Tag Archives: top gear

Forza Motorsport 4 – Demo Impressions

It's got a Ferrari on the cover but OutRun this is not.

Simulation racing games are not my favorite genre but I’ve dabbled with them in the past. I was very big into Gran Turismo 4 and spent a fair amount of time with Forza Motorsport 2; I still get the urges to get back into it, but that’s pretty much it for sim racing games. But perhaps it’s time for me to pick another one up. Forza Motorsport 4 was released today but I have only played its demo.

The demo consisted of one track, a beautiful one set in the Alps, and a few cars. The cars, and the game for that matter, were absolutely gorgeous. The track was scenic and idealistic, as were the cars; you’ll never find one with paint as glossy as it is here.

I said these cars were shiny and I meant it.

As has become standard for the series, the user interface is very easy to interpret and navigate. Matched with a minimalistic soundtrack and it’s a very modern game. Also standard for the series are the helpful driving assists. Driving and braking lines are available to help find the best path as well as more technical assists, upping the difficulty, and the rewards when turned off.

Racing around the Alps was fun, but I found the AI a little easy. I quickly gained the lead and kept it. To be fair, I probably didn’t have the difficulty adjusted too hard. The feature I got the most enjoyment out of the demo however was the rival races.

In these races, I tried to beat the time trial set by someone on my friends list. They could challenge me and I would drive the car they picked and try to post a faster time. When I raced I saw their ghost and once I beat their time, I could send them a message challenging them to beat my time. It was nice to be able to immediately notify them to make sure they knew to attempt it.

The Top Gear test track is in the game so now you can compete against the stars in cars.

Forza Motorsport 4 is a killer racing game and continues to represent simulation racing games well. The game looked really nice and it wasn’t too hard to get sucked into the thrill of racing against my friends. I wish the demo had a glimpse of the Autovista feature where Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame talks about a car, but I don’t need a demo to let me know that’ll be fantastic. To the right person, Forza Motorsport 4 will be a metaphoric supercar, the pinnacle of racing games and an opportunity to spend hundreds of hours competing against like-minded people. For me, it’s a chance to sucked into a sim racing game again. Forza Motorsport 4 was developed by Turn 10 Studios and published by Microsoft Studios today for the Xbox 360.

Links:

Forza Motorsport 4
Turn 10 Studios
Microsoft Studios

Beginnings

Before I dive into blogging I think an introductory post would be ideal, just so you, the reader, can get a handle on where I’m coming from when I talk about games. I thought this would be cool to do as a post rather than just stick it in the about section.

My first gaming experience was Christmas 1995. My parents bought me a Super Nintendo that came bundled with Killer Instinct. I was only six at the time and having never played a video game before, I just mashed buttons. I remember my mom being distressed about how bloody it was and wanting to sell it, even up until middle school; I also remember my uncle coming over and playing against me. I played a lot of games on the SNES and remember going to Blockbuster all the time and renting games, even searching years afterwards trying to buy the games I used to play. When I think of playing the SNES back then, these are the games I remember: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest, Family Feud, Goof Troop, Killer Instinct, Kirby Super Star, Ms. Pac-Man, NBA HangTime, Space Invaders, Super Star Wars, Tetris 2 and Top Gear.

My next system was the Game Boy Pocket which I received for my birthday in 1996 of 1997. All I had for it was Black Bass Lure Fishing and I really loved the game, it probably fueled my interest in fishing. It was my only game… until Pokemon Red and Blue came out. They were all the rage at school; the games, the cards, the TV show; I had to get a copy. Around this time I also bought a Game Boy Color, which I think I bought them both in the same trip, so this must’ve been late 1998 or early 1999. Pokemon games were really the only video games I cared about at the time and it was really all I had a Game Boy for. All the Pokemon I played shaped my interest and love for RPGs and I am still a Pokemaniac, though not as much as I used to be. Of course when Gold and Silver came out I had to get one of those as well. Even now I only own seven Game Boy Color games and four of them are Pokemon games.

Moving onwards, my next system was a Nintendo 64. My parents got this for me during Christmas 1998 or 1999. I got Mario Kart 64 and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron with it as well. My sister and I played lots of Mario Kart 64 and I played lots of Rogue Squadron. During this time I still rented a lot of games from Blockbuster and I remember renting a few but I don’t remember them well. I remember my first experience with GoldenEye 007 at a cousin’s house and playing N64 games at another cousin’s house. I played soccer all the time at this point and that was my focus along with Pokemon games, but towards the end of the N64 I started to get more into games. The games I really remember playing during this period are: 1080 Snowboarding, GoldenEye 007, Mario Kart 64, Micro Machines 64 Turbo, Paper Mario, Pokemon Stadium and Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.

I’m going to say the next system I got was the GameCube. My parents got it for me for Christmas 2001 along with Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. I loved Rogue Leader and was amazed by the graphics but didn’t know what a memory card was so I had to buy one a week or two later. The next game I got was Sonic Adventure 2: Battle and it’s one of my favorites on the system. Early on during this period was when I stopped renting games, I did rent a few for the GameCube but that was it. I also bought a Game Boy Advance in 2002 for Golden Sun and is just strengthened my burgeoning interest in video games. During this console cycle is when I became “hardcore” into games. I started reading gaming magazines often and browsing the internet. I’d have to say the GameCube is one of my favorite systems mostly because it’s the system I started to care about games on.

I won’t delve any deeper as this is already pretty long and it just gets more convoluted from here on out. I will mention I started to get into retro games around the GameCube era as I purchased an NES and Intellivision from garage sales as well as bought a PS2 and many other retro systems; this is really the period when I started to become a collector and an avid gamer.