Forza Motorsport 4: The master of speed and fun
Published: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
"We are an endangered species you and me. We, fans of speed, devotees of power. We lovers of performance and beauty and mechanical soul. There are few places that welcome us now… Yet there is hope. There is a haven, a place that celebrates speed, gears, and fun. And it's all here for you to explore." Thus begins the wonderful world of Forza Motorsport 4.
As Top Gear virtuoso Jeremy Clarkson so eloquently states, "We live in a time where economy, environment, and sensibility trump that feeling of pure, unadulterated joy felt behind the wheel of a gorgeous car." Forza Motorsport 4,exclusively for the Xbox 360 invites players to escape today's restrictive reality for one where any beautiful car can be yours to drive.
Forza Motorsport 4 is about automotive freedom, that rock and roll American dream Bruce Springsteen sung about in "Thunder Road". Never before has this dream been so magnificently rendered. Developer Turn 10 has truly outdone itself, creating the most visually stunning car simulator, if not the most visually stunning video game to date. Clouds in the clear blue sky reflect off the gleaming baby blue paint of my Shelby 1968 Mustang GT-500KR, dancing across the exquisitely rendered hood.
Turn 10 by no means require players to come into the game with extensive automotive knowledge. Instead, Turn 10 teaches players about the 500 gorgeous vehicles included in the game. In addition to the astounding number of cars available at launch, Turn 10 plans to release 10 new cars per month via downloadable content purchased in the Xbox live marketplace. To simply discuss the elegance of the graphics, however, would not do justice to the buttery-smooth gameplay found within the various modes of the game.
The primary gameplay mode is career mode, where players begin as amateur drivers, gaining experience and new vehicles by winning races. Players can also deck out personal cars with special upgrades. Discounts on upgrades can be achieved through racing for one specific car manufacturer. Drivers also level up by winning races. For every level gained, drivers gain a new car which they can customize to their specific liking. In career mode, players experience many different race types, such as formula 1 racing, NASCAR racing, Tokyo Drift competitions, mini-games created by the guys from the beloved British television series Top Gear, and much more.
As Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson states in the game's introduction, car lovers make up a broad and varied community. To reflect the sense of community, Turn 10 has created a sort of self-sufficient automobile trade and economy system. Players can design customized vehicles that reflect their style of play, or even just their personal style. From there, players can trade designs with other players, and auction for specially designed vehicles to use in the rest of the larger game. Also, players can join together to make car clubs. In these car clubs, members can design vehicles together that reflect the larger group. These clubs can then race other clubs to prove who is most dominant in the online racing world.
As for the gameplay itself, cars handle just the way they should. Drivers can rest assured that their vehicles won't simply spin out on their own despite the best efforts of the racer. The frame-rate runs perfectly at a silky smooth 60 fps with no apparent screen-tearing or "rubber-banding". Every car is recreated in game with loving detail, and even scratches and dents caused in game look wonderfully realistic. Where Polyphony's Gran Turismo 5 felt sterile and overly complicated, Forza is extremely user-friendly and accommodating for first time players and players who are not necessarily car enthusiasts.
Though Forza Motorsport began as Microsoft's response to Sony's tremendously popular Gran Turismo series, the game exceeds expectations. Microsoft has created the premiere car simulation game of this generation.