I’m a big fan of games that meet you where you are (so it would initially seem like I’m really enjoying the decisions made for FH4) and yet the glaring way FH4 actually doesn’t do that is that there is no attempt to incentivise anything beyond the legacy systems that still exist and yet are so clearly not the point of anything here.
You still get a credit boost for changing the assists and this would be thought of as part of the package of ways the game incentivises playing at your limit. I’ve written at length about how the series (starting with Motorsport) did exactly that for me but when you remove the link from finishing and credits earned then the assists are basically just a multiplier you set for no great reason to moderately change how many credits you get at the end of the race (because where you finish sure doesn’t) and it’s all pointless because the vast majority of your earned credits come from levelling up and so on to unlock gambling rewards. And as the simulation damage doesn’t affect any other driver and the courses seem to have been designed without even considering anyone would enable it, some of that stuff doesn’t even seem to have been ported forward with due consideration (so you can get a bit of a credit boost that doesn’t matter by enabling an option that means you always come last if the course has a jump in it because you’ll slow down while all the AI still run full-speed).
The open-entry and auto-tuned cars seem like it’s meeting you where you are until you race any of the seasonal or weekly events that are limited by class (or even specific car for the weekly stuff) and you realise that the game is actually pretty useless as correctly finding cars to fairly compete with you. It’s either easy (even on the highest AI difficulty) or literally impossible without scaling them back as the AIs either have weird boosters or are tuned in a way that means you’re never going to compete in what you can to the event with. Don’t even get me started on how much the AI cheats online - we focus on the few Showcase events for their pure rubberbanding AI but the rest of the game is not exactly free of issues with actually giving you a suitable challenge and not cheating (unlike previous games that have seemed generally better behaved outside of Showcases and especially in the FM games). And the results don’t really matter anyway as everything is only classified as completed or not so it doesn’t push you to experiment anyway. Just as well as so many of the cars are locked behind either only being rewards from gambling or being something that’s easiest to get to via random luck of the gambling.
It’s such a fun game to play and world to drive around in but it’s all got the smell of oxygen to it. You can feel the casino even outside of the explicit gambling elements. The constantly rising numbers, the way they’re linked to being in the place and inhaling that air rather than challenging yourself. Even the PR events and their leaderboards feel more vestigial now the seasons mean we’ve just had a week where basically most of the leaderboards were impossible to really dive into because the conditions were worse so you’d do better to just wait for better weather and get a real top score later on. Oh, and the times you’ll be doing those things for the #Forzathon Live stuff which are all about just repetition to boost the total rather than actually getting a high score.