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Forza Motorsport 4!

The fourth installment in the popular simulation racing series Forza Motorsport has dropped to much anticipation, but will Forza 4 be able to improve upon its lackluster predecessor Forza 3?

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Modest Beginnings: During the "career" mode of Forza Motorsport 4, you will start, as with many racing titles, with a very humble starter car to begin your long journey. The career mode of Forza Motorsport 4 acts like a "campaign" mode that takes you on an expedition around the world using a large variety of cars.

For a large portion of the early part of your career you will be forced to engage in races with other low-level vehicles (mostly hatchbacks for some reason). The early portion of the career where you are using very modest cars can span a hour or so, but after that point you will begin to experience the faster, more powerful cars.

As you play, you will increase your "Driver Level", and each time you reach a new level you will be rewarded with a free car that you choose out of a small group. You will not be treated to great cars until hours into the game, but once you begin to be rewarded with Mustangs and classic muscle cars it can be a satisfying feeling.

In addition, you will also earn "credits" as you race, which act as the currency in the game. You use your credits primarily to upgrade your vehicles in order to keep up with your competition, but other than that there is not a whole lot you can do.

Pimp My Ride: The customization in Forza Motorsport 4 is a fairly large focus of this title, and there are a ton of options to choose from when improving your cars. Engines, suspensions, air filters, exhaust systems, tires, rims and more can all be altered. As well, when you choose to alter your engine, for example, there are multiple kinds of engines to choose from that give your ride a specific performance boost.

In addition to that, you can paint your vehicle and add all kinds of designs to the car. From the tint of the windows to the color of the mirrors or even the entire side of the car, you can alter the paint job of your vehicle with a massive array of colors.

Not only that, but the design options for Forza 4 are not too shabby either. There are pages upon pages of different designs ranging from racing flags, globes, flames and much more, as well as being able to throw together words with the entire alphabet at your disposal (in multiple font styles no less).

You can also move, spin, distort and change the size of your designs and some creative minds will undoubtedly be mixing designs together to make entire new images.

The ability to customize your vehicle in virtually any kind of way is a nice addition to this title, and I feel it can eat up a decent amount of your time as you strive to make a car that suits your personal style.

You can also use the credits you earn to buy entirely new cars from practically any car brand on earth with European brands and American brands featured in the game. The sheer amount of vehicle brands in Forza 4 is stunning, and the only brand I noticed that was missing was Porsche, which was oddly omitted from the game.

Unfortunately though, there is not a real reason to buy new cars as you can easily upgrade your current, free vehicles to the specifications that you want. Unless you simply need a better looking car, then there is no reason to buy cars that perform just as well as the ones you earn for free as you increase your driver level.

'round And 'round We Go: The gameplay of Forza Motorsport 4 will feel very familiar to those who have ever played a simulation racing title in the past. Particularly those who played Forza 3, players will likely have a feeling of dj vu as you engage in races.

Forza 4 follows very closely in the mold of its predecessors, and there really is not much new to this game to report. Forza 4 is incredibly similar to Forza 3, even down to the green line that runs along the track as a suggestion for the best path to take during the race.

You will find yourself racing in a number of different vehicle classes on a variety of tracks that all vary slightly, but when you are in the race going up against your opposition every race ends up feeling far too similar to one another. You enter the race, move up through the ranks and typically finish in first place, barring any serious mistakes.

You can "rewind" the race when you make any mistakes such as hitting a wall or running into your fellow competitors, but unless you are simply a horrible driver there is not much need for the rewind feature most of the time.

The game can be challenging, as there have been occasions where rivals fly forward from the back of the pack for no reason and you cannot catch up to them, but the majority of the time you can take home the 1st place prize if you race disciplined.

Now, that is assuming you use the "helper" features in the game, which are practically necessary in order to race. Turn off the assisted handling, which automatically slows your vehicle down at turns, and you will have an absurdly difficult time getting around corners.

Rent vs. Buy: Forza Motorsport 4 is a very solid simulation racing title, but there is not much variety in the game and you will rarely feel true excitement while playing Forza 4. The customization options are nice, but even the ability to add designs and letters/numbers to your car (KR #1) wears off eventually.

The game does look spectacular though, as both the vehicles and the environments are heavily detailed and very glossy, not to mention the sound effects coming from the cars are impressive as well.

Fortunately, Forza Motorsport 4 is also devoid of the bevy of glitches and errors that plagued its predecessor. No longer suffering from glitches that made part of the track disappear or the music to repeat the same tune over and over like a broken record, Forza Motorsport 4 runs very smoothly from beginning to end.

Things really don't get that much better over time, even as you unlock more powerful and better looking vehicles. It is nice not to be "racing" at a meager 70 miles an hour in the later stages of the game, but the gameplay, at its core, is still the same.

Forza Motorsport 4 doesn't do anything that special, and you could find a bunch of comparisons between Forza 4 and even the ancient Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, a well-respected but old Playstation 2 title.

That's not to say Forza 4 is bad at all, and as a matter of fact it does simulation racing very well, but for many gamers I believe Forza 4 will begin to become repetitive and slightly boring over time. There is only so much excitement to be had from racing over and over and over.

Actually, since the career mode of Forza 4 tends to lose its luster over time, I believe the online mode of Forza 4 is a nice escape from that. Racing against other, live opponents who often have their own customized vehicles adds a level of enthusiasm into the races, and when you take home 1st place in an online race it is far more satisfying then when you do it in the career mode.

Report Card

Forza 4 is bad at all, and as a matter of fact it does simulation racing very well, but for many gamers I believe Forza 4 will begin to become repetitive and slightly boring over time. There is only so much excitement to be had from racing over and over and over. (Krakrabbit.com)

B


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