Pictured is a replica of the 1971 Plymouth Hemicuda 440-6 that was in one of my favorite American horror pictures, Phantasm. This fine piece of American Muscle (preferably fitted with a biodiesel engine) is my dream car. I’ll pass on the Veyron, the Reventon, and the Agera, thanks. This is the car I would buy if I had a million bucks.
But over the weekend, when I hit level 16 in Turn 10’s Forza Motorsport 4, the game gave me this car as my level-up reward. I nearly cried. How did it know what to get me? I did have to turn down a ’67 Corvette, but I can always buy that later. Now I’ve got this murderous beast tuned up to A-class and it’s eating European exotics and hot-tuned Japanese imports alive.
Forza Motorsport 4 is absolutely stunning. It’s a tremendous game that offers players a great mix of accessibility and depth, along with the agency to choose exactly what you want out of the game or how you want to play it. The career mode, as Chick noted over at Quarter to Three, is in fact too easy for at least half of its duration and the progress curve is way too generous. There is no way to change the skill level of the AI drivers in the Career mode, but there is in Arcade, which is really sort of screwed up. The only difficulty change is in turning off the assists. I think that folks looking for more of a “CarPG” experience might feel somewhat disappointed. You don’t even have to tune your cars to win most of the events, and the game throws so much money and affinity discounts at you that you’ll never feel like you’ve got to hustle.
But everything else- including an incredibly fun Rivals mode and a surprisingly great Autovista showroom area- is spot on and I think the game beats Gran Turismo 5, which I also liked a lot (A- review last year). I keep thinking that if somehow Turn 10 and Polyphony Digital would work together for some kind of “Forza Turismo” game then it would probably be the best racing game of all time. The thing about all of these more simulation-minded racing/automobilia games is that they all tend to focus on different aspects. I like the aspects Forza focuses on the best.