Forza Motorsport 4 review

  • Gorgeous graphics and lighting
  • Streamlined online and community
  • New race modes
  • Adapative AI
  • No Porsches
  • No rally racing

When Forza arrived in 2005, it was the plucky young upstart, challenging the golden god that was Gran Turismo. Microsoft putting their brand new racing sim up against the biggest of the big was a bold move, but In a short four years Forza has established itself as the best racing sim on the market. Forza Motorsport 3 was the best of the series, and now two years later Forza Motorsport 4 is here. Can it one-up one of this generations most complete racing simulations? 

Above: Even the milquetoast rides are fun with the assists off 

The bread and butter of racing simulations is the career mode, and FM4 spices up its “World Tour” mode with a number of different events. Instead of dictating the events themselves, FM4 picks a location and you're allowed participate in any event of your choice that has a race located at that track. The events themselves are fortunately more than just endless lapping. King of the Mountain is a touge style event where you race a single opponent down a mountain road while weaving through much slower traffic. Having to give up your racing line to zig zag around some F rank microcar is a lot harder than it seems. 

There’s also a number of Top Gear branded events that skew a little more wacky than the average race. Car bowling involves whipping around the Top Gear test track trying to hit as many pins as possible, especially the gold ones. Drifting is encouraged, and hitting the high score requires either a big car or some serious sideways action. The Multi Class events also offer a nice take on the standard races, putting wildly different cars on the track at the same time so you can see the drastic difference between car types. Don’t worry, you only have to be competitive within your own class.

Above: Testa Rossa means "red head", in this case because of the car's red valve covers, Autovista taught us this!

The Top Gear touch also makes its presence known in the online play, offering car soccer as a multiplayer option. It may sound silly, but it’s quite a bit of fun. Multiplayer also includes “Tag (Virus)” mode and “Cat and Mouse” mode. Tag (Virus) has an infected player bumping into leading cars, passing the infection up through the ranks. The goal is to be the last one not infected, which is difficult when the majority of the racers are gunning for you. Cat and Mouse mode has two teams, each with one mouse and a number of cats, attempting to escort their mouse around the track. It’s up to the cats to simultaneously harass the enemy mouse if he’s in the lead while assisting their mouse if he’s boxed in. Of course there’s the traditional circuit, drift and drag racing to tackle as well. 

Hands-on (nothing)

We made sure to try out the game’s much hyped Kinect functionality, and it’s much more usable than you’d think. Most people we know who aren't into cars yawn at the idea of sitting down with a racing game where you actually have to brake. The Kinect functionality offers a degree of intrigue to these players, as it’s much more forgiving and allows you to fool around with a great looking game without memorizing every turn and your car’s torque curve. Using exclusively Kinect controls reduces the gameplay to simply steering your car around the track while you hold an invisible steering wheel. While this is hearsay to any dyed in the wool sim fan, it’s a foot in the door for the vast number of players that feel overwhelmed by too many options and a steep learning curve. 

For more traditional players, the game does give you the option to use the controller while using the Kinect unit strictly for head tracking. What this means is that you can look towards the apex of the turn as you drive through it and the camera will shift towards the direction you’re looking. It’s a slightly more complicated version of Shift 2’s feature that automatically does the same thing. It only really works in cockpit mode, and requires a fairly in-depth set up with the Kinect unit so that it reads you correctly.

More Info

Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Racing
ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending


  • Mezolitik - October 13, 2011 4:26 a.m.

    I haven't played a racing game since the original GT. This one surely looks pretty though.
  • supersteer - October 13, 2011 12:54 a.m.

    Right i am very tempted to buy this, however i dont have xbox live nor do i want to buy it will i miss out on most the features? is it worth buying if i dont have it?
  • RareHero - October 7, 2011 2:23 p.m.

    Forza 3 was quite a disappointment for me but from what I've played, this seems like a marked improvement in almost every way. Graphics are much improved, car and track selection is much more diverse, and the physics have been stepped up significantly. Add to that 16 player racing, the return of private lobbies and car clubs, and a revamped leveling system and Forza 4 looks like it may just be the best yet...
  • e1337prodigy - October 7, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    I thought that was a very fair review. Maybe it was harsh at first but reading about the AI and no option to change it, that is quite a big thing. Especially in a racing game, the game evolves around a competitive (sp) AI. They could have stuck with the original options and just added the adaptative ai option. Maybe a patch/game update? I'm sure they can just copy the code over? AI was very good in forza 3 (I would say perfect but nothing is perfect). I suppose if the AI was less frustrating it would be a 9.5 or maybe even a 10. Can't really mark it down for not having a rallying races (it never claimed to be a rallying game. Just because GT5 has it doesn't mean Forza should too. I know everyone keeps comparing them so they mark them down/up depending what the other one has or hasn't). Same goes for the Porsches, can't mark a game down because it doesn't have licensed cars. Some car companies demand to much or just don't want their cars destroyed in games.
  • ashwell - October 6, 2011 8:42 p.m.

