previews\ Jun 10, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Forza 4 2011 E3 Preview


Forza 4 is about more than racing. It's about cars. Everything and anything to do with cars.

Autovista is a new feature being introduced in Forza 4 that was imagined while brainstorming for ways to incorporate Kinect technology. For those of you who enjoy cars but might not enjoy the racing aspect, this one's for you. Autovista allows you to get up close and personal to the cars in Forza 4. It's like a personal show room tailored to your liking.

Autovista encourages you to explore the car. You are given full, 360 degree access--up to sub-6 inches from the car exterior in hi-resolution. Damn, does it look nice! If that wasn't enough, the feature even allows you to get inside of the car. The hi-resolution allows you to see every detail down to the stitching in the seats.

As you explore the car, you can load the information points located throughout it. These are designed to provide more information about the car. Turn 10 Studios has formed a creative partnership with Top Gear, giving the latter the freedom to write all of the scripts and tours for the cars in Forza 4. They're informative, humorous, and very well executed.

In most games, two separate lighting systems are used: one for the environment and one for the main object of focus. Forza 4 takes a different approach, borrowing a lighting technique often found in Hollywood movies. It uses an image-based lighting system that lights the car using the environment around it. Light bouncing off the ground and other elements creates a more natural, realistic lighting effect.

The gameplay in Forza 4 has also made tremendous improvements from Forza 3. The new Drivator machine technology allows the AI to learn different techniques while racing. Depending on the success, it will instruct on those techniques during the racing experience.

Forza 4 once again takes advantage of the Kinect in the form of the first-person driving view. It uses head-tracking to track where you look, turning the camera in that direction. The sensor is so sensitive that it creates a camera movement as natural as if you were really in the car.

Forza 4 offers even more race modes in career mode. The new World Tour Mode allows you to go to worldwide venues filled with more diverse races. While Forza 3 offered eight car races, Forza 4 adds 12, 16, and even unlimited car races.

Its online mode introduces Rivals mode. Hot Lap allows you to challenge friends or others, who are not currently online, to time trial races. If you beat their time, you get the bounty and they get a notification saying a new best time has been set. It is then up to them to reclaim their top spot. This mode also transfers any experience earned to career mode.

For those of you who have logged hours worth of gameplay in Forza 3 and fear starting over from scratch, Forza 4 eases your concerns. Forza 4 has an import system that allows you to bring some cars (carefully selected by the developers) from the old game to the new one. Of course, the game races automatically level up according to the cars imported.

Forza 4 is a game meant for all kinds of people--not just racers. Forza 4 means to raise interest in cars, and boy, am I interested!

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