Review: Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon is back with another open world series of challenges and this time you get to explore the UK.  In Horizon 4, developers Playground Games, have offered up some...

Forza Horizon is back with another open world series of challenges and this time you get to explore the UK. 

In Horizon 4, developers Playground Games, have offered up some new diversity in your driving which arrives in the form of dynamic seasons. Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring play host to an amazing open world for you to explore, drift, drag and drive.

Exploring the ever changing dry, wet, muddy, snowy, and icy conditions provides plenty of diversity to ensure the game has one of the highest rates of replayability.

Gameplay

You can 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. You can also now customize your chosen driver character with clothing, accessories, and emotes, and own property that unlocks new items and gameplay perks, from small cottages to castles.

Horizon Life Campaign
Forza Horizon 4 features over 25 distinct campaigns, each one representing a different way to play the game. These cover everything from Road Racing, to Cross Country, Drifting, being a Stunt Driver, 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. To check your progression at-a-glance, navigate to the Horizon Life tab in the pause menu.

Shared World
Before you join the shared world of “Forza Horizon 4”, you have time to experience each season and get familiar with the game at your own pace. After a whirlwind tour of all four seasons in the game’s opening sequence, you will start at the Horizon Festival during summer in what we call the Prologue. During the Prologue, you will experience all four seasons and take part in many different events and activities over the course of a few hours. 

During Prologue Summer, you are not yet connected to a 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 we hope 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 and qualify for the official Horizon Roster.

Autoghost & Quick Chat
When you enter the shared world of “Forza Horizon 4,” Autoghost automatically disables collisions between you and other online players by default until you decide to join a Convoy together or are in a co-op or PvP race event. The Quick Chat menu enables you to interact with other players by selecting short phrases like “Join Me!” and “Nice Car!” or “Sorry!” – and you can choose from a large selection of chat phrases to use as you see fit.

#FORZATHON Live & #FORZATHON Shop
One of the most exciting new features in “Forza Horizon 4” 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 will appear every hour, on the hour, at numerous locations around the world.

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 will be added to the shop every week with each season change.

Route Creator
Along with new content, gameplay, and challenges that will be added to the game every week with each season change, “Forza Horizon 4” will also introduce one of the most fan-requested features with the first major game update shortly after launch – a Route Creator that lets you design and share your own custom race routes. It gives players complete freedom to create point-to-point and circuit routes anywhere in the world.

Graphics

After playing Horizon 3 and Forza 7, it was hard to believe things could look better, but in Horizon 4, somehow they do. The cars look amazing, but it’s the environments that’ll steal your attention, especially through the rain, snow, the dust and sunrises.

The game looks absolutely stunning and if you have an Xbox One X, the game runs 4K at 30fps (wish this was 4K60) and HDR. You do get the choice to choose which graphics option you prefer, “Quality”, or “Performance” mode at 60 frames per second in 1080p, also with HDR.

If you’re a PC gamer, then as you’d expect, your experience will be dynamically adjusted based on your hardware specs. The PC version also includes support for ultra-widescreens, like the Samsung 49″ CHG90 that runs 3840×1080 in a 32:9 aspect ration.

Wheel and Pedal support

With that super-ultrawide monitor bolted to the front of my Next Level Racing GT Ultimate V2 racing sim, with Logitech G920 steering wheel and pedals, Forza Horizon 4 is an absolutely brilliant driving experience, one I’ll continue to drive, long after this review.

As with Forza titles for some time, the list of supported wheels is kind of ridiculous, which is great for gamers, just configure the controls and start driving like you stole it.

There is of course support to customise your difficulty and that includes vehicle damage, stability and ABS options as well as the all important, manual or manual with clutch option. 

Xbox One S Forza Horizon Bundle Front Angle Box Shot

Price & Availability

The game is set for global release on Sept. 28, 2018 for Ultimate Edition Early Access and Oct. 2, 2018 for those that choose the Deluxe and Standard Editions. 

It’s available as an Xbox Play Anywhere title which means you get to buy once and play on the PC or any Xbox One console version. 

The game is one of the more affordable in recent times, coming in at just AU$99.95 (retail and digital) for the standard edition. 

The deluxe edition will set you back AU$119.95 (digital only) and the Ultimate Edition, a healthy AU$139.95 at both retail and digital. 

Now here’s the best part, for those that already pay for Xbox Game Pass, you’re AU$10.95 each month will also now include Forza Horizon 4. If you haven’t yet pulled the trigger on Game Pass, this may be the thing that tips you over the edge. 

Overall

If you’re a racing fan, then you need to get this game, no question. There’s dozens of hours of gameplay on offer, racing beautiful cars (including the amazing Mclaren Senna), across some of the most beautiful environments through all 4 seasons. 

There’s just so much to explore that playing this game locally or online means extracting value for money is dead simple, especially if you go the Game Pass route, that is an absolute steal. 

As with all racing games, you can play them with a controller and even get really good at that, but if you’re at all serious, find your way to a racing sim with wheel and pedals and you get to feel like you’re behind the wheel of million dollar hypercars, or drive the one in your garage through places you never imagined. 

You can expect the game to get better over time as more DLC becomes available, if for some reason 450 cars still isn’t enough.

9.6
Review: Forza Horizon 4
The Good
  • Graphics
  • Replayability
  • Graphics
    9.8
  • Gameplay
    9.5
  • Value
    9.5
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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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