Heading back to Vice City with Grand Theft Auto VI

Following years of hype and expectations from video game players, the long-awaited next Grand Theft Auto has been confirmed by Rockstar Games. This is Grand Theft Auto VI. See the impressive trailer with this YouTube link.

Must admit, this trailer reveal so much detail and graphical improvements over the previous game which came out ten years ago! In fact, Grand Theft Auto V originally appeared on the seventh generation consoles on the Sony PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360. It has been ported to many different platforms since then and yet, I remember playing this to death – literally – on my original Xbox 360 back in 2013 as it was so addictive that my machine suffered the awful red ring of death!

I have posted my original thoughts on the appeal of the Grand Theft Auto series on the blog many years ago and you can read it again here as a reminder of how far we have progressed in terms of story development, visuals and music.

I am not surprised by the amount of attention with the new GTA VI as over the past few months various leaks appeared online featuring very rough game work from the developer which was posted by impatient gamers who want a piece of the action to draw clicks. In the end, Rockstar Games confirm it was happening and yet disappointed by the leaked data but are still working on this exciting title to become the biggest and most successful game in the history of this interactive medium.

Grand Theft Auto VI will be the sixteenth entry in the extremely popular series and it is set within a fictional open world state of Leonida, based on Florida, and its Miami-inspired Vice City. The story will follow the criminal duo of Lucia and her partner.

Have to say, heading back to Vice City is fantastic news. As I love the 1980s vibe and feel of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which was originally released back on the PlayStation 2 in 2002. The classic radio stations, music and visual style was the highlight and to return back to this area decades later is a treat.

Sure, times have changed since the 80s with social media and hip trends dominating the culture lifestyle but I will embrace the developer’s satire and amusing commentary in this current era that this new game is set. I am so looking forward to this immersion and yet cannot wait to create so much wreckage and havoc in the new Vice City! Yes, the 2025 release window is a long way since this trailer has just dropped but two years will fly by and once it will be available on sale, million of players will enjoy the experience. Roll on 2025!

Codemasters announce F1 2014 and F1 2015 video game

F1 2014 video game

Video games developer Codemasters have announced details on their upcoming Formula 1 games based on the 2014 and 2015 world championship.

The latest title will feature this year’s rules and regulations, in particular the new power units. F1 2014 will be released on October 17th on the seventh generation video game platforms.

As for the eighth generation, namely the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Codemasters will take the unusual route of releasing F1 2015 before the actual new season starts thanks to live digital updates.

In the meantime, gamers will make do with F1 2014 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC format, which will include all the updated teams, drivers and circuits.

Details on F1 2014 can be seen from the Codemasters blog:

Coming October 17th is F1 2014 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. Drawing upon all our experience in developing Formula 1 titles down the years, F1 2014 recreates this year’s incredible season featuring all the seismic changes to the sport, including new turbocharged cars, new circuits plus all the driver moves.

The game also includes refined handling on a pad and a new driver evaluation system that tunes game settings to your skill level to increase accessibility – we want all of our players to race competitively, more quickly. Of course, all the veterans of the series will be able to experience the true challenge of racing this year’s stunning generation of cars, featuring more explosive power delivery but less downforce, by customising your options and turning off all the assists.

Scenario mode has been expanded, we’ve refined career mode options and there’s more info to come, but for now we’ll let Stephen Hood, our creative director on F1, introduce you to some of the headline changes in the sport and the game.

There’s been a dramatic shift in the sport; the largest shake up in the rules and regulations for a very long time and the new power units provide a very different kind of challenge, for both driver and team. By delivering all of these changes, F1 2014 will make for an exciting and refreshingly different experience.

Additionally, with the new driver evaluation system analysing each player’s skill level and suggesting appropriate game settings, plus re-graded difficulty levels including a brand new Very Easy setting, we aim to deliver a thoroughly rewarding F1 experience for players of all abilities, from the novice to the seasoned pro.

All sounds very promising and after watching the teaser trailer, I certainly cannot wait to give these new turbo-powered racing cars a spin.