    There are no porsche's because of licencing reasons. They are using the porsche tuning company RUF though which are exactly the same but better. And to be fair, with over 500 cars in the games who really cares? I'd rather bomb a lamborghini reventon around the track than a porsche 911.
  • xXYALE70Xx - October 6, 2011 5:56 p.m.

    I'm overall not impressed with the game. In my opinion Forza 3 is better and GT5 dominates. And no Porsches? God I LOVE my Rs Spyder and they take it away? Crap.
  • D0CCON - October 6, 2011 5:47 p.m.

    The GT fanboys saying that Forza was crap and GT5 was the greatest racer of all time have gone away in a big way. For me, Forza is my all-time favorite sim racer hands down (and yes, I did try GT) and only a few Burnout games can compare to it for favorite racing series ever. I'm still happy with 3 and there are so many other games coming out this year, so I'll probably get it a year late (like I did with 3 since I wanted to wait for GT5 to come out first).
  • forestfire55 - October 6, 2011 4:14 p.m.

    Michel, I do agree with this rateing, I thought the gameplay was good but the cars in genral were very "eh". They looked good but they wernt "oh my god I want this car". And thats very important in a CAR GAME! The interior did distract me thow, i often was caught looking at it veagly then looking up to see a wall...
  • chriszewski - October 6, 2011 3:25 p.m.

    No Porsches?!
  • pimpdaddie - October 6, 2011 3:20 p.m.

    Holly sh!t you guys seize to amaze me! You you contradicting sons bitches are such sony fanbooys! Seriously you say the game is a tie with Forza 3!! AND YOU GIVE IT A F*KING 9!!!!! This is such disrespect to turn 10 WTF! And don't give me the sh!tty argument that ohh this would a been a 10 2 years ago, NO because the review clearly states that Forza 4 improved in every single aspect of 3 !! GRRAAAHHH your going to make my head explode! I can't take this website seriously anymore Back to IGN! As for the AI it's suppose to be aggressive otherwise the game stays boring while you race! Your cons are garbage, it's not their fault they can't put freaking Porsches and who gives a flying f*ck about rally racing! This is one of Microsoft's biggest games of the year and you taint it with your sh!tty 9 when it clearly deserves a 10!!!!!! Gamesradar go suck a big fat dick and while you're at it stick it up your ass
  • Lucas - October 6, 2011 8:35 p.m.

    Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!
  • OohWiiUILookJustLikeBuddyHolly - October 6, 2011 9:40 p.m.

    This is why us xbox owners have a bad name..
  • avantguardian - October 7, 2011 4:50 a.m.

    "you guys seize to amaze me"
  • bonerachieved - October 7, 2011 12:04 p.m.

    Holy sh*t I didn't know people could write their own opinions. What is this website coming to suckin' dicks and stickin' up their asses.
  • HereComesTheHypeTrainCHOOCHOO - October 6, 2011 11:15 a.m.

    With excessive rubber-band AI and overly agressive computer drivers mentioned here and in Eurogamer's review I think I will wait until 4orza drops in price before picking up a copy. I don't care about online racing so getting a used copy seems the way to go.
  • manateesta - October 6, 2011 10:20 a.m.

    Great review, I was disappointed with GT5 and look forward to trying the demo for this game. I just with I had a racing wheel.
  • StoneDreadnaught - October 6, 2011 9:46 a.m.

    I'll bet if Grimm could have, he'd have given this a 9.75. Glad to see Forza keeps the quality of their games supremely high on a constant basis.
  • HeavyTank - October 6, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    Is this ever going to make it to PC? I mean, it's Microsoft, they have GFWL, it would be dumb to have it just for the 360.
  • Spybreak8 - October 6, 2011 8:11 a.m.

    Yeah I was not at all interested in FM4 because Turn 10 did such a great job, along with so much content, with FM3 but it just seems like they 1uped themselves!
  • Inthedistrict - October 6, 2011 7:34 a.m.

    I have Forza 3, and have thoroughly enjoyed playing it. Unfortunately, the problem I found with the 3rd game - the cockpit gameplay is dull at best after playing Need for Speed Shift, which actually turned out to be a big deal for me. After playing shift, I felt really disconnected to the cars in Forza 3. I understand Forza is more of a simulator based game, and on every other level of gameplay, it clearly exceeds. That being said, I think we're in the age of driving simulators where the standard should not be anything less than realistic driving mechanics, such as the cockpit gameplay in NFS Shift. If Forza can pull something similar in to their next game, I think they'll reign supreme.

Showing 1-20 of 32 comments

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