Last week, I had the pleasure of heading to the Forza Horizon 4 Drive-in Cinema. Not only was it a fantastic event, I also got the opportunity to play the latest build of Forza Horizon 4, experiencing a more in-depth look at the game then what we’d previously been shown before.
I am not the biggest racing guy, however what I got to experience of Forza Horizon 4 has definitely given me some rev-head goosebumps and I’m keen to buckle-up and jump back in upon release.
In saying that, here’s the five most exciting things that I came away with after playing.
WINTER IS COMING…AND ALSO SUMMER, AUTUMN & SPRING
Forza Horizon 4’s big game changer and, of course, the opening act for the hands-on experience, was its dynamic seasons. Snowing tracks, muddy valleys in the dark and sun blaring straights are all set to change not only the way the game looks and feels, but how players adapt their skills to cater for the changing conditions. Seasons will also open new routes and events and give a whole load of new fun to the open-world exploration.
A WHOLE NEW WORLD
Great Britain is an amazing location for a driving game. Some might say for its beauty, in my case I’ll say for the sheer fun of the off-road experience. The newest section of the demo gave accessibility to the open-world gameplay, and the moment it was available, I found myself yearning to ditch the track, drive through a stone wall and head full-throttle over the hilly, British countryside. It was in this first few minutes of the game that really perked my interest in what Forza Horizon 4 had to offer. The feeling of freedom in how you explore the huge world was strangely exhilarating (I mean it’s not like open-world gameplay is new). I guess the choice of executing a route to the next mission or race either with precision driving or totally going off the rails, destroying walls, my car and maybe even a couple of sheep along the way, is what I’ve been waiting for in a racing game.
I feel it’s a bit of a cop-out – as who really cares that much these days about graphics (queue heated debate) – but one of the things that impressed me the most was just how pretty and vibrant everything looked. The gameplay I experienced was set around the Forza Festival (the main hub) and the colours and overall vibe of this setting were rich and vibrant. It had the true feel and look of a summer festival and would without a doubt be one of the first games I’ve played where I would have happily just sat, cranked the in-game radio and experienced my surroundings. My infatuation with Forza’s beauty extended even more when driving through the valleys and plains surrounding the festival and literally forgetting I was playing a game. The detail in the world design is most impressive.
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE CARS… HAT OR NO HAT?
I almost didn’t give myself enough time to enjoy actually driving due to the fact that the character customisation in Forza Horizon 4 is HUGE. After getting through the dynamic season showcase, I was immediately invited to tune my look. Honestly, I say HUGE in caps lock, but it still doesn’t properly represent the level of detail you can go into for your character. From shirts, pants, shoes, hats, sunglasses, watches, other accessories, license plates to even more like the Fornite-esque emotes you can equip – because of course nowadays you can’t win without expressing yourself in dance. I can confirm that the first 7 hours of my replay will be dedicated to styling my character right – and learning all the dances moves.
BUT LET’S BE REAL, IT’S KIND OF ALL ABOUT THE CARS
I mean it is a racing game, so of course, something to get hyped for are the cars and just like the character customisation, there is a huge list of cars in the lineup. From off-roaders, luxury, rally, transporters, drifters and family fun combis there is a plethora of good-looking vehicles to acquire, race and call your own. I’m intrigued to see and hear more of what will be available to players as there were nods to other vehicle types during my time with the game – dirtbikes, hovercrafts, planes. We know the team will be introducing cool packs and monthly events like the recently showcased Halo Experience where you can drive a Warthog against Banshees and Pelicans, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some more out of the box vehicles introduced to players.
It could have been the addition of free hotdogs and soft drink, but after my time at the Forza Horizon 4 Drive-In Event, I feel that this is one driving game I would love to spend more time with and experience it in its entirety. To see how the hyped dynamic season system works in the full-fledged open world and with more time to see how it truly impacts your driving does lure me to grab the game at release and spend more time behind the wheel of Xbox’s 2018 champion.