Forza Motorsport 5 review

Turn 10 Studio’s next-generation racer appears as an exclusive launch title on Microsoft’s new Xbox One console. With Forza Motorsport 5, it continues the hallmarks of providing the player with a dream scenario of driving some of the most exotic supercars.

In fact, the McLaren P1 appears for the first time in the video game series and after an intro by Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson saying how much we love speed and cars, you are given an one lap experience with Woking’s finest racing machine.

As the car rolls onto the starting grid at a street circuit in the centre of Prague, you immediately sense just how beautiful this game really is.

The power of the Xbox One console allows Forza Motorsport 5 to feature near photo realistic graphics and from the cockpit view; you can see every single texture. From the carbon fibre feel on the main dashboard, to the fabric in the car’s interior.

Even the exterior and trackside is rich full of colours and texture. The level of detail is really impressive.

As soon as the race starts, you press the right trigger on the Xbox One controller and straight away, you can feel the wheel spin as the car struggles to get off the grid! The left and right triggers vibrate when applying the brakes and throttle, given a sense of immersion of driving a car for real.

It’s a strange and yet satisfying feeling at first, but after racing one lap around the fast and flowing Prague circuit, you realise just how important this feedback provides in terms of pushing the car to the limits.

Once the opening race is completed, the main menu is presented and with that, all 200 cars are available at once. No need to start with a slow city runaround, you can jump straight away in selecting your dream vehicle.

New additions are the open-wheel cars including the Dallara DW12 IndyCar and Formula 1 cars from the likes of McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus.

The ability to slide sideways in James Hunt’s championship-winning McLaren M23 is just fantastic and you can contrast the impressive engine sounds from Niki Lauda’s Ferrari 312T2. The Lotus E21 as driven by Kimi Raikkonen is the fastest car in Forza Motorsport 5 and equally, the most expensive costing six million in-game credits!

As for the list of tracks to race on, the legendary Bathurst makes an appearance along with a new layout to Silverstone, the challenging Spa-Francorchamps and unfortunately the Yas Marina circuit.

Despite these new additions, it’s a shame that Forza Motorsport 5 has lost some variety of racing that made it great. Gone are Fujimi Kaido, meaning no hairpin bends to drift around; drag strips, so no need to do drag racing; and without Camino Viejo De Montserrat, there is no joy in racing around beautiful scenery.

And yet two of my favourite race circuits, Suzuka and the Nürburgring, are missing. This is the biggest insult of all, as the most challenging and iconic endurance racing events have left a big void in this game.

With only 200 cars and 14 tracks, Forza Motorsport 5 feels like a little upgrade from Forza Motorsport 4 in terms of what to race and where. In addition, the game abandons the notion of offering free cars as awards, instead just handing out more credits.

You still get Xbox Achievements in terms of levelling up the driver and manufacturer skills but as of now, there will be no prize car for your reward.

Instead, pure dedication is needed to fully complete Forza Motorsport 5. With eight leagues, each with between three and seven race series, this game requires you to drive flat-out all the way in order to win gold medals and gain the perfect 100 per cent record.

This can be difficult to achieve thanks to the limited number of tracks and repetition comes into play with the same circuits, just different configuration, popping into the racing series.

Another negative point is Forza Motorsport 5 has removed the test driving option and limits to just a handful of cars available in its free play mode. Okay, you have to earn that privilege of driving Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus F1 car, thanks to hours and hours of racing but wouldn’t it be nice just to have the chance to mess around on the Top Gear Test Track in free play mode please?

However, I must admit the AI is really impressive. Unlike Sony’s Gran Turismo series, the computer-controlled cars in that game just become mobile chicanes. Sticking to the racing line and don’t even attempt to overtake you.

In Forza Motorsport 5, the AI is based on Drivatar meaning more human-like computer opponents to race against. Your friends’ names appear above the AI cars and it’s fascinating to see the differences in driving styles while racing.

Apparently, the Drivatar is formed by studying their driving skills in their races and then replicate to your race.

