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So I Spent A Few Hours With Forza Motorsport 4...

Forza 4 might not be filled with a ton of huge surprises, but that didn't make my time with it any less exciting.

I think this Pringles car is from Forza 2. I spent a lot of time bidding on Pringles cars back then and I DON'T EVEN LIKE PRINGLES ALL THAT MUCH.

One of the first things I saw as I explored a pre-release version of Forza Motorsport 4's storefront system was a a vinyl set made to look like the head of the Pringles guy. You know, the little mustache face guy that's on the cans? Right then and there, I knew Forza 4 was going to be totally fine.

I'm honestly not sure where the Pringles thing comes from. It was one of the first vinyl groups I saw in Forza Motorsport 2, I think. It carried on to Forza 3, and... I don't know, is it some sort of weird in-joke in the Forza community? Is one of Turn 10's long-timers a fan of canned chips? It's a mystery that someone should probably solve someday. But as I only had a few hours to sit and take in the early parts of Forza 4, that person isn't me. At least, not yet.

Forza Motorsport 4 probably isn't going to shock you if you're already familiar with the series' past. The cars look great, the tuning setups are well-explained, and the game is primarily structured to feed you events that fit with the cars you currently own. If you're driving a stock Honda Fit, you'll get races for low-powered hatchbacks, cars of Japanese origin, events for your specific engine type and so on. As you upgrade that car, you'll start to see offers for higher-class events, but your driver level will have to be high enough to qualify for certain events, also. The game will once again automatically upgrade or downgrade your car to fit certain events, if you need a helping hand.

The game looks great in screenshots, but you know what? It totally holds up in motion, too.

But if touring around the world and racing in the game's preset events leaves you a little cold, Forza 4 has a new Rivals mode, which is an asynchronous multiplayer mode in the same vein as Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit's Autolog. Rivals mode gives you groups of events, often requiring specific cars (which it lends you for the event) and other restrictions. From there, it's leaderboard battles against ghost racers as you attempt to beat the community or, if you're being realistic about your abilities, just your friends. It's a good change of pace, but everything you do still filters into the same driver and car level buckets, so it looks like you'll find yourself progressing through the game regardless of which mode you choose. That progress includes an affinity level with the game's different car manufacturers. Instead of leveling cars, you'll level a relationship with, say, Nissan. This has the same effect as the car levels in that you'll get a discount on parts and upgrades.

As before, the game will invite you to install a load of cars from the second disc, but you can opt to just play off of the first disc, if that's your thing. Of course, you'll still have to earn enough in-game money to actually buy these cars and add them to your garage, right? Actually... no. Forza 4 comes equipped with a microtransaction-based option that lets you purchase packs of "car tokens" for varying amounts of Microsoft Points. You can, at any point, opt to buy the game's best cars for a few of these tokens. But this might not give you much of an edge, as your driver level still prevents you from entering single-player events in super-high-class race cars. Considering how many different ways you can earn credits in Forza, the whole car token thing seems a little silly.

The storefronts, as you may have guessed, have returned. If you want to slap anime ladies all over your cars then you can build it one layer at a time, just like you did before. You can sell full cars or just vinyl groups on your storefront, as well as tuning setups and stuff like that. The auction house is back, too. It looks like some more options have been added to make it easier to find the stuff you're looking for, but you can still browse around if you're just window shopping.

The Auto Vista mode has been a real focus in a lot of the pre-release Forza coverage, so you probably already know that it's all about floating around a bunch of high-quality car models and zooming in for a closer look. I messed around with it for a bit with a controller and, yeah, it's nice. If you're interested in hearing Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear feed you some notes about different cars, it's pretty cool--but I don't know that I'll spend much more time with it now that I've gotten the basic idea. Maybe if you're an absolute car fiend it'll make more sense, but I think I'd rather drive. Or, actually, I'd probably rather surf the storefronts for ridiculous decals to slap all over my cars. To each his own, right?

After a few hours with it, Forza Motorsport 4 doesn't feel dramatically different from the previous game. You'll quickly recognize tracks that appeared in previous games and the options you get for adjusting the difficulty and driver assistance are similar, as well. That should actually feel like good news for most of you with an interest in the Forza franchise. It certainly gave me just enough of a taste to get me excited to sink a ton of hours into painting and driving cars when the game's released next month.

