and the lights are green and it's go go go!
Once again Turn 10 and Microsoft bring us what they call the definitive racing game. Gran Turismo makes the same claim but which one takes the checkered flag? Well gamers vote for the favourites in the Golden Joystick awards but they voted for GT 5. Why?
Look GT 5 is good, don't get me wrong but Forza 4 leaves it choking on it's exhaust fumes in my humble opinion.
OK so what's under the hood once you crack open the box? A very very slickly presented package indeed. OK so the gameplay isn't altered when using the controller, and some have complained about that but if it ain't broken then why fix it? GT 5 was left alone, so why should forza's control system for the pad be overhauled? Not necessary at all.
There is the option of using the Kinect to drive your vehicle. This is fine, but I'd rather use a wireless pad or steering wheel to be honest. I felt a little daft sitting there with my arms out in front of me, holding an invisible wheel but it is interesting to be able to turn your head and see what's going on through your side windows! If using Kinect, braking is automatic as is the gear changes, all you have to do is steer. It is a tad over sensitive though, a minor twitch in the wrong place and your car is heading for a wall so be warned. The rewind is disabled in this mode too, and reversing back on the track is a pain, in fact nigh impossible. This is the games only fault. Use the kinect if you want, but I prefer not too.
Career mode will take you all over the world, from the UK and Top Gear track, Silverstone, to Germany and the Nurbergring, the thrills of the Swiss Alps, Leguna Seca in the US and Japan etc etc. There are more tracks here then on any other version and that's without downloading the monthly packs!
Graphically it's even slicker than Forza three, and the sound is superb, from the soft purr of your basic car to the roar of an Aston Martin or Ferrari as you tear around the track, to the scream of a turbo on a R3 class fully tuned racer. Frame rate is excellent and online play is nigh on perfect, no drop out, pop up and more options than you can shake a fully grown Stig at!
The community aspect is vastly expanded and you can race car clubs against each other and try and beat records and challenges set by force 10 and the community. There are some superb vinyl designs out there, go and take a look! There's a beautiful Dr Who paint job for a Ford Ka for starters!
Online auctions are back as well, and many designs and vinyls will come with the machine you bid on. There are so many cars on offer here it will make your head spin and cars can be unlocked for what they call the Auto Vista mode where you can hear the dulcet tones of Jeremy Clarkson singing the machines praises or not (as is the case of the Hummer!) but this is for me something that has a limited appeal.
But the challenges more than make up for that. Time trials where you weave through gates (like in Project Gotham) play skittles (yes you read that right!) and in the community challenges everything from races, speed trials, drag racing and drift challenges, to name but a few.
Physics: Top draw. Damage your car (if those options are on) and you'll more than see a visual difference, your car will feel like it's damaged indeed, It's been done well before but it's been finely tuned for Forza 4 and you can tell.
Graphics, yes have touched upon them before, but this game is drop dead gorgeous. There's no better way to describe it. This is the car racing equivalent of L.A Noire.
Music: Great and suits the mood.
Voice besides clarkson and an announcer, no vocal talent. None needed.
Online: Great, plays smoothly and the content will have you coming back for more time and time again.
This is an addictive, solid racer, that looks brilliant and plays like a dream. Loading times are short and online is as smooth as silk. Although not perfect in all areas (Kinect for instance) it towers over it's opposition in nearly every case. Don't take my word for it, of you are into racing games you MUST get this!