Forza Motorsport 4 review

Forza Motorsport 3 was close to perfect, can Forza 4 achieve perfection?

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Artificial intelligence, genuine frustration

FM4 has pitched the fact that it features a new adaptive difficulty that tweaks your opponent's A.I. according to how you drive. On paper this seems like it would offer a great balance for new and experienced players, the reality of it is a bit less exciting though. AI has a tendency to box you in or just generally be erratic with their braking, making clean races hard to pull off. AI drivers also seem to get really mad if you make contact with them and immediately make it their effort to knock you off the road. While there may be karmic justice in that the AI reflect your own aggressive bad driving back at you, it’s dreadfully annoying in action.

Above: A beautful view and a hideous interior

At about driver level 15 cars become exceedingly difficult to pass and dramatically alter their driving line to block you from passing even when they’re driving slower than you. If you enjoy being cut off on the freeway, you’ll love it here as well. The AI occasionally spins out, misjudges a turn or slams into wall, which is a nice touch that makes the races seem more dynamic. At the same time, the overall level of aggression and erratic way the AI handles itself can make getting out of a pack of chaotic idiots less than fun. Meanwhile the car that managed to escape the dogpile of the holeshot pulls further and further away while you're stuck playing bumper cars. We love the idea of adaptive AI, but with no way to manually adjust it, it can become excessively frustrating.

The checkered flag

Despite the AI foible, FM4 does virtually everything else right, putting lots of new cars into the player’s garage quickly, streamlining the online, keeping the World Tour mode interesting, and pandering to the car fetishists with Autovista. It speaks to the game’s addictive nature that we spent almost as much time in the menus tuning cars, checking out other players vids and pics, and browsing the Autovista mode as we did on the actual race track. It's a shame licensing squabbles prevented true Porsches from making it into the game, and we'd love to see even a remedial rally race feature in the future, but overall we're incredibly happy with FM4. It easily lives up to the franchise's standards, and offers racing fans the same massive level of fun that FM3 did.

Is it better than...

Shift 2?As a complete package, Forza Motorsport 4 easily takes the cake. Its online and community features are way more robust, it looks better, and there's a huge amount of content to dig through. That said, Shift 2 still sports some of the most intense simulation style racing on the market, and if you can get over the somewhat off-kilter physics, it's great fun.

Forza Motorsport 3?Tie. Reviewing games can be tough when you have to factor in the amount of time that's passed. FM3 was near perfect, and FM4 does almost everything FM3 did, but better. The kicker is the wonky AI that makes the game excessively frustrating at times. On every other front, FM4 is an improvement.

Gran Turismo 5?Yes. While Gran Turismo might have the advantage based on raw numbers, Forza Motorsport 4 is the better experience. Better original courses, better online, a less cluttered interface, and less static racing make FM4 the better game.

Just for you Metacritc!

Forza Motorsport 4 is a big step forward from Forza Motorsport 3 in almost every way. The only flaw is the nonadjustable, overaggressive AI that occasionally makes the game overly frustrating. The pros far outweigh the single con though, and this is the new standard for racing sims.

Oct 5th, 2011

More info

Platform"Xbox 360"
US censor rating"Rating Pending"
UK censor rating"Rating Pending"
Alternative names"Forza 4"
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