|System: Xbox 360|
|Dev: Turn 10 Studios|
|Release: October 11, 2011|
|Players: 1-2 Local, (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-720p|
Matchmaking is better than ever too. The infamous Hoppers are back from Forza 3, which worked similar to matchmaking systems of shooters. Public custom lobbies have also made a return so gamers can fine-tune any aspect of their online interaction.
Rivals Mode allows players to compete asynchronously, besting each other's times, which allows for some great back-and-forth gameplay while you're jostling for top spot. It's a great way to challenge your friends or take pointers from the players at the top of the leaderboard.
The sound has also been upgraded significantly over Forza 3. The cars in Forza 4 sound rawer, more alive. Upgrades will also result in a change in engine note, as well. While that may be a small thing for the average gamer, it's a nice inclusion for car lovers.
So Forza 4 has great graphics, sounds great, and plays extremely well. That's not to say it's without its drawbacks, though. While there are a lot of cars to choose from, there are some tracks that were staple tracks in the Forza series that have been removed: namely Rally di Positano and Sidewinder. Rally di Positano is in Forza 4, but it isn't actually Rally di Positano; it's Amalfi from Forza 3 with a different name. It's a shame, really, as now there's only one tarmac rally-type track, with Fujimi Kaido picking up the slack. Sidewinder, too, was a fun set of courses to hoon around on, though they weren't immensely popular.
Apparently Positano was extremely labor-intensive for the developers, and there simply wasn't enough time to bring the track up to snuff. But there are a few other omissions that don't make any sense. The Bugatti circuit at Le Mans comes to mind. It was already built, as there don't appear to be any changes to the main layout, so there's no reason it shouldn't have been included. Unless, of course, they're holding it back to be released later as DLC.
Some of the tuning options have also been trimmed back, which probably has to do with the complaints over the Performance Index (cars in Forza are rated according to their performance, with upgrades impacting the PI) and the way all-wheel-drive cars were rated. While some of the changes are probably for the better, it's difficult to understand why the makes that share parent manufacturers wouldn't be able to interchange parts, as in the last version.
There are other things that were left out that impact the experience as a whole a bit less. There's no night racing, and no weather effects like snow, rain, etc. There aren't any rally-type point-to-point stages on anything other than tarmac, the controls, while good, still aren't fully customizable after five years, and the in-game music is best left off.
All things considered, though, this is still a solid game. It's also an able simulator. The frame rate is locked at 60 frames per second at 1080p, no matter what's happening on-screen. I personally didn't experience any screen tearing or outrageous graphical hiccups outside of the occasional highly detailed car model pop-in here or there. Still, all of the cars have hi-res interiors, they're all fully customizable, and they're all immaculately modeled.
Forza Motorsport 4 allows for the most consistently great experience, both on track and off, and any racing fan would be remiss not to pick this up.
CCC Contributing Writer