Forza Horizon is certainly the most desirable racing title amongst car enthusiasts this generation and this year’s entry is sure to impress with over 450 cars from over 100 manufacturers. Add to that an ever changing world that incorporates four truly amazing seasons and you are in for an amazing ride. So let’s strap in, fire up your engines and head to the streets of Britain. This is Forza Horizon 4.
Forza Horizon 4 continues to build on its predecessor in many different ways, however for the uninitiated driver Forza Horizon essentially is a party festival for car enthusiasts. Here in the horizon world you can explore Britain any way you like, choose which events you want to partake in and purchase and drive any vehicle to your liking. It’s a great open world racer that at its core feels truly amazing and is fun to drive. Forza Horizon 4 is similar to that of Forza Horizon 3 in terms of the whole Horizon Festival experience. You continue to enter events, earn wristbands and progress through the ranks like most racing games.
Forza Horizon 4 eases you in to the experience very nicely by taking you on a whirlwind tour of the four seasons, summer, autumn, winter and spring during its prologue. You are introduced to various events from track races to point to point events, even showcase events and more. After 2 or 3 events, the seasons will change so you can see how vastly different each season is and the impacts those season changes make to your gameplay experience. At this stage you are not connected online, however after around five hours of gameplay you will earn your yellow wristband which will qualify you for the official Horizon roster and the season will advance to autumn. Once this occurs you are then connected to the Horizon Life servers and the cloud controlled Drivatar AI in your world will be replaced with real players, up to 72 in fact. You certainly have the option to remain disconnected from the online world for the entire campaign however you will be missing out on such a great, connected experience, but still the choice is entirely yours.
The Forza Horizon world changes once you have earnt your yellow wristband. The biggest factor from my experience is the seasons. You will now be in the same world, the same season as every other player that has made it as far as you have. Each week the seasons will change and for those in Australia, that change will occur every Friday at 12:30 AEST. There are also specific seasonal championships, events and content as well as new campaign events that are specific to each season. This is great as the content always continues to evolve based on the seasons at play. I mean, you can’t race across a lake if it’s not frozen for example.
Another change to Forza Horizon 4 is the addition of FORZATHON live and is open to any players that are currently roaming the open world. Up to 12 players can take part at any time and when the notification appears at the top of the screen, you can decide whether to join in or not. If you opt in, you need to head to the meeting point in order to partake in the event. With FORZATHON live you work as a team with the other players in your world. You are given 15 minutes to complete three events, ranging from drift challenges, speed traps and Danger signs with the objective is to rack up as many points as you can. One cool feature was the automatic ghost mode which is enabled so you don’t collide with any other cars during the FORZATHON live event. If you miss a FORZATHON live event never fear as these are held on the hour, every hour. Once you complete a FORZATHON live event you earn FORZATHON points which can be spent in the FORZATHON shop and these rewards are constantly updated with season specific items as well.
New also to Forza Horizon 4 is the ability to customise your character in many ways. Aside from the pre-set name choices, you can actually dress your character as well. You can use your cash to purchase clothing items or you can gain various items from various free wheelspins. Normally you would either win a car or some cash, but now, expect to find hats, jackets, shoes, dance moves, emotes and more. I must admit I don’t personally see the value in dressing up my character and selecting from various dance moves including “the floss” but these features are certainly present should you wish to use them. The other addition is the ability to purchase various homes around Britain which is a neat idea and reminds me fondly of games such as Test Drive Unlimited. However these changes are really just personalisation changes that may or may not appeal to you and for me personally they did not. Wasting a wheelspin to earn a hat really grinded my gears personally.
Forza Horizon 4 is set in Britain and thankfully Britain also drives on the correct side of the road making it seamless for us Aussies to adapt to the rules of the road. Whether you fancy a trip to the beautiful English countryside or perhaps Edinbough, there is plenty to see and appreciate here in Britain. Scattered around the map are several look out points or places of interest for you to see which a great idea. In terms of map size the question is often asked as to which is bigger. Thankfully the maps size in Forza Horizon 4 is actually the same as that of Forza Horizon 3 which is great. Personally making the map size exponentially larger each time almost detracts from the overall experience and character of the environment that has been created.
As with previous instalments of the series, car customisation is back and with more options and tweaks than before. The all too enjoyable route creator also returns as to does the auction house which currently was not available pre-launch. Also worthy of note is the huge assortment of cars, over 450 to choose from, but I must admit as a Mitsubishi owner I was disappointed to learn that no Mitsubishi cars were present in the game which is unfortunate. For those that have played previous Horizon instalments you will be pleased to know that the menu system is laid out in similar fashion to Forza Horizon 3 with its various tabs and tiles.
Graphics & Sound
Forza Horizon 4 continues to push the envelope with everything it does, from the way the cars handle and feel which in my opinion means absolutely everything, to the world itself that is created. You truly feel like you are driving through Britain and much like Forza Horizon 3, there are various landmarks that will truly make you feel like you have been there before, and for those that have its like visiting Britain all over again. The key is in the games realism and that’s something the Forza series nails every time. With that comes the familiarity factor as well. When you play Forza Horizon 4 it does feel familiar and that’s a good thing because the formula has been perfected so well over the years. If you alter that formula you could kill off the entire franchise which is not the intent. The intention is to keep adding to that amazing world and experience with each new version, whether it’s dynamic weather to seasons and more.
Visually Forza Horizon 4 looks absolutely stunning. For the Xbox One X version you have the option to play in the default “Quality” mode in native 4K and HDR running at 30 frames per second. The other option is “Performance” mode with drops the resolution down to 1080p and increases the frame rate to 60 frames per second. This is a great addition for many as the option to choose frames per second over resolution is one welcomed by many. For PC owners the experience is based on your particular hardware settings but should you have a capable PC, you can run Forza Horizon 4 in full 4K and 60fps or more. I have tested both the PC and Xbox One X versions and they are both truly amazing and I would honestly say I prefer the option for 60 frames per second over the 4K resolution on the Xbox One X as the extra frames per second increase the level of realism and fluidity of the game which is key in a racing title.
Forza Horizon 4 continues to build on its predecessor and is still one of the most fun and enjoyable open world racing games of all time. Forza Horizon 4 has plenty to see and do as well as explore in the beautiful Britain. Mixing in the new seasons and online FORZATHON modes is a great change, but the addition of clothes and emotes are an acquired taste for some. Overall the core of Forza Horizon 4 is its amazing racing and its true feel which is always present and continues to shine. There is plenty to see and do in Britain, so make sure you pick up Forza Horizon 4 and see everything that it has to offer.
Thank you to Microsoft for providing an early access copy of Forza Horizon 4 for review purposes.
Forza Horizon 4 Ultimate Edition is available on September 28th 2018 globally.
Forza Horizon 4 Deluxe and Standard Editions are available on October 2nd 2018 globally.
Forza Horizon 4 is also included in Xbox Game Pass at launch as part of the $10.95 AU monthly subscription cost.
Forza Horizon 4 is also a Xbox Play Anywhere title for the Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X and Windows 10 PC.