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Video Game of the Week – Forza Motorsport 4

There are racing simulation games, and then there is the Forza Motorsport series from Microsoft Game Studios for the Xbox 360. While other simulation games may cater to the car enthusiast, there is nothing quite like the grand ambition, the obsessive attention to detail, and the sheer variety of experiences offered by Forza Motorsport. To the delight of video game racing fans everywhere, this proud tradition of excellence is set to continue with Forza Motorsport 4.

The Forza Motorsport 4 car list is an everyman’s collection of classic racers, super-charged production models, and once-in-a-lifetime dream cars. Everything from a 1965 Shelby Cobra to a 1982 Porsche 911 Turbo to the electrically-powered Telsa Roadster Sport 2011. They’ve even thrown in a few SUVs if you are thinking of taking the whole family along for the ride!

The something-for-everyone approach extends to the actual racing experience. It doesn’t matter how good you are behind the wheel, you will be able to find a difficulty and handling mode that will be just right for your skill level. You can also choose to install several “assists” like antilock braking or the stability control system, and you can even use a rewind option to go back and correct mistakes.

On the other hand, you can choose to abandon caution and throw yourself into the various championship races, moving up levels and upgrading to faster, bigger cars along the way. Like its predecessor, Forza Motorsport 4 rewards better drivers with higher earnings: the less assists you utilize and the less you crash, the more your earnings will grow.

Forza Motorsport 4’s Career mode has received a few tweaks but the real fun has been saved for World Tour mode, which gives you far more flexibility in choosing what you drive and when. In World Tour, you even get the opportunity to earn better rides by moving up driver levels rather than spending your hard-earned credits.

The graphics and camera angles are superb – you can even take pictures of the in-race action to post on message boards or use as screensavers – and the audio is the usual heart-stopping mix of roaring engines and screaming tires, backed up by a great rock soundtrack.

If you are already a Forza fan and have spent hundreds of hours working your way to the top of the racing world in Forza Motorsport 3, then you will be pleased to find that your efforts weren’t completely wasted. Although you won’t have your complete Forza 3 car collection or bank account, you will get a head start based on your previous driver level and VIP status.

Forza Motorsport 4 also greatly expands the online options. As well as taking on just about everyone and everything, there are almost endless ways for the motorsport enthusiast to pass the time. There are online car auctions to participate in, new best lap times to beat, drag races to compete in, and clubs to join. There are even segments from the highly-acclaimed BBC show Top Gear, where host Jeremy Clarkson takes you through a series of offbeat challenges.

Whatever it is you are looking for, Forza Motorsport 4 has got it. It’s rare that a top video game can make a significant leap forward, but Forza Motorsport 4 has managed to do just that!

Forza Motorsport 4 is rated “E” for Everyone. There are some of the usual lyrics that are associated with loud rock music!

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios

Genre: GT/Street Racing

Platforms: Xbox 360

Release date: October 11, 2011

RRP: $59.99

ESRB Rating: “E” for Everyone

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