With the official release date for Forza Motorsport 4 coming in a few days, Tuesday, October 11, 2011 to be exact, I can finally tell you a little about the game. I've had a copy for less than a week and have spent most of my off-work time with a controller (more on those in the coming days) in my hands. Some of my stats so far: Level 45, Distance Driven: 880.15 miles, Top Speed: 165.2 mph, Races: 112, Percent Complete: 6.0, Cars in Garage: 52. My total time in the game so far is right around 18 hours.
To get the full experience I would recommend that you have at least an Xbox Live Gold membership so you can take advantage of online play and all of what the vast online Forza community has to offer, buying and selling cars and setups, photos and videos.
Owners of the previous version get a bonus right off the bat, as a random selection of vehicles from number three will be copied over into the garage for Forza Motorsport 4. Once you get past the opening race to gauge your skill level it's then on to the seasons in the World Tour race mode. Each "season" gets progressively longer and harder (there is no option to change the opponent difficulty in this mode). But with each season completed more races are unlocked in the Event List race mode, very similar to earning licenses in previous versions.
Also similar to the previous version is the leveling up of both the driver and car. One difference is that now, when the driver levels up you are able to choose from a predetermined list which car you get. For example, when you get to the level to choose between DTM cars your options are two Audis (one TT and one A4), a Mercedes-Benz, and an Opel.
One thing that hasn't changed is the excellent vehicle dynamics the Forza Motorsport franchise is known for. Get throttle heavy mid-corner in a front-wheel-drive car and expect understeer and the TCS light on the dash to go all spazzy (that is, if you have traction control turned on in the Difficulty menu). Lose momentum in an underpowered car whilst going up a steep mountain road and perhaps, like me, you'll find yourself rocking back and forth in an effort to get the car to go faster. But when you do get it right it is so rewarding, such as clipping the apex at full throttle, with a slight wheel correction as the rear tries to break loose, at Turn 6, blasting up Rahal Straight and down the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. For times like that you want to save the replay and post it up on ForzaMotorsport.net for all to see.