In Forza Horizon 4, Video Game Britain Has Never Looked Better | Gaming News
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Has Playground Games done it again? The early returns are promising.
After three stupendous Forza Horizon games, each better than the last, it becomes difficult to come up with new superlatives to describe Forza Motorsport’s open-world, more social-friendly spinoff (that, by the way, is even better than Motorsport). So here we are, with a Britain-based Forza Horizon 4, and after playing the first two hours of the campaign – experiencing the Summer and Autumn seasons in the process – I’m left with one simple word: “yes.”
Is Forza Horizon 4 Beautiful? Yes.
Polygonal Great Britain has never looked better, with real-life landmarks you can stop and take a look at by driving up to them and pressing X. So too are the seasons themselves stunningly rendered, from the high overhead bright sunshine of the summer to the red and orange leaves that settle on the roadways and blow away from the car when you drive through clusters of them.
ABOVE: Watch the intro sequence for Forza Horizon 4.
Better still if you’re cruising around the British motorways in 4K on an Xbox One X, as I was able to at the preview event. The tech pipeline for Forza is shared and iterated on between both Turn 10 (Motorsport) and Playground (Horizon), so they each continue to feed the beast and ensure that each Forza game looks better than the last. Horizon 4 is no different.
Is There a Big New Hook? Yes.
The aforementioned seasons build on where Horizon has gone before. I didn’t get to see Winter or Spring during my preview session (aside from the introductory tutorial race that quickly zips you through an entire seasonal year), but if Autumn is any indication, each chunk of the calendar will offer its own slightly unique feel and very unique look.
ABOVE: Watch an off-road race from early in Forza Horizon 4’s campaign.
In the solo campaign, your progress through the seasons is based on reaching certain experience-point thresholds. In other words, you can’t move from Summer to Autumn without doing enough activities and thus earning enough credit to trigger a move to the next equinox or solstice. What’s neat, though, is that you can do whatever missions you’re most interested in playing in order to progress. For instance, I became somewhat obsessed with trying to three-star all of the billboards. My starter car could only two-star most of them, but I liked that as I completed one, more of that same activity would pop up on my map, allowing me to fill up on all of the appetizers I want without having to touch any of the main courses.
Is There Plenty to Do? Yes.
Aside from smashing billboards and visiting landmarks, there’s also plenty of, you know, actual racing. Forza Horizon 4 feels as good or better than ever there, at least in the early going. I didn’t get a chance to drive more than the first couple of cars you get in your garage – though I did manage to race against a giant hovercraft, which was the highlight of the events I participated in during my time with the near-final preview build. The stunt races were also fun, as was the off-road showcase. One counterpoint is that Horizon 4 doesn’t offer a ton of new cars this time around – at least out of the box – so the setting and the activities are the main draw. Thankfully, that’s plenty to keep me keenly interested, at least in the first couple hours.
ABOVE: Forza Horizon 4 has some fun Easter egg-y car horns in it…
For more on Forza Horizon 4, check out all of our Tech First coverage from June, which included some of the coolest behind-the-scenes videos Tech has ever made.
Ryan McCaffrey is Tech’s Executive Editor of Previews. Follow him on Twitter at @DMC_Ryan, catch him on Unlocked, and drop-ship him Taylor Ham sandwiches from New Jersey whenever possible.