Forza Horizon 4 Review03/10/2018
Forza Horizon is back this time set in the picturesque north of Britain and bringing with it a few changes to shake up the roads.
For those unfamiliar Forza Horizon is a racing game set around the Horizon Festival an event that puts music and racing above all else and tries to find a champion over the course of one glorious summer, this time around though Horizon has found it’s home and has settled down in Britains winding country roads, woodland trails and the city of Edinburgh with the all-new addition of seasons.
The game introduces you to these during the tutorial stage, set over the course of a year in the festival, it progresses you through Summer where the sun is high in the sky and everything feels bright and warm; Autumn where the roads are slick with a combination of heavy showers and falling leafs; Winter where the everything is covered in a layer of snow and the lakes are frozen over; Spring, where the fields are filled with crops and the dirt trails, are muddy and wet, back round to Summer again where you finally unlocked the shared world and the seasons will now be updated weekly by Playground Games, bringing a series of season-themed events to go along with it.
Not only is Playground Games rendition of Britain visually beautiful and ever-changing thanks to seasons, but it is also filled to the brim with things to do. Horizon has a huge selection of racing available from the Road Racing series, Street Race events, Cross Country, Dirt Racing or Drag each has their own style of racing that’s suited for different types of cars allowing you to play with some variety in your car choices.
Horizon has also tried to implement some story style events such as working with a movie director to help them get that perfect stunt shot or going into business with the World’s Fastest Rentals and pushing super cars to their limit. It all feels a little-forced story wise but it’s still a heck of a lot of fun to play despite that.
As well as races and story events Horizon has an abundance of in world activities to do, with speed traps/zones, drift zones and danger signs all making a come back, and I have to admit I love doing these, competing against people on my friends list to see who can go the fastest through a speed camera, or get the furthest distance jumped off a danger sign is a lot of fun to me especially when it can be done in real time together within a shared environment, it really brings out my competitive side. Bundle all this with over 200 collectables to get and 531 roads to explore you can spend literally dozens of hours just messing about within the open world before you even touched the racing side of things.
Now a racing game is nothing without its cars and Forza has proven time and time again it’s go big or go home, and this time they delivered, having managed to licence over 450 cars in to the game, whether you enjoy racing the newest supercars like 2018 Bugatti Chiron or maybe going old school in 1947 Mercury Coupe is more your thing and even some wild cards are thrown to the mix like a Mercedes Racing Truck or a Reliant Supervan, there is a car for pretty much everyone regardless of your tastes and each one is incredibly detailed it feels like they fit in to the environment perfectly.
Newly added to Horizon is the ability to purchase houses some of these houses include perks, these can be as simple as freewheel spins to more useful perks like double Forzathon points or the ability to fast travel anywhere on the map. Most houses are just fast travelled points themselves though and are used as a means to access your garage and character customization, another new feature is being able to dress your character how you please Horizon offers a reasonable selection of clothing most of which needs to be earned or won using wheelspins, it doesn’t however have any practical uses to the game but does help you feel like your avatar is your own.
Graphically Horizon looks superb, I am playing on the One X in performance mode and the game plays perfectly with no stuttering issues with or popping in of objects it really is impressive to see even when driving through the world at 260 mph that game will still play smoothly and looks gorgeous while doing so. It has left me in awe on many occasions and wondering how they will top it with future releases.
Musically I felt as if the game was a little hit and miss this time and given that Horizon is a festival of cars and music that’s a real shame, as the only radio station I personally enjoyed was Pulse but even then the selection of songs was so limited that after a while I found myself turning it down and listening more to the sounds of the engines rather than the music, I do hope that in future releases they work to get more licensing for songs.
As someone who isn’t a huge fan of racing games Forza Horizon manages to grip me each time it releases, the controls are responsive and the use of the rewind feature is a life saver for amateur racing fans like myself, the shared world is fun to explore and beautiful to just cruise through. All in all, Forza is the king of racing games right now and Forza Horizon 4 clearly shows why it has that title, by blending serious racing with a fun open world, Playground Games have made a game that hardcore racing fans and casual gamers can enjoy alike.