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Preview: Forza Motorsport 4

For those not familiar with the series, Forza is a racing simulator exclusive to the Xbox 360. This makes it rival to Sony's Gran Turismo titles and more directly, to Gran Turismo 5. Console owners will be partial to their own franchise however I was looking at Forza 4 from more of  a racing games’ perspective.

Inside of the cars look really cool , don't they?
Firstly, Forza looks beautiful. Obviously the preview only covers the cars that were given to drive for demonstration purposes and there were only two cars present at the time; the Ferrari 458 Italia and the BMW M5. The preview started with a camera orbiting the car showing off its assets. There were close-ups of the interior and the exterior of the car exploiting the excruciating amount of detail that had been invested into the model. Even the headlights seemed to be created so that no difference could be found between the game and the real thing. The lighting of both the intro and the track was well picked and very realistic.

See gameplay from the Eurogamer Expo 11 below!

The quality was maintained throughout the race and there was no lag from smoke effects and such proving that the game is stable but as it was simply a time trial and not a race, so that is still subject to change as the tracks get crowded.
Or does the outside matter more?
To ensure that I could get a better feel of the mechanics that Forza used, I picked the Expert settings which turned off most if not all the assist features and switched the car to manual transmission. Unfortunately there was no diagram or tutorial for the preview and I was left clueless on aspects that could affect gameplay such as how to change the gear! Fortunately, this enabled me to learn of the ‘Rewind the race’ feature that I could use to correct the course.

Although the feature has been used previously (Racedriver: GRID) It was still a welcome addition and one that I was pleasantly surprised to find. Another great feature is the turn rating that appear at every corner, this enables for the player to improve his control over certain laps and nail those turns.

The racing line however is worth criticising, Gran Turismo 5 uses a single stripe over the course with pleasent colours however Forza’s arrows are slightly distracting and seem to be more of a hindrance. I stuck to the interior view throughout the course which allowed me to get an idea of how detailed and interactive the dashboard was made, it was very well textured and all of the instruments seemed to be working as they should.
Errm... How many laps again??
So far I have only played with a single and on an empty course however I will say that the team behind Forza has used their time efficiently since the release of Gran Turismo and it is visually equivalent if not better than the current GT5. As a racing fan though, I would like to judge how other cars and other tracks stack up.

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