The genesis of Forza Motorsport was truly atypical. Rarely a brand built, substantially, at the table succeeds in the intent to convince the critics, but above all the public. Before Microsoft, SEGA GT had tried, unsuccessfully, to stem the incredible success that Sony was having with Gran Turismo, a series that had changed the way players approach the racing genre, which the general console audience, also at the hands of SEGA itself, was mostly familiar with arcade-style titles, animated by a handful of tracks and cars. The hundreds of cars, hours behind the wheel, and tracks available to digital drivers had marked a very clear turning point in the way of conceiving the approach to driving simulators, a point that no one else seemed capable of grasping. Turn 10, starting in 2005 on the first Xbox, and every two years, has tried to fit into this love idyll by creating a real alternative to the Polyphony brand, clearly inspired by, but not slavishly mimicking it. Obviously drawing from it, but following its own path and conquering many fans. After only two years, the third chapter on Xbox 360 is out, Forza Motorsport 4 and, although it has the appearance of an evolution compared to the previous episode, rather than a change, it is also this time a solid stance in the world of virtual four wheels.
I'm starting over from four
In 2009, with the third chapter, Turn 10 decided the most radical turning point for the series, marrying a structure, for the single career, which puts the player in front of a series of events to face, feeling free to choose the machine and the most congenial situation, with the common denominator of accumulating credits and experience points to level up, unlocking titles to add to your tag, rather than a series of badges to be placed alongside your nickname.
The only goal on the level of driving simulation, thanks also to a large series of customizations, is to provide an immaculate environment in which to give vent to your desire to drive in the best possible conditions hundreds of dream cars (this time there are more than 500 from 80 different manufacturers), without worrying about obtaining licenses and without having to go through dozens of preliminary races hoping to get behind the wheel of a dream car: almost everything immediately and with the desired degree of difficulty. This choice was confirmed in the World Tour of Forza Motorsport 4 with dozens of events, spread over ten seasons, on hundreds of different tracks, in twenty-six locations (but already at launch there will be a new one to download). Also this time, by deactivating a greater number of driving aids (ABS, simulated steering or not, manual gearbox and real or aesthetic damage, etc.), the percentage of bonus experience points at the end of the race and credits to buy upgrades or new ones are increased. cars. Of these we are given one, out of three to choose from (instead of just one as in FM3), every time you level up and every time you finish a race, the degree of affinity with the brand of the car you drive increases. , so as to have greater discounts in the purchase of the modifications. Each car belongs to a class and is distinguished by an increasing number, indicative of the goodness of the different technical characteristics. By upgrading the car, even automatically if you don't want to try your hand at the dozens of customization submenus, this number grows until, in fact, you move on to the next category.
At the beginning of each round of the World Tour we are offered three different races, which change by selecting another car from your garage, without ever stopping: Forza Motorsport 4 always proposes an event proportionate to one's abilities and fleet of cars. This at least in the first half of the career, since from then on one begins to rise in class necessarily, thus having to deal with the high cost of the cars to buy and with the need to choose wisely their moves. After about 25 hours of play and after passing 8 of the 10 available championships, facing, among other things, 12-a-side races, mixed classes, autocross and topgear challenges, in which you have to knock down a series of pins within a number of laps of track, we found ourselves without having unlocked the achievement that is given for having raced on all the tracks, with only 4% of events covered, and about 2 million credits earned. Considering that the most beautiful machines cost between one and two million credits each, this gives you an idea of how much it takes to play to see everything. Forza Motorsport 4 has to offer, only in the offline career.
Forza Motorsport 4 brings with it the collaboration with Fanatec a branded steering wheel, which, finally, does not make us regret the similar products of Logitech. Solid, ready to fit and easy to connect, it has a very respectable force feedback and an attractive design, especially for the grip part where it is held (and leaving aside the glossy plastic upper part). Excellent therefore, except in the price, since it is 250 € without manual gearbox and pedal, for which you have to get to more than 400 € in total. Evaluate your passion ...
