I don’t drive. I don’t even have a driver’s license, mostly because they’re useless on the island of Montreal, where I spent my late teenage years, but also in part because I don’t really have any interest in driving. While I have a passing appreciation for nice cars, that’s just about where my interest ends when it comes to anything with four wheels. So, there’s really no logical reason I should enjoy a series like Forza Horizon, or at least so I thought.
I downloaded the demo for Forza Horizon 3 on a whim one Friday night when I was stuck at home with a cold and I quickly found myself buying the full game, much to my own disbelief. Why was I having fun? Well, my friend Maxen said it best: the Forza Horizon series is a “car-based adventure game”.
Forza Horizon 4 just came out and it’s a perfect example of how this series from Playground Games embraces different play styles and includes mechanics to make it accessible to both racing and non-racing fans alike.
One of the best parts about any Forza Horizon game is exploring. Which is done by- you guessed it- driving. Each game takes place in a different locale. This time around we’re exploring Great Britain throughout spring, summer, fall, and winter. The seasonal changes (one per week) make it feel like I’m exploring 4 different maps and each brings new challenges and unique activities.
You’ll even get the chance to check out familiar landmarks while zooming around the countryside. There’s something very satisfying kicking back in the comfort of your home and taking in the sites from the seat of your very own digital luxury car. Make sure you swing by Glenfinnan Viaduct, featured in Harry Potter, and Uffington White Horse!
While you’re exploring, you get an idea of the sheer scope of activities and events that the series has to offer. The best part? They don’t punish those of us with a lead foot and less than stellar steering skills.
No matter what you find yourself enjoying, whether it’s off-road racing, drift contests, speed traps or traditional circuits: there’s all that, then some and then some more to choose from. Even when it comes to the more technical aspects, like tuning your favorite car, Horizon makes sure no one is left behind by making different player-perfected tuning profiles available for download for those of us who don’t know what goes on under the hood.
What if you find yourself getting bored after a few laps? Well, that’s when Horizon shines. You can figure out how to get hard-to-reach influence boards, complete outlandish stunts, collect vintage cars via barn finds or even flex your business skills to make a quick buck in the Auction House to pay for your very own castle. There are plenty of ways to spend your time in Horizon 4.
Personally, my favorite event is the Halo-themed showcase that features the Master Chief himself, Warthogs and a Covenant cruiser in orbit. They even go the extra mile and bring Cortana along for the ride.
In 4, Horizon takes customization to the next level. Not only can you continue customizing the look of each and every car in your garage with custom-made liveries and vinyl but this time around you have a human avatar to dress-up. Thanks to Wheel Spins and milestones, you’ll be collecting a closet-full of clothes, accessories and emotes to make your driver stand out in no time.
And since Forza Horizon 4 sped its way directly into Game Pass upon launch, you can check it out right now without committing (if you already have a subscription) or check out the free demo available. Don’t forget, it’s a Play Anywhere title too so you can boot it up on your Xbox OR your Windows 10 PC.
Playground Games has successfully created a series of driving games that don’t just appeal to car enthusiasts, but to those who love gaming in general. I can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon.