Forza Horizon in my opinion was a series designed to give the players a fun little break from the competitive and unforgiving track racing presented by the Forza Motorsport series.
Developed by Playground Games, this game was a delicate fusion between open world and racing, a one of a kind at its time of release. Now, 6 years down the line I’m pretty sure the Horizon series is more popular than the Motorsport series, with Forza Horizon 4 is clocking in at 7+ million downloads and on the receiving end of consistent high ratings.
Forza Horizon 4 is an absolutely gorgeous experience. You can tell it has taken shape from its predecessors by its playful and vibrant nature. However, unsurprisingly so much has changed since the previous installment.
This time, it’s set in a condensed version of England, Scotland and Wales, bringing all exciting landmarks closer together to create this huge playground for players to traverse.
The biggest change by far is the addition of seasons. Every week the game cycles between the four seasons, and with each season brings a massive change to the map.
Summer overlays a warm, fresh tone over everything. Clear skies as well as a blaring sun casting light over everything.
Autumn litters the roads with crisp, red and yellow leaves and the now auburn trees take over the suns’ spotlight in preparation for winter. Roads get very muddy, making it perfect for rally racing.
Eventually winter comes round. It’s pretty easy to tell because the entire map is blanketed by a thick sheet of snow. Everything radiates a cool blue aura which gave me big Blizzard Mountain vibes from back in FH3.
Finally, when spring arrives, flowers bloom as trees start to regrow their leaves. Green once regains control of the world as all the vegetation begin to re-flourish.
As for the actual driving experience, well it’s nothing short of exhilarating. Driving is unchallenged. Each car has its own unique identity, its own way of being tamed. These exotic cars paired with the flawless physics engine creates an unmatched driving experience.
Campaign mode stories and side missions are as entertaining as they get for a racing game. I at no point found them too repetitive or boring.
Probably the only thing I could complain about gameplay-wise is the DLC. The LEGO Speed Champions expansion is a lot of light-hearted fun, however it just felt really small. You unlock 3 LEGO cars and 1 barn find which isn’t even out yet. I felt that a lot of the missions were rather pointless and were only there to increase the lifespan of the DLC.
Multiplayer is just a bit of a sad story.
The reason why I’m not deducting many points for this is because its not really Playground Games’ fault. They’ve created what is a fairly substantial multiplayer.
It’s just the players who are the problem. And it’s been like that for years. You will always get put in a lobby with at least one dirty wall-rider or one of them dudes who just run you off the track at their earliest convenience.
Forza has tried to address this issue by implementing and AI that will detect when you are about to crash and will either restrict your speed or temporarily put you in ghost mode depending on whose fault it is. However I feel at this point multiplayer is just a bit of a train wreck at this point.
Controls + Optimization:
Controls were flawless. I didn’t have to make a single adjustment to my Xbox controller as the button scheme was basically identical to FH3. Everything felt natural and I could instantly hop into the game and begin racing.
Optimization on the other hand… Nothing much to say except for the fact that my game would constantly crash, at least once per session. This was very irritating and cost me a lot of time. I still have yet to discover why this happens as I easily cross recommended requirements for this game.
Aside from that, it ran at a very stable 120 fps on max settings.
If you’re looking to take a break from the plethora of classic track racing games and want to experience the best of the best in open-world racing. I’d highly suggest purchasing Forza Horizon 4 for its signature campaign, next-generation graphics and of course its limitless customizability.
Even those of you who aren’t die-hard racing fans, this game will appeal to you in one way or the other, that I’m sure of.
FINAL SCORE: 9.2/10
RIP Toyota & Mitsubishi