Connect with us


Forza Horizon 4 Review

Mason Sylvia



Forza Horizon 4 manages to capture everything brilliant about its predecessors and throw in some needed elements from its brother series, Forza Motorsport, resulting in a harmonious blend that substantially raises the bar for the racing genre. If you ask me, there hasn’t been a racing game on shelves as rich and decadent since the long lost days of Need for Speed Underground and its cult sequel. It goes without saying that Forza Horizon 4 delivers the ultimate open-world racing experience that is as rewarding as it is immersive, and once you start, you never want to stop playing.

Playground Games have managed to improve on the already outstanding visual quality presented in Forza Horizon 3 and Forza Motorsport 7 and have redefined the meaning of photorealistic. Forza Horizon 4 presents an extensive roster of fully customizable vehicles of varying classes, a customizable career that takes racers to new extremes and provides a personal touch to the experience, and, of course, the return of the prestigious Horizon Festival. What mainly separates Forza Horizon 4 from its predecessors is the inclusion of a consistent changing of seasons that entices players to return each time for new and varying experiences. Each season adds different elements and changes the game significantly, as well as the addition of continuous challenges, and a large and generous rewards system. You’re given a taste of Forza Horizon 4’s rotating seasons during the four hour prologue, but the main narrative kicks off during the Summer season before transitioning into Autumn for the game’s official launch on October 2nd, with Winter and Spring to follow, respectively.

McLaren Senna – the showcase vehicle of Forza Horizon 4

We’re once again taken on a journey to the coveted Horizon Festival, a celebration of cars and culture that puts Coachella to shame. It picks up where Forza Horizon 3 left off, as Keira, the manager of the previous Horizon Festival, brings the celebration to Scotland. Each week in real-time, seasons change, bringing an entirely different look to the game and adding new races, challenges, events, showcases, and of course, barn finds. With the winter season, for example, certain previously inaccessible areas are now explorable due to bodies of water being frozen over; this allows players to venture out and locate rewards and collectibles such as influence boards and fast travel boards as well as season-exclusive barn finds — cars abandoned in garages ripe for the picking and restoration. Forza Horizon 4 features a seamless multiplayer experience where players are exploring Scotland together in a shared Horizon Life session, allowing you to interact with your fellow players, or just keep to yourself entirely. You can also opt out of the Horizon Life experience and play entirely independently, should you wish. But there’s some fun to be had playing with other people.

Forzathon makes a return, which introduces players to challenges that offer unique and tempting rewards including Forza Edition cars — super rare, limited edition, souped up rides with gold license plates and XP and skill boosters — but with a twist. With Forzathon, you now earn #Forzathon Credits which allows you to choose your own rewards from a handful of selected options, ranging from vehicles to special horns to clothing for your character. If that isn’t enough, every hour, there’s a limited time event called Forzathon Live that allows players to work together toward a common goal and receive rewards for their accomplishments. It’s all entirely optional, and if you’d rather be a lone wolf, there are innumerable races to run in varying disciplines such as street racing, rally, drift, and even the ability to create and customize your own races with Horizon Blueprint and earn rewards for sharing your creations with the community.

Classic British Road Race

I’ve never been one for online gaming — I’m minimally competitive and likewise cooperative — as I’ve always enjoyed immersing myself in the virtual world without interruptions from other people. Sure, I’ve played my share of Call of Duty and Battlefield when I was a teenager, and recently, Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and Fear the Wolves, but I largely prefer solo experiences for full immersion. However, with Forza Horizon 4, I never feel the need to remove myself from Horizon Life sessions because it’s interesting to see what other people are doing. It’s especially enjoyable given the fact that other players are ghosted when coming in contact, so no one can slam into you and ruin your drift train; pausing and rewinding work even while online, and the community is wholly positive. You can communicate via quick phrases which is a neat, positive, and wholesome feature, and if you’ve got the Best of Bond pack, there’s a few amazing phrases to use.

With the ultimate edition of Forza Horizon 4 (and available for purchase separately) is the Best of Bond Car Pack which adds ten iconic vehicles from the James Bond film franchise, two outfits for your character, and a handful of quick phrases to use to communicate. Naturally, the massive Bond geek inside me freaked out at the announcement leading up to the game’s launch and for the first few days, I drove nothing but the Aston Martin DB10, the Aston Martin DB5, and the BMW Z8. It was a dream come true, honestly. Nothing beats racing around Edinburgh in the iconic DB5 while sporting Sean Connery’s white dinner jacket tuxedo while humming the classic theme song. With the inclusion of Forzavista, which gives you an in-depth walk around of your vehicles, you’re able to activate the gadgets on the Bond vehicles that contain them, and it’s an outstanding homage to the historical and beloved franchise. Considering the fact that we haven’t had a proper James Bond game since the disastrous 007 Legends in 2012, this may be the best Bond fans could get in the modern era.

