Forza Horizon 4 is an open-world arcade racing game developed by Playground Games, Turn 10 Studios and published by Microsoft for the Xbox One and PC. Forza, like the 2015 Need for Speed reboot and the recently released The Crew 2, is perpetually online and inhabited by AI bots as well as other players that can be invited to compete in co-op and PvP race events. Car and racing enthusiasts, as well as, casual players will find enjoyment in the latest installment of the series.

Rookie season

Forza Horizon 4 has a hefty prologue that provides an overview of the various race events and side missions. The prologue will also guide you through the seasonal changes of the game, starting in the summer and proceeding through the spring. Afterward, the seasons will change over, once a week bringing season-specific events. Forza is based near Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, which means driving on the left side of the road in the game, this is quite entertaining especially when I forget, and the AI traffic is constantly flashing their lights at me.

Some players might not enjoy Forza Horizon 4 being an online playground and just want to enjoy a solo experience. The online mode is the default but can be easily switched to offline or if your internet is spotty, the game will switch to offline on the fly with no noticeable interruption. Playground Games has a player-first mindset when it comes to gameplay elements of Forza Horizon 4. This is noticeable with a proper pause feature whether online or offline. The developers have realized that some players might have family that may need their attention while playing or some of us, despite our gastroenterologist’s wishes, enjoy spicy tacos, and a pause functionality is quite useful.

The United Kingdoms south, even though it is north

As you drive around you’ll encounter other players: however, you can’t directly interact with them other than challenging them to head-to-head races or inviting them to co-op or PvP events. Every hour there is a new Forzathon event which allows all the players on the map to compete in a special event. Other than that, you’ll be driving around the Scottish countryside looking for signs to drive through, barns off the beaten path with hidden vehicles, and empty houses to buy.

Prize cars are doled out at a more than reasonable speed. Before I finished the prologue, I had already acquired 15 cars. Money is also generously given out as I was able to extensively modify a Lancia Stratos for rally courses, a BMW Z Coupe for street racing and a Lamborghini Huracan for sprint racing, all before I had completed the prologue. A major complaint with the game is announcements for the player as they tend to blend in too much with the HUD. I was completely unaware I had won a Lamborghini Huracan for at least an hour until I drove back to my home base and was browsing through my garage. Why can’t that happen in real life? I would love to wake up and have a new Lamborghini waiting for me in my parking spot.

Oooohhh pretty

The graphics department for Forza Horizon 4 is quite spectacular, with about two dozen various visual and performance options and full support for 21:9 ultrawide monitors. PC players have a wide range of hardware configurations at their disposal. Despite the wide range of visual options, when enabling the highest textures, the car models, asphalt, signage and main racing areas look great; however, when out in the boondocks of Edinburgh, some of the wall and foliage maps look blurry and quite dated. Regardless of some poor textures, geometry detail and lighting effects make the game look spectacular. Even with Forza Horizon 4 being an open world game, it is very well optimized for PC. I noticed my Quad core CPU was not struggling to run the game. More emphasis has been put in GPU performance as my 1070, rendering at 1440p, regularly reached 80% usage while hitting 65 – 70 degrees at an average of 118fps.

The gameplay in Forza Horizon 4 is superb, the game perfectly mixes arcade ease, but fun handling with a bit of the feel of a racing simulator; thus, each car feels unique. You can modify each car for the various racing events, which include street racing, sprint racing, drifting, and rally events. Forced induction mods, suspension, transmission as well as wings, splitters and a wide bevy of options are available for you to fine tune each car to your preferred racing style. It would not be a complete package if you couldn’t modify the look of your car as well as its performance. You can change the standard wheels and tire sizes as well as a wide range of paint jobs for your vehicles to really give them style.

Put the hammer down

The licensed soundtrack fits the game better than I would have expected. You can pick multiple radio stations that range from rock, classical, electronica to mixed stations that appeal to a wide range of musical tastes. No matter what radio station you are listening to, it will fit extremely well, whether you are participating in events or just causing as much havoc to the countryside as possible. If you get tired of following the main roads, switch to an off-road car and make shortcuts across the inhabitants’ lawns or farmland defiantly violating road use ordinances.

Despite the polish of Forza Horizon 4, I experienced three hard crashes. One while navigating the menus, one while loading a replay and once while driving through some back roads. Unfortunately, due to the crashes happening at different areas of the game, I could not tell if they were related to bugs in the game, my hardware acting up or a combination of both. Due to the crashes being so infrequent, I am not too worried about crashes happening long-term.

Conclusion

Overall Forza Horizon 4 is a polished fun arcade racer that has an enormous amount of activities to keep players playing for quite some time. Car customization is well thought out and PC optimization is superb. Forza Horizon 4 is an entertaining experience for the most hardcore racing enthusiast, the casual race fan, and everyone in between. If you are looking for a racing game to keep you interested, Forza Horizon 4 is your game.

Forza Horizon 4 Review
The Good
  • Car models and overall graphics
  • Gameplay variety
  • The soundtrack
The Bad
  • Some blurry textures
  • Several hard crashes on PC
9Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Christopher T
Staff Writer

I'm an old timer that started in 1988 with Tempest at the Disney arcade; in 1989 I was given an NES with Contra and Super Contra, thus sealing my fate forever. I moved onto the Genesis, followed by the original PlayStation, PC (mainly just for DOOM) and the N64. I got a launch day PS2 settling for the PlayStation family of consoles until 2015 when I renewed my interest in the PC world. Outside of gaming, custom PC water cooling and car parts are life.