- Game: Forza Horizon 4
- Consoles: Xbox One (reviewed), PC
- Publisher: Microsoft Studios
- Developer: Playground Games, Turn 10 Studios
A Forza Horizon 4 review code was provided by the publisher.
Forza Horizon has taken the fast and furious gaming community all over the globe. The biggest fictional racing festival started in Colorado, transitioned to Southern France & Northern Italy, and later made the trek over to Australia. Forza Horizon 4 keeps the international theme going by placing its racing series within its own version of the vast United Kingdom. With a new locale to explore comes a host of new features and alterations that makes everything just as engaging as it ever was. While one of those new mechanics falls a bit short of expectations, the rest of Forza Horizon 4’s garage is brimming with enjoyable road (and dirt) racing challenges.
If you’ve thrown yourself into the Forza Horizon experience before, then you have a good idea of what to expect here – hundreds of real-world cars to collect, a nice variety of racing circuits to engage in, plenty of wild Showcase events to hop into, and an open-world full of boards to crash & barn finds to discover. Thankfully, all of those series traits maintain their high fun factor. It’s even more enthralling due to the visually stimulating presence of the UK. The addition of ever changing seasons also helps this new hub location stay fresh throughout the remainder of your stay. One week, you’ll be driving over a frozen lake with a souped-up monster truck. Then the next week, you’ll find yourself racing under clear blue skies in a clean 2006 Audi RS4. Seasonal changes positively effects your festival progress and manages to make already beaten tracks feel new again.
While Forza Horizon 4 still gives you the option of racing offline against AI Drivatars, it also provides an even more fulfilling online option. Now, online servers are able to host up 72 human players. There’s a lot of fun to be had as you link up with fellow daredevils to take on all manner of races and assorted challengers. The main hook of hopping online is the new Forzathon Live mode. Every now and then, a message prompt will pop up and urge you to participate in an online co-op event. Up to 12 players can join up with each other and attempt to complete three separate challenges under a certain amount of time.
While it may sound cool, Forzathon Live’s execution leaves a lot to be desired. Beating a single challenge is done through repetitious actions, such as repeatedly driving off a high location until the distance traveled meter limit is reached. Then once a challenge is complete, you and your cavalry of drivers must attempt to complete the next one over and over again until you’re ready for the next and final challenge. This online co-op feature would have been better off offering quick challenges to zoom through instead of three overly long and repetitious missions. You’ll quickly discover that most of your online fun will come from impromptu competitive races and co-op exploration. As for the newly added Team Adventure mode, it clearly offers the best co-op experience of the game.
Forza Horizon 4 throws in a bunch of extra content that fills out an already feature-packed franchise. You finally get to customize your human avatar – not only can you alter their appearance, you can also attach showboating/victory animations to them. The Route Creator allows you to create your own racing pathways for you and other racers to take on. Drift Suspension has been added in as a new vehicle upgrade option. And now you have the ability to purchase different homes to shack up in.
The game’s lineup of 12 houses are quite expensive, but the constant reward loop that comes from your in-game progress makes sure they’re not unattainable. Owning your own home in Forza Horizon 4 actually makes a quality of life adjustment – instead of driving all the way to the festival hub, you can simply transport yourself over to a nearby purchased home and handle all your menu activities from there. The added benefits of gameplay boosts, new vehicles, and other unlockable perks makes the presence of home buying a fun and rewarding feature.
Simply getting to first place in every type of racing circuit never grows old. Besides that main gameplay hook, there’s another one that entails free roaming the UK and uncovering all the hidden goodies you’ll come across. One of the newer parts of the Forza Horizon 4 experience are the Horizon Stories events. A film director has chosen you as his main stunt double – you’ll be put behind the wheel of a variety of cars and be asked to pull off amazing big screen feats.
This new mechanic ultimately offers the same experience seen in Forza Horizon 3’s Bucket List challenges, but manages to make them more interesting now that they’re backed by an interesting plot. This open-world racer simply gives you so much to see and accomplish – if you find yourself looking for a non-race to compete in, there’s a massive map full of other options to choose from. Pulling off daredevil feats while a surly movie director gives you commands just so happens to be one of the better options.
Forza Horizon 4’s digital garage is jam-packed with exquisite automobiles. And they all look amazingly photorealistic. Blazing down the road in a 2016 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, drudging through the mud in a 2007 Toyota Hilux Arctic Trucks AT38, and pulling off a masterful drift in a 1996 Ferrari F50 GT are all real in-game possibilities. The process of looking through already or soon to be bought vehicles has even been changed for the better – instead of scrolling through each car one by one, an easier to navigate menu places a whole collection of cars under its appropriate manufacturer. The only issue tied to the game’s huge car offering is the unfortunate omission of certain models from Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Lexus.
Forza Horizon 4 Takeways
Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios are masterful in their approach to open-world racing. Forza Horizon 4 is clearly proof of that. The never-ending reward loop, huge host of events to compete in, massive collection of vehicles, and interesting takes on competitive/co-op multiplayer challenges do a lot to make this racer worthwhile. Ripping down the roads of the UK is an incredible experience, plus the seasonal changes do a lot to freshen up everything featured on the beaten path.
One of the newer mechanics on deck for Forza Horizon 4 is Forzathon Live. Unfortunately, it’s not as effective in delivering the high fun factor the rest of the game is known for. That mode stands out as the only blemish on an otherwise incredible open-world racer. Forza Horizon 4 is an exhilarating tour through the beautiful countryside of Great Britain. Racing game fans and non-fans alike need to give this amazing sequel a go.
Our Forza Horizon 4 Review Score: 9.75 out of 10