Forza 4 – (Kinect) Impressions

Forza 4 is Turn 10′s latest in their critically acclaimed driving series. This article will detail my early experiences with Microsoft’s flagship driving franchise with Kinect impressions. If you’re pressed for time i can give you a really quick run-down of Forza 4 via Kinect. I can say for certain that Forza 4 and Kinect do not mix for driving. Now that we got that out of the way lets do the formalities. Forza 4 is a driving game developed by Turn 10 and published by Microsoft Game Studios exclusively for the Xbox 360. It released October 11, 2011.

Kinect – We all heard about Kinect “your body is the controller”. Many of you even bought Kinect who own a 360. Well, I finally gave in and bought Kinect for a great deal during Black Friday.  I knew Forza 4 was playable with Kinect before i bought it. I seen videos featuring Autovista and driving with head tracking abilities. However videos do little in my opinion. I had to try it out for myself and i did. There are some basic things you have to know when playing Forza 4 via Kinect. You have to stand while playing Autovista mode. You can sit or stand while actually driving.

Autovista – Autovista mode is a mode where you can inspect dream cars in full detail. Kinect actually makes great use of this mode. Imagine hands free navigation where you can walk around a car, open doors, trunks, engine bays, get inside, look at gauges, exhaust, wheels up close all in high resolution detail. The 458 Italia was as if it was parked in my garage. As i moved my hands to specific motions  shown on screen i opened up doors where i could get inside and look at stuff. You look around by leaning. The voice narrator will pop up when you inspect specific car parts. He will then explain what they are and how they were made.

If you ask me if Kinect is good for Autovista i would say yes. Kinect works only as good as you follow and perform the motions on screen. For the most part Kinect is responsive and pretty accurate regarding Autovista. I admit there is a draw about moving around a car virtually on screen without having to hold anything. It is quite visceral and in my opinion Kinect works for situations such as Autovista (not for driving). Autovista is very scripted and linear. You can’t tinker with any parts like taking lug-nuts off of wheels or anything like that. There are plenty of cars to unlock and buy via DLC for Autovista. So in the end score one for Kinect regarding Autovista! It was implemented well.

Kinect Driving – You navigate Menus and game options with your your hands by pointing at spots on the screen. To whisk through menus horizontally you use your hands Minority Report style. The main menu for Kinect has limited options and to be frank its just a watered down experience compared to when you play with a gamepad or steering wheel. It feels tacked on to be blunt. To drive (i sat at the edge of the chair as instructed) you hold your right hand at 3 o’ clock and left hand at 9 o’ clock to steer. That is it. Braking, shifting and practically everything else is done for you. You can’t check stats or use the rewind feature with Kinect (i couldn’t at least or didn’t know how to if you could).

Within 2 minutes i felt whatever fun Kinect had starting to wear off and a tacked on peripheral experience starting to ensue. I originally planned to play the entire game for review through Kinect but after completing one race with it i know that would be a gravely mistake. Forza 4 isn’t meant to be played with Kinect for review. When you start Kinect’s version of single player you don’t even get the opening cutscene featuring the guy from Top Gear like you do when you play with the gamepad. So its safe to say i will review Forza 4 with a gamepad so i can get the entire experience of the game.

Impressions with Gamepad

When you choose to play Forza 4 with controller you are choosing to play the actual full game of Forza 4 and not just “parts” of it. The main menu screen featured Play Career, Community, Autovista, Free Play and Marketplace. Thanks to my brother’s diligent Forza 3 playing i was rewarded with a Profile Import Bonus and gifted 13,000 credits for nothing. The game said i had to collect that money on my online bank (in-game). Next i went into the Marketplace section to see what it had. Forza 4 doesn’t skimp on DLC. I saw the November Speed Pack DLC where i downloaded the Scirocco R (for free). I also downloaded the 2012 BMW M5 for free as well. There was also the Ign December pack and the American Muscle Car Pack ( i’m guessing on the names). At any rate thats alote of DLC for a game that isn’t three months old.

After checking out some options and navigating the menus (which was easy) i decided to start Play Career. Just for referance i played all races on medium difficulty (easy so far) and i have not had to change anything ie tire pressure, gears etc. I’m basically still an amateur in the amateur circuit. I started at F license and i’m already at D license with little effort so far. You gain Credits, XP and Affinity Award bonuses for certain car companies. For example i drove a Toyota early on that i won with. As i won races i earned Affinity bonuses from Toyota like 25% everything i buy from them. Its a nice perk and there are different kinds of Affinity bonuses to achieve.

As far as the actual driving is concerned it feels heavily assisted at medium difficulty. The braking and shifting are done for you. You can also rewind when you make a mistake which takes the difficulty away even more. Some tracks are more difficult to master while others are easy. There is an Automatic Upgrade section for noobs which makes modding your car much easier but takes away your control. The races been pretty easy so far which is why i haven’t modded any of my cars yet.

I found it weird that you cannot change camera views while racing. You can check out so many aspects  in-game of your car but not change camera views. As far as the Forza 4′s graphics are concerned they look great. Taking pictures of your car in photo mode as well driving look picture perfect. The backgrounds are highly detailed and the lighting used was improved over Forza 3. Forza 4 is a looker make no mistake. The sound design is robust as all of the cars have their own realistic rumbles. Music is  good so far as well.

In conclusion its really simple people, play Forza 4 with a gamepad or steering wheel NOT Kinect. Thanks for reading.



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