Play Career Mode
As with the previous games, Career Mode represents a set of races that you must compete in and complete in each calender year. There are 10 calendar years in total, but the number of races will be different; fewer in the first few years but as you progress there will be more and different types and levels of race as well. Before we discuss that though, we need to address the system that is used by the game to assign the races in each year...
You might be thinking that these will be a set list of races, but that is not the case at all. In fact despite the fact that there is a set list -- and they have an Achievement associated with completing all of them -- the game will often have you replay a race you have already driven and won! Why does it do that? Well, the answer is because it is the nature of the World Tour Mode. But that is not a very informative answer is it?
The reality has more to do with the car you are sitting in when you get to the next race than it does with any logical scheme for which is the next race. Put simply, if you just finished a race in your S-Class car and there is an S-Class race available in the next set, you will be offered that race. If there is not, you will be asked to change cars. The races it shows may be an E, D, and an R2, so you will need to change to a car in those classes -- or -- a car that can be upgraded to one of those classes.
Once you do that, if you have automatic upgrade enabled it will be upgraded when you enter the race, otherwise the game will ask you if you want to upgrade your car. Note that while the game will upgrade a car automatically it will NOT downgrade one. That being the case it is a good idea to have a number of cars from your preferred maker in your garage at any given time, with the Class types spread out so that you always have at least one car in the required class. Note that if your preferred make is Volkswagen (or any other make that does not have R-Class cars) you will still need a couple of R-Class cars to use in your alternate make.
The end of a career or just the start?
-- The Races --
You will encounter a variety of race types from standard races to challenge-type races -- in fact as far as I can tell you will eventually complete ALL of the different types of races in the game as you work your way through World Tour (AKA Career Mode). That is a good thing, but you should be aware that there are some exceptions you need be aware of, as otherwise you may not find this an enjoyable experience, so we need to cover those now.
First: Always upgrade your car.
When you are using a Class for the first time or bumping a car up to the next Class, you should always upgrade it to the highest number in that Class that you can because otherwise you will find yourself losing a lot of races.
The automatic upgrade feature works OK for the most part, and will make the right choices for most races, so you can trust to that if you are not comfortable devising your own upgrade path. You need to understand that all of the AI cars will be upgraded to as close to the top range of that Class as they can be made to go. If you fail to do that as well, you cannot compete with them.
Second: You can lose a race.
I know that is obvious, but it needs to be said. The AI racers in Forza 4 are a bit smarter than the ones from the previous games, and they will capitalize upon your mistakes when you make them. Sadly save for specific and limited cases, you rarely get to capitalize upon THEIR mistakes. A case in point is going off-course -- you do it and you will find that your car is profoundly effected by the process, going from fast to 3 MPH in a heartbeat. When your AI competition does it, nine times out of ten going off-course has abso-bloody-lutely ZERO impact on their speed and handling. They simply drive back onto the course and continue as if nothing happened.
This may be frustrating, hell it may even be a bug! But it is the way that it is, and as there is nothing you can do about it, you should make an effort not to let it upset you.
Third: This is not a Weekend Game.
You are looking at a game that, in order to play it fully, will demand a minimum of 150 hours of play time plus. I say plus because while you will be able to unlock all but two of the Achievements in this game in that 150 hours, the Affinity Achievement and the Bucket List one (and maybe the one for owning the most expensive cars in the game) are going to take you way more than the base 150 hours. Way more.
Considering the variety of game play options here, you are likely to be best served by adding this game to your regular gameplay rotation list and then letting the Achievements pop when they do. You are better off NOT boosting for them, as that will likely cause you to burn out on this title, and that would be a shame.
2012 BMW M5 DLC Car
Fourth: Affinity is like chasing a bad roll in Craps.
One of the new additions to the game is manufacturer Affinity -- put simply it is how well they like you and is based on how many miles you have driven in one of their cars. The magic number for Affinity is Level 5, because at Level 5 you get the cash reward from them AND your parts discount is now 100%. After that, any upgrades (save for a few) are free.
When you add another Affinity Level above Level 5 you get a cash reward, and of course when you get any maker's Affinity to Level 50 you get an Achievement -- but that is really not something you even want to think about mates. Seriously. Just keep it in the back of your mind, let it come when (if) it ever comes, and leave it at that, because if you set out to boost that Achievement you are looking at perhaps months of play... Certainly not weeks.
Fifth: You do NOT have to turn your racing into a Grind to gain credits.
In past years the only real way to gain the large amounts of credits required for purchasing the high-end cars was to grind out races with high pay-outs. This naturally had the effect of changing the way that the game was perceived - from a fun and entertaining to a boring series of race after race whose only purpose was to build up a bank of credits with which you can purchase the cars you want. While you can do that here if you want, the game was actually designed with an alternative...