It feels surreal to try and pass your best friend even though it’s a computer-controlled car. But it does make the racing more personal and exciting, and the AI does seem more human and aggressive. So a win-win for the latest instalment of Forza.

As for the new features, the fantasy circuit of Prague reminds me of the city racing in Project Gotham Racing 3. The mix of wide-entry corners and steep climbs around this track full of beautiful architecture is a visual and driving highlight.

The popular motoring show Top Gear has been expanded beyond the chance to race on the Top Gear Test Track. Each series is introduced by one of the three presenters with voice over from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Even The Stig makes an appearance, well according to Clarkson, it’s actually The Stig’s Digital Cousin. Still, the chance to race against The Stig is brilliant and a sense of satisfaction comes as you have beaten him in equal cars.

The level of graphical detail makes Forzavista even more spectacular. You can gaze upon your dream car and look in every detail from the inner stitching in the car’s seat to the mighty engine when popping up the hood.

So is Forza Motorsport 5 worth the hype of the new Xbox One console? Yes, thanks to the high quality visuals and perfect handling. But you do sense it was rushed out to meet the launch date of Microsoft’s next-gen gaming machine.

A lack of cars and tracks from previous Forza series is the low point but the game still provides the ultimate driving pleasure. Still great fun and the livery designs from the talented Forza players’ makes each car personal and unique.

Full details on Codemasters’ latest F1 racer

F1 2013 Classic Mansell

After revealing a teaser trailer last month featuring classic Formula 1 racing cars, Codemasters have confirmed details of the classic cars, drivers and tracks that will feature in F1 2013.

A total of eleven cars from past seasons will make an appearance along with 15 different drivers. Each driver is associated with at least one car and team.

Two editions of F1 2013 will become available on October 4th, with the 1980s car pack plus the Jerez and Brands Hatch circuit will be included in the standard version of the game.

The 1990s cars, Imola and Estoril track will only be available as part of the so-called F1 2013: Classic Edition. This will be a limited release of 10,000 copies in the UK.

Check out the official statement from Codemasters plus the new trailer to the racing game.

Codemasters® today revealed the full list of classic content set to feature in F1™ 2013 and the premium limited edition, F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION. F1 2013 is the latest entry in the award-winning series of officially licensed FORMULA 1™ video games and will launch on October 4th in the UK for the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and Windows PC.

A stunning new gameplay video featuring the contemporary and classic content set to feature in F1 2013 is now showing at the newly launched website www.formula1-game.com, where fans can get all the latest news, media and pre-order the game. Featuring today’s superstars and legends of yesteryear racing at iconic venues including Monaco, Brands Hatch and Estoril, the video shows how dramatically the cars have advanced down the years whilst the spirit of intense competition in the sport remains the same.

F1 2013 will be available in two editions. F1 2013 includes the full game of the current season and classic content from the 1980s, which is playable in the new game mode F1 Classics. Alternatively, fans can choose to purchase F1 2013: Classic Edition, a premium version of the game limited to a run of just 10,000 units in the UK, featuring bespoke box art and expanding the game with 1990s Content and Classic Track Packs. The classic content available for players is as follows:

1980s Content (F1 2013 & F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION)

Circuit De Jerez – former host of the Spanish GRAND PRIX™
Brands Hatch – legendary former home of the British GRAND PRIX

1980s Cars & Drivers:

1980 Williams FW07B
Original Driver: Alan Jones
Team Legend: Alain Prost

1986 Team Lotus 98T
Team Legend: Mario Andretti
Team Legend: Emerson Fittipaldi

1988 Ferrari F1-87/88C
Original Driver: Gerhard Berger
Team Legend: Michael Schumacher

1988 Team Lotus 100T
Original Driver: Satoru Nakajima
Team Legend: Mika Hakkinen

1988 Williams FW12
Original Driver: Nigel Mansell
Team Legend: Damon Hill

1990s Content (F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION only)

