Forza Motorsport 4 review (Xbox 360)

Valenka | 997d ago | User review
Reviewing: Forza Motorsport 4
A Revolutionary Racing Experience...Again
In 2005, Turn 10 Studios introduced us to their visionary production of professional racing in video game form. Forza Motorsport, the beginning of a series of Xbox exclusive video games, had proven to revolutionise racing in video games; its successors only furthered it's revolution. Forza, an Italian word for force or strength is only accurate and appropriate, given the game's influence on simulated racing, which (intentional or otherwise) set quite a few standards for other similar games to follow.

Turn 10's first instalment of the franchise featured over 200 drivable vehicles, organized into six different classes and three subclasses of the highest, rated by performance. Standard performance vehicles, sports cars and general performance vehicles are organised into classes D, C, and B respectively. Higher performance vehicles, supercars, and purpose-built racecars were organised into classes A, S, and R (subclasses GT, GTR, and P1.) Forza Motorsport also allowed for tuning and upgrading vehicles to a degree; there's no body kits, nitrous, or decals. Turn 10 left street racing elements out of their professional racing game for obvious reasons. These were just two features the game had to offer that showed face in later instalments. Turn 10 Studios produced a sequel two years following and a third instalment in 2009. Their most recent, Forza Motorsport 4, is their best-rated and most overall grossing game in the franchise; although generally speaking, the franchise as a whole sold over 10 million copies to date.

Forza Motorsport 4 isn't much of an innovation as was its predecessor, Forza Motorsport 3, but the game does have slight improvements (nothing vast as critics have claimed.) As featured in Forza 3, races are conducted on closed circuit tracks. These race courses are mix between circuits courses and point-to-point courses, as well as real-world and fictional locations. Each course features as reverse configuration, and many have multiple other configurations. Forza Motorsport 4 offers 500 vehicles to race with or against, a little more than its predecessor (with a little over 400 vehicles; more than 500 in the Ultimate Collection version) with many of these vehicles having appeared in the previous instalment. With over 80 manufacturers, including Aston Martin, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Nissan, and Lamborghini, to name a few; as well as several popular vehicles including James Bond's classic Aston Martin DB5, the DMC DeLorean, the well sought-after Bugatti Veyron, and even the Lamborghini Aventador, the racing experience is quite impressive.

When I first started the Forza Motorsport 4 experience, I was a little overwhelmed. The introduction sequence was quite stunning and the visuals have been vastly improved since Forza 3 (but differences are minimal to none to the naked eye), but after I got into my first race, everything felt a little too similar to its predecessor. Forza Motorsport 3 was a revolutionary experience, so one cannot expect much change in terms of gameplay, especially when it proved to be a successful approach to racing video games...however, I didn't expect the latest instalment to be a practical clone with 100 more vehicles thrown into the mix.

One significant difference I noticed when compared to Forza Motorsport 3 is that the cars you drive no longer gain levels along with you. Instead, driving a car increases your affinity with its manufacturer, which then rewards you with cash bonuses and discounts on car upgrades. It's a great system in theory, but it's baffling that with an affinity level of just four; which might take you only a handful of races to achieve, you qualify for a 100 percent discount on all parts. That means you can take your E-class Toyota MR2 with 145 horsepower and turn it into an S-class car with over 350 horsepower without spending a single credit. This makes it a lot easier for you to make your favorite cars competitive online and leaves you with more money to spend on new vehicles, but in conjunction with the new option to purchase cars using Microsoft Points, it devalues the in-game currency.

Regardless of how you acquire them, Forza 4's cars are a joy to drive, regardless of how unresponsive on the track they feel. I won't get into petty complaints, but I will admit that the game is much more enjoyable if you toss aside the conventional Xbox controller and plug in your overpriced Mad Catz steering wheel or your cheaper wireless Speed Wheel; driving is a lot less of a headache when it comes to executing sharp turns as your vehicle will actually turn as if you jerked the wheel all the way to the left or right, opposed to its reaction to an analogue stick, with the in-game steering wheel only turning about 30°. I'd invest in either, but unfortunately, I'm not too lazy to use the brake; still, one shouldn't have to if the "realistic racing simulator" actually handled appropriately.

Like previous games, Forza Motorsport 4 does a fantastic job of catering to drivers of all skill levels. Options like assisted braking and steering, traction control, and the suggested racing line make it easy to get behind the wheel and compete even if you've never played a racing game before. Using any of the driving aids, including the useful rewind feature, means you earn less prize money at the end of every race, but unless you desperately want the achievement for owning every Ferrari in the game, this is hardly a cause for concern. The only real worry with the driving aids is weaning yourself off.

