Jay's Internet Log

Tag: Forza

Initial Impressions – Forza Motorsport 4 and Wireless Speed Wheel

by on Oct.12, 2011, under Gaming, General

To begin with, I’ll put it out there that I tried the Forza 3 demo two years ago and absolutely hated it. The setting was boring, the handling felt weird, and there was no nitro boost. You see, to me, the best racing game ever created is Mario Kart, which is vastly disimilar to the ultra-realistic and almost RPG-like game that Turn10 has created. I played the demo for about ten minutes and knew that the game was not for me.

On the day before Forza 4’s release, I downloaded the demo on a whim to see if the game had been improved with two years development. Boy was I surprised! I ended up spending about 45 minutes with it, completing all six races and wanting more. I read about it online and watched some video reviews. I read about the Speed Wheel and how it wasn’t a complete joke like the Wii Wheel. I also read about the super rare Limited Collector’s Edition that was going for over $200 on Amazon, much higher than it’s asking price. All in all, I was excited, and about a game that I abhored the previous time I played it. It was a strange feeling.

I decided to try arriving at Best Buy at opening and see if they had a Limited Collector’s Edition there. I wasn’t expecting them to, but upon getting there, they had about 10 of them. I instantly felt sorry for all the people who spent a lot of money on them. I also was able to demo the Speed Wheel and was impressed at how well it worked. I was told that with Kinect, it is even more precise. I ended up picking one up as well.

Forza 4 jumps you right into the racing, even before I was able to get the Speed Wheel set up. The campaign progression works as seasons, with each season having faster cars and more races. The types of races are varied well, and after every few of them, you level up and get a new car to try. As you race cars from the same manufacturer, you level up your affinity with them, giving you cheaper and eventually free upgrades. I haven’t really gone into the upgrades yet as the game will automatically upgrade for you when needed, and that’s as deep as I’ve gone. It also has a very deep tuning section that I briefly saw. It was like walking into a room you shouldn’t be in and instanly running away scared. That’s how I felt when I saw what types of things you could do in the tuning section.

The game integrates with Kinect and on paper, it sounds pretty awesome. When you turn your head in real life, the camera turns a bit to look at your mirrors. All I’ve been able to make it do is look to the right, even though I’m trying to look forward or even to the left. It hasn’t worked yet but I’ll try it again, but I think you have to be closer or standing to make it work, neither of which I want to do. When you crash in the game, you can press a button to initiate the “Sands of Time” in essence to go back a few seconds. This is great and all, but the way I have my controller set up, whenever I start up again, it quickly looks behind me and is just annoying. Other than these little issues, this game is rock solid. There are many modes, and I was able to lose two online races successfully without lag, but people online are jerks and crash into you a lot.

Now I picked up this wireless Speed Wheel as well, and I like it a lot. It is shaped like a “U” and I think it has a gyroscope in it. The tops of it glow green at times and I think the Kinect sees it. In any event, it works very well and the movements mimic the hands on the steering wheel in the game. The only problem that I’ve come across with this wheel so far is that it doesn’t have the XBOX bumper buttons on it anywhere. There’s plenty of room for them, even on the middle section. This is problematic when navigating the menus in Forza 4, which released alongside this device. In order to change my title in the game, and probably tune my car, I have to switch out to a regular controller, though this causes other problems when trying to sync back up with the Speed Wheel. It’s funny how third party controller manufactures are not allowed to make wireless controllers for the Xbox, but Microsoft can’t even remember to put the required buttons on them. I’d love to hear their reasoning behind this.

All in all, I am having a blast with Forza 4 and the Speed Wheel as well. This is definitely the best automobile simulator that I’ve ever played, and I’ve just scratched the surface!

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