Review: Forza Horizon 4 equates to bliss for racing fans

Tanner Owens

Driving through the rolling hills of Great Britain in a McLaren Senna sounds like a dream. With the vibrant sun shining and engine roaring, “Forza Horizon 4” allows you to live this dream in the opening sequences of Turn 10 Studios and Playground Games newest game.

The fourth installment of the racing series delivers the goods in almost every category. The visuals are astounding to say the least, which has been true of every “Horizon” game. The gameplay definitely feels different than its predecessors, which isn’t a bad thing.

The controls have remained mostly the same but hold my only complaint about the game so far. The most telling sign of how great of a game “Horizon 4” is that my biggest complaint is about how to change the radio station.

In previous games, the D-pad has been used to change radio stations. The stations could be changed by either clicking left or right on the D-pad. In “Horizon 4,” only the right click changes the station.

This is particularly annoying when wanting to go back to another channel because now you have to cycle completely through the other stations just to get to the channel you want. This is an unnecessary distraction, especially at high speeds.

Aside from that minuscule detail, there are nothing but good things to be said. The soundtrack is as strong as ever, offering anything for anyone with its six radio stations. Any mood you’re feeling, this game has the music for it.

Graphics have always been a strong suit for the “Forza” franchise and “Horizon 4” is no different. In fact, it could be my favorite-looking game of the entire franchise.

The addition of seasons in “Horizon 4” has been a massive talking point ever since the trailer was released at E3 earlier this summer. Spring and summer look stunning, similar to the stock seasons in previous games.

Autumn and winter are the crowning achievements in terms of new content, and they add an entirely new experience to a game that already has a dizzying amount of things to do.

Also newly added is a customizable avatar, which gives the player an enhanced sense of individuality. The game offers a huge amount of fashion options, right down to watches and driving gloves. I enjoyed tinkering around with my avatar’s outfits, and the feature overall is a welcome addition to the franchise.

The map is spectacular, although it seems slightly smaller than Horizon 3’s depiction of Australia. The map offers much better drifting areas, as well as flat-as-could-be straightaways.

The “Forza” franchise as a whole has always been a niche market, offering a pure automobile racing experience. What sets “Horizon” apart is the playability of it. It is pure, unadulterated joy. “Horizon 4” takes players of any skill level and makes them the master of their own world.

That is something special.  

“Forza Horizon 4” is set to release Oct. 2 for Xbox One and Windows PCs. Those that preordered the ultimate edition received access to the full game four days early at midnight, Sept. 28.