Here, check out these other screenshots!

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
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Posted by Jeff
I think this Pringles car is from Forza 2. I spent a lot of time bidding on Pringles cars back then and I DON'T EVEN LIKE PRINGLES ALL THAT MUCH.

One of the first things I saw as I explored a pre-release version of Forza Motorsport 4's storefront system was a a vinyl set made to look like the head of the Pringles guy. You know, the little mustache face guy that's on the cans? Right then and there, I knew Forza 4 was going to be totally fine.

I'm honestly not sure where the Pringles thing comes from. It was one of the first vinyl groups I saw in Forza Motorsport 2, I think. It carried on to Forza 3, and... I don't know, is it some sort of weird in-joke in the Forza community? Is one of Turn 10's long-timers a fan of canned chips? It's a mystery that someone should probably solve someday. But as I only had a few hours to sit and take in the early parts of Forza 4, that person isn't me. At least, not yet.

Forza Motorsport 4 probably isn't going to shock you if you're already familiar with the series' past. The cars look great, the tuning setups are well-explained, and the game is primarily structured to feed you events that fit with the cars you currently own. If you're driving a stock Honda Fit, you'll get races for low-powered hatchbacks, cars of Japanese origin, events for your specific engine type and so on. As you upgrade that car, you'll start to see offers for higher-class events, but your driver level will have to be high enough to qualify for certain events, also. The game will once again automatically upgrade or downgrade your car to fit certain events, if you need a helping hand.

The game looks great in screenshots, but you know what? It totally holds up in motion, too.

But if touring around the world and racing in the game's preset events leaves you a little cold, Forza 4 has a new Rivals mode, which is an asynchronous multiplayer mode in the same vein as Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit's Autolog. Rivals mode gives you groups of events, often requiring specific cars (which it lends you for the event) and other restrictions. From there, it's leaderboard battles against ghost racers as you attempt to beat the community or, if you're being realistic about your abilities, just your friends. It's a good change of pace, but everything you do still filters into the same driver and car level buckets, so it looks like you'll find yourself progressing through the game regardless of which mode you choose. That progress includes an affinity level with the game's different car manufacturers. Instead of leveling cars, you'll level a relationship with, say, Nissan. This has the same effect as the car levels in that you'll get a discount on parts and upgrades.

As before, the game will invite you to install a load of cars from the second disc, but you can opt to just play off of the first disc, if that's your thing. Of course, you'll still have to earn enough in-game money to actually buy these cars and add them to your garage, right? Actually... no. Forza 4 comes equipped with a microtransaction-based option that lets you purchase packs of "car tokens" for varying amounts of Microsoft Points. You can, at any point, opt to buy the game's best cars for a few of these tokens. But this might not give you much of an edge, as your driver level still prevents you from entering single-player events in super-high-class race cars. Considering how many different ways you can earn credits in Forza, the whole car token thing seems a little silly.

The storefronts, as you may have guessed, have returned. If you want to slap anime ladies all over your cars then you can build it one layer at a time, just like you did before. You can sell full cars or just vinyl groups on your storefront, as well as tuning setups and stuff like that. The auction house is back, too. It looks like some more options have been added to make it easier to find the stuff you're looking for, but you can still browse around if you're just window shopping.

The Auto Vista mode has been a real focus in a lot of the pre-release Forza coverage, so you probably already know that it's all about floating around a bunch of high-quality car models and zooming in for a closer look. I messed around with it for a bit with a controller and, yeah, it's nice. If you're interested in hearing Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear feed you some notes about different cars, it's pretty cool--but I don't know that I'll spend much more time with it now that I've gotten the basic idea. Maybe if you're an absolute car fiend it'll make more sense, but I think I'd rather drive. Or, actually, I'd probably rather surf the storefronts for ridiculous decals to slap all over my cars. To each his own, right?

After a few hours with it, Forza Motorsport 4 doesn't feel dramatically different from the previous game. You'll quickly recognize tracks that appeared in previous games and the options you get for adjusting the difficulty and driver assistance are similar, as well. That should actually feel like good news for most of you with an interest in the Forza franchise. It certainly gave me just enough of a taste to get me excited to sink a ton of hours into painting and driving cars when the game's released next month.

Here, check out these other screenshots!

