FORZA HORI­ZON 4

Where’s the fun in a road trip that sticks to the road?

Maximum PC - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - –IAN EVENDEN

DRY-STONE WALLS are built us­ing a method that dates back to the stone age, and one that takes a lot of skill to get right. It seems a shame, there­fore, to de­stroy quite so many of them.

Un­for­tu­nately, it’s so easy to. Slide off the road as you speed through the UK ( gam­ing’s British pe­riod con­tin­ues un­abashed), and chances are you’ll hit a dry-stone wall at an oblique an­gle, rocks fly­ing into the air as your hugely ex­pen­sive su­per­car ploughs through, largely un­dam­aged. You’ll see the AI op­po­nents do­ing the same—some­thing about be­ing un­used to driv­ing on the left, maybe?

As you can tell, we’re not in sim rac­ing ter­ri­tory here. The only nat­u­ral­ism comes in the sea­sonal changes to the forests and fields you blast past at 90mph. Com­par­isons with TheCrew2 are in­evitable; they share the same loose fes­ti­val struc­ture, the same sort of freeroam­ing map stud­ded with “mis­sions” that can in­clude help­ing film­mak­ers as of­ten as straight rac­ing, and even of­fer up the same car in their start­ing line­ups. The up-front pre­sen­ta­tion here is less ob­nox­ious, though a game streamer you meet later on is par­tic­u­larly inane. His mis­sions, how­ever, are a trib­ute to rac­ing games of the past, the cars from Out­Run,

Day­tona, and more served up for a blast through the coun­try­side, and they’re rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the game as a whole, in a way.

SEA­SON’S GREET­INGS That coun­try­side is re­mark­able. The game’s pro­gres­sion takes you through all four sea­sons, be­gin­ning in fall, and ex­pect­ing you to ac­crue a cer­tain amount of “in­flu­ence” be­fore ad­vanc­ing. Old Eng­land might not be so fa­mous as New Eng­land for its col­ors, but the feel­ing of time and place con­jured in Hori­zon4 is strong none­the­less. Win­ter changes ev­ery­thing, the snow and ice al­ter­ing the han­dling con­sid­er­ably, and re­quir­ing car up­grades across the board. Whether you buy new cars, win them, or find them in barns is up to you, but the new rides keep coming, no mat­ter what the time of year.

Hori­zon doesn’t care whether you race prop­erly or smash those dry-stone walls; it re­wards you for ei­ther. It doesn’t care about your cars and tires, it just as­sumes they’re in top con­di­tion. It doesn’t even care whether you’re hav­ing a good race, al­low­ing you to rewind time to take a cor­ner again if you mess up, or in­stantly start a race over if you feel there’s no re­deem­ing your­self—you don’t even need to charge this abil­ity up. If you’re wal­low­ing at the back of the pack, with no one to smash into, that’s Clean Rac­ing— have some points. Fish­tail so badly you go through a wall, scare some sheep, drive across a field, then even­tu­ally re­join the road just in time to crash into an­other racer, and that’s an Awe­some Skill Chain—have some points. Car dam­age? Don’t worry about it.

It’s also worth not­ing that, com­pared with cer­tain other games re­viewed this month, FH4 runs very nicely in 4K on our GTX 1070 Ti-equipped test ma­chine.

So, we would like to apol­o­gize to all the dry-stone wallers, and the res­i­dents of the English vil­lage of Ash­brook— we’re sorry for what we did. But we were hav­ing fun.

AI driv­ers can be friends’ Dri­vatars, but oth­er­wise just have the most un­likely names.

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