Forza Horizon 4
Playground Games / Microsoft Games
Racing games, like fighting games, have sort of lost my interest—mainly because they’ve largely been super-formulaic in their implementation with little in the way of innovation over the last couple of decades. Therefore, I hadn’t even been curious about trying out any of the Forza Horizon titles. Plus, the franchise has long been an XBOX exclusive thang and I gave up console gaming a long, long time ago (I solely belong to the PC Gaming Master Race).
However, I’ve admittedly kept my eye on Forza Horizon 4 since its XBOX debut back in 2018. I mean hell, with its massive Microsoft advertising budget, it was hard to ignore. I also wondered if the hallowed arcade racing game would ever make its debut on PCs. Well, that question has now been answered. Microsoft and developer Playground Games have seen fit to release Forza Horizon 4 on Steam and boy, was it a smart move.
One of that is clearly evident is that the game’s migration over to the PC market allows it to take advantage of higher- end gaming PC’s superior graphics technology. This game was already totally gorgeous on the XBOX but on powerful PCs it simply jaw-dropping. Forza Horizon 4 is one of the most beautiful games on the market and it came out two years ago—a stunning achievement in and of itself.
But beyond the luscious wrapping lies an incredibly capable beast that just begs to be unleashed. Why? Because many developers make the mistake of trying to incorporate too many elements within a single game and thereby spread themselves to thin. Amazingly, while Forza Horizon 4 is a massive game that features the largest amount of racing types under one roof, it still manages to offer unparalleled depth within each.
For instance, two of my favorite types of racing are Nascar and Rally. Not only does Forza Horizon 4 boast fully-featured versions of these (and many more), but it pulls them off better than games that focus solely on either. This is the perfect case of where a developer’s ambition didn’t overstep its bounds.
The setting of Forza Horizon 4 is Great Britain, faithfully recreated digitally with the utmost of care and attention to detail. Within the game’s sprawling play-space, you’ll find quaint country towns, historic villages, ancient castles surrounded by equally venerable cottages, beautiful rolling hills filled with grazing cattle and sheep, and dense forests.
As a new feature to the long-running series, Forza Horizon 4 also features the passage of time in the form of the change of seasons. Think you nailed a great time on that certain winding English country road? Try it again in the dead of winter when it’s glazed over with slick sheets of black ice. The shifting seasons offer a ton of replay value since the many tracks available in-game are totally transformed depending on what different seasons you want to try to tackle them in.
Forza Horizon 4 also comes packed with the largest collection of drivable vehicles of any racing game, with hundreds and hundreds of automobiles to try out. And that’s just with the Forza Horizon 4 Standard Edition. Upgrading to the Deluxe or Ultimate editions (I recommend the Ultimate Edition for all the bells and whistles) or purchasing any of the multitudes of optional vehicle packs that bolster the already dizzyingly vast amount of autos you can own.
Not only that, but in a nod to racing sim games, you can tinker around with many of your vehicle’s mechanical parts—everything from their transmissions, to suspensions, and of course, decals, paint jobs, and other aesthetics. The sheer amount of ways you can customize your mechanical beasts ensures that no two autos on the road will ever look alike (with maybe a few looking similar here and there).
With all of the amazing variety and eye candy on hand, Forza Horizon doesn’t disappoint in the controls department. With an XBOX controller (or steering wheel setup if you prefer), everything feels tight and responsive. Each vehicle feels weighty and handles realistically, as opposed to slippery and wobbly.
Overall, the Steam version of Forza Horizon 4 combines everything I’d ever want in a racing game—it’s the total package. It leaves no stone unturned and is great for everyone from newbies to the racing game genre, to hardcore car nuts that want to challenge themselves. It’s one of the most fun games I’ve personally ever played, period.
Forza Horizon 4 has some amazing graphics so you’ll need a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. Therefore, you may just want to invest in a superior gaming rig:
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