Review – Forza Horizon 4
The Xbox One may not have a ton of exclusives being released yearly, but if there’s one thing the console dominates over the competition, it’s racing games. Simply put, the Forza franchise is the best racing series out there and Microsoft always manages to release a new masterpiece every year. Last year they gave us Forza Motorsport 7, a near perfect racing simulator that, sadly, got slightly tarnished due to the publisher’s attempt at implementing loot boxes. This year, they’re giving us Forza Horizon 4, a game that can easily be considered one of the greatest achievements in the history of the racing genre.
Forza Horizon 4‘s gameplay remains the same. Owning a game like this one is like owning multiple racing games at once. You have a deep illegal street racing section, a rally race mode, a hardcore off-road section, a ton of open world exploration, some plot-heavy segments, hundreds of cars to satisfy your collector OCD, and even some silly scenarios involving cult British cars akin to what the good old Top Gear show would do. It’s very fitting, given the British setting.
This bizarre recreation of Great Britain features both places from England as well as Scotland. Geographical accuracy isn’t this game’s strongest, as you can easily go from the Lake District to Edinburgh in about two minutes, but that’s definitely not a concern. The main star of this map is the weather system: unlike the usually grey and rainy weather in real-life Britain, this game features three very specific season scenarios. Yes, I know: while the game technically features four seasons, both spring and autumn act in the same way, basically being the game’s rainy season with low visibility, while summer is the season with lots of sunlight and winter is the season in which you’ll basically limit yourself to driving 4×4’s and buggies due to slippery terrain.
Driving around this Little Britain is fantastic. Not only are the controls downright perfect as usual, but the visuals are also top notch. No matter what type of Xbox One you own, be it S or X, you’ll be treated to great visuals and a very competent framerate at (almost) all times. The Xbox One X allows you to choose between a performance mode focusing on providing a 60fps framerate or a 4K mode. As with pretty much every single open-world game out there, Forza Horizon 4 suffers from some pop-ins, especially when you’re driving at very high speeds, as well as textures being loaded at slow speeds when using the staple rewind function.
Very slight visual hindrances aside, this is still a blast to play. There’s a ton to discover, an insane amount of cars to collect, tons of different racing categories to choose from, as well as the Forzathon mode, a team-based competitive series of challenges that happen from time to time on the map and you can choose whether or not you want to partake or not. The showcases are as absurd as ever. The premises are so epic and dumb it feels like Jeremy Clarkson himself wrote the script for this game. Let’s make a buggy race against an old train on top of that railroad that appeared in the Chamber of Secrets movie! Let’s make a 1000hp fully tuned Aston Martin race against a fighter jet! It’s ridiculous, it’s absurd, and it’s glorious.
Like other iterations of Forza Horizon, this game comes jam packed with lots of different radio stations, all of them being masterfully curated, with an excellent selection of tunes. I’m a rock fan myself and ended up loving the rock-oriented Horizon XS radio station, with tunes from bands like Greta Van Fleet, Underoath, Pennywise, and Queens of the Stone Age. The hip hop station wasn’t bad either, even including classic tunes like Rapper’s Delight!
I need to give special praise to one sidequest in particular: the missions given to you by one of the characters in the game: LaRacer. This stereotypical Youtube content creator wants you to help her film a top 10 list with the greatest cars in racing gaming history. That means that you’ll drive a Ferrari Testarossa to pay homage to OutRun, a Toyota pickup truck to partake in a Super Off Road revival session, and many more. I cannot explain how much I loved this mode. More than just a few fun extra missions, they are a true love letter to racing gaming in general.
Forza Horizon 4 maintains the tradition of providing players with an insane amount of cars, races, secrets to discover and much more. This is just pure fun. Without a doubt the best Forza Horizon game ever made and one of the best racing games ever conceived. This is a must-have for Xbox One owners. It’s fun and accessible enough for casual players, and can also be tweaked to challenging perfection for simulation fans. It took me a long time to sit down and write this review because I just couldn’t stop playing Forza Horizon 4. It’s the kind of game you’ll literally spend days in without even paying attention to your surroundings, ignoring news, releases, everything that’s not related to you driving down a Scottish road at 200 miles an hour.
Not to mention that they have included the Peel P50 this time around. Best. Racer. Ever.
The visuals are gorgeous and the game does a herculean effort at providing a great sensation of speed at 30 frames a second, but it’s also prone to frequent pop-ins.
Forza‘s staple gameplay, with fully customizable controls and physics depending on your skill level. Menu interfaces are a lot more intuitive than Forza 7′s menus.
A fantastic selection of tunes as usual, as well as realistic sound effects and engine noises.
Fun Factor: 9.5
Despite a relatively slow start, Forza Horizon 4 is chock-full of cars, races, secrets to explore… it’s the ultimate car game, period.
Final Verdict: 9.5
Reviewed on Xbox One.
Forza Horizon 4 is available now on Xbox One and PC.