Aston Martin DB5 – James Bond Edition – Gadgets

Forza Horizon 4 looks to bring more personal feelings into the experience and expands on the player character features from its predecessor. You’re able to select from a handful of diverse characters — though it couldn’t hurt to add more — and choose their name from an extensive list that have been pre-recorded for gameplay purposes. From there, you can customize their clothing and accessories, most of which is unlockable through rewards and progression; your character and their name can be changed at any time and all of the clothes are unisex — if you want your male character to race around in a galaxy miniskirt and a pair of sequined wellies, you go right ahead. While the character selection pool is mildly disappointing, and I wish some character models from Forza Horizon 3 made a return, I think the true missed opportunity is not being able to change their hairstyle. You can also purchases homes for your character which serve as personal Horizon Festival hubs, allowing you to access your garage and the ability to paint, upgrade, and tune your rides, the Autoshow — where you purchase vehicles — the auction house — where you can bid on cars or auction off your own — and the character customization menu. There are different properties around Scotland ranging from a quaint and inexpensive cottage to Edinburgh Castle itself for a cool $15 million. Your first house is free and with the VIP Pass, you receive access to a $5 million lake house; each property comes with its own respective perks and rewards that are definitely worth obtaining.

The rewards system is similar to its predecessors, except for the inclusion of Super Wheelspins; these slot-machine styled reward dispensers will provide players with in-game money, vehicles, character customization options, and custom car horns. The difference between Wheelspins and Super Wheelspins is that the latter is three-in-one, which is just incredible and generous. I’ve managed to win a variety of amazing rides, super cool clothes, and over $20 million in total from numerous Super Wheelspins. I managed to earn enough money overall through my experience to purchase Edinburgh Castle, Bramburgh Castle, a McLaren Senna, a Bugatti Veyron, and a Bugatti Chiron all at the same time, due to my obsession with stockpiling rewards. It’s an insanely satisfying experience to be able to be a virtual high roller and I highly recommend having a go; retail therapy in video games is just as satisfying as it is in the real world.

BMW Z8 – James Bond Edition

Playground Games have managed to reach a new level of visual quality and graphical fidelity, effectively redefining what it means for a game to be photorealistic, and they know it. Exploring an open-world has never looked so gorgeous, and taking advantage of the in-game Photo Mode, which allows players to capture the most gorgeous photos. You’re also able to stylize your images with tweaks and filters and finding the perfect tweak can really turn up the volume on how stunning the end result is; even zooming in on the interior of the car will allow you to see the insane level of detail in the super high resolution textures. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve captured photos that looked authentic, or how many photos I’ve seen from the community comparing in-game photos to real-life ones and not being able to differentiate which is which.

Showcases make a return, which are really just outlandish and action-packed races that puts the player up against the most insane challenges, like outrunning a fighter jet, or beating a hovercraft or The Flying Scotsman to the finish line. Bucket List challenges are gone, but they’ve been replaced with Horizon Stories, which gives players missions and tasks such as running a rental business for hypercars, being a stunt driver, joining a drift club, and participating in a YouTuber’s top list of favorite cars in video games by racing them around and showing off what they can do. I found these to be remarkably enjoyable, unique, and refreshing experiences that are absolute brilliance.

Lotus Esprit – Wet Nellie

Like Forza Horizon 3 and the its predecessors, once I started playing, I had a hard time putting the controller down. With Forza Horizon 4, however, it feels as though the controller is super-glued to my hands. It’s easily the best entry in the franchise thus far, and arguably, the greatest exclusive to ever grace the Xbox One console. I was absolutely blown away by the experience and it seems to just continuously get better as it grows and evolves with time. I don’t know how Playground Games will manage to top this, but I already can’t wait to see what direction the Forza Horizon series goes in with its next installment.

Forza Horizon 4 is available now, exclusively on Xbox One and Windows PC.

The Best Forza Experience Yet
Forza Horizon 4 manages to capture everything great about both the Horizon and Motorsport series in gorgeous harmony and deliver the ultimate open-world racing experience.
Magnificent, photorealistic visuals
Wide variety of vehicles and customization
Extensive variety of races and events
Seamlessly integrated online community
Needs more businesses to own
Could use more character models to choose from

Video game enthusiast, James Bond aficionado, Tomb Raider expert, and lover of Beefeater gin. I'm a creature of habit and I'm either found buried in a book or working through my video game backlog when I'm not working my day job.




Copyright © 2019 NerdBite