domingo, 27 de noviembre de 2011 , Posted by admin at 18:21
Forza Motorsport 4 Review
Forza Motorsport 4
We form opinion on hundreds of things each day. Is the weather agreeable? Does this sandwich taste like cat food? Reaching an informed opinion on all the stuff we’re exposed to is far too much like hard work. So rather than incrementally classify, we slap a big, fat label on it and file it away for future reference. To divide and label is an inexorably human mechanism; one we employ whether faced with an information overload or driven by pure gut instinct.
360 Magazine labels developers; we categorise them as either scavengers or hunters. The former takes whatever the latter leaves behind, consumes it, digests it, and shits it out having added its own unique flavour. We don’t wish to diminish what these developers do, because providing more of the same is of vital service to the industry. Without them games would be scarce, so we welcome the second-rate Call Of Dutys and counterfeit Half-Lifes – they fill time between greats.
Do these developers employ talent? Hard work? Knowledge and skill? Yes in all cases, but it takes more than the sum of these parts to make a game like this one. It takes a knowing of not just how, but why it’s doing what it’s doing. It takes the bravery not to merely happen upon the carrion left by other, fiercer predators, but to strike out on one’s own. And with Forza Motorsport 4, Turn 10 has returned from the hunt, dragging with it a mammoth carcass; a tusker bull. We’re done with that analogy for now, but we may bring it back in our closing remarks.
Forza Motorsport 4 is the first game we’ve played that’s enhanced by Kinect rather than encumbered by it. For us, Kinect is synonymous with two simple questions: Is it easier/better than using a controller? Is it more fun than using a controller? The answer to both is almost never yes.
Autovista, the much-touted mode that encourages those with Kinect to walk, fiddle, and muck around with a selection of the world’s most beautiful cars, feels like a natural extension to the drama out on the track. The car models are the most detailed ever to appear in a videogame – close enough to photorealistic to fool the casual eye (see above). Sure, we were able to find flaws, primarily in the game’s want of decent antialiasing (removal of jagged edges), which are all the more jarring when everything else appears as real as the room you’re sat in. But to criticise Forza Motorsport 4 on that basis would be the equivalent of returning a free bar of gold because it’s upside down.
Not every car in the game has an Autovista version. Quite the contrary; only about five per cent do. That number isn’t all that surprising when you think about it, firstly because rendering either the individual stitches on the interior upholstery of a Ferrari 458 or the machined aluminium dash of a Spyker C8 represents an astounding investment in man-hours. And secondly, because there isn’t a huge amount of interest in getting a look at what purrs beneath the hood of a Toyota Aygo or a Chevrolet Spark. Yet, the inclusion of these cars in Forza Motorsport 4’s various race modes is every bit as important as the giant on whose shoulders the game’s vast array of super, hyper and full-blooded race cars stand. They are needed both for contrast and for pure fun.
Dan Greenawalt, the game’s creative director, has stated publicly his belief that Forza Motorsport 4 is the best-looking game of this generation. We find ourselves in wholehearted agreement, but why this game, why now? What has spurred the birth of this glamorous automotive wunderkind? A need to show there’s life in the old box yet? A need to cause Sony’s efforts to appear pedestrian? Or perhaps it’s merely the result of a transcendent love for the subject matter? The truth is, it’s all of the above, but whatever the cause, the result is the same; that Turn 10 has produced visuals so surprising that the looks on the faces of those either playing or observing it for the first time are as if invisible anglers are straining to reel in their eyebrows.
As well as Autovista, there’s also photo mode, in which we can photograph any of the 500 cars in the game, irrespective of their Autovista inclusion. Because these are the very same models that appear during a race – when the engine also has a track and 15 other cars to render – we’d have expected them to be of a distinctly lower quality. Nothing could be further from the truth. Putting any of these cars into one of the game’s photographic environments (countryside, warehouses, the Top Gear studio and more) reveals that, if anything, they’re even more convincing than those in Autovista.
You can’t lift the bonnet, beep the horn, or admire the limited edition issue plate on the inside of the doorframe, but from the outside, these cars look closer to real than anything to appear in a videogame up to this point. With just five loaves and two fish, Turn 10 has rendered 16 of these, a track, and the best physics model we’ve ever seen at a constant 60 frames per second – a miracle on a par with anything in Jesus’s ‘Best of’ collection.
Finding grip. It’s a term you’ll hear frequently in professional motorsport. To enter a corner at precisely the right speed and attitude is to walk a tightrope. Too slow and there lies lost time and a momentary struggle to realign, too fast and our tyres might as well be made of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Rubber. Maintaining the limits of our car’s grip through a corner is not a case of simple guesswork. Like real life, it’s a cocktail of feedback, memory and feel. For the first time in a Forza Motorsport game, all three are necessary. Anyone watching one of Formula One’s in-car views will see the struggle to find grip in action; a jiggling of the steering wheel into each turn while at the limits of braking. This is not a struggle with the feedback, transmitted through the steering column, but a battle to find the point where the grip bites.
