Many of the overall tweaks to the established formula are simple but effective. Forza 3's rewind system proved absolutely necessary for amateurs but was unwanted by some more fastidious professionals, so Forza Motorsport 4 now allows you to turn the feature off for a sizeable credit reward.
Another noticeable improvement over Forza Motorsport 3 is in its engine sounds, oddly obfuscated by an overbearing and ill-fitting soundtrack. Yank hard on the vroom vroom trigger in a powerful car and you'll be hit with a meaty, thunderous roar powerful enough to send ripples of delight down your spine, one that makes Gran Turismo 5's effort sound like a handful of aggravated bees in comparison.
The most likely destination for players will be the revamped season play, now dubbed World Tour, with Turn 10 hoping that its considered nips and tucks will make for a smoother user experience, banishing the lumpy and heavyset cycles of multi-stage events and forced championships that caused the third game to devolve into a weary grind by its fifth season. Now you only stop off for one event at each destination as you hop around the globe, consuming an entire world of automotive events like delicate courses of tapas rather than bloated Sunday roasts.
Instead of a chipping away at a sprawling event list, though that is still possible if you’d like, World Tour streamlines the experience by offering you up a choice of three events based on the cars you own. New to Forza 4, however, is an extra bit of spice from different event types, such as autocross, drift, track days, and traffic challenges, and the occasional trip to the Dunsfold Aerodrome to whizz around the Top Gear test track.
Does all this eliminate the dreaded grind inherent to the genre? Not entirely, but it tries - and it's certainly a massive improvement over the nightmarish user experience offered up by Gran Turismo 5. Turn 10 does occasionally make the game victim to unnecessary padding, stretching out its whopping event list with some notably poor choices and creating the numb agony of dawdling slow cars around the zippy Bernese Alps, or forcing brazen, monstrous vehicles around the narrow twists of Fujimi Kaido.
But the overall experience is less fussy, and subsequently more enjoyable to play, than ever before. Manufacturer Affinity, for instance, replaces individual car levels from Forza 3, taking experience gained from each event and pooling it in a manufacturer-specific level, offering significant part discounts (up to 100 per cent) and substantial credit windfalls for those who nurture the contents of their garage.
Forza 4 now offers you a choice of cars opposed to a prescribed vehicle as you level up, RPG-like, your Driver Level, though the implementation is still slightly messy - you’re not allowed to inspect the details of your potential new cars, nor does the game highlight which of its massive roster will be available as Gifts. It is frustrating to spend hundreds of thousands of hard-earned credits (or a handful of Car Tokens, bought with Microsoft Points) on a new vehicle, only to see the car being offered for free minutes later. One level offered me a choice between the Ferrari F50 and the McLaren F1, but neglected to point out that the latter costs roughly five times as many in-game credits. I would have been absolutely livid had I picked the F50.
Turn 10 is also at the front of the pack when it comes to community features, leaving much of the storefront and auction house unchanged. The big push this time comes in the form of Rivals mode, a series of single-player races tracked on a multiplayer leaderboard - Turn 10 has clearly found inspiration from Criterion's Autolog. Some of these events are fixed and permanent, such as taking the Kia Cee'd (more recognised as the Reasonably Priced Car) around the Top Gear Test Track, whereas others are chopped and changed on a month-by-month basis.