Review by PrimeZero
Equals GT, but does not surpass it
Let me begin by saying that I am pleasantly surprised with this game. Microsoft has actually followed through this time, hyping a game and it is actually very good. The thing is, though, it is not King of racers. It is the queen, sharing the throne with its PS2 counterpart, Gran Turismo 4.
The reason I give the Graphics on this game an 8 is because the XBOX is capable of better. The resolution and the models are great, but things like reflection take away from the experience when they are not there, making you feel like the environment is just there for show, not for realism. Not only that, but I was expecting the superior hardware of the XBOX to dwarf GT4 with ease, but the developers did not delve into the full capability of the green box, leading me to believe that they did not put all their hearts into making this game, and I have seen this before. I would have gladly waited another few months for a richer, better looking game, but god forbid developers ever make a complete game nowadays, especially when its a hyped up title. So, in short, though the graphics are as equally impressive as GT4, more could have been done, easily, and haste has made waste.
This is easily where GT4 shows its superiority. There is a lot of variety in the cars and tracks, but i was left with a feeling of emptiness as I played. There are less than half of GT4's cars here, and there are fewer tracks as well. Not only that, but the original tracks in Forza are far inferior to GT's classics like Grand Valley and Rte 11, and its new tracks like El Capitan. The real tracks were well done and were more like the real tracks than GT in many cases, but a lot of the difference is because Polyphony Digital decided to spice up the tracks with color and vegitation, which is nicer than just plain dirt. The point is, as long as the tracks are what they should be and all the major landmarks are there, a little extra color to bring it more life and enrich the experience never hurts, as long as you don't go overboard. What really makes this game shine is its customization options. This is Forza's hallmark, a feature that many people will think makes this game automatically better than GT4, but it takes more than one little thing to make a game superior, but i digress. Now, this option is better than what GT4 has, by far. the fact that you can make your own decals is better than what I'd hoped, and it reaffirms my belief that this game would be a cross between NFSU and GT. On top of that, you can buy side skirts, roof scoops, hoods, etc., and they can be adjusted to make your car perform better, which I am relieved to see. It would have been terrible if they were there only to make the cars look prettier, and would have no effect on racing. On the whole, Forza takes the cake as far as customization, but GT4 still surpasses it by far in the meat and potatoes aspects of cars and tracks.
This was what I was most worried about when I heard about this game. How would all the aspects work together the way they should? I am pleased to say they almost all do. The Triggers provide more control over the nuances of accelerating and braking than PS2's buttons, though I have the racing wheel for GT4 and a friend of mine has the wheel for Forza, and they handle almost exactly the same. Congratulations to Forza in this aspect, as it does capture the realism of racing to a staggering degree. Now, one of the features, not innovations, of Forza is car damage. This is done better than I expected. The cars do take damage as they should for the most part, and they leave marks on the walls and what not. It goes so far as to affect the aerodynamics of the car, which can be a huge factor in some of the more advanced races. There are aspects that the game does not integrate, and some of these could have been the most fun. The car's exterior does take damage, but the parts just hang there, flapping in the breeze. I have yet to see parts fall off of a car, even when some of my races devolved into Destruction Derby style contests. On the same note, the car internally runs the same no matter what. Your car may look like a mess when you crash into a wall at 200 mph, but the car runs good as new. After all the effort and hype around car damage and realism, your car survives a 200 mph crash? I don't think so. Hopefully this will be fixed in Forza 2. There is also much talk about Forza's training line. Nice addition?, Yes. Original? No. GT3 at the very least did this. Not only that, but it really wasn't necessary in GT4, seeing as PS2 owners have had the chance to hone their skills on GT3 for years. Xbox owners, on the other hand need something like this if they haven't played a hardcore racing sim before, and they have had much fewer opportunities to do so.
This was a pleasant surprise. The game's original soundtracks are composed well and fit in with the game. The Custom soundtracks option is also a pleasant addition. This makes the soundtrack aspect a little better than GT4. The cars all sound realistic as well, and their sound changes with modifications. Some people have said that GT4 does not do this and Forza is automatically better for it. To those people, you are either completely biased to Forza, have never modded a car to the point where a change could be noticeable in GT4, or an utter and complete moron. Reviews that say this fallacy should be ignored. The collision sounds are solid, as are tire screeches, and wind effects. All in all, no complaints in this department.
There are few things to be said here. single console has the basic stuff, and online is very good, at least so far. When more people buy the game, then things will get really interesting. The only bad thing I have to say is that because of the lesser amount of tracks, it might get old faster than GT4 when it goes online later. Yes, a game can go online even if the initial version is not (i.e. Twisted Metal Black). Other than that, for all intents and purposes, multiplayer is great.
There is no racing sim on the XBOX that can match Forza. This is a fact. As far as GT4 is concerned, Forza may have more features, but some of them are not as well implemented as they should be, and the overall variety in cars and tracks pales in comparison. All in all, they are both the best at what they do for different reasons. It all depends on what you like more. If you like racing cars that look good and go fast, plain and simple, buy Forza. If you are a true car enthusiast, buy GT4.
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