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Forza Horizon 4 Review

October 1st, 2018 by

FH001The roar of the engine. The sound of the car travelling in the opposite direction that you have just missed by millimetres, the perfect drift which allows you to overtake that car and gain you a first place finish. All of this matters in a driving game, well unless that game is Forza Horizon 4.

That’s not to say that winning isn’t rewarding it bloody well is, but you can get as much enjoyment of the absolutely amazing scenes and sights by finishing tenth. The fact that you often forget about the competition and soak up the atmosphere of the forest you’re scrambling in, the village you’re destroying or the fact that you just beat a fricking hovercraft to the finish line.

I usually skip yearly iterations and purchase every second one, purely as it allows for a greater change to be seen as well as give enough time to soak up every aspect of the current title. You don’t get release fatigue with Horizon though, enough things are changed or added to keep you flying from the seat of your pants.

Before we get into the changes and additions to this years version a quick shout out has to be given to the control system of Forza Horizon. Simple is an understatement, with very few additional controls beyond the expected “steer”, “Brake” and “accelerate”. This allows you to jump from one iteration of Horzion to another with little to no problems. This is highlighted by the fact my six year old has been behind the wheel for 25 minutes in Horizon 4 and has already performed one stunt and finished twice three times.

For his dad though, a simple flick of the difficulty brings with it more depth, more control over the car when driving it, more tinkering available under the hood of each car and more options to make the car your own. It’s not just the cars this year either. You can customise your avatar and buy perk giving properties of which I’m sure there will be an achievement somewhere.


None of this however, is available upon the start. You need to unlock the various paths for upgrades and progression through both levelling loops within the paths as well as “influence” which can be gained by doing anything and everything. From screaming through the streets in an “illegal” street race to landscaping the local villages walls.

Once the game starts opening up it can very easily get very intimidating very quickly. The beauty of the Horizon series is that it doesn’t matter what you focus on first or how much. Hell if you want you can just go and explore the open road. Akin to their real world counterparts, all vehicles handle differently and as such no two journeys or races feel the same.

In fact I was constantly torn between the latest thing I had unlocked, the path I was currently on and the many “danger signs” (Stunt jumps to you and me), “Speed traps” and “Influence boards”. Unlike many open world games though, Playground Games have mastered the art of whilst making each element have a varying degree of enjoyment based purely on your personal preference focusing on one does not negatively impact on the other. In fact it all gets you “influence” so even the bits you don’t enjoy as much still help the elements you do.

Their ace up the sleeve element this year however is the seasons. Whilst this element could easily have fallen victim to the hype train, Playground Games incredibly attention to detail insures the changing seasons are so much more than a gimmick for this year. Rather than just deliver sun, rain and snow, each season brings with it its own changes which means although they do indeed look different but they also alter the environment and how your vehicles feel and react. Tuning has to be completed on your cars with each seasonal change in order to get the most out of them. It’s a little nod to its Motorsport cousin whilst still keeping its arcade simplicity.


Throw the almost recognisable British setting that you will swear that you have been to, wildlife making an appearance at the correct time of year – goddamn sheep – dynamic weather and day/night cycles that don’t just appear in order to suit the race – dusk anyone? – and you will find that Playground Games seem to have breathed more life into their Horizon world.

Forza Horizon 4 ticks all the boxes for a great solo player game. However, absolutely everything is enhanced with friends and, as always with the horizon games, pretty much everyone else that has purchased Horizon 4. The shared sandbox world means it can be as social or anti-social as you like without the fear of missing out on anything.

If someone is connected online and playing the game then they may well appear in your game, if they are offline, or have only played a previous iteration of Horizon, then their drivertar may appear in your races. Watch out for our very own Uncle Fista on your roads though……

Forza Horizon 4 really does feel like it raises the bar with an exceptional sandbox experience, a dynamic and realistic open world and enough content to keep you entertained for weeks, all before they get to their promise of weekly and daily challenges to continually get you to come back for more.

Whether you love tweaking cars, like driving fast in an environment that straddles both arcade fun with simple elements of simulation tinkering, want to drive a version of Great Britain in a range of cars or simply pretend to be James Bond (Day 1 DLC for the win) then Forza Horizon has you covered.

Midlife Gamer Rating: 9.5/10     Format: Xbox One / PC    Release Date: October 2nd 2018

Disclosure: SiStevens purchased an Ultimate Edition of Forza Horizon 4 for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 3 days during the early access period. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.


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2 Responses to “Forza Horizon 4 Review”
  1. avatar John says:

    Great game. Graphics could be better. Not really any difference between this one and the 3rd Horizon game.

  2. This game definitely delivers the fun that was promised.

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