It’s that time again; time to strap into tons of cars you could likely never afford to drive in real life and tune them to the point of exhaustion in order to get that heavenly perfect balance of speed and handling in order to call yourself the King of the Track. Forza Motorsport 4 has arrived and like its own predecessors and those of the rival Gran Turismo franchise on the Playstation line of consoles, the upgrades aren’t noticeable right away. Sure you’ll pick up on some new lighting effects and improved sounds, but that’s what we expect from every sequel in a major game series. Forza 4 takes a while to really get its claws into you. But once it does, this game isn’t letting go.
So let’s get all the minor aesthetics and superficial stuff out of the way. Forza 4 looks damn good. If you played the last Forza game to release on the Xbox 360, you’ll remember that it wasn’t a slouch by any means in the visuals department either. Just like Forza 3, you’ll be impressed for a short period and then quickly taking the shinier cars and slightly more detailed tracks for granted. It’s 2011. That’s just how our greedy little gamer minds work. So don’t expect your jaw to hit the floor when you pop this new racer into your 360. You’ll find it is better looking than before, but not really by much. The audio is the same in this regard. New engine sounds and a great soundtrack will have your ears perking up initially, but just like every racing game, they’ll slowly wear on you until it’s all just a blur of white noise behind the sound of your engine as you listen for the perfect level of RPMs to shift up or down.
So you might be thinking that this is just a slightly upgraded version of Forza Motorsport 3 based on the little bit you’ve read so far. Well it’s not. Turn 10 has gone above and beyond to make the actual gameplay the selling point here. That’s a damn good thing too, because we’re all a little tired of buying new racing games because a developer says, “You’ve never seen Sebring International Raceway in this much detail!”. Yes we have. We’ve seen Sebring a million times. There are 14 year old kids that know Sebring’s sharp turns better than most of the roads in their own home towns because all of these tracks have been done in “photo realistic” detail a million times. Microsoft Games Studios knew that most people were growing tired of the stale old standard of buying an old beater, racing to earn cash and then buying a new car only to rinse and repeat for hours on end. We’ve been doing this since the original Gran Turismo hit the Playstation and have done it on every system since including the Dreamcast with its own Sega GT. So they had Turn 10 kick it up a notch this time around. The lather, rinse and repeat racing is still there, but now there’s a lot more to hold your interest.
Now before I get into the meaty goodness that Turn 10 has delivered, I have to acknowledge the fluff that is Autovista mode. And fluff is the best description for this “mode”. Have you ever wanted to sit in front of your HD television and look at a computer generated image of a car? Well what if I told you that the car is so well detailed that you could lift the hood? Still not interested? Okay. You’re a tough sell there you hardcore gamer. What if you could actually sit in the car and examine the dashboard and honk the horn? See, I knew that would get you excited. If you can’t sense the sarcasm, then you please stop reading this and go back to playing Barbie’s Castle on your iPhone. Autovista might be interesting to autophiles or weird voyeuristic gamers that get off on staring at CGI cars, but it doesn’t really add anything to the game. But IT’S A MODE!
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