EGM 9.5, 10 and 10 out of 10.
Better than Gran Turismo 4. I figured I'd write that when I reviewed Gran Turismo 5 one day, but this is Forza Motorsport, Microsoft's homage to the greatest driving sim around. Except the student has already lapped the teacher.
1UP 10 out of 10.
I watched him take up the controller and gun the car from first to third off the line. The very first words out of his mouth were, "Holy shit! This car sounds exactly like my S4!" But already I could see that he was going into the first corner too fast. Simon slams on the brakes and the S4 locks itself up and glides into the rough. Luckily, he manages to avoid hitting a wall (which could have screwed up the car for the rest of the 12.9-mile ride). After driving the next few miles conservatively, and getting a good feel for Forza's controls, he begins to push the grip limits on the S4. "Wow, this feels exactly like my car. I just took it down Highway One the other weekend so the feeling is still fresh in my mind." It's Simon's first time playing Forza and, already, he's jonesing for more.
GameSpot 9.2 out of 10.
You'll need to get very comfortable with the controls to take on the crafty and subtle opposition found in Forza, which stands as one of the game's pinnacle achievements. On an oval, for example, cars will seek drafting help wherever they can get it in order to move up the pack. Artificial intelligence-controlled cars will block passing attempts and try to swerve around you if they're approaching too quickly. Yes, that's right folks, Forza features driving foes that are aware of your position on the track and will react accordingly, which works both for you and against you, depending on your driving style.
Team Xbox 9.8 out of 10.
As mentioned above in the “Choose your poison” section, the key to realism in Forza Motorsport has more to do with its tire model and attention to detail in the general physics and handling model than anything else. From a general standpoint, the Controller S functions as you would expect; analog control of acceleration, braking, and steering. But its how much different each car feels with the same controller/control set that is so impressive when playing Forza Motorsport. Developmental work with Ferrari ensured that suspension movements suit each car to a T (although I can only assume, like most of us, that the Audi R8 in Forza Motorsport handles like the real deal), Toyo assisted on the tire model, then the Microsoft Game Studios crew filled in the blanks. The result makes the Controller S feel extremely different depending on the vehicle chosen. For example, you can feel the weight of a Viper through the analog brake button or, conversely, the lightness of an Elise when mashing on the stop pedal. Car characteristics seem to show their personality individually in Forza Motorsport, instead of being lumped into an opinion on general car “feel”. Comments like: “This car feels as like it’s on rails.” or: “This car feels like a boat.” will probably be replaced with: “The spring/damper rate and big sticky rubber allow this car to turn fast and flat.” or: “This car’s squishy sidewalls and low tire pressure gives it reduced steering response.” You’ll encounter changes in controller button/stick “feel” separately, uniquely, and realistically for each car in the Forza Motorsport; and that’s damn icy.
Next Level Gaming 9.7 out of 10.
Of all the game genre's that Microsoft may have gotten so totally overlooked on, it's racing games. With all the hype of the latest Midnight Club, or Need for Speed Underground, people seem not to hear about some of the best racing games to hit not just the Xbox, but the console world in general. Some people will say that point is arguable, but I say it's not. Anyone who has played Rallisport Challenge 2 and Project Gotham Racing 2, or have spent 5-6 hours at a time playing Midtown Madness 3 will know exactly what I am talking about. These are racing games that define their genre's, and aren't simply a part of it.
GamePro 5 out of 5.
Until now, Gran Turismo's comfortable pace of sequels kept its competitors at bay, lapping the futile efforts from the likes of Toca Race Driver and Project Gotham Racing. That's all set to change, however, with the emergence of Forza, a Gran Turismo killer that will send Polyphony Digital sulking back to the pits.
IGN 9.5 out of 10.
Forza's artificial intelligence may very well start up a fighting frenzy. MGS' sophisticated single-player AI is crafty and impressive, and can be overly aggressive and sometimes downright nasty in some cases. The AI generally follows its own line, staying relatively steady, despite a push a two from yours truly. In amateur races, you'll occasionally get nudged, resulting in spin outs or getting knocked off track.
In Professional races, the AI grows fiercer, holding its line more firmly, often nudging you, and more often knocking you off track. I don't have an issue with hard or challenging AI. My thinking is that if it's hard, I need to get better. I love a challenge, as long as the challenge is attainable. And I've studied this AI for some time. If you get knocked out of your position early on, you can still win. It's not impossible. Forza does reward skilled driving. I've come back from third, fourth, even sixth place in tough races and won because I took turns correctly, timed my braking, and carved out my lines perfectly. I've also seen the AI do cool things, like swerving to avoid being hit, carve out beautifully perfect lines, crash into one another, aggressively attempt to pass me, and even accelerate on dirt and grass to get ahead of me. In that last respect, the AI won't let you cheat it.
Gamespy 4.5 out of 5.
Thankfully, Forza lays to rest the notion that licensed cars negate any damage model. Though you won't see a disintegrating Mercedes, these cars will break if you try hard enough. The damage isn't as dynamic as some would like, but I was happy to knock the spoiler off a Toyota during the first lap of the race, then to see it lying on the tarmac during the next lap and each thereafter.
The damage isn't only cosmetic, though, it actually affects each car. Take a hard hit on a front fender, and the steering balance will be thrown. Body damage can increase drag and cut speed. Crushed suspension will torch your cornering. In low-level races, the effects seem slight, but move up and everything is amplified. An option allows damage to be cosmetic, limited to 50%, or all out. At the end of each race, a repair amount will be deducted from any winnings. It's a good balance: damage with a real effect but no time-consuming repair decisions.