big day out at Mondello to celebrate the hotly anticipated release of Forza 4 in Ireland.