1992 Ferrari F92 A
Original Driver: Jean Alesi
Team Legend: TBC

1992 Williams FW14B
Original Driver: Nigel Mansell
Team Legend: David Coulthard

1996 Ferrari F310
Original Driver: Michael Schumacher
Team Legend: Gerhard Berger

1996 Williams FW18
Original Driver: Damon Hill
Team Legend: Jacques Villeneuve

1999 Ferrari F399
Original Driver: Eddie Irvine
Team Legend: Jody Scheckter

1999 Williams FW21
Original Driver: TBC
Team Legend: Alain Prost

Classic Tracks Pack (F1 2013: CLASSIC EDITION only)
Imola– former host of the San Marino GRAND PRIX
Estoril – former home of the Portuguese GRAND PRIX

Players will be able to enjoy the all-new classic content in a new gameplay mode called F1 Classics, introduced by legendary broadcaster Murray Walker. F1 Classics features a new fictional racing series allowing players to race cars, drivers and circuits from different eras. Teams are represented by drivers who raced in team’s specific cars such as Nigel Mansell’s championship winning Williams FW14B from 1992,and drivers who have also represented the team in different eras. Classic content is also available in a range of other game modes, including split-screen and online multiplayer modes.

F1 2013 will also feature all the cars and stars from the 2013 season, allowing gamers to race as Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes and Sergio Perez in the McLaren-Mercedes for the first time, and includes all of the rule changes, tyre changes and remodelled handling to authentically reflect the challenge and exhilaration of racing 2013’s stunning roster of cars. A range of enhancements, improvements, split-screen and online multiplayer, plus new and returning game modes deliver the most complete simulation of a FORMULA ONE™ season in videogame history, with more detail to be revealed.

Classic cars, tracks and drivers to feature in Codemasters’ latest F1 racer

F1 2013 Williams

Codemasters has revealed a new feature in the upcoming F1 2013 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC platform with a classic mode.

The racing game will see retro cars from the likes of Williams, Lotus and Ferrari set in a time period of the 1980s and 1990s. This includes the famous drivers and tracks that formed part of the Formula 1 World Championship.

Legendary television commentator Murray Walker will make an appearance alongside the cars that made Nigel Mansell, Mario Andretti, Gerhard Berger, David Coulthard and Eddie Irvine winners on the racing stage.

The player will also get to drive the famous circuits such as Brands Hatch, Imola and Jerez. This makes a change over the modern-spec tracks featuring large run-offs and chicanes.

Check out the teaser trailer. It all sounds so good to see these amazing cars in a racing game.

As for the main game featuring the 2013 drivers, cars and circuits, it seems a graphical update has been applied. The set-up, menu system and overall feel looks identical to the previous title but let’s hope Codemasters has issued out the bugs with this latest F1-branded game.

Press release on the classic mode in F1 2013:

F1 Classics: 1980s Content includes:

Five iconic cars from Ferrari, Williams & Lotus

Ten legendary drivers including Nigel Mansell, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Gerhard Berger and others

Circuito De Jerez – Former host of the Spanish GRAND PRIX™

Brands Hatch – Legendary former home of the British GRAND PRIX

F1 Classics: 1990s Pack Content includes:

Six Iconic cars from Ferrari & Williams

A host of famous drivers including David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine, Alain Prost, Jacques Villeneuve and others

Classic Tracks Pack includes:

Imola – Former host of the San Marino GRAND PRIX

Estoril – Past home of the Portuguese GRAND PRIX

All The Official 2013 Content

Reflecting what is shaping up to be one most exciting seasons yet, F1 2013 will feature all the cars, circuits and stars from the 2013 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP™.

Two version of F1 2013 will become available later this year (see above), with the ‘Classic Edition’ featuring the 1980s and ’90s drivers, cars and tracks. I know which pack will get my Formula 1 fix!

Kiefer Sutherland plays Snake in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Kiefer Sutherland Metal Gear Solid V

Actor Kiefer Sutherland will portray Snake, the hero of Konami’s upcoming ‘tactical espionage action’ game Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Hideo Kojima has revealed.

