Forza Horizon 4 – Xbox One Preview

Driven to distraction

The days of Gran Turismo being the world’s premier console race are a distant memory. Pretenders such as Project Cars have come and gone, but the Forza franchise now reigns supreme as the ultimate racer. Playground Games have been honing their product since the first games release on Xbox 360 in 2012, but the franchise has finally earned the respect it deserves this gen. Not to be confused with its more simulation like cousin, Forza Motorsport, Horizon provides a more arcade like experience; the number one goal here is fun, and Horizon delivers in spades.

Xbox One X owners will benefit from 4K, 60 fps visuals which are unparalleled anywhere in gaming, but S owners will also receive a slight bump in frame rate and visuals. Anyone who has tried one of the previous titles will testify to the lavish attention to detail Playground Games pay to the graphics and FH4 promises to be the best looking one yet.

Unlike Kendall Jenner, this one isn’t all about the looks. Forza’s real beauty comes from what’s under the hood and from the remarkable environments you drive in. A living, breathing open world with no barriers awaits. For those of us of a patriotic bent, for the first time Forza comes to the UK. From John O’Groats to Lands’ End, you’ll be burning rubber in some of the most diverse driving conditions in the world.  Changeable weather (well, it is Britain) will impact on driving conditions during races and seasons – the player may encounter a freezing lake they can cross in winter, only to plunge into its murky depths in summer.

450 licensed cars, all lovingly recreated in detail right down to dashboard details and engine sounds, will be playable online or offline. No friends online? No problem. Forza’s signature Drivatar technology will recreate the driving style of real gamers and insert them into AI controlled cars who will race against you in the style of your buddies. Always wanted to beat Major Nelson or Acey Bongos? Forza will give you the opportunity. Forza provides a perfect balance for gamers who like the best of both worlds – drive alone or with friends, race offline or online – the choice is yours.

Two expansion packs have already been promised; a successor to FH3s’ Hot Wheels expansion is rumoured to be among them. Perhaps more importantly, the British theme will be expanded with the availability of a day one car pack featuring cars from the beloved James Bond franchise. The Best of Bond will be included in the Ultimate Edition (available as a separate purchase for everyone else) and will feature 10 cars including the Aston Martin DB10 from 2015’s Spectre and the Lotus Esprit S1 from 1977s The Spy Who Loved Me. I can’t be the only one hoping for Austin Powers DLC as well, surely?

We’re big fans of Game Pass at Absolute Xbox, you can read our thoughts right here, and Forza is one of the reasons we love the service so much. The full game will be available to subscribers at launch and history suggests we may see some of the older titles added to the service sooner rather than later.

The full game releases on October 2nd (at which point Game Pass subscribers can jump in), digital pre-orders will have access on September 28. The demo is available now; it’s beautiful and showcases Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. If I haven’t convinced you, the demo just might.

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