The game's been out for over a month now, but at least I'm writing a review. Not that anyone cares that I'm doing one anyway. So, here goes.
Let me start by saying I never played Forza - the only bit of Forza I played was the Forza 3 (and 4) demo on the XBL Marketplace about 10 times. I really didn't have any interest in simulation racing games until I randomly started watching Top Gear UK on Netflix. Around that time, Forza 4 was getting a lot of hype in game previews, and I just wound up getting excited for it. The whole Top Gear deal with Forza helped, too.
With all of that hype, it sure would SUCK if the game sucked, but as you know by now (if you're reading this one random review in the depths of the internet), the game has done exceptionally well, with critical acclaim across the board. Now that I've said that, I suppose a review would be pointless... BUT I'll carry on anyway.
As I said, I never played Forza - I hadn't even really heard of it much because I was never big on simulation racers - I said that already too. But when I played the Forza 3 demo, I was almost blown away at the graphics for obvious reasons. The fact that each car was unique in cock-pit view, the lighting, the one track I got a chance to see ... I really didn't think Forza 4 could improve, but it did. Not a whole hell of a lot, but there is a difference. Mainly in that Forza 4 just looks more realistic. I.E., the colors are less saturated. As great as the cars look and the lighting is, the environments leave quite a bit to be desired. Some tracks look spectacular (Bernese Alps), while others look blah (Sebring International, Le Mans). Still, I'm sure if Turn 10 could have, they would have made the environments better, but the 360 can only do so much. I'm just really having to nit-pick here, because the game really just looks fantastic overall.
Everyone knows that it doesn't matter how great a game looks if it plays like trash ... well, that's not a problem here. You go through 10 seasons in career mode, which will take about 20 (?) hours of driving time to complete. The first season is only a few races, while each season gets progressively longer as you go on. Once you've completed the career, you can do it all over again, or you can skip the career entirely and hit the Event List, where there are hundreds of races for you to compete in. For instance, Charger v. Challenger races, Autocross, Track Days, Top Gear Bowling, and more. To be honest, it's really just addicting, in particular early on. Every time you rank your Driver Level up until level 50, you get a choice between normally 3-5 cars to be gifted to you. This is great because, obviously, if there's a car to choose from that you want, you're getting it for free, and you can spend the Credits you've earned on another car you want. I played this game religiously for the first couple of weeks because I was so keen on leveling up and getting all the cars I could. After level 50 though, you get a credit bonus that goes up every time you rank up. I believe at level 51 for example, you get 105k credits, 52 you get something like 110k, etc. Getting credits is great, but there was something about getting to choose between a group of cars that was just really great.
Me going on about credits and leveling up is reminding me - it's really quite easy to get credits in this game. While in Forza 3 it was (apparently) very difficult to get credits, and players had to grind to get cars they wanted, in this game you really can earn them quickly, which I suppose is better than having them be hard to earn. Still, if you are busy or just incredibly lazy, you can get Car Tokens and purchase the car(s) you want, ranging in prices from the lowly $1 cars to the high-end $3 cars, like your Ferarris and Lamborghinis. But not Porsche - if you haven't heard by now, there aren't any on-disc, unfortunately. Still, there are just so many damn cars in this game, they won't be too sorely missed.
Forza 4 is an all-around great experience. Even if you're a one-manufacturer guy - or girl - you'll more than likely want to take many different cars of many different rankings around several tracks just to get a feel for them. Really, every car is unique - if you're finding that the cars drive too similarly or too easily, try driving with all assists off, and you'll notice a difference. In fact, driving with no assists is what makes this game so much fun. Personally, I couldn't imagine playing this game with assists on... flying around the tracks with them all off and getting at "Top 5%" or better on the leader board, to me, is just a really rewarding feeling. Sure, other games can give that sense of accomplishment, but not many senses of accomplishment come following an adrenaline rushing race. While I have gotten a BIT burned out on the game after beating the career mode and reaching level 50 (it goes up to 150 though, and I'm currently only only 64, I think), I still play about an hour a day or so, and it's not any less fun. As said, the only reason I don't play as much, is because I don't have the motivation to keep ranking up to get a car unlock every level. Regardless, it's still of a hell of a lot of fun in bursts, and I'm sure there are many other people out there that will have fun of it in several hour marathons. Forza 4 is simply the best racer on the 360, and there's just no contest there. In fact, it may just be the best racing option on the market. It's not perfect (it could use a few more tracks, and something else I can't quite put my finger on), but for now, this will do. Well, no, it will more than do.