As part of Konami’s pre-E3 briefing, the 24 star was revealed as having lent his acting abilities and voice to the lead role in The Phantom Pain.

“This time, with Metal Gear Solid V, the themes are a little different from previous games in the series,” said series creator Hideo Kojima in the video (shown below).

“We’re taking on some very heavy subjects such as race and revenge. I wanted Snake to have a more subdued performance, expressed through subtle facial movements and tone of voice rather than words.”

“Furthermore,” Kojima said, “the game takes place in 1984, when Snake is 49 years old. Therefore, we needed someone who could genuinely convey the facial and vocal qualities of a man in his late 40′s.”

Kojima also said that the open world game has a greater sense of tension than previous Metal Gear games, and that it would deal with themes like race and revenge.

Sutherland was considered ideal for the role because the game’s tone is much darker and it required a subtle, subdued performance.

He was “the perfect fit in terms of age and performance, so we made him an offer,” said Kojima. “We wanted to try and see just how far we could go in making a living, breathing Snake.”

He also promised more depth than ever before in terms of the new game’s storytelling and atmosphere.

As for David Hayter, who provided the voice of Snake since the first Metal Gear Solid game in 1998, he was disappointed by the news announcement but later tweeted that the game will “still be excellent” and yet different, just “like New Coke”.

Gran Turismo 6 heads towards the grid at the end of 2013

Gran Turismo 6

Polyphony Digital celebrated their 15th anniversary of ‘the Real Driving Simulator’ with the news of Gran Turimso 6, the latest game for the Sony PlayStation 3 console.

The new racing title will feature 1,200 cars from several famous car manufacturers, along with seven new racing locations – including Silverstone – adding to a total of 33 circuits to drive on.

Downloadable content will also become available once Gran Turismo 6 goes on sale at the end of the year. The packs will consist of new cars and tracks.

The official press statement did not mention about a PlayStation 4 version, which comes as a surprise. As Gran Turismo 6 will go on sale around the same time as Sony’s next-generation gaming console.

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. today announced Gran Turismo®6 (GT6™), the latest version of PlayStation®’s best-selling franchise, will be released in Holiday, 2013. The news was revealed today by legendary Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi at an event held to celebrate 15 years of the 70-million-selling series.

GT6 for PlayStation®3 will bring new levels of authenticity to ‘the Real Driving Simulator’ as well as introducing stunning new tracks and cars and a revised user interface. A new compact game engine will improve operation and increase the flexibility to expand it with downloadable content. Meanwhile, the game is also set for expanded connectivity with other devices such as smart phones and tablets and increased social and community functions.

All of the cars and tracks from Gran Turismo®5, which has sold over 10m copies since launching in 2010, will be retained in GT6. But notable new additions to the already impressive line-up of historic cars, road cars and the latest race cars, brings the total car list to 1200 at launch, with new cars set to be continually added online. Several thousand aerodynamic parts and custom wheels will be available for almost all cars, and players can personalize their own custom cars in game to the greatest ever level possible.

The UK’s famous Silverstone Circuit will be just one of seven new locations in Gran Turismo 6, taking the total to 33, with 71 different layouts available, 19 of them brand new. There will also be regular additions of new tracks set to be made available online. The improved course maker function will provide gorgeous scenery spanning several tens of square kilometers including the magnificent backdrop of Andalucía.

The theme of Gran Turismo’s innovative collaborations with partner companies will increase with the inception of GT6. A number of exciting new projects that blur the line between the virtual and real will be announced in the run up to the game’s launch. Not least of these is GT Academy, a collaboration with Nissan to unearth real racing driver talent that first ran in 2008. It was announced during the event that the competition returns for its biggest ever year in 2013, with the entry mechanic set to take place on an exclusive GT6 demo in July.

Other notable partnerships in the development of GT6 have been with tyre manufacturer Yokohama Rubber and suspension company KW Automotive. Both companies are active in the commercial car industry and in racing, and they have acted as technical development partners for the game’s new physics engine, for its tyre and suspension kinematic modeling, creating an even more realistic experience for GT fans.

