Review: Forza Horizon 4

Where part 4 looks very much like its predecessor at first glance, it soon becomes apparent within the first two hours that the game is a major improvement. This time at a different location, with a lot of new features. This is our review on Forza Horizon 4.

This time the popular racing game takes us to beautiful Great Britain. While the game retains its well-known formula, it soon becomes clear that a lot of game-changing aspects have come to this fourth part. We're going to break this all down for you, but first; Check out the launch trailer to get into it!

Your character, your story

The cool dude that you normally play is replaced this time by a selection menu. You can choose from pre-designed characters, both female and male. Each selectable character also has its own style, which is reflected in hair color, posture and clothing. You soon find out that the cinematics in the game are more story-driven than before. The voice acting is more than fine, although it would have been nicer if the lip-sync was the same as the movie itself. All in all, the story feels a lot less cringy and a lot more personal than before. For example, you can buy your own hideaway that gives you a lot of perks, along with an extra garage.
Horizon Festival, this concept is what it's all about. You want to make a name for yourself in this great phenomenon and it certainly is great. Where you previously had several smaller festival sites, you now start with one mega site. Here you also see that it is visually an apple of my eye, but I will come back to this later. You will of course follow different story missions which this time are much deeper and show more interaction with the 'human' rather than just your vehicle. These story missions are once again over-the-top with the craziest stunts and races. The jets and Hoovercrafts can also be found in races like this. The high-end supercars can certainly be there as well. For example, in the beginning you have a race in which you can drive a ninety-year-old Formula 1 car, as if you were driving a bullet on wheels.The intention is that the car gets from A to B with as little damage as possible, again something original for the Horizon series.
The interaction with areas itself has become a lot cooler, so you drive really long country roads with beautiful houses, including your own house. You can drill through low walls and carry fences on your front bumper. The fact that the game actually shows experienced buildings provides more immersion than before. Besides that, the screen at the end of races has also become cooler. Something original if you ask me. As soon as you drive over the finish line, you will find yourself in a kind of separate room in front of a large screen. On this screen you will see the points you have achieved. But the Wheel Spins also go through here, if you hop up a level at the end of a race.
 

Custom? Custom!

Customization is perhaps the biggest surprise in this part. Not only can you choose your character, you can completely customize him/her. From the cap on your head, to the craziest sneakers, to the most Fortnite-like dances. This is one of the funniest features in Forza Horizon 4. Through Wheel Spins, an in-game shop and other rewards you can win not only cars and parts, but also clothes and emotes. The weirdest and most idiotic car designs are also available again. You can choose designs that others have made or apply your own style.
In the photo modes you can do even more for your creative thinking this time. Of course there are also a lot of cars to unlock at all. A nice thing about the Horizon titles is that getting cars isn't difficult, you get pretty much slammed to death with different kinds of cars, motorcycles, jeeps and so on. Of course there is still the Marketplace and the Auction House for the rarer cars, if you don't encounter them anywhere.
The menus are a lot clearer than before and navigating is also a lot faster. The loading times can generally take a little longer, but if you see how beautiful the game is, that makes up for a lot. The game this time works with a four-season system. You get a different season every so often. This also determines your driving style and the types of cars you will be driving. This also fixes an issue that occurred to some in Horizon 3. Where previously you had to buy DLC to play seasons, now all you have to do is get the game. Of course, the future will bring new DLC with the first coming in December! A lot has changed online, both good and not so good. I still feel like there's more to it than Turn 10 shows.We will see what time will do to this aspect.
 

Drifting an easier option

Drifting is something that was a bit more difficult for some in Horizon 3, of course you could and can tweak a lot in this area, but it was not always easy. The controls have been improved a lot this time and everything feels a lot smoother in general. Also, the drifting is much more accessible than I was used to. In supercars and Formula waggies it is also a lot smoother and easier to maintain a certain control at these high speeds, even in corners. But this control can change a lot as the seasons do too. In the beginning, the seasons change quite quickly to give you a certain feeling for this feature, later this will become a weekly phenomenon.
Changing these seasons completely changes your gameplay. During the Summer you can go free, but in the Autumn season you have to watch out for the fallen leaves, one wrong move and you'll be flying off the track! In the Winter, lakes and large pieces of water are suddenly made passable and so the entire map changes every season, but also the controls. Changing each week may not be the best choice for everyone, but it does give you time to get used to each season and so you can make the most of it.

Apple of my eye…

That Forza has nice graphics is a common fact, but Horizon 4 really makes the most of Turn 10 and Playground Studios. In the beginning you immediately see the style you are used to and want to see, but you also immediately see the improvements and they are not small! Shadows and exposures are fan-tas-tic and every season looks phenomenal. A more beautiful racing game simply does not exist, in fact . Every car again looks the way you would like it to look and that's how the vehicles sound too. The variation in the main map is very strong and with the changing of those four seasons (yes, I keep coming back to it), this only gets better and more varied.
In terms of music it is unfortunately a bit reduced for me. Yes, the game has more variety in the soundtracks overall. No, the game does not have the same number of radio stations as you are used to. Some stations have been removed, which means less choice, but more variation per station. I personally thought this was a shame, as the music in Horizon always participates in the atmosphere for the game. But hey, nothing is perfect!

verdict

Forza Horizon 4 is a great game, that's all I can make of it. The improvements compared to the predecessor cannot be counted on one hand and the completeness is once again strongly present. Apart from a few very minor details, this range remains the best on the market today. Few, if any, racing titles have left as much of an impact in the past year as Forza has. Of course not every player will be happy with certain priorities and changes that have been made, but you can't make everyone happy. The addition of heavy customizations like this is a welcome addition and I can only encourage Turn 10 and Playground Games to keep going.


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