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Forza Horizon 4 Review

Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 Review

Turn 10 and Playground Games are back with the newest entry in the Forza universe, Forza Horizon 4. They had the daunting task of trying to make the fourth game in the series feel fresh and exciting, but even at a time where a slew of great racing games have hit the market, Forza Horizon 4 stands out from the crowd.

What I Like

Gameplay

From the moment you settle in behind the wheel with your digital doppelganger, FH4 has a different feel than the previous versions. Yes, the formula may feel the same, but the approach one takes to accomplish in-game tasks has an extremely open-world feel to it. No longer are you required to accomplish rigid, linear tasks and gain notoriety by utilizing racing as its main path for festival dominance and recognition.

Although FH4 does require you to accrue “influence” points to move from one seasonal aspect of the festival to the next, these points can be had by accomplishing in-game tasks such as fulfilling a role as a movie stuntman, landing highly dangerous jumps, finding specific ad-boards throughout the map, and much, much more. FH4 gives the freedom of exploration to the user, all while allowing you to progress through the game with your own style.

But above all else, FH4 is still a racing game and a magnificent one at that. Whether you are racing hovercrafts, trains or simply other cars, the feel behind the wheel is exciting, responsive, and pure adrenaline-inducing fun. It’s a rare combination of strong physics and superior handling that is coupled with an arcade shell. Each and every car has a unique feel to it, and so FH4 pushes you to figure out the nuances of each vehicle and how it applies to all the different venues and locations you will visit over the course of your time with FH4.

Environments

It is not a stretch to describe FH4 as one of the most beautifully rendered titles ever to be delivered on console or PC. The environments are lush, aesthetically beautiful and accurate. The wonderful color palette that is utilized in-game creates an overall experience that is immersive and inviting. The usage of all four seasons within the game really helps deliver a deep and dynamic experience within the game, and the quaint English backdrop is a perfect fit for what the game is offering.

From watching the seasons change to the interaction with the environment as a whole, FH4 has created a living, breathing, changing world that helps connect you to the experience in ways very seldom seen. The game is set in a fictionalized United Kingdom setting, and every aspect of the large and sprawling map gives off an English vibe. So whether you find yourself in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, the fictitious UK has never looked so beautiful. The ads for FH4 describe the game as being able to “experience stunning seasons and open world adventure,” and that description and claim couldn’t be more accurate.

Customization

As if FH4 needed more ways to shine, the game boasts the ability to “collect, modify and drive over 450 cars from more than 100 manufacturers, with all the customization options Forza players love, including brand new drift suspension upgrades, track width offsets, and more body kits than ever before” On top of that, new in FH4, users can now “own property that unlocks new items and gameplay perks, from small cottages to castles.”

Veterans of the series are used to collecting and modifying each and every vehicle, and between upgrading, tuning, and applying or creating new liveries on each vehicle, it will consume plenty of your time spent in the world of Forza Horizon 4.

Online

Forza Horizon 4 is one of the few games that can offer an amazing experience both offline and online, and find a way to blur the lines between the two — but that’s exactly what FH4 accomplishes. Want to take on online adventures by yourself, go for it. Want to join a crew and be part of something special, the game allows that also. Want to create your own event and let people try your newest “blueprint” creation — it can be done.

The switch from single player to multiplayer is seamless and easy, and this adds to a massive amount of content for the user to enjoy. So whether you’re into hardcore ranked competitions or unranked team adventures, FH4 provides multiple paths for you to explore and enjoy.

What I Don’t Like

Menu System

The menu system in FH4 isn’t horrible, and you should get acclimated to it over time, but it feels disorganized and delivers a level of difficulty that is usually associated with the game itself, not the menu system. I get it, the game delivers an awfully large overall package and that requires a menu system that can provide all the pertinent information that is accessible at any given time. Regardless, the navigational system in FH4 feels clunky and disjointed, and for newcomers can be a bit daunting to understand.

Character Creation System

On top of the somewhat disorganized menu system, the character creation system is a bit shallow and pedantic. The avatar offerings are limited at best, and other than clothes and accessories, offer little to no character customization.

Once again, the game does so much right that applying a singular focus in on this issue seems a bit trivial, but it’s not without merit. For a title that delivers such an amazing experience as FH4, it seems a bit more time would and should have been invested in the character customization and creation offerings.

Bottom Line

Forza Horizon 4 feels less like a game that is on its fourth iteration, and more like an incredible universe that has just been discovered. While there are mammoth amounts of racing, exploring and back-road traversing to be enjoyed, FH4 gives off a strong feeling that a much larger world and experience is looming in the not so distant future.

The game feels like mash-up of GTA, Gran Turismo, Forza, Bad Company, and a few others. In the end, the overall experience is a vast and wonderful journey that very few titles ever deliver. From the environments to the vehicles to the ambiance and collectibles, FH4 is a living, breathing ecosystem that can suck you in for hours at a time. Forza Horizon 4 is more than racing, more than collecting, and more than modifying. It is truly an experience that is rarely seen in a game, and it keeps getting better the deeper you delve into it.

