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Forza Horizon 4 is an open world racing video game developed by Playground Games and published by Microsoft Studios.[1] It was released on 2 October 2018 on Xbox One and Microsoft Windows after being announced at Xbox's E3 2018 conference.[2][3] The game is set in a fictionalised representation of areas of Great Britain.[1][2][3] It is the fourth Forza Horizon title and eleventh instalment in the Forza series. The game is noted for its introduction of changing seasons to the series.

Forza Horizon 4
Forza Horizon 4 cover.jpg
Cover art depicting the game's seasonal change and featuring the McLaren Senna (foreground) and Land Rover Defender 90 (background)
Developer(s)Playground Games[a]
Publisher(s)Microsoft Studios
SeriesForza
Platform(s)
Release2 October 2018[b]
Genre(s)Racing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

GameplayEdit

Forza Horizon 4 is a racing video game set in an open world environment based in a fictionalised Great Britain, with regions that include condensed representations of Edinburgh, the Lake District (including Derwentwater), and the Cotswolds (including Broadway), among others, and features over 450 licensed cars. The game features a route creator which enables players to create their own races.[4] The game takes place in a synchronised shared world, compared to the AI-driven 'drivatars' from its predecessors, with each server supporting up to 72 players.[5] The game is also playable in offline mode.[5]

Players have the opportunity to buy in-game houses which unlock new items, cars and game-play perks.[6] The game features a dynamic weather system that also depicts the change of seasons. The environment in the world will change depending on the season: for example, Derwentwater would freeze over in winter and allow players the ability to drive on the ice to reach areas of the game world that would be inaccessible during all the other seasons.[2][3][4] The seasons are fixed across the game's servers, meaning that all players will experience the same conditions at the same time. After completing a prologue series of events which introduce players to all four seasons, the shared-world seasons will change every week,[6] with the changes happening on Thursdays at 3:30 PM BST.[7] The season changes are forewarned to players in the game with a countdown clock, which, when finished, will trigger a short cinematic cutscene showing the previous season changing to the new one, although the cinematic will be delayed for players who are in the middle of an event or activity.[7]

Returning from Forza Horizon 3, Wheelspins are prize spins with random rewards ranging from cars, Credits (in-game currency), emotes, horns, and clothing. Wheelspins are rewarded from progressing through the story and completing certain seasonal challenges. These can also be bought in the #Forzathon shop. Super Wheelspins, enhanced versions of Wheelspins with better prizes, are also given for completing parts of the story and seasonal challenges. Super Wheelspins can also be bought in the #Forzathon Shop. [8] Also returning from the past two games, British drum & bass label Hospital Records provided a soundtrack composed of 20 original tracks from various label artists, as well as an unreleased track by Fred V & Grafix titled "Sunrise", made for the game's opening cinematic. The soundtrack album was released on 26 October 2018.[9]

Owing to licensing issues, vehicles from Toyota (including Lexus marque with the exception of some offroad racing and pre-customized trucks and Subaru BRZ) are not presented in the base game;[10] Mitsubishi returned on 15 January 2019 with the release of the Free Mitsubishi Motors Car Pack DLC.[11] That same day, however, two dancing emotes ("Carlton" and "Floss") were removed from the game due to lawsuits filed by those dances' creators against Epic Games for their use of the dances as emotes in their game Fortnite Battle Royale.[12]

Content and gameplay updatesEdit

There are two downloadable content expansions for the game.[6] The first of these, Fortune Island, was released in December 2018. It includes a new map, a range of additional cars and adds extreme weather conditions to the game, along with a treasure hunting campaign in which players find treasure chests to earn up to ten million Credits. The second, Lego Speed Champions, was announced at E3 2019 and released on 13 June 2019.[13][14][15] Similar to the Forza Horizon 3: Hot Wheels expansion, it is based on the Lego brand featuring Lego toy versions of real cars, a map "built" with various Lego pieces, and its own separate campaign.[13][14] It also added a new in-game radio station, Radio Awesome, which is dedicated solely to playing The Lego Movie theme song "Everything Is Awesome" by Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island.[15]

Three car packs have also been released as of 9 April 2019, one including cars from the James Bond films, the other being a collection of Formula Drift cars and another pack of cars from the Barrett-Jackson Car Pack from Forza Motorsport 7.[16]

Every four weeks, at the end of every Spring season, a new update for the game is released introducing new gameplay content, cars, and cosmetic items. The first of these updates, at the end of October 2018, saw the addition of the Route Creator tool and a new Horizon Story, British Racing Green.

The Series 7 update in March 2019 introduced the Festival Playlist.[17] Players complete daily, weekly, and monthly challenges, including, but not limited to, Seasonal Championships, Playground Games, Ranked Adventure, and Seasonal PR Stunts. While completing these tasks alone earns players rewards, they also contribute to weekly and monthly rewards. 50% and 80% completion of both the Series and the current season rewards drivers with an exclusive car or cosmetic item, usually of the Epic or Legendary rarity. The Festival Playlist has continued to be a part of each series since its introduction.

