WHILE the Forza series has yet to achieve the sales and name recognition of Gran Turismo, it hasn’t stopped Turn 10 from putting out a new Forza game every two years while everyone else waits for the next GT.
The two year development cycle may not have led to any stunning improvements but so far it hasn’t disappointed.
With the Forza series on solid ground, Forza 4 now aims to be the top console racing sim.
The game has over 500 cars from 80 manufacturers. Almost every vehicle size from the VW Fox city car to the insanely massive Hummer H1 Alpha is covered. The only major thing missing are Porsches, due to EA’s exclusive licensing deal.
The biggest new feature of the game is Autovista. Here, the cars are modelled to one million polygons for you to observe in the closest detail possible.
You can observe the fine wheels, head into the interior, start the car, and even get commentary from BBC Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson. But despite Autovista being gushingly cool at first, after a few hours you run out of stuff to look at. It is mainly because there are only 26 vehicles for this mode.
Forza Motorsport 4 is the first serious racing game to make use of the Xbox 360 Kinect sensor. Autovista does not work very well with Kinect; it is slow and not very responsive. The head tracking feature is quite nifty and works, but adds little to the driving experience. Hands-free racing is surprisingly good, but it involves holding your hands in front of you with your arms straight. After about three minutes, your arms get tired and you begin to slouch, causing the Kinect to frequently lose your hands and crash out.
Outside of the driving and Kinect, Forza 4 continues to keep the car enthusiast happy. In career mode, “World Tour” takes you to tracks across the world, but you can choose what class of race you want to do at that track.
So there we have it, Forza Motorsport 4 has nailed all the major racing sim checkboxes; a desirable car list, nicely rendered cars, authentic sound, great online and community features, excellent car customisation, and quite a thrilling driving experience. It’s not perfect though and the franchise still has some ways to go before it can match Gran Turismo 5’s driving experience.