We play on a wheel, and appreciate that, though optimum for enjoyment, it’s a setup that won’t account for the majority. While we cannot vouch for any such grip-seeking wobbles being useful with a standard controller, the physics do remain constant. So let’s be clear: you do not need a wheel to enjoy this game, but there is a difference between ‘pleasure’ and ‘cargasm’, and for the latter you’ll need a wheel. After three straight days battling to find grip in a Ferrari F50, our arms droop limply over this keyboard like liquorice bootlaces. Painful? Yes. Worth it? Also yes.
The primary catalyst behind the improvement in vehicle handling is Pirelli’s involvement. There is no guesswork and no approximation. Pirelli tests the various compounds, then provides the data to Turn 10, which plugs it all right into the game. The difference between the handling model in Forza Motorsport 4 compared to its predecessor is like night and day – though we’ll admit that since we’ve never worked as professional racing drivers, until now we had no idea what day looked like.
Forza Motorsport 4’s career mode is called World Tour, and as much as it purports change over the career modes of the previous games in the series, the mechanics of it are all but identical. Race through several increasingly lengthy seasons in increasingly lively cars, each event presenting the player with a choice of three races specific to class, manufacturer, or model.
Every so often, Turn 10 throws in an event that isn’t straight-up circuit racing. These involve chasing a fast car through slow traffic, knocking bowling pins over, driving slalom through cone gates and so on. They do the job for which they’ve been designed; they add variety and prevent the majority circuit racing from dragging, even though a change of car every now and then pretty much accomplishes that on its own.
With up to 16 cars on the track at any one time, Turn 10 has had to implement some pretty hardcore AI to keep things from degenerating into the world’s most expensive bumper car simulator. Rather than choose how well we want the AI to race, their difficulty setting takes place entirely in the background; win races and they become tougher, lose races and watch as they barely make it around the track in one piece.
Background AI is preferable to setting the difficulty ourselves, because doing so always feels like answering awkward questions such as ‘How much do we want to win?’ and ‘Can our delicate egos really take on the crippling effects of the hardest difficulty setting?’ But age-old problems wouldn’t be age-old problems if they were easily solved, and this solution births some minor issues of its own.
Speaking for ourselves, we tend to win races more often than not due to a diligent and life-long fascination with both motorsport and the videogames that simulate it. But, it isn’t all that long winning races in World Tour before the AI cranks itself so high that doing so in untuned cars is next to impossible. Though driving faster and in better cars, it’s not the AI’s raw speed that scuppers us, but their aggression and their tendency either to swipe us off the track, rear-end us, or to drive five miles wide, blocking us completely and leaving us with little choice but to either barge them off the track at a hairpin, or admire their beautifully rendered backsides.
Since true joy can only be found in laps that are both fast and clean, the only way to avoid this fate is to sit on the starting grid for a couple of minutes, get in a few clean laps and accept last place until the AI cranks itself back down a little. Or, we can tune our car to a point beyond the means of the AI to catch us, which is precisely what we did with our Ferrari F50. Either way it feels like cheating.
In Rivals Mode, Turn 10 provides us a host of single-lap racing events; Top Gear track days, hot laps, drag and so on. Rather than enter a time and see how we do on the leaderboards, we can download the ghost of one of the performances further up the rankings than us and race it until we either beat it or give up, earning experience and credits for our efforts either way. Among strangers, this is more addictive than heroine roulette; among friends it would be the finest community innovation since party chat, but that accolade goes to Car Clubs.
We’ve already started our own and topped out the world leaderboards; something that’s helped immensely by the mere fifty people playing Forza Motorsport 4 at the time of writing. Start a club, give it a name, invite your friends. Joining provides them with a clan-style three or four letter abbreviation before their name, all members have access to every car owned by the entire collective, and there are Car Club leaderboards in every category: circuit, rival, drift, drag and so on.
Sadly, with limited column inches, many aspects of the game must go unexplored in this review, though we can assure you, not in real life. There is so much here to play with, to enjoy, to grit our teeth at, to hope we don’t fall from the grip high-wire, to push that little bit further. Forza Motorsport 4 is beautiful, immersive and represents a giant step forward for console racing.
Turn 10 has our deepest respect and our most sincere admiration for what is not merely the finest racer of this generation, but the finest of all time. It’s a game that gives so much and yet will continue to do so long into the future as pockets of Turn 10 staff add cars, tracks, challenges and other content.
The lion’s share of the studio, however, already has the next big game in its sights. Told you we’d bring that analogy back.
Video// You tube
Article,photographs and video taken entirely from the web http://www.360magazine.co.uk/