Simulation and artificial intelligences
The first thing that catches the eye is that there are no difficulty levels, other than the degree of driving simulation you want to deal with. Turn 10 has so deepened its artificial intelligence algorithms that it has foreseen four levels of the same, distributed over the ten seasons, and which in addition adapt to the degree of skill of the player who can choose the level of reactivity of the opponents only in fast races. , but not in the career. The obvious advantage is that the AI, which was already one of the flagships of the series, here takes a further leap forward with cars that slow down to avoid themselves when in the wake, which clearly perceive the presence of the player on the track, without overwhelming him. with the unrealistic, as much feared, trains that react to the pressures of the other cars, even making mistakes when entering and exiting corners. In the advanced seasons, indeed, the attitude of the other cars is absolutely natural, but it remains, however, rather soft, so much so that with a little foresight it is possible to win most of the time.
Obviously, by deciding to take advantage of the possibility of rewinding the time after a possible error, resetting curves and trajectories, which as before can be done at will and which amplifies the pure driving pleasure project carried out by Turn 10, but which could to turn up their noses at those who, perhaps, would have preferred a career advancement punctuated by compulsory tests to be won, so as to increase the sense of challenge. At the end of a season, in fact, there is nothing more than a mini-grand prix, consisting of two heats at different times of the day, which can be overcome even if you don't finish on the podium. This leads to less points and money, but it is clear that the engine that drives the experience is that of the desire to discover all the tracks and drive as many cars as possible, with an approach that may not please everyone, as already in FM3, but here perhaps one could think of something different. Certainly if you deactivate the rewind, the picture changes completely also because the times in the rankings clearly indicate when they were made using this expedient.
The driving model has also been adjusted, without being distorted, with Ferraris, for example, which remain drivable even in the most extreme situations, but with other manufacturers such as Pagani, Ford or Bugatti, just to name a few, for which the precision required in the driving and controlling it becomes much more mandatory than in the past, while remaining that of Forza Motorsport 4 a world that can be dominated with the right practice, while turning off all aids.
Increased the "weight" of all cars, when you exceed 300kmh you have to be much more careful about where you end up with the wheels, when you want to lean on the curbs and when to open the gas and to what extent. With the damage activated, then, you can lean on the other cars in the corners, but you can risk finding yourself with a car that cannot be driven after a couple of crashes too many. What is most important, and striking, is that, after tens of hours, the pleasure of driving remains very high, leading to one race after another, and that the races and careers originating from these can never be identical. Finally, and despite the fact that fans had been loudly requested, the night races and, above all, the weather conditions, if not variable, at least rainy, were absent. It is probably a goodbye to the next generation of consoles, necessitated by the unshakable 60 frames per second, but for some the lack will be felt.
Another novelty is Autovista, or the possibility of exploring, walking around them, opening doors and climbing on them, a series of 'top' cars, reproduced with incredibly detailed models, with information on the technical characteristics narrated by Jeremy Clarckson of Top Gear, transmission cult of the United Kingdom. In addition to a handful of cars immediately available, you can unlock new ones, passing a specific test driving them, without being able to annex them to your car park. Exploration in this mode can also take place thanks to Kinect, which works with extreme precision while leaning in the directions in which you want to direct the camera.
You will not do it more than a couple of times, but it remains a very nice possibility to show to friends, as well as that of driving the cars in single races or in fast laps, mimicking the handle of an invisible steering wheel and with the driving that regulates the speed of the car by himself. Here, too, the accuracy of the motion sensor is excellent, but it remains little more than a pastime. The voice commands are different, all in Spanish, and with surprising precision and speed. With these you can jump to any part of the menus, jumping, with an intuitive system and faster than with just the pad, from the race, to the tuning, rather than from the showcase in which to buy and sell the cars to the part community. The thing that, however, makes the difference in the use of Kinect is the head tracking, or the camera that orients itself following the movements of the player's head, even minimal. Especially combined with the steering wheel (see box) and the view from inside the cockpit, this option adds a new degree of identification and you find yourself tilting your head in curves, showing that part of the windows and windshield that you would never see with the simple pad, not making you regret the old contiguous three-screen stations from the times of SEGA's Ferrari Challenge.
