How Forza Motorsport 4 Offers a More Open-Ended Career Mode

We spend a few hours with Turn 10's latest and put our own personal touch on the new World Tour mode.

Forza 4 begins with a rallying cry. The unmistakable voice of Jeremy Clarkson insists that you and he are a dying breed, the sort of person who still loves the sound and feel of a gas-guzzling V8 in spite of general sentiments moving in a more environmentally friendly direction. There aren't a lot of places modern-day gearheads can go to be celebrated, he says, but you can find one of those places in Forza 4.

But you needn't necessarily be a fan of monstrously powered V8s to feel at home in the game. In fact, that's sort of the entire point of this game. Turn 10 Studios is taking a more hands-off approach to the game's career mode, dubbed World Tour, in an effort to let players more easily find a few favorite cars and really stick with them. Game director Dan Greenawalt sees the irony in this by acknowledging that there's something a little funny about offering 500-plus cars only to let players narrow in on the three or four they really like for the entire duration of the career mode. But if there's one thing Turn 10 doesn't want to do, it is force people into playing someone else's idea of a driving game.

One big change has to do with the way driver levels work in the World Tour. In previous games, you'd be automatically gifted a new car every time you collected enough XP to reach a new level. Sometimes that car was exactly what you wanted; other times, it was a Volkswagen Touareg. The problem had to do with the fact that it was one predetermined car at every level of the game. Now, you're given a choice that is handily organized by theme.

The first level of the game offers you a choice of nimble subcompacts like the Ford Ka or the Toyota Aygo. As you level up, you're greeted with other choices like zippy hot hatchbacks, sport coupes, Trans-Am Legends, and Friday Night Cruisers. Some of those collections, like the subcompacts and hot hatches, let you choose from about a half-dozen cars. Others are more like boxing matches between iconic classics where you get to choose the winner, like the choice of Friday Night Cruisers. Will it be the 1960 Corvette convertible or the substantially larger 1957 Ford Thunderbird? Who knows? It's your call.

What you wind up with is a garage that's a lot more personal than it was in Forza 3's career mode. You won't always find a car you're in love with at every new level of the game, but for the most part, when you cycle through which car you want to take into an event, there's a much more substantial feeling of ownership in knowing that you weighed the pros and cons of all those cars versus the competition. You're the one who brought home that car. You're the one who took that '57 T-Bird and put a sweet decal of a rabbit farting fire on it. (Oh, wait, sorry. That last one was just us.)

Then there's the way World Tour events are structured. If you remember Forza 3, you'll recall that whole calendar system that took you from one specific event to the next. Those events were largely determined by which cars you had in your garage, but there was only one event to choose from at a time. In Forza 4's World Tour, you're instead flown around to different tracks throughout the world and given the choice to race in any one of your cars. When you pick a vehicle you want to race in, the game will give you a few different event options, like rear-engine cars only or Audi versus BMW and events of that nature.

The result is a game that gives you a lot more choice over the cars you take to events, if not the events themselves. The sequencing of tracks is all done by the game, and occasionally, oddball events will be thrown into the mix (like the delightfully fun Top Gear Bowling where you're driving through bowling pins on the famous Top Gear test track) that you can't skip in favor of a more traditional race. But overall, we really like how you can just focus in on the cars that you want to race. The lower-end cars will peak eventually, so you can't take that fully upgraded Ford Ka up against other A-level cars and expect to win a race. But on the whole, it's very much about you and your taste in cars.

Forza Motorsport 4 is due for release on October 11.

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Discussion

27 comments
MattyK47
MattyK47

Insaaane Racing series (y) Can't wait to get my hands on this

Avenger1324
Avenger1324

This gives you more choice - if you want to keep changing cars then you still can, but if you want to specialise in just a few of your favourites you can do that. with the changes to Manufacturer XP, if you really do want the max benefits then you will need to stick to a select few cars.

Yinzer21
Yinzer21

Looks like I'm the only one who enjoyed being forced to race with a variety of different cars to complete career mode. Who would want to play a game with 500+ cars in it only using a few different cars?

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

This is great, Forza is the best racing series ever.

m6x_p0w3r
m6x_p0w3r

the reason why gran turismo can never and will never hold a candle to forza.... the number of cars, the freedom with kinect, community car clubs with friends, the new lighting system, the overall better feel of the cars when driving them, in my garage i have over 40% of the cars in forza 3 i drive everything i cant wait to get behind the wheel of forza 4 .....and is anyone else excited to play top gear bowling with your friends?

JuiceMcGoose
JuiceMcGoose

All things considered...cars, tracks, looks, online, driving dynamics, photo mode, car customization (visual), car modification (mechanical)...this is easily the greatest driving game ever made. Check out the pics at FM.net and see for yourself.

tml00563
tml00563

Yahtzee! This game is going to rock.

kim_nielsen
kim_nielsen

Should we mention that there are cockpit view in ALL 500+ cars end they are ALL rendered in the same quality :D

CarlitosWay
CarlitosWay

Did anyone else read the part about "500 plus cars"? Wow. Thats a lot of cars.

sirkibble2
sirkibble2

That's pretty good. I like that concept.

yodante
yodante

sweet forza, puff my wife is going to be naggin again hehehe

benboz
benboz

I can't wait for forza 4

ascendentjustic
ascendentjustic

this is what drove me crazy about gt5(not the good crazy); it felt like i always had a ball and chain around my ankle, there was so much restriction on what car you could use for what track. Forza 3 on the other had just had such a huge sense of freedom to it and Forza 4 seems to be expanding on that even more

racing1750
racing1750

Forza 3 was definitive so Turn 10 were like, let's add X1000 more definitive and make the ultimate racing game.

JustMe2004
JustMe2004

@GunnyHath Its been 2 years... Forza for GOTY!

cjf187x
cjf187x

@darth_3pio And I would trade in all the MS exclusives that PC gamers don't have to get a great RTS or proper Simulation/Strategy game on console. So I feel your pain. I'm def looking forward to it on my 360.

GunnyHath
GunnyHath

Seems like Forza 3 just came out.. these days it seems I'm not even finished with a game before a sequel comes out.

darth_3pio
darth_3pio

My response is similar to that of @DM2438 though I enjoy..... oh wait, there really isn't anything similar on PC..... screw that.... I want Forza 4 PC. You console gamers and your exclusives, I'd trade in Civilization or Battlefield for a proper sim racer like GT or Forza on PC

DM2438
DM2438

Man, this looks like the ultimate sim racer man...all the cars are detailed, alot of tracks, customization, Top gear...etc....this really does make me wish Forza was mulitplat because even though I enjoy GT5, the competitive racing is lacking, the customization doesn't exist, online is a mess, and the game lacks all around polish. On top of this, the game can get quite boring after a while because once you master the physics, the races themselves are lacking. It's always "catch up to the pack" racing, never "fight for your life" finishes. I don't know how Forza handles, but GT5 handles like a charm. If Forza 4 is anywhere near GT5's physics, GT might become the grasshopper. Kind of like CoD right now in comparison to Battefield. If I had a Xbox, this would be a must buy for me. Too bad there isn't alot of hype around it because this game looks wonderful, but too many hard hitters coming out around the same time.

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

I would dust of me X box just for this game. Gran Turismo is getting a bit boring now.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

This preview has made me even more impatient for the game. Think it has the release on the 14th in the UK and I go on holiday on the 17th so not sure whether to pick it up day one or wait until I get home! :(

nissanmaxima
nissanmaxima

Awsome, can't wait to get my LCE on Oct 11th! Game will surpass GT5!