Platforms: Xbox One, PC

Release Date: October 2nd, 2018 (Ultimate Edition released on September 28th)

Reviewed On: Xbox One S

Developer: Playground Games (support from Turn 10)

Publisher: Microsoft Studios

Price: $59.99

Recently I was given the task of playing and reviewing the racing game Forza Horizon 4. I did get the chance last year to jump into Forza Motorsport 7. Now that was my first time playing a Forza game other then messing around with a demo. For me, I was always a Gran Turismo fan that never understood the Forza series. I thought that changed with Forza Motorsport 7, yet it was the Horizon series that has opened my eyes.

Story

The Horizon festival has come to the land of Punk, Rock and Tea. Players will be racing around some beautiful landscapes in Great Britain. What I enjoyed about the idea of this game having a story was that it really is just your adventure, with actual story missions sprinkled in with the rest of the events that take place during the game. Forcing players to do a Madden-style story mode in a racing game would have been a bad idea. Giving players the choice of freedom is the best way to go in this style of game.

Gameplay

In racing games you can really break down the gameplay into just a few simple moves. Go fast and never look back. Now, most racing games rely on the player to win every race and win those championships. Forza Horizon 4 takes a different approach where you just need to level up and have a good time. When I first started the game, I thought it would be impossible to enjoy all the things to do. Having a limited amount of time due to my job makes me have to be picky on what I can play. The changes of the season caused me to rethink my use of maybe one or two cars. I really had to browse and find the right vehicle for each particular season.

As I started my journey I found myself thinking that this would be a little boring. Everything I did had to add influence to open up a new season. When I finished those four seasons and the showcase races that came with it I thought I was finished with the game. Thats when I realized this game was not boring and I had plenty to do before I could ever say I finished this game. The variety of races is fantastic, each race allows you to level up to unlock more. This will give you the chance to make more money and to win more items. When I say items I mean anything ranging from clothing to horns for your cars. The way you win most of this is through the annoying wheel spins. These spins either give you one item each time or three, as it depends on which spin you get. Most of the time I was unlocking new shoes that didn’t help me with the game. Thats one of two problems I had with Forza Horizon 4.

This game is always connected to other players. That gave me the chance to play online with other players and have no time wasted looking for players. This wasn’t those slow awful matchmaking moments, Forza Horizon 4 is a fluid game that does have the occasional load time. The Forzathon events that happen with all the players actually made me enjoy the online experience more. See I actually usually stick to games that have me playing with other players. The way that I didn’t have to really work to find other players was fantastic. I mentioned above that I had two problems with this game. The other problem I had was having to go through each car that was apart of the DLC and clicking to add them to my garage, instead of saving time and just adding all of them at once. It’s a small annoyance that I feel doesn’t really affect my enjoyment of the game.

Audio

I have a need in video games for the music and the voice acting to flow together as one amazing experience. So most games don’t really get this formula to work. Either the music is lacking or the voice acting is so terrible you have to turn down the volume and turn on the sub-titles.

Forza Horizon 4 brings a collection of music that’s on the right path. This is a collection of music that gets you blood pumping as you drive cross country against your friends and others online. From Kendrick Lamar, Pennywise, and CHVRCHES the game has plenty of music. Even if your feeling like enjoying a little classical music, this game has it for you. Its hard to remember when I could listen to music that you world find at those little kiosks in Target that played a 30 second clip Voices of Spring. 

Now speaking about those voice actors. I was pleasantly surprised and a little freaked out when the game called me by first name. It was something I wasn’t expecting. Each time you accomplish something in the game someone will talk about it on the radio. Each person brings something different to this game that keeps it interesting and enjoyable. The Audio in this game may not be as good as Grand Theft Auto V, it is on the path to getting to that level.

Graphics

I took some time to wonder around and creep into a few houses. I was shocked with what I found. Real pictures of different rooms plastered inside a window. How dare the developers to not waste resources on this endeavor by making those rooms better. How dare they give us realistic dynamic weather that changes with the seasons. I can’t believe they gave us those amazing sunrises and sunsets. 

In all seriousness, the beauty that this game has is amazing. Not only did they make the game more of a challenge when the seasons change, the developers really brought us the beauty that we can find in nature. The best part of driving around for me was to experience the beauty of the Winter and Autumn seasons. As I drove around the during both of them I was brought home to the area I live in and how wonderful it is to be outside during these times. The cars themselves are nothing to scoff at either. Including those custom made vinyls decals that make those cars pop. This is that game that will look great on any TV in your house.

Verdict

If you don’t just get the Game Pass to just try this game I think your crazy. This is easily on my top 5 list for best games of the year. Microsoft, Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios have given racing fans a game that is so vibrant with life and fun that it really should be enjoyed. The game has so many different races, jumps, story missions, and a huge online factor that I could write ten pages on it. I just can’t give this game any more praise then I already have. Everything really works so well on every level. I know that we are hitting that busy time of the gaming season where some games will be left behind. Don’t make that mistake with Forza Horizon 4.

Game was provided to the reviewer from the developers.