The new Forza Horizon 4 manages something that’s rare in racing games: it’s built for people who genuinely, really fking love driving cars.
That sounds simple, but you’d be amazed how many racers get released with janky, unrealistic controls, or uber-competitive (and overly complicated) pro racing progression.
Forza Horizon 4 doesn’t care about any of that. With this series, Playground Games have always cared more about the feeling of driving. The flash of chrome on an exhaust. A hyper-realistic sandbox world that makes you want to play Xbox in driving gloves and a linen scarf. With Forza Horizon 4 they’ve reached some new stratosphere for racing games in general.
Honestly, we haven’t enjoyed a racing this much since the old Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit a billion years ago (still the high watermark of racers, in our humble opinion).
Forza Horizon 4 officially hit the shelves yesterday. The game’s set in an amalgamated version of Great Britain that squishes the geography between Scotland, England and Wales. Best of all, Playground Games have introduced seasons. These aren’t just a cosmetic skin either—wind, rain, snow and ice all affect the handling and performance of your car. Seriously, it gets really bloody detailed—the drop in air temperature even affects your tyres.
One perk of the seasons is that familiar tracks play differently in different conditions. While your tore through chicanes in Summer, you’ll spin out on Winter’s icy roads. Dirt tracks that were crisp in Spring can turn into muddy bogs in Autumn.
New cars will also come online in each season, available through the new seasonal races: the Ferrari 812 in summer, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS ’19 in autumn, a Chevrolet ZR2 in winter, and the Honda Civic ’18 in Spring.
Let’s talk cars. Forza Horizon 4 has 100 more vehicles than its predecessor, bringing the total to 450 in the base game. A few of the old favourites are gone, including Mitsubishi and Toyota, but Volkswagen fans will be happy to see classic Beetles, Kombis and Golfs, including a few new toys like racing trucks.
Every vehicle comes with an individual perk tree, so you can tweak your ride. The handling and performance feels weighty and authentic (but you wouldn’t expect anything less from the Forza franchise).
Xbox owners, you’ll be happy to know that Mircosoft are including Forza Horizon 4 with the Xbox Games Pass, which means you can check it out for only $10 a month. They’ve also released a James Bond Car Pack (!!) with a selection of classic rides from the series.
- Insanely realistic world build. You can pick out every blade of grass.
- Seasonal conditions and wet weather racing.
- 450+ cars to play with, including some sweet new toys.
- Nice online focus, plus solid single-player progression.
- The usual Windows 10 and Universal Windows issues.
- Occasional long load times.
- Spending in-game currency for fast travel can be a drag.
If you love cars and a British breeze in your face on the open road, pony up and buy this game. It’s probably the best open world racer ever built.
Image credit: Playground Games