So I’ve been playing FH4 for a while now - got it on launch day - and I have to say, while it’s a great game in many ways, there are things that need improving, some of which have, rather annoyingly, been present since FH3/FH2. For me, one of these issues is the AI system, specifically its rubberbanding and auto-upgrading to match the player’s car. We’ll tackle each of these topics in turn, and then I’ll make a case for why there should be an option to turn them each off and on a la Forza Motorsport 4.
First off is the rubber-banding. Sure, this can be great for short races where the whole point of the event is to be a rollercoaster of adrenaline from start to finish. But sometimes, with longer races, it can just get annoying and be pretty immersion-breaking. I’m a fan of longer Blueprints where the name of the game is consistency over a long run, so feeling like I’m constantly under pressure can ruin the atmosphere of the race, making it difficult to fully enjoy it, and even harder to get into the mindset of “just hit your marks and bring the car home.”
Of course, the problem of the rubberbanding, while serious in some cases, is made worse by the fact that the AI automatically upgrade their cars to match the player’s PI. Again, sure, this can be fine in short races where the octane is high and the racing is supposed to be tight by design. But sometimes you just want to have a race where not every car performs the same. Say, for instance, you want to have a vintage car race. Obviously, you’d never, ever, ever dream of modding, for example, a Jag D-type in real life because that would kill the value of the car, so you want all the other cars to remain unmodified for realism’s sake. Or, in another instance, you have a race set up where multiple cars from multiple categories are allowed, and you want to be able to witness each car’s strengths and weaknesses, which could make for a very interesting race. Sadly, this just isn’t possible in the game right now.
Now, it may seem like I’m 100% against rubberbanding and auto-upgrading AI, but I’m not. Far from it. There are many people who want these things because they play the game differently and/or want different experiences from FH4. They should be able to have their cake and eat it too, just like everyone who plays the game. That’s why I want an option to disable or enable both AI auto-upgrading and rubberbanding. Having this options would allow those who always want loads of excitement and close racing to have what they want, while allowing people like me, who are more interested in realistic races where the packs usually wind up much more spread out to get what we’d like as well. Heck, with the option, you could turn either one or both on for short races, and leave them both off for longer endurance races. That’s why I think there should be an option for this.