Review by simex909
As much as I don't want to be the guy who comes in and gives a game with mostly 9s and 10s a not-so-good score, I feel there's a major problem in this game that has either been ignored or under represented by the majority of reviewers on this site. With that caveat out of the way, so begins my review...
Forza is the game that made me finally bite the bullet and buy an XBOX. Game journalists and friends alike were touting this as the "Gran Turismo killer". Since Gran Turismo 4 is easily my favorite game, I was delighted to think that this game might best it and fulfill some of the items on my GT wishlist. So, with a sizeable wad of cash in my wallet, I ventured out to buy an XBOX, a force-feedback driving wheel, and Forza.
I have to say, I expected the game to dumb-down the physics engine, since many people are daunted by the realism in GT. I don't believe the physics were dumbed-down at all. All the things I know to be true about the physics of a car racing around a track seemed to be there. You've got weight transfer, traction, gravity, etc... and it all seems to make perfect sense. Granted, it does feel different from GT; not better or worse, just different, and that may just be the difference in wheels. If you've played GT, Enthusia, or any other racing sim, you'll be able to intuitively pick up this game in no-time.
Yes, the car models look great. Yes, all the smoke effects and lighting and all those little graphical touches are impeccably rendered. However, HOW CAN YOU ENJOY THEM WHEN THE FRAME RATE IS SO LOW!? This folks, if you hadn't guessed already, is what kills this game for me. The frame rate is very slow, and it feels like you're racing to a strobe light. There is no excuse for a console game to have low frame-rate unless it's a port. This game was developed for the XBOX, the developers knew full well the limitations of the hardware, and yet they consciously chose to make the game this way. As any PC gamer knows, there's a fine balance between graphics detail and frame-rate. If you want to see all the fancy bells and whistles, you often have to sacrifice frame rate, and vice-versa. In this case, the developers got greedy and tried to make way too many graphical "bells and whistles". You can not get immersed in this game because you're constantly reminded by the games approximation of movement that you are, in fact, sitting in front of your TV, playing a game. For me, it almost completely ruins the game.
The game doesn't have as many cars as GT, but it does have all the cars that are worth driving. There's enough tracks to keep you busy for a long time, including point-to-point tracks, which I always wished there were in GT. The tuning is quite in-depth, and anyone who's tuned cars in a game should feel right at home. I'm happy they added a tire-pressure feature, because in reality, tire pressure can make a world of difference in a car's handling. The benchmark feature is a nice touch, it lets you test your settings a la car magazine stats instantly, so you can immediately see what effect a tweak has made. There's a lot of stuff here, and I can't go in to detail about all of it, but I think the richness of customization is where Forza really gives GT a run for it's money.
This game is not a GT killer; it's barely even playable if you care about frame-rate and immersion. However, there is a lot of stuff here that the developers did right. This is the first game in the series, and it's already leaps and bounds above GT in some respects, and GT is in it's fourth iteration. I'm fairly confident that the next one in the series will be poised to be a "GT killer", but sadly, this one was not.
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