With even the best and newer vehicles, the Forza games doesn't reinvent driving, but instead, it refines and improves on what proceeded it. That's no small achievement given how games left and right attempt to revolutionise their genre and fail. While Forza Motorsport 4 isn't much different than Forza Motorsport 3, I find its best redeeming factor to be being the newest game in the franchise. If you can live being "out-of-date" then I suggest waiting for a price drop before picking up this game.
Clear graphical improvement
Caters to gamers of all skill levels
Offers a vast selection of vehicles
Not much different than Forza 3
Driving mechanics get tedious
Fun factor
Overall (out of 10 / not an average)
coolbeans  +   996d ago
While I'm surprised at the score, I can't say I'm surprised at the general sentiment for this title by certain fans. When looking at the Dirt and Forza series, one can't help but wonder if the racing sim genre (let me repeat that this excludes arcade racers like Mario Kart) itself is fit to allow three or more iterations per generation. There's only so much you can do with genre most heavily based on realism and going in circles.

I'm still looking forward to grabbing GT5 and Forza 4's complete editions (if they both have/get one), though. :)
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Valenka  +   996d ago
To be perfectly honest, I didn't even feel comfortable giving the game a 7.5; whereas it's a decent game on its own, it's almost impossible to differentiate between Forza 3 and Forza 4 side-by-side. In other words, cover my eyes and put in either Forza 3 or 4 and I wouldn't be able to tell you which is which (aside from the obvious giveaways like the menus and such.)

Like you said, coolbeans, there's only so much a franchise could do before they start going in circles, and needless to say, when your games start looking like clones of a previous instalment, it's time to either stop or go in a different direction.

I felt Forza 4 to be much too similar to its predecessor and while I'm lucky enough to have had the privilege of borrowing it from my brother, I would have been one disappointed gamer had I dished out the $50 or so for my own copy, where my copy of Forza 3 suits me just fine.

Like I said in the review, unless you're one of those gamers who just has to have the most recent game in a franchise (of a certain genre of course, as some games of specific franchises are vastly different), I'd honestly give Forza 4 a pass.
hennessey86  +   995d ago
Well if like me
you play Forza with a 900 degree wheel the difference between 3 and 4 is huge. Forza 3 was rubbish with a wheel and 4 feels great. The madcatz wheel is a glorified control pad and isn't worth half of what they are charging. For the same price you can get a Fanatec CSR with CSR pedals
Forza_is_King  +   994d ago
I am a little confused.

Your title of the article states:

"A Revolutionary Racing Experience...Again"

Yet you give the game a 7.5 out of 10 because it's "too familiar to Forza 3".

You should be grading the game itself and not comparing it to other games. You can state in your review that it's very similar to Forza 3 but the overall review score shouldn't be reduced simply because it's familiar to previous titles.

Fun factor 7.5 and Online a 7? Really?
The online is plagued with so many options and features it's got a community that doesn't even race. Auction house, Rival, club house and more. Customize cars, tune cars, sell, trade, etc.

Then you have the increased online multiplayer from 8 cars to 12 cars.

No, despite your well written review, your score is grossly inaccurate. The lowest Meta score for the game is an 8. Your score doesn't justify the written review at all even when you are stating that it's a revolutionary game, regardless if it's "again". A revolutionary game is still "revolutionary". A 7.5 does NOT indicate a "revolutionary" game.

I understand reviews are just opinions and I respect your opinion.....but score wise, you are wrong plain and simple.
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coolbeans  +   994d ago
Who are you to say what determines a final score or not?

"You should be grading the game itself and not comparing it to other games."

This might make sense for a new ip, but not for a third sequel. We're meant to grade sequels both by what advancements they've made to their predecessors AND the genre as a whole. Valenka simply believes those advancements were too minor.

". . .the lowest Meta score for the game is an 8."

Don't even get me started on this ***t. Players have a right to score below the lowest meta score if they darn well please. Since you admit the written part of the review is solid, there's not point for you to bring this up.

Although Val can correct if I'm wrong, I think the title was meant to be a light-hearted joke. In a sense that it's basically taking the revolutionary stuff Forza 3 had done and regurgitating it (in the reviewer's opinion). Get off your velvet throne in determining what score is deemed "right" or "wrong" and discuss the points made.
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Forza_is_King   994d ago | Trolling | show
coolbeans  +   994d ago
-"Ah so even YOU are not sure what the point of the title was."

I think I made it clear enough that was my initial interpretation. Instead of whining about the score, you could have asked the reviewer yourself what the title meant(I know...crazy concept). Given that Val has had ample time to reply-and I have 4 agrees-it seems to me that my interpretation was correct.

