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Forza Motorsport 4: the first few hours

Getting off the grid in career mode with the Xbox's star performer

Forza Motorsport 4, the forth instalment of the Xbox's finest racing marque will be with us on Friday and with our Forza 4 review hitting last week, we decided to take it for swift outing to explore the first few hours with the game by having a thorough plough through the amateur division of career mode.

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Forza has always been about slick, super fast performance cars and the petrolheads who love them and after a car porn peon intro from Jeremy Clarkson, you're launched straight into a one-lap celebration of speed in the Bernese Alps in a bristling Ferrari 458 Italia.

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Hurtling through those iconic mountains in a bright red Ferrari beast proves very seductive, with amazing alpine panoramas hurtling by, fast bends, swooping tunnels, placid lakes and a superb downhill final section providing the perfect backdrop for your first drive. The Forza series has always had stunning visuals and part four proves no exception, with fantastic scenery, a palpable impression of speed and superb car modelling.

Perhaps as enjoyable as the drive itself, is the truly beautiful replay engine, which mixes all kinds of TV shots and cuts to record your hottest laps. Here you can relive every corner, deft overtaking manoeuvre and scattering of cones as you power-slide hard hard through a chicane and it makes a breathtaking opening to proceedings.

But it's straight out the Ferrari frying pan and into the reasonably priced sensible car as you're subsequently launched straight into World Tour career mode. After the highs of piloting a snarling Prancing Horse, it's a more mundane choice that greets you in your first amateur event. Still, there's at least a good selection of 2011 F-class racers on offer, including the Citroen C1, Ford Ka, Nissan Micra and Chevrolet Spark.

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