With the Series 9 update in May 2019, the developers implemented a system to prevent wallriding—the practice of driving into a curved wall on the outside of a corner instead of braking and steering, thus allowing the player to carry more speed through a corner—and high speed collisions in online multiplayer. The system predicts the occurrence of a collision between two cars with a large difference in speed and ghosts the faster vehicle, preventing rammings (both intentional and accidental). The anti-wallriding measures include slowing down a car in contact with the wall for an extended period of time, depending on speed and the predicted distance the player would have travelled if they did not hit the wall.[18]

In July 2019, as part of the Series 11 update, a special Horizon Story was added in collaboration with BBC's Top Gear. The missions, narrated by presenter Chris Harris, provided players with rewards including the "Track-tor" (a race-modified tractor featured in Series 25 of the show) and the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6. The update also saw the return of class-based Rivals modes from previous games in the series, and the ability to track progress in the Horizon Life menu, as well as several new unlockable cars in the game's Festival Playlist feature.[19]

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic(XONE) 92/100[20]
(PC) 87/100[21]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid9/10[22]
EGM8/10[23]
Game Informer9.25/10[24]
Game Revolution     [25]
GameSpot9/10[26]
GamesRadar+     [27]
IGN9.6/10[28]
USgamer     [29]
VideoGamer.com9/10[30]

Forza Horizon 4 received "universal acclaim" for the Xbox One version, while the PC version received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[20][21] The Xbox One version is the highest rated Forza Horizon title and is tied with Forza Motorsport and Forza Motorsport 3 as the highest rated entry in the Forza series based on Metacritic scores.

On 18 January 2019, Playground Games announced that they had reached 7 million registered users after the launch of Fortune Island expansion.[31] In June 2019, prior to the launch of the Lego Speed Champions expansion, Playground Games announced the game had reached 10 million users.[32]

AccoladesEdit

Year Award Category Result Ref
2018 Game Critics Awards Best Racing Game Won [33]
Gamescom Awards Won [34]
Best Console Game (Xbox One) Nominated
Golden Joystick Awards Best Audio Design Nominated [35][36][37]
Best Competitive Game Nominated
Xbox Game of the Year Won
Ultimate Game of the Year Nominated
The Game Awards 2018 Best Audio Design Nominated [38][39]
Best Sports/Racing Game Won
Gamers' Choice Awards Fan Favourite Sports/Racing Game Nominated [40]
Australian Games Awards Sports, Racing or Fighting Title of the Year Won [41]
2019 D.I.C.E. Awards Racing Game of the Year Won [42][43]
National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards Control Precision Nominated [44][45]
Engineering Nominated
Game, Franchise Racing Won
Graphics, Technical Nominated
Original Light Mix Score, Franchise Nominated
Song Collection Won
Sound Editing in a Game Cinema Nominated
SXSW Gaming Awards Excellence in SFX Nominated [46]
Game Developers Choice Awards Best Technology Nominated [47]
15th British Academy Games Awards British Game Won [48][49]
Italian Video Game Awards Game of the Year Nominated [50]
Best Audio Nominated
Best Sport Game Won
Develop:Star Awards Best Visual Art Won [51][52]
Best Game Design Nominated
Best Audio Nominated
Best Use of Game Engine Won
Game of the Year Nominated
Golden Joystick Awards Best Game Expansion (LEGO Speed Champions) Pending [53]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Additional work was provided by Turn 10 Studios.
  2. ^ The Ultimate Edition of the game was released on 28 September 2018, while the Standard and Deluxe editions were released on 2 October.

ReferencesEdit

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  2. ^ a b c Dale, Laura Kate (10 June 2018). "Forza Horizon 4 is Officially Revealed, and it's Set in Britain". Kotaku UK. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Plante, Chris (10 June 2018). "Forza Horizon 4 trailer reveals Britain setting, dynamic seasons, release date". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 10 June 2018.
  4. ^ a b Dornbush, Jonathon (10 June 2018). "E3 2018: Forza Horizon 4 announced". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  5. ^ a b Reilly, Luke (10 June 2018). "Forza Horizon 4: every season is racing season - IGN FIRST (Page 3)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
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  7. ^ a b Stevens, Colin (26 September 2018). "Forza Horizon 4 Post-Launch Roadmap Detailed". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Forza Horizon 4: How To Get Wheelspins And Super Wheelspins". Ordinary Reviews. 16 October 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Various Artists - Forza Horizon 4 - Hospital Soundtrack - Shop - Hospital Records". www.hospitalrecords.com. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
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  31. ^ Forza Motorsport [@ForzaMotorsport] (18 January 2019). "One month after the launch of the Fortune Island expansion, we're celebrating the more than 7 million people who have played @WeArePlayground #ForzaHorizon4 since launch" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
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External linksEdit