The title of this article casually alludes to this already, but I’ll come out and say it: video games are stupidly expensive. Seriously, Canadians (of which I am one) are shelling out upwards of $90+ after tax to enjoy a new AAA release within the medium, and with so many great games arriving ahead of the holidays it’s inevitable that some are going to fall through the cracks. We all only have so much time and money, after all.
Keeping that in mind, Forza Horizon 4 is really just so damn good, and if you own an Xbox One or a gaming-capable Windows PC then you shouldn’t miss it. If you’re an Xbox gamer on a budget, though, Xbox Game Pass actually provides the most affordable means of tearing up the various tracks, decimating challenges, and exploring what I would describe as a “reimagining” of the United Kingdom in Horizon 4.
Now, if you’re not a fan of racing games, this open-road romp won’t change your mind. Why would it? The genre is just not for everyone. But for those that remember Burnout: Paradise fondly or anyone that has an affinity for previous Horizon iterations of the Forza series will find something truly special here. It’s more than just the cars and races that drew me in, it was the world itself this time around – with a changing between all four seasons acting as so much more than just an on-the-box gimmick.
Truth be told, the U.K. setting makes sense when pushing the premise of shifts between Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. The locale itself makes for a unique environment with very, very distinct changes whenever a new season comes and goes. These changes also add missions and races that are then scattered about the expansive area you find yourself roaming, as each alteration in the weather brings with it an entirely new means of driving. Snow is slick, Spring has a ton of mud, Fall adds puddles which bring about hydroplaning, and Summer is dry and smooth … for the most part.
Truthfully, it’s great to experience how these impact the gameplay, but enough can’t be said about the visual overhauls that accompany each season. Looking out over the stunning Fall colours present on each and every tree is enough to make me want to return to my childhood home in Muskoka (Ontarians will get this reference), while forcing freshly fallen snow to give way to your tires as you embrace an impromptu off-road session is sure to leave you in awe. The effort put in to immersing players in the world of Forza is unmatched by anything else in the series.
What’s interesting still is that these seasons actually change every real-world week, and with new challenges rolling in that often there’s a lot to continue exploring. That’s some genuine value for any title, so not enough praise can be given to Forza Horizon 4‘s development teams (Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios) for realizing what modern gamers deserve from their games.
Of course, that bang for your buck is only lengthened by the absurd amount of unlockables present in the game. Every race or improvised drift racks up points which then levels up your driver, allowing them to move closer to earning new content or a spin on one of two prize wheels. The goodies up for grabs range from clothing and emotes for your character to novelty horns and vehicles.
Best of all, there are no microtransactions required (or even available) for these in-game items, which makes recommending Horizon 4 much less of a strain on my conscience.
Those that don’t care for the racing aspect of racing games – an absurd concept, I know – have a lot of activities to tackle in lieu of the same old task of “finish three laps” over and over again. Things like hidden garages featuring classic cars in need of a tune up are scattered about, with stunt missions acting as a nice side-story, and events featuring everything from a team of motorcycles and a jet to a train and a hovercraft. There’s even a Halo-themed mission featuring Master Chief (or at least his armour) and Cortana that’s sure to go down as one of the coolest crossovers in the franchise’s history.
Of course, all of this information just circles back to one simple fact: video games are stupidly expensive. I’m not trying to sound like I’m championing for you to rack up another monthly subscription fee here either, but I can’t think of a more reasonable means to go about playing Forza Horizon 4 right now during one of the most hectic release schedules in recent memory.
Honestly, do it. This is easily the best pure “racing” game I’ve ever played.
Forza Horizon 4 is available now on Windows PC and Xbox One. Xbox Canada provided Okay, Cool with a copy of the game on Xbox One for coverage purposes.
You can find Riley on Twitter at @TheRileyLittle if you want to chat video games or you just want to let him know that you vehemently disagree with him and his opinion of Forza Horizon 4.