There’s no denying it any longer: Forza is king of the road. In fact, that may very well have been the case since the last iteration of the series, Forza 3, but gamers’ precious, lingering feelings towards that other “real driving simulator” held back its crowning at least for another couple laps around the track.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, that other game we’re talking about is Gran Turismo, to which Forza will always be compared to. Granted, the gap between the two remains tight, and the match-up isn’t unlike choosing between the top two in any 100 Sexiest list. Whichever you choose, you win either way.
So how does Forza 4 come out on top in our books? Accessibility is the clincher. Forza 4 delivers an experience that’s deep enough to satisfy the obsessive needs of armchair drivers to tweak and customize without alienating the lot of us who just want to drive all those pretty cars. Features wherein the game offers to automatically tune your car to fit a certain tournament’s specifications, or the “rewind” option to correct a mistake you commit while driving lessen the stress while still being exhilarating.
Whereas Gran Turismo sometimes feels like it expects you to be Schumacher right away, Forza 4 eases you in, as seen in the game’s World Tour mode. The mode’s pacing is flawless. The initial tourneys, while still competitive, allow you to get a feel for the road, and the way cars handle in this game.
As can be expected, the rides in Forza 4 feel more realistic to handle—a subtle but nonetheless important improvement from Forza 3. Hey, with GT as their rival, we really shouldn’t expect anything less. As you progress into the game, you’ll get the sense that you are learning, and all that experience will pay off as you access the mode’s latter rounds. Take the time to thoroughly learn its nuances, and soon, you’ll be turning off all the driver assist techs, for a purer, more challenging time.
Now we get to another important question: who’s got the prettier cars? The visual fidelity in both games is astounding. Forza 4 offers improved graphics and better lighting over its predecessory, which can be best observed when making use of the game’s cockpit view. The 500 cars in Forza 4 are just as amazing to look at as 800 of GT 5’s 1000 automobiles. So what about the other 200, you ask? Safe to say, GT 5’s 200 premium car models are still pretty much the best in the biz. Apart from those though, the two games are on the same level. And while GT 5 has more cars, Forza 4’s selection is more varied, offering different models than say, 20 or so variations of the same model. It even includes Halo’s Warthog!
All in all, Forza 4 offers a package that’s just as complete as GT 5, but without losing sight of the reason why we play games in the first place: to have fun. While GT 5 can be quite overwhelming for all but the most hardcore of racing simulation nuts, Forza 4 is more forgiving, more aware that sometimes, as mentioned above, we just want to drive around in all those pretty cars.