forza horizon 4
PublisheR Microsoft Developer Playground Games Format Xbox One ETA 2 october 2018 Let’s not beat about the bush; instead let’s drive through it at full speed.
Forza Horizon 4 is set to become the best modern, open-world racer. There aren’t a great many surprises in its gameplay, though. Instead, as with
Forza Motorsport 7 beside it, Horizon 4 is taking an already excellent game and ironing out the few shortcomings it had while polishing everything else to a fine sheen.
And boy, does it shine. Thanks to Xbox One X and screaming 4K visuals, the move from Australia to the British countryside was well worth the trip. The landscape here looks absolutely magnificent and, better still, the environments you race across change with the seasons, which are sped up so that all players in the online world experience each one for a week of real-world time before it changes to the next. It’s not just window dressing, either. Frozen lakes make for great skidpan racetracks, and the handling on dry, summer asphalt versus the wet, leaf-strewn autumn requires a very different approach.
The world feels more alive than ever, and you’ll send herds of sheep scattering as you race through their farmland. Water splashes feel real, scrubbing speed off your car as you hit them and sending spray gushing all over the camera lens.
Naturally, after many years of open-world racers, it is strange to play one where people drive on the left, but hey, you can always swerve through a dry stone wall and grumble about British traffic laws while you re-plow the adjacent cornfield. Nothing does driving freedom like Forza Horizon.
Blueprints return, allowing you to create custom events at set locations, and skill points can be spent across any of your cars, each of which has its own unique skill tree of perks for you to unlock. All the rest of the usual
Forza customisation is evident, and there are plenty of radio stations to listen to as you go.
Behind the wheel, there’s that familiar mix of arcade simplicity and real-world physics simulation. Only solid objects like houses or trees will stop you dead, while shrubs, fences, walls and small rocks may as well be made of cardboard. The only smaller object you need to actively avoid are hay bales - they really make a thump when you hit them. Damage modelling is decent, but not catastrophic (we managed to detach our Impreza’s fender in a particularly big crash), and the cosmetic-only setting is welcome.
The helmet cam feels intimate, really getting you down into the action, and using the handbrake to drift into turns while jostling for position in the pack is great fun. The off-road dirt racing is an early favourite, though the movie stuntman storyline certainly has the potential for greatness.
But the most important difference in gameplay between this game and
FH3 is the track design. If the first hour or so is indicative of the rest of the game, we’re in for a much more considered experience, with denser gate placement and more hairpin bends, which require a greater grasp of car control. You can still smash fences to make the track simpler, and there’s always the rewind button if you really get tangled in the bushes, but driving the tracks feels much more involved, based on the near-complete build of the game we played. It would take a disaster to prevent
Forza Horizon 4 becoming a must-own game on Xbox One. It looks, sounds and feels amazing. Get excited.
“The move from Australia to the British countryside was well worth the trip”