When I first started Forza Horizon 4 up I was instantly reminded of all the reasons I used to think racing games were fun. Everything from the rolling hills of Britain down to the fine-tuning of each vehicle gives you a truly unique feeling for almost every race.
With over 450 vehicles available at the start, there is no shortage of options for what to drive. I personally like to pick the car that most accurately matches my real life vehicle; in this case, it was the 2017 Ford Focus RS. It may not be the fastest car in the game but she gets the job done. The only brands I noticed that were missing were Toyota and Mitsubishi; which means all you Supra fans are going to have to find a new car to drift in (I suggest the ‘97 Mazda Rx-7). I spent more time upgrading and tuning some of my cars than I did racing them. In Forza Horizon 4 you can customize everything from tire pressure to gear ratios, to make your car feel exactly the way you want. The vehicle I’m most proud of is my 1970 El Camino SS; its the first drag car that I built that could beat both of my brothers. Once you understand the tuning process it is rather simple.
One of the most impressive new features in this installment is seasons. Every vehicle won’t work in every season. The game will let you know if a vehicle is more adept at driving in certain weather conditions. For instance, if a vehicle is better at driving on the slick roads of winter, a snowflake will appear on the vehicle’s image in your garage. From levels 1-20 you will have to earn experience as a driver competing in various races throughout each of the seasons. At the end of each season, a showcase event is unlocked. These events test your skills by putting you up against some very… unorthodox opponents which include a giant hovercraft, a speeding train, and a team of dirt bikes. After racing through all 4 seasons you will unlock the Forzathon mode; in this mode, the seasons change weekly and with a change in seasons comes a change in challenges. By completing these challenges you will unlock exclusive vehicles.
Another new addition for Forza Horizon 4 is the team adventure mode, which is a competitive multiplayer mode. This mode will have you and 5 other drivers competing against other teams online in different game modes. Some of these game modes will be your standard array of races while others are more unconventional. Take the survival game mode for instance, this game mode is essentially Halo’s infection mode but you’re in cars; then there’s Team Flag Rush which is just capture the flag. You choose the vehicle you want to use for each of these game modes. These games modes offer bigger rewards for winning but even if you lose you still walk away with a little extra money and experience.
Forza Horizon 4 has plenty of single-player action as well. Throughout the world, there are bonus boards hidden that, depending on the type of board, will give certain rewards for hitting them. Some of these boards will give you experience, while others will unlock areas you can fast travel to. The game isn’t short on collectibles either. In addition to the 450+ vehicles to collect there are also clothing articles for your character and customizable horns. Most of these items can be obtained through the Wheel Spin feature. Wheel spins are rewarded for hitting certain levels of skill or by gaining levels in a certain type of race. Barn finds are another interesting collectible in Forza Horizon 4. These are vehicles that can only be…well, found in a barn. Some of these vehicles you can only find in certain seasons, so if you miss out you’ll have to wait 3 weeks for another chance.
I am not the best at racing games, so when I say Forza Horizon 4 is extremely accessible it should be taken very seriously. You can change individual difficulty settings to make the game better suited to your play style. You can change everything from the difficulty of the AI to the type of shifting you use; maybe you like the ease of an automatic transmission. The more difficult the settings you apply, the more bonus CR (in-game currency) you get for each task you complete. Bonus CR tops out at 125%, for comparison I only receive 45% bonus CR.
My only gripe with the game is the lack of Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles, other than that I enjoyed my time with Forza Horizon 4. Playground Games does an excellent job of making every driver, no matter the skill level, feel welcome. I highly recommend this game to anyone that loves racing games or just has a fondness for cars. Forza Horizon 4 is available on Xbox Game Pass, so there’s really no excuse for not at least trying it out.