Staff
Edited by MooseyMcMan

Rad.

Posted by heat

Forza 4 is gonna own

Posted by BasketSnake

If only I could use my driving force GT on the xbox.

Posted by Grilledcheez

More Forza sounds good to me

Online
Posted by Doctorchimp

How long was the dramatic intro movie? Is it better than Gran Turismo's?

Posted by EmoMcGee

Jeremy Clarkson is the best Jeremy Clarkson...in the world.

Posted by avidwriter

It looks good but after a game like Driver SF, does just driving around a track for laps do it for anyone anymore?

Posted by slowbird

Aw yeah. Bring on the 4za.

Posted by Solh0und

Yup, the pringles car is totally odd.

Edited by Trace

Race Night will be ready! Starting to get excited now.

That said, I'm still curious about car club details. I think Turn 10's been a little too mum on how inviting people, managing clubs (both in ranks and how you can adjust the accessibility of ranks), and club limits will work. Learning whether I can invite an entire club to my multiplayer lobby would be rad, too, so I know whether I still have to rely on a silly dummy account like GiantBomb Forza for collecting interested players.

Moderator
Posted by snetErz

@avidwriter: I could drive around tracks all day long. ;)

Posted by DirtyEagles

@davo said:

Jeremy Clarkson is the best Jeremy Clarkson...in the world.

Jeremy Clarkson is my hero.

Posted by Renahzor

Can't wait to see the stuff the GB community comes up with this time. 16 player races might be fun too, I'll look forward to at least a couple months of race night and painting ridiculous BG themed vinyls, GBDC tag go!

Posted by JackSukeru

That car is so Pringles!

Posted by Devil240Z

@PsEG said:

Race Night will be ready! Starting to get excited now.

Are new people welcome? I S-ranked Forza 3 but never played online.

Posted by superpow

Yup. That's a game.

Posted by prestonhedges

They should really just let people import pictures instead of letting them spend dozens of hours constructing the Pringles guy, if at least for their own sanity.

Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG

Ive always been interested in this game but I have only have a PS3

Posted by Afroman269

@gladspooky said:

They should really just let people import pictures instead of letting them spend dozens of hours constructing the Pringles guy, if at least for their own sanity.

The developers said they could easily do that but they actually appreciate the work that the game community does in creating these images. It's fun for the people who can do it and they are rewarded for their work by putting it in the auction house. Letting people import pictures would just ruin it for the people who are actually talented enough to accomplish that stuff the hard way.

Posted by Dooftastic
Posted by prestonhedges

@Afroman269 said:

@gladspooky said:

They should really just let people import pictures instead of letting them spend dozens of hours constructing the Pringles guy, if at least for their own sanity.

The developers said they could easily do that but they actually appreciate the work that the game community does in creating these images. It's fun for the people who can do it and they are rewarded for their work by putting it in the auction house. Letting people import pictures would just ruin it for the people who are actually talented enough to accomplish that stuff the hard way.

Oh, is that their reason? I figured it was "Someone could just take a picture of their dick and put it on a car," but then I would be like, "But that dude's going to put his dick on that car whether you make it easy for him or not," but oh well.

Posted by Winsord

My only pre-order so far this year; very excited for this.

Posted by Tim_the_Corsair

Hey look, it is that game GT wishes it was.

Posted by wolf_blitzer85

That sure is one neat looking game.

Posted by BestUsernameEver

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

Hey look, it is that game GT wishes it was.

It's not out yet, lets not make assumptions.

Posted by Trace

@Devil240Z said:

@PsEG said:

Race Night will be ready! Starting to get excited now.

Are new people welcome? I S-ranked Forza 3 but never played online.

New people are always welcome, yeah, though admittedly we've had problems fitting everybody into an eight-person lobby in Forza 3.

I think we're going to make a habit out of saying, "If you want to join, then join" or something to that extent with Forza 4. I imagine there will always be openings in a 16-player lobby.

Moderator
Posted by Mordi

I only played Forza 1, but I was also just as hooked on the decal editor as I was on the driving. I don't think I ever finished it.

Posted by SeattleOriginal

I'm guessing these games really target those who are really into virtual driving. After playing 2 and 3 I don't see much to bring me back to driving a car again. Curious if the game will be enough of a change to deem it another game?

