Forza Horizon 4 review: Latest in open-world racing series offers fun for all types of car gamers on Xbox and PC

The car culture tribute known as Forza Horizon 4 offers both Xbox and PC platforms an adventurous British playground. The game couples stunning visual landscapes with a highly inclusive social experience. Could Forza Horizon 4 be your next game of choice?

Playground Games decided to dive into its roots and base the fourth instalment of its Forza Horizon series back in Britain. In a game world laced together with Edinburgh’s city streets, winding mountain roads and cross-country shenanigans, Forza Horizon 4 is a clear step above its predecessors.

Screenshot from Forza Horizon 4

Screenshot from Forza Horizon 4

The opening few hours present players with a digest of what they can expect from Playground Games’ recreation of Great Britain. The seasonal climate system seamlessly turns vibrant summer lakes into frozen winter roads and the autumn rain is a brief reminder of classic British weather.

Horizon 4 caters for both solo and social players. Upon finishing the introduction, the game connects your world with up to 72 other players to ride alongside or race against. The hourly events, while overly simplistic, offer good entertainment value and bring everyone on the map together in pursuit of exclusive in-game rewards.

Alternatively, there’s nothing to stop solo players from gaining the same fun factor from Playground Games’ best open-world racer yet.

Seasons change everything

Changing seasons are what provide most of the value behind the game’s £50 price tag. Every week, seasonal changes provide an entirely different environment to that of the last.

Alongside the obvious visual changes, roads become slippery in winter and frozen lakes thaw in spring. It shows huge attention to detail from the developers and a desire to keep the game’s content fresh over time, something that has plagued previous instalments of the franchise.

The core racing experience is much more flexible too, players are able to progress in whichever event category they choose – whether it be circuit racing, drifting or cross-country chaos. For more seasoned players, the events can become quite repetitive and bland after a while, so adjusting the difficulty settings should help to keep things competitive and engaging.

‘Influence’ replaces the traditional experience points format of most video games, whereby completing races earns you more fans and gets you rewards on a regular basis. Levelling up can earn you a new car, in-game cash and even a glistening, gold blazer to improve your character’s wardrobe.

Is it a bird or a plane?

The exotic nature of the franchise is ever present in Forza Horizon 4, with its ludicrous-come-hilarious showcase events offering a truly unique racing experience. If anyone has ever wanted to race a Toyota pickup truck against a behemoth hovercraft across the Scottish Highlands, Playground Games has that covered.

Player stories and businesses are yet more content unique to Horizon 4. While storylines into stunt driving and drifting offer a refreshing step away from the core racing experience, they eventually become very repetitive. As a content addition, stories are a very welcome feature, but they could be more engaging.

Playground Games also delivered on the long-requested feature of player houses. These serve as an additional hub for your character and vast car collection. For those with deep pockets, you can save enough credits to eventually buy Edinburgh castle and live out a life of royalty as well as being a racing champion.

It’s whatever you want it to be

If one thing is clear, it’s that Forza Horizon 4 can be anything the players want to make it. The range of content provides enough flexibility for all types of car gamers, whether it be hard-core racing, leaping trucks over mountains or admiring the landscape from your favourite sports car.

The game’s graphical prowess, social integration and unique content continue to lead the way for open-world racing titles. Forza Horizon 4 represents another success for the franchise and a must-have on Xbox and PC platforms.

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