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  1. Great review, Robert. I personally found the Horizon series at times difficult to play and would get lost in the worlds. The demo appeared to clean this up and the fun factor looks to be through the roof. I was absolutely going to pass on this game but after this review and playing the demo...my weekend will be all set with 4! Keep up the good work. Anyone know why there is not a new regular Forza this year, I may have missed it.
    Tomba
    this is one game where buying the ultimate edition is a NO Brain er

    I'm just bummed that as a Gamepass owner, I didn't have the option to buy the Ultimate Edition DLC and play early. If I wanted it, I would have to pay the full $100, when I am getting the game tomorrow for free.
    I'll admit, it crossed my mind to just pay the money, but that would have been ridiculous. But if they offered me a way to pay $40 to get the Ultimate DLC and early gameplay, I would have been playing all weekend.
    If you have the Atmos sound app, playing the FH4 demo was flipping amazing. It was one of my favorite gaming moments ever. It's unreal.
    Will be on playing the moment it hits Gamepass.
    I’m so confused. Why do I feel like I’m the only one who thinks this is a great looking game that isn’t that great. It’s so arcade. Like a pretty version of  an old school arcade game. Is that the point? I don’t know. 
    Dazraz
    I’m so confused. Why do I feel like I’m the only one who thinks this is a great looking game that isn’t that great. It’s so arcade. Like a pretty version of *an old school arcade game. Is that the point?*I don’t know.*

    Because that's the style of game it is. If you want sim driving, play Forza 7. If you want to have more fun, arcade style racing within the same model, then play FH4. :nocomprende:
    Dazraz
    I’m so confused. Why do I feel like I’m the only one who thinks this is a great looking game that isn’t that great. It’s so arcade. Like a pretty version of *an old school arcade game. Is that the point?*I don’t know.*

    Because it is the SSX of racing games.
    Reviewer got it wrong for God sake   Edinburgh  is in Scotland ya  Muppet      it's like saying  you are Canadian   get it right  and yes it does matter 
    mickythumbs
    Reviewer got it wrong for God sake * Edinburgh *is in Scotland ya *Muppet * * *it's like saying *you are Canadian * get it right *and yes it does matter*

    I might be missing something, but I have no idea what you are referring to.
    I've been all in on this one since the early release. Huge fan of the series in general too.
    Visually. It's perfect.
    Sound. Awesome and immersive.
    Play. It's just an all out blast to play. Whether you're flying around in a lambo, or plodding around in the Ford express work van, you'll find something fun to do.
    There's some pretty spectacular courses as well. The dirt racing series can be a blast, the cross country series as well. There's some tough little circuits, and some that are just an all out destructive riot to drive. Some of the most fun I've had is riding around in that Jeep Trailcat in dirt and cross country races. What a vehicle. There's a cross country race, on the... timberland? timberridge? timber something trail... flying through fields, hills, then up a mountain only to sail off the top of it into the fields below. Just, so many real incredible moments like this to be found in the game.
    Add in the fact that each series seems to have it's own mini goliath race, and you've got some great long races to have. Apparently the goliath circuit itself unlocks way down the line, but the road racing series has the Collausus, the dirt series has the Titan, the cross country has the Gauntlet. They seem to unlock around level 8 or 10 in each series, I've noticed the Goliath may unlock at road racing series level 20. Either way, it's a blast to have some long races in the other driving disciplines too.
    Bottom line, the car list is massive, the world is, the variety of racing and events, the forzathon live events, the multiplayer aspect and game modes, there's just a ton of stuff to do, and it's a complete blast to play.
    CAMPBLACKMAMBA24
    Cool review. Curious if everyone uses a racing wheel and if so what would you recommend in the $200-$300 price range?
    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

    For this game James, I just used an Xbox Elite Controller - box on the X and PC version.
    JayhawkerStL
    I'm just bummed that as a Gamepass owner, I didn't have the option to buy the Ultimate Edition DLC and play early. If I wanted it, I would have to pay the full $100, when I am getting the game tomorrow for free.
    I'll admit, it crossed my mind to just pay the money, but that would have been ridiculous. But if they offered me a way to pay $40 to get the Ultimate DLC and early gameplay, I would have been playing all weekend.
    If you have the Atmos sound app, playing the FH4 demo was flipping amazing. It was one of my favorite gaming moments ever. It's unreal.
    Will be on playing the moment it hits Gamepass.

    This is the first time I've played Forza Horizon game other than the demo briefly for 3. Always played Forza and loved it, I'm loving this game right now and wish I could get the extra stuff cause I'm also playing it through Gamepass. Maybe later on sale a version that has everything I'll buy....have to say though the game threw me off a bit last night. Won the first race and it showed 1st place Damiion (my gamertag). I'm sitting there getting ready to drive off and the GPS is talking and called my name.....I'm like WTF?! How the hell?!
    Sinner
    This is the first time I've played Forza Horizon game other than the demo briefly for 3. Always played Forza and loved it, I'm loving this game right now and wish I could get the extra stuff cause I'm also playing it through Gamepass. Maybe later on sale a version that has everything I'll buy....have to say though the game threw me off a bit last night. Won the first race and it showed 1st place Damiion (my gamertag). I'm sitting there getting ready to drive off and the GPS is talking and called my name.....I'm like WTF?! How the hell?!

    Yeah, that got me, too. I guess it picks up on my real name from my XBL account. I have it set to display my real name. so all of a sudden I hear Anna calling me, Tom. It's kind of cool, but creepy.
    My Xbox is offline except for when I download patches. I'm guessing that I won't be able to experience season changes (after the first cycle) as they are driven by an online server.
    Can anybody shed some light on this for me?
    mrsaito
    My Xbox is offline except for when I download patches. I'm guessing that I won't be able to experience season changes (after the first cycle) as they are driven by an online server.
    Can anybody shed some light on this for me?

    Really not sure about offline but the seasons change every seven days.
    mrsaito
    Thinking this through a bit better I suppose I could just temporarily turn my network access on before I play the game each time...

    I wonder if offline, it would change based on the system calendar/date & time?
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