Man vs. Machine: We Talk Forza 4 & Top Gear With Turn 10 & Take a Hot Lap With The Stig
Written Friday, August 05, 2011 By Dan WebbView author's profile
There are a couple of things you might not realise about the Top Gear test track: one, it's rather large; and two, it's a figure of eight. Having seen numerous hot laps from The Stig in the world's greatest supercars and laps from various celebrities in the 'Reasonably Priced Car,' these two facts never dawned on me. It was only when we were stood at the side of this behemoth of a track in the middle of nowhere last week that all this became apparent.
So why were we stood inside the confines of this heavily fortified settlement where no-one can hear you scream… except maybe the guy next to you? Simple, we were on hand to check out the new Top Gear test track in Forza 4 as well as getting a hot lap with The Stig himself… or herself… or itself… we just don't know!
That’s right, the upcoming Forza 4 title faithfully recreates the infamous Top Gear test track, all the way down from the Hammerhead to the newly renamed Gambon corner; everything is as you'll have seen it on the TV. Chancing our hand in both the Reasonably Priced Car (the Kia Cee’d) and a Ferrari Spider 458 in-game, we attempted to learn the nuances of this iconic British TV racing circuit before we were thrown to the wolves.
The experience on offer is very much Forza-fuelled, with that competitive must-beat-that-lap-time mentality coming to the forefront once again. After more than a handful of turns in each motor – as well as an Impreza – we managed to respectfully post a 1:25.416 and a 1:47.757 in the Ferrari and the Kia respectively… but that couldn't prepare us for what was next.
After hammering down a crash helmet onto my irregularly shaped head and crouching into a Lamborghini Gallardo, it was time for the real thing. The standoffish, strong and silent Stig was motionless, offering just a nod as I greeted him on my way into the car. Me? I was bricking it. Here we were in a 512 brake horsepower motor worth more than my ass could ever be insured for – remember, I ain't no J-Lo! – and a driver who had an imaginary “no fear” motto tattooed across his forehead.
In speeds approaching 100mph and often taking acute 90 degree turns at over 70mph, we were whizzed around the test track at breakneck speeds. The difference between real-life and the game is vastly apparent. For one, you don't get whiplash when you brake late in-game - like The Stig seemingly does around every corner – and the Gallardo handles a bit better than that piece of shit Spider – sorry Ferrari, it's a heavy beast that oozes understeer and controls like the chuffin' Titanic.
Before we knew it and while we're still attempting to take stock of where we were and who we were with, we were done. A lap of 1 minute and 35 seconds (from standing start to stationary) and it's over in the blink of an eye. Terrifying? Not once you get going, no, in fact, it's probably as exhilarating as streaking through your local church's Sunday morning mass.
Of course, don't take my word for it though, check out the in-car camera footage in the video below and join together and mock my almost awkward and bewildered look - it's a cross between the grin of a Cheshire Cat and the nervous anticipation of a constipated monkey! One thing is for certain though, after you've had a hot lap with The Stig, everything runs in slow-motion. It's like going from 60 frames-per-second to playing 8-bit retro games again!
Before you mock the look of sheer terror on my face though, hear what Turn 10’s Brian Ekberg, Community Manager, has to say on Forza 4’s Top Gear offering, talking us through the early stages of how it came to fruition, all the way through to Mr Clarkson’s off-the-cuff comments and natural witticism.
It's a Top Gear fiesta and you're all invited. Well, except you… and maybe you.