When it was released Forza 3 quickly became my favourite driving sim, and I held huge expectations and excitement for the release of Forza 4. Thankfully, the game met all my expectations and proved to be an improvement from the previous game.
One of the biggest improvements is the game’s visuals. The cars and tracks in the game are highly detailed and are of a high quality. I was impressed with the lighting of the track and cars, particularly the realistic reflections on the cars as they raced around the track. It’s not just the cars models that look good, the track environment also look great, and I found myself gazing out into the sweeping mountains in the Bernese Alps track while racing. It felt surreal and calm driving down the mountain as the sunlight reflected off the road. The game really does a great job creating a real life driving experience, especially if you choose to drive from the cockpit view.
The game includes over 25 tracks, with each one featuring different variations of the track. Also the tracks include different track conditions, so races are held during different times of the day and in varying conditions like overcast skies. Some of the tracks include the Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe in France, the Silverstone circuit in England and also the Top Gear track in Dunsfold, England.
Top Gear is featured prominently in Forza 4 with Top Gear track being available and used for racing in the World Tour and Rival races. Jeremy Clarkson, one of the hosts of Top Gear lends his voice and opinions on cars in the Autovista mode, and he has some very informative comments.
Autovista is a new feature in Forza 4 that is a showcase of some of the top cars in the game. Most of the cars will need to be either unlocked or downloaded, which is the case for the 2012 BMW M5. To unlock then you’ll need to compete in some simple challenges which are usually something like finish first in a race or pass a certain number of cars. These aren’t too hard at all, so it shouldn’t take too long to unlock them all. The cars are interactive, so you can open doors, enter the cars and check under the hood. You can get in real close and check out the exceptional detail of the cars. Specific areas will include audio and/or written information regarding the cars, so you can learn about the car as well. You get the feeling that this mode was included to show off how impressive the car models in Forza 4 are, and I can’t complain, as I enjoyed checking them out. One of the cars featured is the DeLorean DMC-12, which as all you know was made famous for traveling 88mph and traveling back in time in the Back to the Future movies. The car gets bit of a hammering from Jeremy Clarkson. Did you know that the car trapped its owners inside due to failing electrics?
The game features over 70 manufacturers that include names such as Shelby, Mercedes-Benz and Lamborghini. Several manufacturers, such as Ferrari and BMW include several models of cars to choose from like the F50, Enzo Ferrari and the 2010 M6 Coupe. Driving one of the more powerful cars, the game does an exceptional job of representing the power and speed of the car.
The Season Play from Forza 3 has been replaced by the World Tour, where the objective is to travel around the globe, racing in different tracks in cities such as Tokyo and Indianopolis. The World Tour offers more freedom and race options then was offered in Forza 3. Each city now offers a selection of races that is catered to your current car or one that is selectable from your garage. Switch cars, and the race options will alter to ones that your new car can enter. Also if the car isn’t optimised for the race, the game will offer to upgrade the car for you. This feature allows for you to get into the races as quick as possible, and something beginners to driving sim will appreciate as car tuning can be daunting for the inexperienced. For the experienced fans, the option to manually upgrade is always available.
As you progress through the World Tour, you move up divisions, with each division featuring more races then the last. The mode doesn’t include a huge variety of race types, mostly are just manufacturer and class specific races, with a splattering of challenge races like King of the Mountain and the Ten Pin Bowling challenge. The aim of the races is to earn as much credits, Driver and Affinity points.
Leveling up your Driver Levels will reward you with cars, and unlike Forza 3 where you had no choice in the car you received, here you get to choose from a selection of cars. Car Level has been replaced with Car Affinity, where you are now rewarded by the manufacturer of the car that you just raced in. Leveling up will award you more money and discounts on parts for that manufacturer. I found that by the fourth level, you receive 100% discount, which means you can upgrade that manufacturer’s cars as much as you want without charge. I found that not having to spend money on upgrades allowed me to build up my bank balance at a quicker pace.
Forza 4 also includes several features for the online play. The My Club mode allows you to create or join an online club where you can share cars amongst members. Another feature is the Rivals mode, where you participate in events with the objective of bettering your rival’s time for that track. Rivals can be top scorer of that event, friends, fellow club members or one that is chosen for you. Rival races are great, as you can earn credits, as well as level up your Driver and Affinity levels while competing here. Races now also support up to 16 cars on the track, which an upgrade from 8 in Forza 3. The game also includes areas where you can buy or sell your customised car, like the Auction house and Storefront where you can share your tuning setups and designs with the online community.
When it comes to driving sims, Forza 4 is an excellent game, one that is at the top of my favourite games list. It is an incredibly great looking game that is just as much fun to play.