Forza Horizon 4
The Forza Horizon series has been a blast, with each subsequent version being better than the previous, with Forza Horizon 3 taking the series to massive new heights. In fact it was so good that all Playground Games had to do to make a killer sequel was create a new location and drop the existing game into it. That would have worked perfectly, and most people would have been happy.
But that’s not how they roll at Playground.
They re-invent every two years, and this time round is no different. This time round, seasons change everything. And they do, especially summer vs winter. In basic terms seasons give you four times the challenges, four times the fun. Race the same race four times in four different seasons and have four different experiences. It’s simple really, because whilst in summer you might be able to get two wheels off the asphalt and keep going, but in autumn those two wheels will loose grip and at the least give you a little slide, and at the worst grab you and spin you around.’
It’s the subtle differences that make the seasons work. A dry mud field in summer will be a wet muddy field in autumn and a deep snow covered field in winter. In fact there is a massive lake that freezes in winter opening a whole new area to explore.
But season’s aren’t everything, and one of the biggest things with Forza Horizon 4 for me was the vertical nature on Playground’s Britain. Sure previous games have had hills, but in Forza Horizon 4 you’ll actually be racing up mountains. And this leads to some insane Danger Signs.
From racing through the summer sand dunes, to ripping down a motorway in a super car, to racing down snow covered mountain tracks, Forza Horizon delivers fun in a big way.
All the usual things are there like danger signs, speed zones and drift zones, as well as all the different types of racings and the option just to explore.
A few things are missing, being replaced by stories, but the game as a whole gels together nicely, giving you the option to progress the way you want to. One really nice aspect is that when you enter and event it will be tailored to the vehicle you are currently in. Don’t worry, you can still blueprint you own event and pick a style of car you would prefer.
What this mean for me was that my 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STI which I won on an early wheelspin, was my goto car for most of the game. Of course if that sounds boring to you, you could race any number of cars, but I was saving up to buy a castle. And whilst statistically the Subaru is still my favourite car, I have over two hundred cars in my garage, and most of them were won through wheelspins or super wheelspins.
And whilst my Subaru may have helped me grind through the games progression, when it came to nailing three stars on the speed zones or danger signs, all the different cars came out to play. And then there was the online play where you had to choose cars on the fly depending on the current restrictions.
Different parts of the game are also now hidden away in different areas. One of my favourite things to do early on in Forza Horizon is to find all the fast travel boards so I can fast travel for free. Well, in Horizon 4, once you have all the boards, you also have to purchase a particular property to unlock the fast travel to anywhere ability.
It might sound a bit tricksy, but it encourages exploration and planning.
Along with buying properties, Horizon 4 also gives you the chance to pick an avatar and dress him or her up with clothes that you can win on wheelspins. The only downside to this is you do tend to get a bit sick of doing a wheels spin only to win a pair of shoes, car horn or dance move.
And then there is Forzathon. The thing that Microsoft hopes will keep you coming back week after week. And it will. Not only for the weekly challenges, but also for Forzathon Live, and event that pops up regularly in game and encourages all players in the current session to race towards an objective and then work together over three heats to get the required amount of points. Forzathon hands out a different currency as it’s reward, but also has exclusive stuff you can spend the money on.
All in all it’s an impressive package and one that will keep you coming back for more. More racing, more moments, more fun.
Rating: G Suitable for general audiences.