As a big fan of the Gran Turismo series, I was among the many that went with the ups and the many downs of the development cycle of Gran Turismo 4 w hich had delay after delay until it finally released into a great game. Now we have Microsoft’s racer, which compared to GT4, has come under the radar to the Xbox and attempts to challenge the king of racing simulations with Forza Motorsport. So is this the new simulation-racing king, or is this just a pretender to the throne? Read our full review to find out!
What strikes me as odd about a high profile game like Forza Motorsport is that it didn’t garner as much hype as I really thought as the direct competitor to Gran Turismo 4 would be. With that being said, towards the tail end of the development we started to hear the comparisons of the game and started to gather that this could be much more of a battle then probably any of us could have imagined. So is this game going to take the racing genre to the next level?
So what exactly is Forza Motorsport? Well from right out of the box, you can see that this game does everything in its power to be better then the GT series. But it still takes a lot from it and this is shown just in the setup of the career mode, which does have a lot of similarities to GT4 in the career mode and in the arcade. But first let’s take a look at the games career mode.
The career mode is actually pretty standard for the racing simulation world, which gives you pretty lousy cars to start with, and some pretty easy races. And of course earning points are a big part of the game. With the more points you win, you can purchase even better cars and you’ll be able to progress even further. To be honest, the career mode doesn’t have any really exciting additions to the typical formula, although it does give you plenty of customization options. In Forza Motorsport you are given all the necessary bells and whistles to upgrade your rides, whether it be the actual look of the car or what’s underneath the hood. You are given a very easy and worthwhile tool to make this process extremely easy and useful.
Overall the career mode didn’t impress me as much as I originally thought, and that’s mainly because the game doesn’t have all that many tracks, especially when compared to how many cars they have in the game. This starts to hurt the career mode in the later stages because you will find yourself having played every track and it just seems like there is just so much more room for more tracks.
But with all that being said, the career mode wouldn’t be anything without the gameplay, and that brings us to how Forza performs. For the most part, this game plays exactly how we would expect to see a simulation racing game play. You have to be very precise with all of your turns and all of your maneuvers, and if you’re not you’re going to find yourself flying into a wall. Now in most games that wouldn’t be a bad thing, but in Forza Motorsport they take their crashes seriously. Now even those slight bumps and cushions that you could use in GT4 actually have a distinct effect on your car’s performance, and therefore you will have to be very careful because recklessness will be your own undoing.
And finally we get to move onto what I think really puts Forza Motorsport over the top, and that is the Xbox Live support. Yes that’s right, Gran Turismo 4 does not have online play and Forza Motorsport does. The developers could have gone cheap and just provided it to say they had online play, but the developers of this game took this online support to a whole new level and made an extremely complex and very nicely made online mode that is not only deep as it is addicting.
The whole online system is setup to really support a whole community feel, similar to what we got to see with the complexity of the Halo 2 multiplayer. In Forza Motorsport, you have the ability to make car clubs, sell cars online, and race your own cars online, which is just a great experience. Thus far I have been extremely happy with the performance of the online play, which has been smooth and has been for the most part lag-free.
In some areas in the gameplay, Forza Motorsport doesn’t have everything we could have wanted, but in some other aspects the game comes through beautifully. I have to say Microsoft did a great job with the gameplay of the game as it offers a very fine-tuned package.
When we look at the visuals of Forza Motorsport and compare them to GT4, many people may be surprised that Forza didn’t do better then it did. I say this because there are many aspects of this game’s visuals that I thought really could have been freshened up a bit. With that being said, Forza is still a marvelous looking game that has some great car models. Speaking of the car models I think I was must impressed with how well the developers made the upgrades in the game, as you could truly see every distinct addition to the car and this definitely makes the game feel more of an individual experience.
And although GT4 has an edge in my book on the racing tracks, I still think that Forza did an excellent job of making the entire core of race tracks have plenty of detail and uniqueness. I also must say that although it may not be at the GT4 caliber, I was still extremely impressed with how well the game performed. Even at it toughest times, the game really gets you excited right from the start.
Forza Motorsport is a game that I believe is best when played with other people just because of how well made the Live support is. With that being said I still think that simulation racing fans or going to be very satisfied with all of the customization aspects and the realistic feel of the driving in the game. If you are a fan of these sorts of games and have been even somewhat looking forward to this game you are positively going to have a lot of fun with this game.
Forza Motorsport is not what I would call at GT4 killer, but it does come close to usurping the throne for the simulation-racing genre. Now that there is competition in this genre, I can hope that the next installments of both games would feature even more refinement. If you are a fan of simulation racers and have been looking forward to this game, the wait is over. I would highly recommend going out and picking up a copy of this game.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.