Posted by ucankurbaga

So its same game with few gimmicks slapped on it. I am glad I didn't buy xbox 360 for this...

Posted by matt_wickstrom

October 11th can't come fast enough!

Posted by zombie2011

@ucankurbaga said:

So its same game with few gimmicks slapped on it. I am glad I didn't buy xbox 360 for this...

What do want a racing game to be?

Posted by afjkidd5

Really looking forward to this. Looks better than I ever thought possible.

Posted by Chewii101

More Top Gear in Forza? Sold. 

Posted by wrathofconn

@avidwriter said:

It looks good but after a game like Driver SF, does just driving around a track for laps do it for anyone anymore?

These are not comparable games.

Posted by TripMasterMunky

@zombie2011 said:

@ucankurbaga said:

So its same game with few gimmicks slapped on it. I am glad I didn't buy xbox 360 for this...

What do want a racing game to be?

Haha, right? Forza has everything you could possibly want.

If you want nitrous and cop car chases, then you're looking at the wrong game.

Posted by Branthog

I have to say, I think this is the first time I"m not going to buy Forza. I feel like I'm done with racing games. I might make an exception for another Burnout: Paradise, but . . . other than that, I don't know that I have it in me for any more of these racing titles. *sigh*

Posted by HandsomeDead

@BestUsernameEver said:

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

Hey look, it is that game GT wishes it was.

It's not out yet, lets not make assumptions.

Let's not ignore everything we already know about either franchise.

Edited by Jerome85

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

Hey look, it is that game GT wishes it was.

And iRacing is what both of them wish they could be. Sim racing on a console is an oxymoron.

Posted by DrWhat

For my money, Forza Motorsport 4 may be the greatest driving game ever released... in the world.

Posted by DrWhat

@davo said:

Jeremy Clarkson is the best Jeremy Clarkson...in the world.

Posted by SuicidalManiac

All the Top Gear stuff is going to be awesome, though is it wrong I'm surprised they didn't go for the Top Gear America guys?

Thankfully not because Jeremy Clarkson is going to be a great fit for this game.

Posted by arwdassain

I Can't wait need to get my racing wheel out or wait and see what comes out. I thought I read somewhere that logitech is putting a new G series wheel that works on PC-360, best of both worlds for me.

Edited by skadave

You had me at Honda Fit. . . that's my car and I can't wait to race and customize it.

Posted by Chtasm

Gotta finish F3's all gold achievement before this!

Posted by Hosstile17

Count me in! I have loved every installment. I have needed a palette cleanser since I played GT5, ugh.

Posted by Scodiac

I'm a big Forza fan. Sounds like they've added a few interesting things but haven't messed with the formula too much. I'll probably pick it up eventually.

Posted by Trace

@Jerome85 said:

And iRacing is what both of them wish they could be. Sim racing on a console is an oxymoron.

I don't think Turn 10 wishes Forza 4 could be $100 per year, require a racing wheel, and only come with roughly six cars and nine tracks in its initial package (with extra cars and tracks costing anywhere between $12-14 each). I also don't think they'd want private races to cost $.50 an hour for the host.

To say sim racing can't exist on consoles is just silly, as well. I haven't owned a functioning racing wheel since 2006 or so, only using a 360 controller for racing games since then. I had a chance to try iRacing earlier this year at PAX East, and was able to use my experience in Forza 3 to easily drive the Williams F1 car around Silverstone, both quickly and without major incident (one minor spin attempting to accelerate too quickly out of a slow turn on my first lap, easily corrected). I had never touched iRacing before then.

iRacing is excellent, no doubt, but it's intended more for elitists who only want to accept the most perfect of simulations, professionals who want to be able to practice at any time, or gamers who somehow hope that they can translate their in-game driving skill into a real-life ride. Forza Motorsport is still quite realistic, and it's meant for anyone who wants to try their hand at auto racing, not just the most addicted or obsessed. It's also a good starting point for people who might eventually find themselves more interested in games like iRacing.

Viewpoints like "Forza and GT are unrealistic arcade racers" make sim racing fans look stuck-up. There's little truth to such claims.

Moderator
Posted by vaportra1l

I've got my preorder of the LCE in. Can't wait.

Posted by j3ffro919

Everything I read or see about Forza 4 makes me more excited for October 11th. I can't wait.

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