“It is amazing to think that it is 15 years since we first released Gran Turismo,” explained Kazunori Yamauchi, during the announcement at Silverstone Circuit. “Things have changed a lot since then and now Gran Turismo 6 is a further evolution of my dream. We’re pleased to deliver GT6 to PlayStation 3 as we have a very loyal community on that platform. However, we have refactored the game to make it very flexible and expandable, with a view to making many future developments. I am very pleased with everything about the new game and the new additions, but the launch will be only the beginning for GT6. The game will continue to develop throughout its life. I already have many ideas for things I want to achieve in the next 15 years of Gran Turismo!”

Summary of new Gran Turismo 6 features announced by Kazunori Yamauchi:

New Game Engine
• Refactoring
• Compact, nimble operation
• Flexible expandability
• A new rendering engine that pushes the limits of the PS3

New Physics Engine
• New suspension and kinematics model
• New tyre model
• New aerodynamics model
• Technical partnership with Yokohama Rubber and KW Automotive

1200 Cars, abundant custom parts, and on-going DLC
• From historic cars to the latest racing cars, the game contains a total of 1200 cars.
• Multiple aerodynamic parts and custom wheels will be available for almost all cars.
• Players can create their own personalised custom car in the game.
• Cars will be continually added online

33 locations, 71 layouts
• 33 Locations and 71 layouts will be provided from day1 (7 more locations and 19 more layouts than GT5)
• More new tracks will continue to be provided online

New Course Maker
• Massive scenery spanning several tens of square kilometers
• A new course generation algorithm

Community/Club/Race Organizer
• Players can form their own communities
• Various community levels from local and domestic to global
• Players themselves can create and manage their own online events

New User Interface
• Balancing directional key operation and touch operation
• Quick response
• Shortening of loading times

Multi Device Compatibility
• PlayStation®
• Smart Phone
• Tablet
• PC

At the same time as the PS3 version of GT6 the “Real Driving Simulator” launches, a mobile version and web application version of GT6, will be created to enjoy Gran Turismo’s massive community space.

Check out the trailer to Gran Turismo 6:

It looks really good and I am really excited to play this. It’s incredible how much progress has been made to the game-playing experience and visuals over the last 15 years. Hopefully all these new features will make Gran Turimso 6 a joy to play.

Nintendo Wii U review

Wii U

Six years after Nintendo unveiled the unique Wii console to the world with its fancy motion sensor controller dubbed the Wii Remote, the Japanese games manufacturer has devised a new way of interacting with video games by enhancing the user experience with the new Wii U.

The GamePad controller, featuring a large 6.2-inch display, camera, speakers and motion sensors feels like a chunky iPad. And yet it’s very comfortable to hold and use, as it’s not too heavy thanks to the Nintendo’s approach to ergonomic design.

The game playing features are taken directly from the popular DS and 3DS handheld consoles, whereby you have physical buttons (like the D-pad) and a touch screen to interact with.

Super Mario Wii U

Playing games with the GamePad is a joy as it brings a new sense of perspective and experience. Nintendo Land in particular shows off the many features on the controller by tilting, rotating and touching the screen to aid the fun and addictive game play.

While survival horror game ZombiU uses the GamePad as a form of a scanner to look for items as a way of staying alive from the zombies.

Super Mario Wii U game

As for the Wii U, this is the first time that Nintendo has gone for the High Definition route and games now look absolutely breathtaking on a HDTV. New Super Mario Bros. U is a great example, as the environments look even more immense and lively thanks to the gorgeous visuals.

And yet the feature I love the most about the Wii U is the social network. The Miiverse reminds me of a combination of Facebook, Twitter and an online forum.

Miiverse v2

You can post status updates on games with text messages or drawings that everybody on the Nintendo Network can see. Players can ‘follow’ one another and rate status updates with ‘Yeah!’ approval. In addition, if you are having a difficult time on a level, just post a message on Miiverse about your troubles and a solution on how to complete it is given by the helpful players online.

