Forza Horizon 4 Review
Forza Horizon 4 is much more of the same, and while there aren’t any great leaps or improvements over Forza Horizon 3, a brand new setting, with new cars and new objectives keeps the game fresh enough for long time fans, while retaining that Horizon, open world driving charm. Can the open world racing game that hasn’t changed much across four releases really keep players coming back? Let’s take a look.
First and foremost, we need to talk about the most impressive – and always most impressive – aspect of the Forza Horizon series: the visuals. When it comes to open world, simulation racing experiences, no one does it as well as the development team behind Forza. From beautifully detailed landscapes, to interesting and accurate real world locations, to the plethora of beautiful cars, nothing visually has been skimped on this time around, a trademark really of the Horizon series.
And there is no shortage of places to look either. Many games prioritize one aspect of the visuals over others; in most racing franchises, cars receive the bulk of development time, while everything else is scaled back to save time and money. This isn’t the philosophy for Forza Horizon, however. As the premiere open world racing title, it had a reputation to maintain and uphold, and there is no doubt that they do this.
And good looking game can only get you so far, however, and at some point, what’s under the hood of the experience is more important than the glossy coating on top. Once again, Forza Horizon 4 doesn’t disappoint, with a wide variety of races to take part in – Street races from A to B, off-road racing, and traditional lap racing. And what’s great is that each and every race event felt unique and different. Off road derby racing had a completely different feel than street racing, in terms of the composition of the tracks, the cars used, and the philosophy of your opponents.
And that is ultimately the mark of a good racing experience, which is not only a good reflection on the tracks and opponents, but the cars as well.
Driving around Britain has never felt so great, thanks to a robust lineup of cars, from old classics to new speedsters, from muscle cars to efficient family cars. They are all here in Forza Horizon 4, and most importantly they all feel unique when being driven. That is the true mark of a fantastic, well developed, racing title.
Ultimately, however, it is the steady rewards you get for completing the games many challenges, some of which will refresh themselves as you play, especially as seasons change. This is a big deal for Forza Horizon. Past games in the franchise have provided different terrain and weather areas, but Forza Horizon 4 brings about the idea of completely seasons, which you will cycle through as you play through the game. On top of looking great, again it’s great to see how driving simulation changes depending on the season, weather conditions, and so much more.
It is the career mode that really got me excited about the game however, providing you with tons of customization never before seen in a Forza Horizon game in the past. Choose from a wide variety of avatars, as well as a few different vehicles to get your story underway. Throughout, you will win challenges and unlock cars, usually being given the option to decide which car you want for your collection. Even the licence plates are customizable this time around, which is a minor, albeit welcomed touch!
The changing world doesn’t just stop with seasonal changes. No, Forza changes each and ever day, even every hour! There are always online challenges to complete that are refreshed every hour, and single player races and challenges to complete with are refreshed every day. And from my week or so with the game, it appears as if the challenges you get are constantly changing. There is variety in them, not just the same 2 or 3 concepts refreshed across the world. And these challenges will ultimately become fairly important, as you attempt to earn more credits and notoriety, so you can buy better cars. The credit distribution is pretty generous as well, which means early on you can unlock cars each and every hour, creating a great garage of vehicles for you to master.
While the sound track in Forza Horizon 4 leaves much to be desired – the only major knock on the game in fact – everything else is top notch, to the quaint sounds of rural Britain, to the thundering noise of the engine on a muscle car. Once again, the detail is phenomenal, giving each car a unique feel that makes you realize the development team poured love into each and every vehicle, rather than just using a few different sounds to mimic certain classes of cars. For regular joes like me, it’s just a testament to the teams development strength. For hard core car lovers, it will add another dimension to the game entirely.
Certain things are gone – albeit replaced. Bucket list challenges are repacked into Horizon story missions, my personal favourite being the ones were you help local movie sets perform various stunts for films. But my favourite aspect from past Horizon games – Barn Finds – are back and better than ever, giving players a plethora of beautiful, and very British, vehicles to find.
Very few development teams put as much love into their racing titles as the team behind Forza Horizon, and once again that development expertise is on display in Forza Horizon 4. There is very little negative to say about this experience, outside of a few graphical hiccups and a subpar soundtrack. Apart from that, however, Forza Horizon 4 was a title I couldn’t get enough of, coming back time and time again – even upon completing my review – to see what community challenges there were, or what new missions had opened up while I was sleeping. With so much to do, and even more to see, Britain’s Forza Horizon 4 is easily the best in the series, putting the Forza name on top of the video game racing world once again.