Rivals to the end
One of the flagships of Forza Motorsport 4 it is all that has been built around the community and the connected possibilities. This time, in addition to photos, you can share videos to upload on Forzamotorsport.net and, as in the past, auction houses are back to sell and buy the legendary customizations of the bodywork, the settings of the different car models as obviously the machines themselves. Turn 10 managed to reach the number of 16 drivers simultaneously on the networked track and with the usual plethora of settings ranging from limitations on car categories, to the track, to the view to be used, up, of course, to the racing modes and to the number of laps (up to 50 with possible pit stops, therefore), all with a very clean code and without any delay, even if obviously we have not had the opportunity to try the online game at "full speed".
The juiciest novelties are those of the Rivals mode and the introduction of Clubs. The first, which gives experience points and credits exactly like online races and career, allows you to try your hand in a large series of themed challenges, trying to break records after record. The system puts us in front of the "ghost" of the player closest to us in the world rankings, or that of friends or other sought-after users in the leaderboards. Once a time is beaten, the defeated player will be notified thanks to the revamped message center, triggering the inevitable revenge. With clubs, on the other hand, the community is strengthened even more, as members can share setups, liveries and machines, thus making it easier for the expensive resort to last credit, which has been accentuated in this chapter. The clubs can communicate, compete with each other and participate in coordinated online competitions and enjoy dedicated rankings that take into account the victories of individual members.
Xbox 360 achievements
After the ten seasons of the World Tour, played with Kinect and made some challenges to rivals, you should end up with about 500 points out of the 1000 expected. After that, it's all about playing for a long time, but almost sure to make full loot. 15 points, are obtained by importing a save from Forza 3 and related liveries and various data.
From a technical point of view, Forza Motorsport 4 is dazzling and ranks among the most beautiful things seen on Xbox 360 on a par with Rage and Gears of War 3. 60 frames per second, fixed, in any situation, even when on the net we found ourselves with 15 other players in a mass of body shops in one of the four extra modes in which, in various versions, you have to play hide and seek divided into two teams (a kind of football will also be available on day one). The fluidity of Forza, even in the midst of sheets that blow up, splinters and reflections on the rear windows is unwavering and despite a sense of speed that has still increased since the third chapter, with the R1 cars that make you hold your breath when you are about to enter the curve, while trying to slow down from over 300kmh. To make the difference, however, the models all redone and very detailed, as well as the interiors (with some exceptions, of course, on 500 and pass cars) and the system of lights and HDR that extend down to the smallest details of the sheets and of the instrumentation, bouncing the light that comes from the asphalt, combined with the backdrop that is reflected on the hoods, as well as the cars of the opponents. No vertical image synchrony problem (the hateful effect that cuts the screen in half when the console can't keep it flowing), but still a few too many ladders, obviously not avoidable especially now that the cars on the track go up at 16, as mentioned several times. The 26 settings are not all of the same level of detail or creative inspiration, but some like Nurburing in the morning, the always autumn Maple Valley or the mountains of Japan and the Alps, the latter at the beginning, are truly the most beautiful seen in a racing game.
The sound effects of the cars are absolutely top-notch in terms of power and quality, while the same cannot be said of the soundtrack, which is rather anonymous and will soon be replaced by the play list streaming from the nearest PCs or iPods.
The game structure almost unchanged, and some shortcomings such as the absence of variable weather conditions could underestimate the work done by Turn 10 with Forza Motorsport 4, aimed at improving what was already good in one of the reference racing games of this generation. Improved physics and the driving system and after having put in place a graphic impact that, on the whole, has very few rivals, the team has produced a large amount of content, methods and an obsessive attention to detail, however relegating the real challenge to races on Xbox Live. In six years of Xbox 360, the Turn 10 guys have scored one hit after another and it's not for everyone, perfecting a project started on the first Xbox and which will certainly continue on the new console, perhaps with a few more surprises. .
- The new lighting system
- Autovista, many tracks and settings
- Improved physics and online modes
- Even higher artificial intelligence
- Low challenge for the more experienced in the campaign
- The most interesting news are only online
- There is still no rain and night races