-"This score is WAY below the average. About 2.6 points below the average. I think a little common sense has evaded you in your quick reply to protect the reviewer."

Common sense is what impelled me to protect the reviewer. There's no rule against user's honest opinions having to be within a certain range of the average critical score. What good are opinions if that were otherwise?

-"Now I can tell you first hand (since you seem to not be familiar with what was added to Forza 4 over Forza 3) that the multiplayer has been extended and not 'regurgitated' with the same online features that made Forza 3 'revolutionary'."

You're correct in stating I have yet to play Forza 4.

The problem with everything you mention in the quote above is that it's still up to the reviewer's subjective beliefs of what feels like an 'extension,' which makes me sympathize with you in regards to Val ignoring your PMs, since that's what opens up dialogue for you two to work this out. Since Val still has one bubble in this comment section, perhaps you can be patient and wait for a reply or PM in order for a more in-depth conversation on why she gave the online a 7/10.

-"Written review is done well, the overall score is WRONG plain and simple and leads me to believe that there was ZERO attempt to actually experience the online features."

The only thing wrong is this attempt to sully another poster's honest opinion about a certain racing title. This is becoming just as annoying as every PS3 fanboy's attempt to slander Edge's reputation on score alone. You enjoyed the context of review, but disagreed with the score. WE GET IT! Now just learn how to approach something you disagree with in a calm manner next time :).

-". . .USE THE RIGHT HEAD to think about what it is you are trying to save her from, this will prevent you from looking just as foolish as her."

*facepalm* Did you literally just slide in a penis reference?

Edit: Wise of you to change your last paragraph (in quote above).
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StraightPath   993d ago | Trolling | show | Replies(1)
j-blaze  +   996d ago
oh yeah i wonder how much GT5 was different and innovative from it's predecessors....i want to see a review of THAT!
coolbeans  +   996d ago
There's no need to drag that here.
Just keep the conversation focused on the game being reviewed. Valenka stated above your post that the Forza 4 copy was simply borrowed from a brother and decided to review said game. Let's not devolve the conversation into a fanboy war.
kikizoo  +   995d ago
But i'm sure this kind of things : "had proven to revolutionise racing in video games; its successors only furthered it's revolution. " don't disturb you :)

even if gt was here before...
PS3Freak  +   996d ago
Just popped in this game for the first time today. I was completely taken aback by the fact that the car pretty much drives itself.

I went and found the settings and turned 90% of the driving assists off. I was astonished at how much the game can hold your hand if you don't turn off assists.

After making the adjustments, the game actually felt like a simulator.

Not really criticizing, just something that turned me off briefly at the beginning.
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Pintheshadows  +   994d ago
It isn't just Forza in fairness that does that and it's easy to turn them off.

SHIFT is the worst for it. Hold R2 to win or somesuch semi-humorous comment.
PS3Freak  +   994d ago
Yeah I normally wouldn't have even bothered to mention it had the game not forced you to play an opening race with all of them on.

I usually go straight to those options to turn them off, but Forza didn't let me.

Not a big deal.
Blastoise  +   996d ago
Played about 10 minutes in "GAME" one day. Thought the track was awesome (Some mountain top) but the driving is not very realistic
ikral  +   994d ago
Tryed demo, looks good, but dunnot have Xbox, so only car game except GT (I got tyred of GT) I play is Shift 2. Which is surprisingly good, so my guess is that Forza is even better.
IHateYouFanboys  +   993d ago
a few things....

"and the visuals have been vastly improved since Forza 3 (but differences are minimal to none to the naked eye)"

lol. the difference between 3 and 4 visually is MASSIVE to the naked eye. the lighting system was completely redone and is the first thing that strikes you. it is a HUGE improvement and is noticeable everywhere you look.

"but after I got into my first race, everything felt a little too similar to its predecessor"

everything feels completely different coming from someone who has put hundreds of hours into every iteration of forza. again, the tyre system was thrown out and rewritten using real life data. tyres are the only part of your car touching the ground, so you better realise this makes a huge difference.

"regardless of how unresponsive on the track they feel"

lol. just lol.

forza 4 is a massive improvement in nearly every way over forza 3. the reputable critics agree, so does pretty much everyone who plays it (other than those who play it "at a mates house for a few hours" lol, as if theyre fooling anyone). for some reason though, you dont. interesting.
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NotSoSilentBob  +   992d ago
>reputable Critics

Pick one.

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Forza Motorsport 4

Average Score 9.2 Reviews(196)
Release Dates
Xbox 360 Release Dates
US 11 October 2011
EU 14 October 2011
AU 13 October 2011