The source of the alternate approach is represented by two factors -- actually four Achievements -- the Ferrari Collector, Factory Driver, Bucket List, and Exclusive Taste Achievements to be specific. What do I mean? Right, well the first factor is the massive increase in Driver Levels in Forza 4, which has 150 Levels as opposed to the 50 found in the previous games. The second factor are those three Achievements, which serve to promote the need for obtaining credits in large numbers.
Fortunately with each Driver Level comes a cash reward, and like unto that, with each Affinity Level comes another Cash Reward! So presuming you are interested in unlocking the Bucket List Achievement you will doubtlessly be working your way through ALL of the outstanding events after you attain Year 10, right? Right!
So... Instead of grinding out the same races over and over again to gain money, you can do something that actually has a feeling of progress to it, and offers a different set of challenges with each race! Seriously... Think about it... You will be completing each of the racing series, which gives you the cash purse for each, plus the rewards for Affinity and Driver Level. To put this in perspective for you, all of the Driver Levels above Level 50 include a sizable cash reward (more than 100,000 credits), and that number increases with each Level. The reward for attaining Level 55 is 115.000 Credits, while Level 56 is rewarded with 117,500 Credits so you can see the progression... Likewise with the Affinity Level, this also increases, so every so many races (which you are also gaining money from) you get a sudden infusion of cash in big chunks -- for example the reward for Affinity Level 20 is 95,000 Credits, while at Level 25 it increases to 105,000 Credits and so on.
I don't have the math handy, but I can say with reasonable confidence that following this alternative to grinding will take you to the same point -- enough funds to manage the purchases you need to manage in order to unlock those Achievements -- than if you forced yourself to do the Grind route, which really, who wants to do? The important thing though is that it will take you to that point while, at the same time, completing the various races on the large chart and so get you ever closer to the Bucket List!
Grinding Credits and the Legendary Battle Achievement
-- Grinding Credits --
On the off-chance that you decide that grinding out the credits is preferable to the longer (but far more entertaining) process as outlined above, there is a method that was widely used in Forza 3 that can be employed in Forza 4 to generate around 300,000 Credits or more in an hour. It works like this (you can also follow it along in the video above):
(01) Select Community
(02) Select Race Online
(03) Create Race
(04) Game Setup
(05) Change the Environment to "Test Track"
(06) Change the track to "Test Track Layout A"
(07) Change Max AI Players to 11
(08) Change Max Players to 12
(09) Change AI Difficulty to "Professional"
(10) Change Laps to "50"
(11) Change Car Class to "Any"
(12) Change Damage to "Limited"
(13) Change your car to one of the fastest R-Class you own
(14) Turn all of the Assists off to maximize your Credit Rate
(15) Start the race
Now once the race begins, instead of following the course as the other drivers are doing, you simply make all left-turns, basically going in a very tight circle to around the inside section of the track. I am told that this can be completed in 20 minutes or so but I found 30 to be closer to average...
As you can see, I combined this example with the Legendary Battle Achievement for convenience sake.
-- The Career Decade --
There are ten years in the World Tour of Racing. Each of these has a different number of events, and each has an Achievement associated with it. Those are:
Year 01 Amateur (25 GS)
Year 02 Clubman (25 GS)
Year 03 Sportsman (25 GS)
Year 04 Semi-Pro (25 GS)
Year 05 Expert (25 GS)
Year 06 Professional (25 GS)
Year 07 Masters (25 GS)
Year 08 Elite (25 GS)
Year 09 Champion (25 GS)
Year 10 Legend (50 GS)
It may look simple enough, and it is certainly a goal worthy of working towards, but would it surprise you to learn that a fair percentage of the gamers who play this game will never unlock the Achievement for Year 10 during their first 6 months of play? It is true. The reason for that has to do with the fact that with each progressive season you have to complete more races -- for example in Year 1 there are 5 races, in year 2 there are 7, but by the time you get to Year 9 there are 24, and in Year 10 you have to complete 27 races!
The hundred-odd races in between often present a significant challenge for casual gamers... But that does not describe YOU! You are a professional gaming driver, so unlocking all 10 seasons will be a cake walk for you!
One minor suggestion that I wanted to make -- most players, once they get above Level 50, tend to stick with the S-Class and above cars, and because of that spend their time racing at speeds above 150 MPH for the most part. Now, don't get me wrong -- this is cool and fun -- but since you have already been doing that for a fairly long time, now would be a great time to take one of the low-end cars from your preferred maker and convert it to, say, a D-Class ride...
Doing that will expose you to some race series that you have not been exploring up to now, and will set the pace speed back around 75 MPH or so (certainly less than 100 MPH), which gives you a different perspective and experience of racing. This is especially valuable and entertaining on the European tracks... I am just saying. Plus, some of these races pay quite well considering.