Forza Horizon 4 is the newest game in the popular Horizon series from developers Playground Games and published by Microsoft Studios; and to put it short, this is an Xbox exclusive that Microsoft need right now. Forza Horizon 4 is bigger, faster and louder in everyway. Compared to the superb Forza Horizon 3, Forza Horizon 4 offers more vehicles, a larger diverse map, a hefty quantity of single and multiplayer modes, musical choices and options on how you want to play to make Horizon your own personalised experience.
When you boot up Horizon, it throws you straight into the game with a very quick tutorial followed by an expansive introduction called the Prologue. You must play through the Prologue before becoming apart of the full Horizon roster. During the Prologue you will experience each season with their different weather patterns and get familiar with the game at your own pace. This experience will cover all four seasons (Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring) and players take part in many different events and activities. It will last anywhere between 4 to 6 hours depending on the players skill level and activities you choose to raise your “Influence”. Like the past Horizon games, raising your influence is how you raise your overall player level. During the Prologue Summer, you are not yet connected to the shared world experience, however once you reach Autumn and complete a race, you will connect to Horizon Life servers and the cloud-controlled Drivatar AI in your world will be replaced with real players. You can choose to play Horizon solo at any time and still play through the entire campaign, but you will appreciate the spontaneity, personality, and fun that real players bring to the experience. Your goal during this Prologue period is to obtain a ‘Yellow Wristband’ via influence to qualify for the official Horizon Roster.
Once you have earned your Yellow Wristband, the game opens up even more. Seasons, time of day and weather are fully synchronized for you and everyone else playing the game. Seasonal changes occur every Friday at 12:30am Australian Eastern Standard Time.
These seasons change the gameplay significantly. Races during Summer will be dry, slick and fast, which is perfect for street and drag racing. While Autumn will bring the rains, loosen up the ground, creating wet roads, mud and puddles. If Rally is your race of choice, save those for Autumn. Once Winter comes and Winter is coming, it is a total different ball game. Lakes, creeks and all the water the Autumn rains bring will freeze over, which makes some racing areas only accessible during Winter. Races will be less about sprints to the end but controlling your over powered vehicles over the icy roads and landscapes. Winter also brings the snow, making the Cross Country races completely different. So make sure you carefully choose your vehicles and don’t forget your snow tires. If you enjoyed Forza Horizon 3’s expansion Blizzard Mountain, you will love Winter. The final season is Spring. Spring is a mixture of all the other three seasons. Frozen water is thawing, the snow is starting to disappear but still present on many of the higher peaks while the streets of Edinburgh are once again becoming fit for high speed street racing.
A great thing about the seasons is the new Seasonal Championships. Unlike the past games and Championships just popping up, they are linked to the seasons, meaning that each week new championships will appear and the types of races will reflect that season and different vehicles will benefit.
The campaign has changed somewhat in Forza Horizon 4 and now has a Horizon Life Campaign. It features over 25 distinct areas, each one representing a different way to play the game. These cover everything from Road Racing, to Cross Country, Drifting, being a Stunt Driver, taking photos and even streaming on Mixer. Everything you do in the game earns you “Influence” in these career threads. You can progress in any one of these threads at any time depending on which events and activities you choose to play.
It keeps the outrageous Showdowns, where you race different types of “transport”, including a hovercraft, motocross bikes and even a Halo Pelican. Unlike the past game, these are not the goal for the player to complete the game and see the credits roll. In fact, I had completed all these races within the first 9 or so hours. There are new ‘job’ type story segments, each with 10 chapters. The first is being the Stunt Driver and while another is working for a blogger, replicating races from other racing games such as Ridge Racer, Daytona and more. The other two jobs you will have to find out for yourself, as I am not giving it all away. There are also more promised jobs coming and all for free.
One of the most exciting new features in Horizon is Forzathon Live, which is open to any players currently roaming the world who wish to take part (up to 12 players at a time). There are no individual scoreboards; just a group target, focusing on teamwork rather than competition. These appear every hour, on the hour, at numerous locations around the map. You get 15 minutes and a group target for something like a Danger Sign, a Drift Zone, or an open area where the goal is to rack up as many Skills as possible any way you wish. If the group beats stage one in the time limit, you then go through to stage two, and then eventually to stage three. At the end, everyone gets Forzathon Points, which you can spend on rewards of your choosing in a new area called the Forzathon Shop. New rewards are to be added to the shop every week with each season change.
Like the past games, the venue is half the star of the show. You experience dynamic seasons in an open world set in the beautiful and historic Britain. The country side across all seasons is beautiful, no matter if you are playing on a original Xbox One, S, X or Windows PC. You will travel through the best Britain has to show. Small, quaint villages, rolling hillsides, a sandy coastline, Lakehurst forest, mountain ranges and the famous Scottish city, Edinburgh. And all venues change from lush green, full of wide life such as sheep, birds and deer, to the brightest oranges and dark reds; to be covered in a blanket of white until the flora and fauna return in Spring, along with the liveliest colour to once again cover the map.
If you are playing on Xbox One X, you will have a new graphics option that enables you to choose between the game’s default “Quality” mode in native 4K and HDR at 30 frames per second, or “Performance” mode at 60 frames per second in 1080p and HDR.
If the venue is half the star of the game, the motor vehicles are the other half. You can collect, modify and drive over 450 cars from more than 100 manufacturers, with all the customisation options Forza players love, including brand new drift suspension upgrades, track width offsets, and more body kits than ever before. The game has the world’s top manufactures and many of the greatest vehicles on the planet, including the 2008 Aston Martin DBS, a range of Porsche 911s, 2016 Subaru WRX, 2016 Lamborghini Centenario and my personal favourite 1973 Holden HQ Monaro GTS. No matter what takes your fancy, you will accumulate a mass of pleasing rides and find the ones you prefer. The best thing about these vehicles is the different feel each of them has. You can’t just race any vehicle in any race on any surface. It’s a small learning curve that the player will quickly pick up.
Along with car customisation, you can also now customise your chosen driver avatar with clothing, accessories, and emotes, and own property that unlocks new items and gameplay perks, from small cottages to castles. These properties are like the old Horizon venues, which allow you to enter your garage, customise your vehicles and avatar, purchase new vehicles and fast travel between them.
Overall, Forza Horizon 4 is an exclusive that Xbox and racing fans can be proud of. It offers more content than any of the previous games, a backdrop that can be paused and just taken in, no matter the season. It more importantly, it allows you to get behind the wheel of the world’s greatest motor vehicles and race them in Horizon’s consistent heart pounding thrill rides. Street Races, Cross Country or Rally races will all have you on the edge of your seat. I am currently level 72, hours and hours into the game and I cannot wait to get back into Horizon Life. If a game can do that to a player, it’s a must own.
+ The Britain venue and astonishing graphics.
+ Seasonal changes.
+ The vehicles and variety of them.
+ Tight Gameplay.
+ Amount of modes.
– You have to wait a week for seasons to change or 3 weeks to get to your favourite season.
-It will take all your time.
Pottsy for One More Game
*Please note that this review code was provided for review purposes. All thoughts on this title is that of the reviewer and the OMG team.