This social interaction makes the Wii U really unique. Instead of the usual online competition to be the best against the rest, there is a sense of networking and embracing your online friends. It feels friendlier and you get to see the different personalities thanks to the witty messages and drawings.

Is this Nintendo’s finest console? The HD visuals do make the games look fantastic and thanks to the powerful processors, the Wii U can finally match the capability of Sony’s PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 from Microsoft.

As for GamePad, the touch screen elements work very well in the games on offer in particular Batman: Arkham City Armoured Edition. Although it will be fascinating to see developers creating new and exciting ways to harness the GamePad and the system’s other unique options to deliver one-of-a-kind experiences in the years ahead.

Forza Motorsport 4 fever

This is Microsoft’s answer to the ‘real driving simulator’ with the superb Forza Motorsport series from developer Turn 10 Studios. The latest title for the Xbox 360 – Forza Motorsport 4 – features Kinect support, which can track your head movement while racing and when exploring the inner beauty of your desirable exotic cars in Autovista mode.

Even though I am a fan of Sony’s Gran Turismo series, I felt the latest instalment on the PlayStation 3 lacked something… the feeling of competing wheel-to-wheel in a race and fighting for track position in a highly competitive field of cars. Sure, the sensation of driving is quite accurate with realistic handling in terms of tyre grip and performance but in terms of game play, Gran Turismo 5 felt a little sterile and to be brutally honest, dull.

Since purchasing the Xbox 360, I have been enjoying many fantastic racing games with the likes of DiRT, Project Gotham Racing 4, Test Drive Unlimited and of course Forza Motorsport 2 and 3.

It took me over a hundred hours to fully complete Forza Motorsport 3, unlocking faster and powerful cars while progressing the World Tour Mode. The sense of achievement in winning championship races or endurance events was a great feeling and I love the idea in which you can customise any car with colourful liveries and decals.

In addition, the Xbox Live multiplayer mode was fantastic and I remember spending hours racing against my mates fighting tooth and nail to be number one! The Xbox Marketplace was also the place to download new cars, tracks and liveries thanks to the enthusiasm of Forza Motorsport fans.

The level of detail was astonishing with beautiful rendering of the cars and tracks. The game play can be fully customise to provide a challenge and for once, competing against the AI rivals felt like you are actually racing instead of follow the leader and sticking to the racing line…

With the news that Forza Motorsport 4 for the Xbox 360 is out in October, it will be fascinating to see whether the new features will improve the quite excellent Forza Motorsport 3 even further.

Well, first impressions are the visuals (check out the YouTube videos of the trailers above). It looks fantastic, in particular the interior shots. The new Autovista mode, which features Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson giving his opinion about the cars, reveal the true attention to detail that the developer Turn 10 Studios has focus on in this new game.

In fact, Turn 10 Studios has scored an exclusive deal with the BBC with a multiple year partnership with the popular motoring show. The content provided by the BBC’s BAFTA award-winning television show Top Gear, will include narration from presenter Jeremy Clarkson during the virtual showroom navigation (Autovista), the Top Gear test track at Dunsfold aerodrome plus the ability to take part in the ‘Star in a Reasonably Price Car’ challenge in the Kia Cee’d. Not only that, Forza Motorsport 4 will include the classic Top Gear ‘Car Football’ as part of the World Tour Mode, plus a Top Gear bowling mini game, both set on the official Top Gear test track.

It all sounds so good with the Top Gear partnership and yet Turn 10 has spoil us even more with the news that the game is officially partnered with the American Le Mans Series for two years. This new arrangement will see in-game ALMS themed events featuring the cars and tracks raced in the series.

I have already pre-ordered the Limited Collector’s Edition off Game.co.uk which features exclusive downloadable content including a dashboard theme and various car packs available on Xbox Live. Not only that, a 96-page volume entitled ‘Cars of Forza Motorsport 4 Presented By Top Gear’, written by the editors from Top Gear magazine.

Roll on October 14 (European release date) for Forza Motorsport 4!