It only seems like yesterday that Forza Motorsport 3 hit the streets to critical acclaim, but it seems that no sooner than Microsoft and Turn 10 Studios finished coding that entry into the series, they started the next. And it's not just an upgrade either, there are some wholesale changes and improvements.

Pocket-lint was fortunate to have a few laps around a mountainside circuit (using the Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel, to boot) and this is what we initially think.


Forza Motorsport 4

What platform is it on?

Xbox 360

When's it due out?

14 October 2011

What other game is it like?

Forza Motorsport 3, Gran Turismo 5

Does it use any new tech like 3D, PlayStation Move or Kinect for Xbox 360?

Yes - it uses the Kinect for interesting new features, such as head tracking and voice control. However, it doesn't need one to play the game.

The pitch

Forza Motorsport 4 is the biggest and best entry in the series to date. Hundreds of the world’s most exciting cars spanning more than eighty manufacturers. The best driving circuits in the world. Bringing you closer to the cars of your dreams. Online features that redefine online community. Forza Motorsport 4 is an entirely new car experience.

The storyline

It's a car racing game. You race cars. Er... That's it.

Trailers, demos and video

Our first impressions

It's hard to get across the wave of excitement that we had at the very thought of playing a preview build of Forza Motorsport 4, however briefly. Even spying it over the shoulder of others as they got to have a go was enough to make us go weak at the knees. The Forza series has been building in quality and importance for a few years now, and in our humble opinion, has finally eclipsed Sony's PS3 rival Gran Turismo.

Unfortunately, the Kinect functionality wasn't implemented yet on the playable demo we got to explore, so we couldn't try out the head tracking, voice control or, even, new controller features. However, there was an Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Controller and a racing bucket seat to squeeze (very) tightly into, so not all was lost.

The new Microsoft steering wheel takes a little while to get used to, so our first lap was a write-off, but we soon got the hang of it and the game started to shine through.

forza motorsport 4 quick play preview image 2

Only three cars were playable in the preview and only one track, but they were more than enough to get a jolly good feel for the gameplay - which, to be honest, is fairly similar to before. We've never really progressed from the training wheels in previous generations, by which we mean the Forza equivalent - the racing line indicator - and we made sure it was implemented here too. Therefore, it's unfair to give a true opinion on what's changed with car handling, for example. In addition, the Microsoft employee on hand stated that the game mechanics could change quite a bit before release.

In our opinion though, keeping the flowing gameplay style of the previous Forza is no bad thing; if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And when the graphics are as improved as they were here, we believe that there'll be more than enough reason to upgrade to this third sequel.

Visually, the new Forza is stunning. The light engine has been completely overhauled. It now takes each light source (such as the sun in daylight) and maps them onto everything in the gameworld, track included, and all in real time. It's a complex concept, but one that pays off in spades. Everything looks like it belongs together, rather than different graphical objects placed on top of each other.

The cars certainly look more realistic than ever before.

If there was anything to whinge about from our brief play is that we had to make way for somebody else to have a go. Although, the circulation in our legs was being cut off by the super tight racing seat, so every cloud and that...

Please note

With only one track and three cars available in a demo that doesn't even include the Kinect functionality, we were never going to see much of Forza Motorsport 4. Although, what we have seen is enough to give us an impression of the quality of the final game.

So, with that in mind we present you with our Quick Play.

What we've done is broken down the key facts you need to know and then given you our first impressions based on around 15 minutes of gaming. For us, that 15 minutes isn't enough to do a First Look review, and especially not a review. How can you rate a game that offers over 30 hours of gaming based on just 15 minutes of play? However, it should hopefully give you an idea, a feeling, a notion of what to expect come launch day.