Let me ask you a question. Can one game make up for a weak year of exclusives? 2018 was decent for Xbox One owners with Sea of Thieves, State of Decay 2 and PUBG but it didn’t set the world on fire. Now let me answer that question for you: YES. Forza Horizon 4 is a game that can even survive the snap from Thanos, it is exactly how a racing game should be and every single one of you that is reading this review should buy it immediately. Tip: Buy Xbox Game Pass, it is included!
What is good?
- Highest visual standards: It looks better than Forza Motorsport 7, yeah.. an open world game with 72 online players (shared world, not PvP) looks better than that visual masterpiece. I am convinced that the developers from Playground Games are not from this world, the stuff they do is out of this world. Forza Horizon 4 is the most visual and technical impressive game on any console. On Xbox One X things become even more impressive with two different modes, 4K/30FPS or 1080p/60FPS and it is fabulous. I’m playing in performance mode giving you a solid 60 FPS and I honestly couldn’t really see the difference between the quality 4K-mode.
- Seasons: Forza Horizon 4 are four racers in one game, each of the four seasons drastically change the pace and steering physics of the cars and transforms the world into something totally different. My favorite is autumn, driving through fallen leaves in the rain is a thing to behold. If you liked the snowy look from the blizzard mountain DLC than you’ll absolutely adore the winter season. I honestly don’t understand how they all squeezed this into a two-year development cycle, as I said before the developers from Playground Games are aliens, for real.
- Welcome to Britain: I think we will all agree that exploring Australia in the previous game was great but while on paper it might sound a little less exotic, Britain is a fantastic place for driving at high-speed or just enjoying all the small little details. While smaller than Australia this Britain map is a lot more dense and the seasons give it a lot of extra too.
- Progression: Going forward isn’t locked behind wins, a clever way so everyone can “Jump In” newcomers, racing noobs or veterans can play and enjoy the game how it should be enjoyed. Gamers that aren’t really skilled in racing games don’t have to fear getting stuck for not winning, just fill up your famous meter and event after event will unlock for you. Not only events are behind a progression system but EVERY car has a different experience meter that will allow you to upgrade your car with perks. See it as a little RPG element in the racing genre, might you be building up RPG experience for Fable, Playground? 🙂
- Endless gameplay: Forzathon, Horizon Blueprint, multiplayer and never-ending racing events and of course countless of cars! The amount of content in this game is brain busting, I am convinced that millions of gamers can and will invest hundreds of hours into this masterpiece.
- Shared World Experience: This new system places Xbox and PC gamers into a 72 player server. So those Drivatar cars that drove around Australia are now gone and replaced by real life drivers from all around the world. Don’t worry though, they are ghosts so they can’t annoy you by crashing into you. Worried about losing your connection or don’t want to play online? No problem! Disconnecting while playing online doesn’t have an influence and you can keep it offline, if you choose to do so.
- Showcase races: If the choreographed races against all sorts of insane vehicles can tell you something it is that Playground Games would totally rock an action-adventure story game. Take the Halo showcase for example, it is simply something with insane creative touches. You don’t have a lot of showcase races but the production values are really through the roof, the amount of memorable kick-ass moments follow-up in high-speed tempo giving you an almost non-stop goosebumps ride throughout the highly detailed Britain environment. Absolutely fantastic stuff.
- Radio: While the Groove support is gone (what a fantastic feature!) I was extremely happy with all the different radio channels. The selection of music and the radio voices, all have that typical Forza Horizon feeling that makes you happy and exciting for what comes next.
- Loading times: Before entering the monumental world you have a pretty long loading time, I’m speaking minutes… important however is that the game won’t have any other loading times while playing.
- My favorite car … This is nitpicking but my favorite car isn’t in the game, the Mitsubishi Lancer. Not a single car from that car manufacturer can be found by the way. But with over 450 different cars one shouldn’t complain about the car selection!
What is bad?
- Depressed competition? Polyphony Digital, Codemasters, Ivory Tower, Milestone, Kylotonn … I kinda feel sorry for these known racing developers. Playground Games is miles ahead of the competition and they show no sign of stopping anything soon.
Forza Horizon 4 [score: 100/100] In my brutally honest opinion I simply can’t give this game anything less than a perfect score. Playground Games has the best racing developers and might even be, or are the best development team in the world. Forza Horizon 4 is a must have game for all Xbox One gamers, it is a genre-defying, console-defying and industry-defying game. I have no other words for it, this game is a monumental treasure for gamers.