Forza Horizon 4 Review
Forza Horizon has been a franchise that was always the little brother of Forza Motorsport. In recent years however, it seems to have moved into the main role and when Forza Horizon 3 came out, it blew everyone away with what Playground Games had achieved! This year is no different, but is it all too similar or is it another jewel in their crown?
The moment you jump into your car you get that same feeling as you did when you played Forza Horizon 3, but we are trading warm sandy beaches and deserts for tight winding roads and forests. Forza Horizon 4 is set in the United Kingdom and what better way to start a game than to be tearing it up down a country road through villages and ripping up the forests narrowly missing trees and everything else that comes into our path. This time around we get a more diverse map last the previous Horizon title, and everything done in amazing detail that it’s hard to believe how Playground Games could improve their craft any further, but they have! In Forza Horizon 4, some of the events that you can do require a certain season. Thankfully, while you wait, there is always something to do in the game. As you are driving about through the countryside’s of Britain, you are reminded of your social media status and influence. This influence increases as you partake in races and pull of some skill combos as your drive around.
While you do get the usual suspects of racing events, there are some new ones that are added to the mix. These are spilt into difference categories or disciplines like Road, Off-road and Cross Country. While these are different categories, you are free to choose what car you want to race in, so the game doesn’t force you to pick a car you don’t particularly like. Obviously, you aren’t going to want to tear up the forests in a McLaren F1, but the choice is there if you are crazy enough to do it. There are also those Showcase events where you can race against jets, trains and even a hovercraft. These are some of the craziest races in the game and are a lot of fun to take part in and there is also a cool Halo event to race in.
To go along with the racing in the game, you also get a chance to buy houses and even take ownership of some businesses so that you can earn some extra cash. It kind of reminds me how Test Drive Unlimited worked in regard to having better property and getting the better cars. It would be even crazier if they were to add more of what Test Drive was trying to achieve in relation to various game modes that was in the game.
The gameplay in Forza Horizon 4 hasn’t changed much, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing, why mess with something when it works so well. There are a few changes in there to keep the quality of life the game running. There are some more breakable objects to smash into, which is always a lot of fun, you don’t need to pay to switch out of your cars and you can also do some customisation to your character as well. While it’s limited now, hopefully more will be added as more content gets released. While this may not be enough for some to warrant a new Forza Horizon game, it’s the location in which its set in that is more than enough reason to purchase the game!
Driving about Britain with it’s rolling countryside roads and wiping past some of the old-style castles and stopping to admiring the many beautiful scenic moments in the game is something that always hits home to me. To had to all this, we get he return of the Barns and the secrets they hold within. It was missed from Forza Horizon 3 and it was a pretty big miss for me. Thankfully, with it back in the game now, you can explore every roadside, every mountain road and every little nook and cranny on the map to find them.
Forza Horizon 4 seems to be the smoothest experience of the 4 titles from Playground Games and this is even more evident when play on the Xbox One X. You can choose between a performance mode and quality mode. I went for the quality mode as I really wanted to see every detail as it’s meant to be beautiful recreated. From the changing of the seasons to the overall aesthetic feel of the game and how the cars look against the beautiful backdrop of this British countryside, it’s definitely the way to play and get the full benefit of your Xbox One X and show off everything in glorious 4K.
With Performance mode, the quality drops to 1080p and the framerate jump to a cool 60 frames per second. Here you can witness the game at a smooth fast-paced sprint as your McLaren is ripping through the countryside and cutting up the fields in all its glory. It’s the way most racers, if not all of them should be played. However, for me, I just love that 4K juicy image on screen and turned it back to the Quality mode after messing about trying to hit some of those little sheep.
Forza Horizon 4 doesn’t have many competitors lining up to take its crown, but that doesn’t mean that Playground Games as taken their foot off the pedal. The Horizon series for me is more enjoyable and longer lasting than its bigger brother. Whether you are a long-time fan of the franchise or just a newcomer looking to dip a toe in, you won’t be disappointed. While it doesn’t have much in the way of any direct competition to it, it is one of the better racers our there on any platform.
The level of detail from the cars to the open world in which they race and drive about it, is all a pure joy to witness. You will find it hard to ridicule or nit-pick at anything in the game and even find it harder to stay away from it, whether it’s to jump on with friends and race about the numerous events or just to find that next awe-inspiring moment that you can grab a screenshot to show off to friends and family and to anyone who loves the Horizon series.
The Horizon series is here to stay and Forza Horizon 4 shows that Playground Games are not resting on their laurels. With each game they release, they seem to improve time and time again. The worlds they create within the Horizon world is a thing of beauty and it’s scary to think what they could achieve when they are let loose and venture outside of the racing genre.
GoG Rating: 9/10